Chapter 4:

The Strong

Every Side of the World

“Alright, you know how this training goes,” said Mya as she started doing stretches.

“Yeah, yeah. First one to get hit in any sort of way loses,” replied Kizou as he started jumping up and down to warm up.

“And what’s the record?” asked Mya with a smug look.

“50-0 for you,” said Kizou as he let out a sigh. “You do know I’m letting you, because anyone would let their wife win.”

“That’s weird, I wouldn’t have a husband who’d lose to me that much,” said Mya as she laughed. “Alright, you ready?” Mya asked as she pulled out a wooden sword.

“Let’s do it,” said Kizou with a smile as he pulled a wooden sword out as well.

The two charged at one another with their swords out to land the first hit. Kizou started an endless barrage of attacks in which Mya easily parried. Mya deflected Kizou’s strike and aimed towards his side. He recovered from the parry and was able to barely block the strike. Kizou decided to kick it up a notch and started increasing his speed which was something he prided himself on.

Kizou dashed behind her with pure speed and tried to hit the back of her head in which she easily ducked without even turning around. Mya turned around quickly and aimed for Kizou’s feet in which he jumped, raised his sword over his head with two hands, and slammed his sword down to try to hit her head. Mya leaned her body back, and Kizou’s wooden sword hit the ground. Seeing as both his hands were on his sword, Mya lunged her sword forward towards Kizou’s chest. Kizou let go of his sword and kicked Mya’s sword which sent it flying up.

“That’s not fair, it’s swords only!” exclaimed Mya as she got caught off guard.

“Anything can happen in a battle, it all matters on who takes advantage first,” Kizou proclaimed as he lunged his sword right at Mya’s chest this time.

“Guess two can play that game,” Mya said with a smirk. She parried Kizou’s attack with her hand and threw another punch at him.

Kizou barely had enough time to lift his sword up to guard against her punch, but her attack pushed him back at least two meters. Kizou barely withstood the strength of her punch and tried to catch his breath. Mya’s sword came down from the air and right as it reached her hand, she released her horn. Kizou saw Mya in front of him with her horn and sword in hand realizing that he had to prepare for the next attack. However, Kizou blinked for less than a second and opened his eyes to find himself on the ground with a wooden sword pointed at his face.

“I guess it’s my win then,” said Mya with a chuckle. She put out her hand to help him get up.

“You really had to use your horn against me,” said Kizou as he grabbed her hand and got up.

“It was your words that said that anything can happen in a battle,” said Mya as she started laughing. “Besides, all the top demons have horns, so it’s something that you’re going to be used to.”

“And it feels like you used a bit of wind magic as well,” said Kizou as he brushed off the dirt from his clothes.

“Uhhh-” muttered Mya embarrassingly as she realized her trick was caught. “How could you tell?”

“I can feel it in the air,” said Kizou as he let out a smile at her. He honestly didn’t know how he was able to tell.

“Sounds like you’re thinking gross things again,” said Mya with a laugh. 

That’s weird, I was sure that I hid it as best as possible, thought Mya to herself.

As they finished up their training, Kizou went back inside to use the bathroom while Mya stayed outside to practice her swings. As she practiced her swings, she felt a strong presence.

A woman rushed at Mya with her sword, and Mya barely was able to defend herself from the attack. As she recovered from the hit, she felt another presence coming near her. She tilted her head back just slightly, and an arrow blew right past her.

“Seems like you’re learning faster and faster,” said the male demon. 

He was twice the height of Kizou and wore a white robe. His hair was red, and he wore a white mask that only had holes etched into the eye area to allow him to see. However, the rest of the mask created a sad expression. The area of the mask where the lips would’ve been made a frown with blood dripping down both ends of his mouth. He wore an armband on his left arm that displayed the number 2.

“Of course she is, Freo,” said the female demon as she grabbed his arm. “How else is she going to get stronger?” 

She was taller than Mya and had long black hair that reached down to her back. She had large breasts that seemed to barely fit into her white robe as her cleavage could be easily seen. She wore black heels but casually walked as if they weren’t even on. She also wore a mask with holes on the eyes that showed the expression of someone with happiness. She wore an armband on her right arm that displayed the number 3.

Mya dropped down on one knee, immediately put her mask on, and gave her respects to both of them. 

“Hello Freo and Aria, thank you for your service,” Mya said.  It was customary to greet anyone higher than you within the Hell’s Group in this fashion.

“Come on Mya, how many times have I told you that you don’t need to do that around us?” Aria patted Mya on her head and gave a smile.

Freo looked at Mya and gave her his hand to assist her in getting up. She took it and got up.

“You’re only 8 and among the Hell’s Group. While we know the others may be jealous of you, Aria and I see you as someone special,” Freo said.

