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Phantom Wars Chapter 24

People change, and not always for the better.

Chapter Twenty-four: Ethan Alaster the Nightmare King

After leaving the museum Ethan tossed aside the clothes he was using for wraps and started rubbing the weird sap from the plant Merry gave him on his wound. Then he put on a new cloth to cover his wound that Marry also brought him. “So what this is the actual Washington D.C. in the living world?” Picario asked.

“Yes.” Ethan said.

“So then what does it mean?” Picario asked.

“I don’t know but hopefully that will be answered when we reach the top,” Ethan said.

“Anyways let’s focus on the here and now,” Marry said. “Ethan that herb will heal your wound within an hour, but only if you stay off it for that hour.” She turned to Picario and asked, “Picario can you summon up a broom?”

Picario nodded then put his hands close together as a strange vortex of colors appeared before them. From out of the small vortex a broom came that Ethan could use to fly on. Picario got the broom up in the air just a few feet above the ground and Ethan sat down on it and they continued on.

They went slow on purpose to kill more time so Ethan’s leg would be healed by the time they encountered the next group. “So how do I know when it will be healed?” Ethan asked.

“It will start to tingle for a minute then go away. After that you can remove the bandages,” Marry said.

They found three more groups of people before leaving the city for a new dimension. Ethan kept good on his word and didn’t interfere with the battles until his leg was healed. Turns out it was unnecessary, Picario alone was too great for even all of them combined and Marry just added to their inevitable defeat.

In the next dimension they came out to more open plains with tons of hills and no trees around anywhere. The place was massive and you could see for miles. It wasn’t beautiful like the plains on the 99 th floor but it wasn’t ugly either. Picario turned his head all around him and said, “There are a lot of people here. None of them are near by but I can sense a massive number, too many too close for me to count though.”

They started going in the direction of the nearest group of people when Ethan started to feel his shin tingle. He stopped and removed the bandage to find it was all healed up perfectly. He hopped off the broom and walked around a bit to test it out. He felt perfectly normal again.

Ethan took off in a jog and Picario and Marry needed to run to keep up with him. They eventually came across a massive group of people all wielding a weapon of some sort. These people looked strong and dangerous but Ethan knew by now, appearances were the most deceiving.

When Picario and Marry got to the top of the hill where Ethan was standing they too noticed all the people at the bottom standing around talking. “The Darksteel gang,” Marry said. “They claim these plains as their own and though their not too strong individually with all fifty of them they are a lot for even us to handle.”

Ethan smirked and said, “I only counted forty-three.”

The gang finally took notice of them as they turned around and one of them said, “Well, well look here a few kids come here to play. And look at the pretty lady with them; you come here to have some fun girly?”

Ethan clenched his fist in anger and said, “You know there’s something I have wanted to try for a while now and I think you bastards will make the perfect lab rats.”

Half the people laughed but Ethan kept his focus and concentration. Marry and Picario watched strangely as none of the men did anything but stand there. Ethan too stood perfectly still. After a long minute the men suddenly burst into life below and pulled out their weapons and began attacking each other.

Picario and Marry watched in horror as the men slaughtered one another until none of them were left standing. Ethan fell to one knee and was covered in sweat and breathing hard. Picario helped him to his feet and he said, “I’m alright.”

“What the hell did you do to them?” Marry asked.

“I made them think that they were fighting monsters but instead it was themselves, simple but man doing that trick on so many people at once that really exhausted me.”

“That’s, pretty cruel Ethan. I mean making them kill each other like that.” Marry said.

“So what,” Ethan asked? “We had to kill them to rank higher anyways how does it matter in which way we do it?”

“You know she has a point Ethan,” Picario said. “How is this any different then when the twins mass slaughtered those people last year. You know what don’t answer that it’s worse; they didn’t force them to slaughter each other!”

“Well it’s not like I’m torturing them. Besides I thought you wanted to get to the top?”

“Maybe but not like this. I’ll see you back at the mansion maybe by then you will remember who you are,” Picario said. Then he took off in flight with great speed.

“You know I thought you were different than your family, but blood is thicker than water,” Marry said before she too flew away.

