Beginning of the end Chapter 6
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Later that day, after getting changed into more appropriate attire for our meeting at grandma’s we boarded the family ship Stormbreaker, a sleek-looking vessel with enough space to carry the family rooms to sleep in and a few passengers, a comfortable way to travel, The flight deck had four seats so we could all sit together when traveling, moving further back into the ship, there was a table, on it a tactical holo net showing the capital world and everything moving. I played with the display zooming in on station one where all the praetorians trained. One day, I might be on that station learning secrets, moving the image I found the moon base Kariuki, according to some of father’s friends, they majored in the testing of ships and weapons creating new things to keep the empire safe.
‘Staring at the stars again’ Varak ambled into the sensor room. The muscles around his jaw seemed tight I don’t know if it was the game earlier today or the stress looming over our shoulders, he sat down beside me observing. The tactical display moved to the wild side of the planet showing all the greenery and holiday shuttles that did floating tours of the natural wildlife below.
I pulled away from the view ‘you seem tense, too much of a workout on the court,’ I said,
Varak half-smiled ‘this will be a long day’ moving to a seat next to Varak
‘Long is not the word, terrifying is what am feeling all those stories father friends said the tests are insane,’ I said Varak showed some of the fear he’d been storing since we’ve been told
‘Hopefully, she will go easy on us because we are doing the test a few years before the proper test supposed to happen’ Varak said, but both of us didn’t think it would be easy, grandma loved us we could tell but we also know that you don’t become the Grand Master of the Praetorians without something.
‘Every time we go mother and father always tense up a little, you see it mainly in father, he grips, mother hand a little tighter, it’s an unconscious reaction, I don’t think either of them notices anymore,’ I said
Varak looked a little puzzled ‘seriously our parents scared of grandma,’ he laughed ‘we’ve got no chance then.’
‘It’s good to see you’re in high spirits’ mother stood at the door to the flight deck ‘were coming into land, if you like to prepare yourselves, we will be down in a few moments’ she heads back inside both of us followed.
The view of grandma’s house always amazed me. The palace sat near the mountains and the gardens in front always smelled of beautiful flowers.
Father communicated with the ground, the voice heard had to be Harrison, grandma’s assistant, he was everywhere making sure everything ran smoothly. The Stormbreaker is a larger ship than a standard shuttle, the ground staff redirected us towards the personal hanger bay at the back, grandma ship called the Tirade sat there quietly in the hanger, the vessel looked like a torpedo always ready to strike, unlike Stormbreaker with its standard winged shape configuration it looked plain against grandma deadly looking ship.
After a smooth landing father shut down the ship’s engines and activate the rear ramp at the back, waiting at the bottom Harrison and two house guards.
Strange to see them here and the looks on everyone else faces seemed to mirror my thought, we moved through the halls decorated with pictures and statues Harrison taking the lead then parents with me and Varak and guards bringing up the rear. Entering the main hallway at the back of the house just as always, the place was very grandiose, on the main floor mother said it was a facade for the rich people when they visited for a favor from grandma, Suddenly our entourage stopped and we spotted the reason, moving across the floor floating towards us, grandma. She smiles creating wrinkle in her features.
‘Hello, children’ she stared observantly. The guards stepped back and out of sight still within reach of any trouble should raise, Harrison looked smart as always in his posh suit
‘Grand Master Winter if you don’t need me, I will attend the files’ grandma nodded, and Harrison left.
‘Come with me boys’ grandma moved away, heading down the corridor, passing the dining room and seating areas until we got into an elevator, the doors opened and we all stepped inside grandma pushed the basement button, downwards we venture.
Mother said the training rooms are in the basement, places where grandma could let loose with all her power, I had a growing concern on the way down ‘we are heading to the test now’ father had squeezed mother hand again this made me nervous, Varak looked unconcerned.
Finally, we stopped moving and headed out of the elevator, parents trailed behind both presumably just as scared of grandma as the two of us. An afterthought came was mother and father using us as a human shield.
Up ahead came a large, brilliantly lit room with nothing but a massive steel door at the other end that could take a hit from a bomb. Grandma turned to me and Varak her eyes glowed brightly just for a brief second ‘now, boys beyond the door is your test, don’t be afraid you need to stay away from fear and work together, I can feel the power that flows within you, but it will require you both to complete the task at hand’ grandma said standing to one side showing the doors, I wanted to ask questions why we were here, grandma’s look didn’t give that option.