Mya couldn't contain her smile at hearing the praise by those stronger than her. She was also excited to see that she was improving and could sense the presence of both Freo and Aria. She started telling them about her recent accomplishments such as killing the humans that infiltrated the villages, getting a better understanding of wind magic, and anything else to display her growing talents. Freo and Aria were attentive the whole time and even provided advice on how to improve her abilities.

Kizou walked out of the bathroom and saw them having their conversation. Even though Mya always helped and supported him, he knew that the difference in experience would hold the gap between Hell’s Group and him. These discussions weren’t just ordinary discussions that you would hear from any soldier, these were discussions among the strongest demons in the Kingdom. Kizou was never able to attend the Hell’s Group meeting with the King, so he knew that this was an important opportunity to get stronger. 

Even though he knew that he was despised among the Kingdom, he still walked towards them. As he was walking, he felt a sudden chill circulating throughout his body. It was a murderous intent, something that pierced through his body. As he looked towards the area where Mya was, he saw the gaze of Freo looking right at him. Even with only just the eyes protruding from the mask, Kizou could feel the overwhelming difference between this demon and him. Kizou ran back to the building holding his breath.

“What are you looking at, Freo?” asked Mya as she turned around.

“Oh nothing, I saw a bug,” said Freo. “Continue on with your story.”

Kizou was brought back to reality. No one among the Hell’s Group would ever want to associate themselves with the failure. Even though Kizou always had hope that something would change, it was impossible. What he needed was power, overwhelming power that just seemed to favor everyone else but him. 

However, there was never an opportunity to learn from those that were stronger than him. Kizou could easily defeat the humans, because the ones that came were always lower in power compared to the Hell’s Group. In addition, the demons that were around Kizou’s skill level never wanted to spar with him due to the rumors regarding the Kingdom. Geet and Ty were strong, but Kizou never seemed to progress with the continuous spars that they had.

Kizou walked back to his room and decided to continue his training through a different method. He picked up his book that he had been reading the past year titled “The Essence of Magic” by Cheron. The name sounded familiar, but Kizou never made note of it as the contents of the book was the more interesting part. It was a book he found in the castle’s library that didn’t seem to be touched at all.  As he started reading, his eyes grew wider at the abundance of knowledge regarding magic. Magic was only taught to those with horns regardless of whether you were a kid or adult.

Affinity for magic varies upon individuals. It is said that the human kingdom was the first to utilize magic while the demons followed soon after. These affinities consisted of water, earth, fire, wind, lightning, and nature.  However, there could be other magic learned for those that were gifted.  For each affinity, individuals would be able to reach the arcane stage once they were capable of mastering their own. 

However, there were a select few that were born blessed and had the ability to gain their affinity as a child. This applied for both demons and humans, and there were also rumors surfacing that said that some had the ability to master multiple. Magic also consists of chanting out the spells before they’re performed, but the more experienced casters didn’t need to chant at all. While it seemed easy to become a more experienced caster, there was never anyone among the Demon Kingdom who was capable of performing magic without chanting. It was still a myth, but there was word that someone in the Elf Kingdom had someone who could perform spells without chanting.

As Kizou continued reading, he remembered that this was how he was able to notice Mya’s magic at the time. He started reminiscing about their past fights and realized that she used wind magic multiple times when he was about to hit her which made him chuckle to himself for a bit. He knew that he was nowhere near her level, but a strike would’ve been a strike nonetheless. 

Kizou kept on reading until he reached the bottom of the page with examples of beginner spells for different affinities. His eye lit up rapidly at the opportunity to even perform at the level of the Hell’s Group. He rushed towards his door, looked outside, and peered left and right from the hallway to see if anyone was nearby. He locked his door and ran straight back to the book. He opened his window and stood there with the book in his hand.

“As tears fall from the sky, let the stream pour out through my hands, Sea Dragon’s Cry!” Kizou yelled as he pointed his palm outside. Nothing came out again.

“Scorch the threats that are in front of me, give me the power to burn those in my path, Dance of the Phoenix!” Kizou yelled as he pointed his palm outside. Nothing came out again.

“Rock of the Golem!”

“Gust of the Atmosphere!”

“Shock of the Circuit!”

“Dryad’s Yell!”

Kizou kept yelling the phrases and pointing his palm outside hoping for just a little bit of magic to come out. It wasn’t that he wanted to master magic, he just wanted a sign to show that even he was blessed. As he flipped the pages, he saw a note that was posted by the author. 

“Just kidding! I can’t believe you really said those phrases out loud,” said the note along with a face of a tongue sticking out.  Kizou got angry and threw the book. 

I’ll do it my own way. I’ll get stronger and perform the best magic to where everyone will know who I am, thought Kizou to himself as tears slowly rolled down his face.