Chapter 25:

Chapter 22 “Tilore: The City of Neon Lights”

Age of Ember beta

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After leaving the luxurious inn, everyone couldn’t help but wonder what the Elven city would look like. Ziggy and Sabrina have ever been there, but that was a long time ago. The inn was on the outskirts of the city, along with other residences. As they got closer to the entrance, they were able to size the massive walls, with a huge cybernetic gate guarded by 2 gigantic androids. They were at least as tall as the gates themselves.Bookmark here

“What are those for?” Odrian asked Ziggy. Bookmark here

“What do you think they’re for?” Landon couldn’t help himself. “They’re guarding the gate.”Bookmark here

“Uh, right. They look kind of cool… Can we take one?”Bookmark here

“Only if no one finds out,” Ziggy joked as both expressed excitement at the idea.Bookmark here

“No, we can’t take one,” Sabrina couldn’t help but overhear. “Where would you even keep it?”Bookmark here

“Ugh, I'd like to shop around and see the city,” Landon sighed, finding Odrian’s behavior rather childish.Bookmark here

“We can keep it in the void!” Odrian and Victor said at once. They both apparently had the same idea going.Bookmark here

“They are the Guardians of the elven city,” Sabrina informed as they approached the gate. “And the city is one of the most powerful in the world.”Bookmark here

“Yup, this city provides most of the worlds technology,” Ziggy added. “This city is one of the most guarded places in the world. But the Elves themselves are much weaker than us.”Bookmark here

“Why is that?” Sarah interjected curiously.Bookmark here

“They live a little too conveniently,” Ziggy answered simply. “It’s the Guardians that keep them safe. This tech is no joke! They come equipped with plasma launchers, laser blades, and up-to-date forux nullification systems. And don’t think because there so big they can’t move quickly, they’re pretty fast.”Bookmark here

“Uh yeah,” Sabrina could see Ziggy’s enthusiasm for the Guardians. She felt that they presented more of a danger than anything else. Just the idea of their abilities was more than enough to give a powerful warrior a run for their money. “Everyone comes here from all over the world. Some stay because it’s safe and peaceful… Finding work is always available.”Bookmark here

As everyone approached the tall double doors, the Guardians placed their lances together, blocking the entrance. Landon realized that the encryptions on the lances themselves weren’t a language he recognized. He assumed that it was in Elven language, perhaps a more archaic form.Bookmark here

“State your business,” The Guardians stated in a cold tone of judgment. Bookmark here

“My name is Ziggy Tade,” Ziggy introduced himself with confidence, and his back arched to match his tone. “I’m here on official business with the King… And to have some fun while we’re here.”Bookmark here

No one knew Ziggy had taken up a quest by the King of Tilore. Everyone was visibly surprised by this revelation, except for Sabrina. However, saying this wasn’t enough for the Guardians to lift their massive lances.Bookmark here

“Provide proof of clearance,” Both requested. But before anyone could present anything, the slits of the guardian bodies released a mist. This mist was used to scan and identify whoever came at the gates. It was a defensive measure that worked in tangent with their forux nullification. Nothing would get past them.Bookmark here

“Sarah, undo all your illusions, or we’ll have problems,” Ziggy suggested as he walked up to the front door to place his phone down on the touchpad.Bookmark here

“I-I’m not doing anything right now,” she responded with a look of worry on her face.Bookmark here

Verona walked over to the Guardian to touch it’s gigantic metal shoes. She could never imagine such a thing could exist beyond where she had come from. Everything was a new experience, so everything piqued her curiosity. Arachnia walked over to her.Bookmark here

“They have smaller ones inside the walls,” Arachnia reached over and touched Verona’s shoulder and whispered this to her. “You can take pictures with them.”Bookmark here

“Oh? I can’t wait to go in,” Verona gushed with enthusiasm. Not too long after, the mechs moved their lances out of the way.Bookmark here

“Access Granted.” The Guardians stood up, grounding the ends of their lance handles.Bookmark here