“Fine I’ll reach the top on my own then!” Ethan shouted into the sky.

After Picario and Marry left Ethan wandered around on his own ruthlessly killing anyone he came across. He went without any real direction, and just moved forward through portals and dimensions until he found other contenders. Eventually he came across an opponent he couldn’t overcome.

Ethan stood starring off with his father. David had his arms crossed over his chest and starred at Ethan coldly. “Well then welcome to the top two, it’s just us left now,” David said. “It doesn’t look like you made it here out of luck though did you?”

Ethan scoffed and said, “Well I’m just following your example.”

David put his arms to his sides and shook his head slowly. “I don’t even know who you are. You’re not the boy I raised you to be.”

Ethan snarled and focused on invading his fathers mind. Ethan was surprised to find his powers were not having any apparent effect. David walked forward very slowly and said, “Your powers don’t work on me boy.”

Ethan pulled out his knives and rushed David until everything went black. The next thing he knew he was in the mansion lobby. He didn’t even see his death coming.

Upon his return to the mansion he got a lot of angry looks from people. Others bumped him when they walked past. On his way back to his room a small group of thug looking people stopped him.

“Remember us?” one of the five people that stopped Ethan asked.

Ethan looked him up and down, he was taller and much heavier than Ethan but his weight was more muscle than anything. He had a rugged face and wore shabby clothes.

“Fuck off,” Ethan said. He tried to walk past the guy but the man pushed Ethan back.

Two of the other guys stepped forward and Ethan concentrated on the guy that shoved him. In a moment the man fell on his back, eyes blank muttering to himself. The other guys looked at him then Ethan and then ran away in fear.

Everyone around starred at Ethan with wide eyes but he ignored them. When Ethan got to his room Picario was no where to be found. He left and went to Tillys to see if he might be there getting a treat.

When Ethan got to the shop it wasn’t long before Tilly came by and told him he couldn’t be here right now. She didn’t seem to take pleasure in telling him; in fact she just looked saddened by it. Ethan didn’t make a big deal out of it though and left quietly.

He next went to Mary’s room to see if she was there with Picario but no one answered the door. He tried Kelly’s but she too seemed to mysteriously vanish. After a while Ethan realized he wanted to be alone more than he actually wanted company.

Ethan went to the general shop and purchased a flying broom stick then left the mansion with it. He flew high up into the sky unaware of the lighter air or how cold it was. He kept flying towards the mountains until he reached the snow covered mountain peak. The wind was blowing strong and snow passed right through him.

The view was breathtaking and serene. It was exactly what Ethan needed. He stayed until the sun set in the west then rose again in the east. In that time Ethan thought over everything. Of course Picario and Marry were right he was pushing the boundaries of morality.

But Ethan kept to his decision that if people weren’t prepared for what he was ready to dish out to them then they shouldn’t even bother entering the tournaments. Ethan was determined to beat his father though. Even if he had to cross some lines he would do it.

When Ethan returned to the mansion he ignored everyone and even avoided his room until the reapers tournament portal appeared before him. He entered it without hesitation. On the other side he found he was in a flat area of black tar like stuff beneath his feet with cracks all along the surface. Between the cracks Ethan could see a red gooey stuff, it was Magma.

The heat between the cracks was intense but Ethan ignored it and focused on his invisibility. He waited until the other contenders appeared and the moment he did he ensnared them all in a mind illusion and walked around slitting all their throats.

Afterwards he moved on to find a new dimension and other phantoms. Ethan ran into a frightful monster that almost killed him, but he escaped using his illusions. The beast was a skeleton figure like a massive centipede that had a long narrow skull. Ethan would save that creature image for later.

As Ethan went around taking out other phantoms one at a time he changed, unknowingly to himself. He stopped caring about morals or how he killed them he just wanted it done.

Eventually Ethan came across Marry; she was in trouble. Ethan’s first instinct was to help his friend but he started to think. He doubted she would team up with him again and if she made it to the final three then he would have to kill her before he could get to his father. He decided to wait back until they killed her.

When Marry was dead Ethan snuck up on the people and made quick work of them without even using mind magic. His invisibility was all he needed for them. Part of him felt a little bad for abandoning Marry but he ignored that part of him.

