Serenity rolls back into town with Ecks and Willow. She is parked near the horse stables again. Ecks and Willow make their way through smith town and enter the residential area, generating more stares of lust and glares of disgust from passersby. Willow can feel their eyes upon her. She curses Elyzah in her mind. They stop for a moment to ask a woman with a flower cart if she knew Eleanor. The dark short haired woman does and points them in the direction of her home. Turning down the nearby road, they come to a house at the end of a cul-de-sac. It is a simple home. Ecks and Willow approach the door and Ecks knocks on it. With a couple clicks of the locks, the door opens.
“Sir Ecks, thank you for coming,” Elanohr greets them with a smile. She then invites them inside with a gesture.
“No problem,” says Ecks. “And just Ecks will do. Formalities aren’t my thing.”
“Of course,” Elanohr closes the door. “And who do we have here?”
“My name is Willow. I’m Ecks’ partner,” Willow replies.
Oh, how lovely,” Elanohr replies.
However, Ecks quickly interjects, knowing what Elanohr is thinking. “We just work together,” he says.
Elanohr laughs lightly. “Well, I still have to finish getting ready. In the meantime, make yourselves at home.” With that, she heads upstairs.
Ecks and Willow look around Elanohr’s home. From the outside, one would never guess that it would be so well furnished. Pieces from various regions and towns decorate the home. A set of Victorian chairs with matching doves on their back cushion sat on either side of the living room. The intricately detailed woodwork and kissing doves set upon the back suggest that the chairs are from the Kallos Region, crafted by the Gnomes who reside there. The same woodland pattern runs through the coffee table as well. The Gnomes have an affinity with the animals of their forest home Mediocris de Lumine, which means Fairy of Light. They depict them in the decorations of the furniture they make. The sofa, they notice, was crafted in the town of Lochashe just south of Arcana Kingdom. The woodcrafters there create bold yet subtle pieces. They often depict wolves in their works. Looking around more, Ecks and Willow see more unique and beautiful pieces. Lion head bookends from Erikson, hand carved dining set from Cypress Gallows, a curial with figurines made by the witches of Larme de Serene and beautifully decorated picture frames from Eshtar City. Willow picks one up from the end table next to her and shows it to Ecks.
“That’s the picture Elanohr was holding when she was searching for her daughter,” Ecks tells her.
“She’s so pretty. Poor thing,” Willow says, looking at Aerith’s picture.
“Hey, look at this,” Ecks says. Willow walks over to him. He points out the picture of Elanohr and another woman standing in front of a cart. “Recognize it?” he asks Willow, indicating the cart. She responds with a nod. It is the same cart with the hammer and cauldron insignia of Tulpaar. It is then that they look at each other and come to the same horrific thought. What if Aerith was amongst the undead merchant girls? Elanohr starts down the stairs. They agree to keep this possibility from her until the time is right.
Elanohr returns downstairs wearing her merchant outfit, a white blouse with puffed sleeves, light brown bodice, a darker brown dress and apron. She notices them looking at the picture of her and the other woman. “That’s Elga, Larissa’s mother,” she tells them. Willow asks about her and Elga selling goods together. “Yes, our husbands worked together in the forge and we would make and sell linens while they traveled and sold their iron works,” says Elanohr.
“How is your husband taking Aerith’s disappearance? We’d like to speak to him if we can,” asks Ecks.
Elanohr looks down in sorrow. She takes up a picture of her with her husband and daughter and looks longingly at it. “Gaston, my husband, died in an accident at the forge,” she pauses as the memories flood her mind. “A boiler had exploded, causing a chain reaction that threatened to collapse the forge. Gaston took action, hurrying to get his men out. The explosion was in the main forge. The door to the other sections had already closed but one. Elga’s husband Benton had gotten all the workers when he realized that Gaston had not emerged. He went back to find him trying to close the door the main forge which was reaching critical, in an attempt to contain its explosion.”
Benton entered the forge that is now bathed in a fiery glow of the blaze that raged through the facility. He shields his face from the heat as he approached the main forge in the center. He had successfully gotten the other workers to safety. There was one more he had to get. Benton enters the area where the main forge is at. The belly of the metal beast glowed like dragonfire. The heat seared the sweat from his body. He calls for Gaston. Amidst the whistling steam and low rumbling, he can hear strained grunting. Benton sees his friend fighting with a heavy lever. He rushes over to him. “We have to get out of here!” he says urgently.
“No! We gotta close this door first and contain the blast! I closed the main forge but it’s not enough!” Gaston said back with a heavy Scottish accent.
“We have to make it back to the village!”
“When this forge goes, there won’t be a village!” Gaston shoots back. “Now stop nagging me ear and get this door closed!”