The massive doors slid away as the forcefield behind them dissipated. Everyone walked in, absorbing the beauty of the city. It was unlike other major cities they’ve ever been in. People wore modern fashion-conscious outfits, some with lights coursing through them. Verona noticed the androids that Arachnia mentioned earlier, patrol the streets. Above and around them were screens that reflected current technology advertisements on the side of its towering buildingsBookmark here

“Oh my god,” Sarah ran ahead of everyone looking everywhere. “This place looks so cool!” Bookmark here

Landon walked over to a nearby screen, looking at the current segment. It showed 2 well-dressed women talking about an upcoming party happening this weekend.Bookmark here

“We should totally go,” Sarah stood by Landon.Bookmark here

“You guys should have fun,” Ziggy seemed lax by the idea. Even though he wasn’t entirely comfortable with Sarah going, Sabrina was right. He needed to be more accepting of her growing up. “It’s going to take a week before my request with the King is ready. So, we’ve got time to enjoy ourselves.”Bookmark here

Sabrina was quite surprised by his suggestion.Bookmark here

“We’re going to need some new clothes too,” Ziggy continued. “The Elves are rather judgmental when it comes to what someone wears. Let’s try to follow the trend.”Bookmark here

“But, before you all start exploring,” Sabrina had a smile on her face. “We gotta check into where we’ll be staying. It’s a few blocks down.”Bookmark here

“Brings you back some, huh babe?” Ziggy smiled back as he lead the way.Bookmark here

“It sure does.”Bookmark here

They all couldn’t wait to explore the rest of the city. As they walked toward the direction of their destination, Sabrina walked over to Odrian.Bookmark here

“You’ll meet up with someone next week to start training,” Sabrina told Odrian, much to his inconvenience.Bookmark here

“Training?” Odrian frowned. He wasn’t expecting to train in a place like this.Bookmark here

“Think of it like an opportunity! It’ll do you some good. We’ll be here for a month and a half, so it won’t be all training.”Bookmark here

“I guess…”Bookmark here

Their destination was a beautifully-designed high-rise hotel, and as they approached, someone was waiting by the door to greet them.Bookmark here

“Marcus?” Ziggy was disgusted at the sight of the man waiting. Ziggy walked in front of everyone, especially Sabrina. “Since when did you take up employment as a doorman?”Bookmark here

Sabrina, as beautiful as ever, Marcus thought as he walked forward. Although he was the same age as Ziggy and Sabrina, he was immortal as well. His eyes were n appealing shade of purple. He was as chic as they denizens of the city, wearing a sleeveless, dark blue hoodie with grey fatigues.Bookmark here

“Not a step further!” Ziggy tried to hold him back.Bookmark here

Out of the way chump, Marcus continued. He didn’t even acknowledge Ziggy in front of him as he phased through him. His body spread into millions of neon light particles, coming back together once he passed Ziggy. Bookmark here

This prick, Ziggy thought to himself as he turned toward the solid-state of Marcus.Bookmark here

“Sabrina, it’s been a minute,” Marcus said smoothly as he came incredibly close to her. When he first saw her, he couldn’t take his eyes off her. The old feelings all came back in an instant. He couldn’t help but undress her with his discerning eyes. She changed very little, even after having children, being immortal had its advantages. Marcus gently took one of her hands, bringing it toward his lips.Bookmark here

“You’re still incredibly bold these days, aren’t you, Marcus?” Sabrina sighed as effortlessly pulled her hand away before his lips could connect.Bookmark here

“With that hand, I would’ve proposed to you,” Marcus continued, much to Ziggy’s repressed anger.Bookmark here

“I’m a happily married woman, Marcus. We already spoke beforehand about why I came.”Bookmark here

Sabrina looked over at Ziggy, who already summoned his kogane. It was a large sword with 2 separate sections. One blue and the other metallic, with jagged edges. Ziggy came behind Marcus to lunge in for the kill. Before his blade could touch Marcus, he disintegrated into neon particles, reappearing a few feet away.Bookmark here