Varak and I approached the heavy doors passing the crazy lady who brought us here, as we neared, they started to open gradually, looking at my brother ‘ready for this’ I said
Varak smiled ‘yep, we’re about to pass this and become praetorian’ the heavy doors fully opened, with a bang an echo reverberated into the darkness.
Steadily walking through hearing echoes of our steps a light appeared, moving closer to the light we entered a room not too dissimilar to the one we just left with one difference. In front of us, a giant path of blocks randomly placed reaching out into the distances heading to another large silver door,
‘This is interesting how did she fit this all in here,’ Varak said
‘No idea I guess we have to get to the other side,’ I said
‘Looks like it’ my brother didn’t wait, he leaped first with me close behind him, moving with caution along the haphazard path leaping from block to block eventually we came across an archway.
Hesitating for a second we stepped through, the path in the distance disappeared and to our surprise boulders crash-landed on our block sending a vibration through the floor making me fall off the side. I swiftly grabbed the edge looking down at the abyss below I eyed a small stone falling downward there came no sound from the bottom ‘that’s a long fall brother, I don’t think it would help if I lost you down there’ Varak reaches his hand down to me, I grasped his arm, grateful for the assistants and pulled back from the precipice, completely letting go of a breath I hadn’t noticed I was holding ‘thank you.’
Stepping forward toward the round lump of granite we had to skirt the outside edge seeing the lovely view below, we made it around the giant ball that nearly crushed and there was another hidden behind it,
Before we could figure out getting around the second a large square platform appeared behind us, the ground started shaking and the granite began to move and roll toward us, without thinking we leaped from the block to the platform to avoid the danger ‘what the hell is that’ Varak said looking back over.
The boulders started to break away like an egg and from within a gargoyle beast; you find on the side of older religious buildings or forts growled at us while spreading its wings; the sight was horrifying.
Struggling to calm my nerves, slowing down the adrenaline rushing through my veins forming a shield for protection and waited for my enemy to attack, Varak on the other just open fire at the gargoyles they swooped in trying to take our heads off. I ducked and rolled to my left, evading the beasts easily, Varak hit the right-wing of his gargoyle which officially grounded the monster this stopped its mobility, but hacked off the beast royally with a terrifying roar he charged my brother.
I had a different story I was still powering up for an attack, but with the gargoyle swooping in for another head decapitating move it became increasingly difficult. I moved, motivating my body with Dengen opening up some distance between me and mister snappy, even though I was moving faster now ducking at the last second his slavering jaws missed my head by inches. The beast overshot my position and started to turn back in the air for another attack run, this time I was finally ready mister snappy dived in fast, at the last moment I moved over to my left, avoiding the jaws and claws charging a right energy fist into the left-wing, shattering it like glass. Mister snappy fell to the ground hard right behind me. I assumed this would check the beast give it second thoughts, but nothing fazes the creature. It turned fast-hitting me with its tail; I rolled with the blow I still stagger back with a dizzy spell. Shaking my head clearing my thoughts I had to end this.
Snappy’s roar vibrated through my very being, I had to focus, holding steady in front he closed fast I stepped aside at the last second passing by the broken wing and timed my punch well, both fists smashed into his flank, sadly I missed the bulk of the beast connecting with its thigh blasting a nice hole through the raging monster taking both legs out.
For a second the monster had a bewildered look landing on rubble were legs once moved. The gargoyle made one last growl of defiance as I fired a bolt of light through the face.
Varak slapped a hand on my shoulder making me jump ‘that was amazing you may not have power like me, but you sure know where to hit I thought he had you’ he was breathing heavily I looked beyond him, a pile of vaporized pebbles scattered across the floor. I smiled, but I could feel he had depleted a lot of Dengen.
Varak seems pleased with himself about the mess he made on the floor ‘shall we get going there’s a long way up’ Varak said the path had reappeared again.
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About the author.
Albert is an ex-royal air force photographer. He is passionate about novel writing and creative arts, his work can be seen on Amazon and Opensea. Albert enjoys gaming with his son and records them to replay on YouTube.