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The other S Hunters yelled in shock and jumped forward.

“Noble! Stop!” one man yelled and grabbed Kesstel’s arm. He pulled at Kesstel, but his S ranked Melee strength wasn’t enough to budge Kesstel’s arm an inch.

Another man grabbed Kesstel’s fingers and tried to pry them off. “Let go!”

Blood Sword knelt on the ground, gurgling, his face turning blue-ish red. The chainmail under Kesstel’s fingers warped and broke, a sliver of blood mixing with the steel.

The S Healer put her hands on Blood Sword and started to heal him with bright golden magic while the rest of the people tried to separate the two. It was like ants on a titan. No matter how much they pulled, nothing worked.

Another frown pulled at Kesstel’s lips. Blue magic pooled around his body, swirling chaotically and threatening to explode. The magic ate at the arm of the Hunters surrounding them. They flinched at the pain, but they still didn’t stop.

I gasped, watching in horror. He could flatten the whole city if this went on. Hell, Blood Sword alone could flatten the city. If Kesstel could withstand the other S’s so easily, how much power did he really have? It might not be just Eden and Garden that disappeared off the map.

“Stop,” I mouthed, trying to get my voice to work. The more time that passed the more pressure Kesstel emitted and the harder it was to make noise come out of my tight throat.

Kesstel had always been apathetic, but never destructive. Never murderous. Never like this. I didn’t even know what this was.

The Hunters on the ground around me groaned in pain, clutching their heads. They withered and gasped, in constant pain as Kesstel’s aura grew stronger.

My breath was fast and shallow as I limped towards the commotion. “Stop,” I whispered. “Kesstel, stop.”

His blue magic grew like a flame, rising ten feet in the air and casting a blue sheen on everything around him.

“Stop! Noble, stop!” the other S’s yelled.

A man in black full armor stepped back and pulled out a longsword. With a deadly move, he stabbed at Kesstel. Kesstel grabbed the blade with his bare hands before it pierced his side. Just like that, the man’s sword was completely stopped. He puffed air and his arms shook as he tried to finish the attack, but the blade in Kesstel’s hand didn’t move. With an almost casual flick of Kesstel’s wrist, the S Hunter was thrown in the air and landed twenty feet away in the downed crowd. The people he landed on gasped in pain, but they couldn’t move enough to dodge out of the way.

“Don’t,” I mouthed. Don’t hurt Kesstel. He’s doing wrong right now, but don’t hurt him! There was something wrong with him. I didn’t know what, but he wasn’t himself. “Kesstel,” I whispered.

His magic grew five feet taller and started to pulse like the timer on a bomb.

Three S’s abandoned the struggle to get Kesstel off Blood Sword and jumped back. The man in armor gripped a claymore while the woman at his side held a sword and shield. The other person, a Mage, displayed a staff with three brightly glowing white magic stones on top. Lightning magic crackled around the magic stones as power pooled around the Mage. At the same time, the two Melee Hunters relaxed into an attack position, like lions ready to charge.

“This is your last warning,” the woman holding the shield and sword announced. “Release him and put your magic away.”

Kesstel’s mouth pulled up in a sneer.

Wait! No! I drew in a large amount of air, so much that my chest hurt. “Kesstel!” I yelled for all I was worth. My small voice was like a fly’s buzz compared to all the noise the S’s were making. “Kesstel, stop!”

Kesstel froze. Slowly, his head turned until he could see me through the people surrounding him. Our eyes locked. The magic around him vanished in an instant.

The S’s paused, completely confused. They gave cautious glances around, trying to see what he was staring at, while trying to keep Kesstel in sight.

“Kesstel,” I said as loud as I could. “Please stop.”

Kesstel stepped back, away from the group of people holding him. Blood Sword collapsed to the ground, gasping for air, and the rest of them were forced to let go of Kesstel. The Healer and a couple others dropped to Blood Sword’s side to check if he was alright. The others watched Kesstel vigilantly, then glanced at me in confusion.

Kesstel stared at me, his eyes like blue glass. I’ve seen corpses with more emotion in their eyes. Slowly, he started to walk toward me. The people on the ground scurried out of his way, creating a path. They couldn’t get up because his Hunter aura was still out in full, so all they could do was avoid getting stepped on.

As Kesstel and his overpowering aura got closer and closer, I bent over, propping my hands on my knees to make sure I didn’t fall. I’d go to meet him, but my legs were shaking so badly I didn’t dare move anymore.

He stopped in front of me and looked down with an apathetic expression. I didn’t know what he was thinking — if he was thinking anything at all. All he was doing was standing there, in a silent town square, under the eyes of everyone in Eden, as he stared at me.