“Bae, please,” Sabrina spoke seriously with Ziggy. He understood his disdain for Marcus ran deep. “Relax.”Bookmark here

“Yeah, bae, relax,” Marcus mocked Ziggy with a grimace that followed.Bookmark here

“It makes it really hard for me not to kill him,” Ziggy grumbled as he took a final swing before de-summoning his weapon. “I can’t stand him.”Bookmark here

“Nice to see I still get under your skin, old man.”Bookmark here

“Old? Now you look here! We’re about the same age, aren’t we? I became immortal one year before you”Bookmark here

“Anyway, I’d like to introduce you to my family,” Sabrina ignored both of them, she pointed out each one as she introduced them. “This is my daughter Sarah and my sons, Landon and Odrian.”Bookmark here

“Wow, 3 kids, huh?” Marcus expressed disappointment but found something redeeming about it.Bookmark here

There was a time when he imagined a future with her. It was Ziggy Tade that ruined that dream for him. Marcus never quite understood why Sabrina picked Ziggy over him.Bookmark here

“It’s fine,” Marcus said under his breath. “I can be a stepdad instead.”Bookmark here

“Over my dead body,” Ziggy replied in the same tone as Marcus. Marcus seemed to have forgotten Ziggy was even around him.Bookmark here

“The young man over is Victor, their friend,” Sabrina continued to disregard Ziggy and Marcus. “And those are Odrian’s girl-”Bookmark here

Sabrina paused, unsure of how to judge their relationship with Odrian. They had all recently met around the same time. So, she said: “This is Verona and Arachnia.”Bookmark here

Marcus immediately ran to all 3 ladies behind Sabrina to introduce himself personally. But, Odrian went to block his way.Bookmark here

Just like that man, Marcus had a particular disdain expressed when he saw Odrian.Bookmark here

“Hey, Mar-” Odrian spoke to the neon particles that phased past him, just as Marcus did to Ziggy. Victor almost broke down, laughing with his hand on Landon's shoulder.Bookmark here

“Which one of you fine ladies, am I supposed to train,” Marcus asked in anticipation.Bookmark here

“Hey,” Ziggy called out. “Don’t you go being some cradle robber! Leave Sarah alone! None of them have even went through one life cycle yet”Bookmark here

God, I wish he would just shut up, Marcus thought as he fawned over them.Bookmark here

“No, my son, Odrian, is the one that needs the training,” Sabrina tapped his shoulder as he was still preoccupied with the young women in front of him. “You know, the one you just ignored”Bookmark here

“Oh?” Marcus seemed surprised. “You know I don’t like dealing with men.”Bookmark here

“But you deal with yourself all the time.”Bookmark here

“Yeah, you’re really convincing me with that line.”Bookmark here

“Are you sure you can’t do this one favor for me?” Sabrina’s voice became more appealing to Marcus’ senses. Marcus turned to find her twirling hair with a more alluring expression. She knew exactly what worked on him. Ziggy was seething but knew that her tactic was a necessary evil.Bookmark here

“O-of course, I can,” Marcus immediately folded.Bookmark here

“Thanks,” Sabrina gave a friendly hug to Marcus, only to keep up this act to get what she wanted. Bookmark here

Marcus turned to Odrian, walking over to him with indifference. He stood over him, looking down on him like he was an enemy. He wanted nothing to do with men, especially the son of Ziggy. The neon radiated off his body, showing the disdain manifest itself.Bookmark here

“I’ll train you,” Marcus said with the contradictory tone of indifference. “Because she asked. Don’t expect me to go easy on you.”Bookmark here

“Uh, thank you,” Odrian said sincerely. Marcus gave him a small paper.Bookmark here

“Meet me at this address in a week. If you’re late by even a millisecond, I won’t help you.”Bookmark here

Marcus said all of this with blatant displeasure. He immediately turned into neon light particles and dissipated around the building and left. Landon walked up to Odrian and said: Bookmark here

“I really don’t like that guy either.”Bookmark here

“And good riddance!” Ziggy agreed.Bookmark here

Ana Fowl
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