After literally days of hunting down the others, Ethan eventually saw his father standing alone in the magma cracked tar plain. The first area he entered when he came to the tournament. Ethan tried sneaking up on David while invisible, but David turned around when Ethan was over a hundred feet away and called out, “I can see you Ethan, your illusions have no effect on me whatsoever, both material world and mental one.”

Ethan dropped his invisibility and said, “So then you hold all the advantages don’t you?”

David starred at his son and said nothing as Ethan casually approached him now. When Ethan got fifty feet away from him, David said, “Look out beneath your feet.” Not a moment later the ground below Ethan’s feet began cracking rapidly.

Ethan dived as far from the spot he was standing on as he could just as it collapsed in itself into the magma. “Few people realize that this place is full of weak spots like that, which can collapse on you any moment. It’s a dangerous area to walk around,” David said.

“Why didn’t’ you just let me fall in?” Ethan asked.

“Because I still want to talk to you,” David said. “Has he gotten to you is that what’s happened? Or are you really just like this deep down inside?”

“I am the way I am because of you! Because you abandoned me and mom, you left us alone! Do you have any idea what happened to her after you killed yourself? She broke down completely for a while she almost didn’t make it; and now she’s all alone! And it’s all your fault!”

Ethan charged David, his knives held high in front of him. David spun around and kicked Ethan in the face when he got close enough. Ethan hit the ground hard but rolled up back to his feet. The ground beneath him started cracking and he had to run away in opposite direction of David to get away from the sinking tar.

“You still think I wanted to leave you two?” David shouted back. “I told you before my actions were not my own.”

Ethan got out of the way of the collapsing Tar and charged David again shouting, “Liar!”

Before Ethan could get to close to him though, black bat like wings sprouted from David’s back and he flapped them in repeated furry quickly gaining altitude. By the time Ethan made it to where he was David was way up in the air and he flew further back from Ethan.

“Think carefully boy, about everything.” David said. “Just look at the powers you wield, you can make most people sense whatever you want them too. Hell if you do it right you can and have turned people against each other to where they kill one another unknowingly.”

“Come on child are you really going to listen to the man who abandoned you and your mother for this place?” A voice asked from behind Ethan.

Ethan turned around to see Leo standing behind him.

Ethan had no time to say anything as David shouted in rage, “Get the hell away from HIM!!!”

A strange force pulled Ethan away from Leo as a massive red dragon burst from under the magma and the tar swallowing Leo in one bite. “Ethan you stay far away from that monster do you understand me?” David said.

Ethan turned to David and said, “No, I don’t understand. In fact he’s been nothing but help to me.”

“Help,” David asked incredulously; “Ethan do you know who that man really is, and what he has done to us!?”

“Done to us or to you?”

David shook his head and said, “He’s the cause of all the misfortune in our family. And not just ours, your cousins, grandparents, it just goes on. I still want to talk to you; there’s so much you need to know. If you still have my key then meet me in my room by next week before the tournament.”

“And if I don’t come by then?”

“I can’t force you to talk to me and I won’t try to do so either. However I’m still your Dad and I will never stop loving you or looking after you as best I can.”

With those last words Ethan felt a quick and immense sense of burning pain then it was gone and he was back in the mansion. Ethan was once more in a mix of emotions but the anger was boiling just beneath his surface. He went to go outside and as he walked by people moved out of his way and one man shouted, “Make way for Ethan Alaster the nightmare king.”

Ethan ignored the remark. The man continued. “He’s an even worse bastard than his father.”

Ethan stopped walking, and then he turned around and approached the man who spoke. The man had a smug look on his face and went to speak again but Ethan quickly pulled out his knife then stabbed the man in the shoulder.

He screamed in pain but Ethan wasn’t done with him yet. He dragged him to the pool in the lobby and brought him to his knees then held his head under the water. The man struggled and squirmed trying to get his head above the water. Ethan held him there until all the bubbles stopped appearing then he threw the rest of him in the pool.

Afterwards Ethan teleported to floor one and left the mansion again. He came out into his old neighborhood and jogged to his old house to see his mom.

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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