I swallowed a couple times before my tight throat was moist enough to work properly. “What happened … to you?”

His expression didn’t change as he reached out to me.

The closer his hand came, the more my very bones hurt under his aura. I couldn’t help but flinch back.

His hand paused. His aura vanished, pulled back inside him.

A great sigh of relief hushed over the square as everyone was finally able to breathe.

My tense body went soft at the sudden release of the painful pressure, as if a thousand pound weight had been removed from my shoulders. My knees wobbled, and I stumbled back to try and stay up.

The next second, a strong force wrapped around my body. I blinked, shocked at the feel of sticky flesh under my cheek. I looked up into Kesstel’s glassy blue eyes. His arms were wrapped around me, pinning my own arms at my sides and caging me against his black blood covered body. My eyes widened. I mean, we were friends, but I didn’t think we were at the hugging stage.

Before I could open my mouth and ask, the world blurred around me. Kesstel hoisted me up in his arms and moved so fast that I was dizzy, since I still hadn’t recovered from his aura. I knew that he was running, but he was going too fast for me to see properly. The world was a dizzying whirl of colors as we moved up and down according to Kesstel’s whims. All at once, he stopped moving. He placed my feet back on the ground and, before I could fall over from the sudden movement, he trapped me in a hug again.

I gasped, completely shocked and at a total loss of what to do. What was going on in this man’s head?

When my vision stopped spinning, I finally noticed that we were in the backyard of a modern-looking, two-story house. The yard was a modest size with a small patch of grass, a small well-kept flower garden with a cool rocky water feature, and a hot tub on the patio. A seven foot privacy wall blocked the view from the surrounding houses. What was most noticeable was the fact that it was a detached house with a yard. In Eden, neighborhoods like this only existed in A District and were absurdly expensive.

I tipped my head back and looked up at Kesstel. He was still staring down at me with that blank expression. I tried to wiggle my arms free so that I could wipe the black blood off his cheek. He responded by tightening his arms around me. Not hurting, but enough to let me know that he wasn’t going to let go. In the end, I gave up struggling and just stood there while he held on. I didn’t know what was going on, but if this made him feel better, I could stand here for him.

After a minute, I opened my mouth. “Kesstel, can you understand me?”

At first, I didn’t think he was going to respond, then he slowly nodded.

“Are you hurt?” I asked.

He paused then shook his head. The muscles on his face relaxed, not quite to an expression, but he didn’t come across as a tense bomb ready to explode anymore. His arms loosened a little around me.

He wasn’t hurt now, but I could tell from his clothes that he’d been hurt a lot in the two months that we were separated. Clothes didn’t get torn like this just from walking around. My chest tightened painfully just thinking about it.

I wiggled again. This time he let my right arm slip loose, then immediately tightened his arms to keep the rest of me still. A handkerchief appeared in my hand and I slowly wiped the blood off his face and from his pale blonde hair. He just stood there, letting me.

“You’re covered in blood,” I whispered. “What happened to you? Where did you go?” Then I paused. “Hang on, we should get this off you first.” I looked around, craning my neck as far as I could to look around his large body. “Where are we?”

I really hoped we weren’t in some stranger’s backyard. That was a conversation I really didn’t want. Not only would it be embarrassing, but Kesstel’s hostile attitude still had me worried. What if he attacked them? I didn’t even have a snowflake’s shot in hell of stopping him if he did.

Kesstel turned, finally giving me a good view of the house behind him. It was boxey in shape and painted white with blue trim. There were French doors on the right side of the back, a long window, then a glass door on the left. Kesstel kept his arm around my shoulders as he walked to the French doors. He put his thumb on a print scanner next to the door. The lock clicked, then Kesstel opened the door.

“So this is your place,” I muttered. That made things a little easier. Maybe.

Without waiting for me, he marched me inside and shut the door.

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About the author

MichelleRReid

Bio: I am an author, mother, wife, and jack of all trades. I mean, every mom is, but I’ve found that through my research for different stories, I’ve picked up a lot of random (and sometimes actually useful) knowledge and skills.
I’ve had a vivid imagination since I was a child. And as much as I wish I could actually live in the worlds in my head, the closest I can get is with the words I put on the page. These characters are like real people to me. The funny lines they say, their emotions that make my heart bleed, the amazing things they can do that I physically can’t, the adventures and sights that I can see in my head. I love sharing those things with my readers and hope that they can feel at least a part of what I do.
I do have other works that are published through Amazon. They are not LitPRG, but I'm still really proud of them. Check them out if you have the chance.

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