Benton realizes the urgency of closing the door to the main forge room. The imminent explosion will not only obliterate the forge but half of Tulpaar Village as well. A loud hiss of steam from a pipe nearby spurs him along. Benton takes hold of the level and both men pull with all their might. They have to release the lock mechanism for the blast door to close. They stop, catch their breath and heave again. The level moves but an inch. It holds fast against the strength of these burly men. Pulling once more, Benton spots a sledgehammer just a couple feet from them. He looks back at the chain to the lever and then back to the sledgehammer. He lets go of the lever and quickly takes up the sledgehammer. Gaston calls for him. Benton sees an iron rod. He picks it up and shoves it in the ‘O’ ring of the lever. Benton then draws back with the sledgehammer and drives forward.
“That’s a good idea,” Gaston said as he watches his friend slam the rod again. He finds another sledgehammer and together they hammer the iron rod into the lever in an attempt to break the chain that controls the locking mechanism. Clang after clang, Benton and Gaston drive the rod deeper into the lever while the forge bellows loudly. Their muscles cry out to them for relief but they cannot give up. They must succeed. Stopping momentarily, the two foremen look at each other and give a knowing nod. They raise their hammers, draw back and lunge. Benton’s hammer strikes first and Gaston’s slams on top of it. Their combined force completely destroys the lever. The huge blast door begins to descend now that the lock mechanism is gone. “Time to go, lad!” says Gaston, tossing down his sledgehammer.
“No need to tell me twice,” Benton replies doing the same.
The men race for the door as it closes. The boilers of the main forge groan and rumble from the intense pressure building inside. One of them soon fails. It explodes, sending iron shrapnel in all directions and blasting away anything nearby. Gaston and Benton keep their pace to the door until Benton is struck in the leg and sent crashing to the ground midstride. Grapping his leg, he sees a piece of an iron rod had punctured his thigh. By now Gaston has heard his friend fall and rushes to his side. He sees the rod in Benton’s leg. Hearing the click of the door, he throws his eyes back to see it is nearly halfway closed. Benton’s leg can wait. Escaping with their lives is priority.
“C’mon lad! On yer feet!” Gaston says as he hoists Benton up. Benton winces with pain as he leans on Gaston. They continue for the door as quickly as possible but Benton’s injury is making the effort difficult. The door is more than halfway down. Benton begins to worry.
“We’re not gonna make it. Just leave me here and get out, Gaston,” he says.
“Like hell I am!” Gaston shot back.
But Benton is right. At their current pace as well as the door, there may be enough time for one of them to make it out. Gaston has realized this. His job as foreman is to ensure the safety and well-being of his men, Benton included. With the door now lower, he makes a decision.
“Gaston?” Benton says, noticing the grim expression that has appeared on his friend’s face.
“Sorry, lad,” says Gaston. “But you have to punch out.” Before Benton could say anything, he is swung around by Gaston and tossed across the ground. He slides just past the door to the other side. Realizing what Gaston had done, Benton quickly hauls himself to his feet and hobbles over to the door just as it slams shut. Gaston knew they both couldn’t make it with Benton’s injured leg. He made a sacrificial choice.
“Gaston!” Benton cried, pounding his fist on the door.
“You gotta get outta here,” Gaston says, looking at Benton through the window.
“No! I’m going to get you out of there!” Benton hollers back.
“It’s too late!” snaps Gaston. Benton looks into his eyes full of plea. “Go. Take care of Elanohr and Aerith for me.”
There is nothing Benton can do for his friend. He thought about trying to pry the door open enough for Gaston to squeeze under but that would take up too much time and his injured leg won’t allow him to get the proper leverage. With a final glace, Benton turns and leaves. Gaston watches him quicken his pace. He smiles.
Benton hobbles away as quickly as he can. He stops for a moment and yanks out the piece of iron rod. Feeling it bob in his leg irritated him more so than the pain. However, he is able to move faster without it. A loud explosion rocks the forge. That was the fourth boiler. All that left is the main forge. Benton knew it wouldn’t be long before it went. He can hear it rumbling. Finding an iron container, he hunkers down behind it and waits. There is a loud rumble just a powerful explosion obliterates more than half of the forge. Everyone in Tulpaar is drawn to the forge up on the hill. Several of them rush up to see if they can help. The workers outside collect themselves, standing to their feet after diving to the ground. They stare into the building, wondering where their foremen are. Smoke billowed from the building which can be seen by the villagers in Tulpex. Soon they see a figure emerge from the smoky darkness. Benton hobbled slowly into the light, covered in soot. Two workers rush over to him just as he nearly collapses to the ground.
One of them looks back into the forge. “Where is Gaston?” he asks. Benton looks at him grimly before dropping his head in sorrow. With that, they knew the worst had happened to Gaston. News of Gaston’s heroism and great sacrifice spread quickly through Tulpaar. Elanohr was told by one of the workers. Disbelief and shock wash over her. She takes the picture of her with Gaston and Aerith and sits in the chair. She looks longingly at it. With one finger, she caresses her husband’s cheek, the same as she would as if he were in front of her.
Ecks and Willow’s adventure begins here!
Arcana X: Gunslinger Swordsman
Chapter1- Part 1
Chapter2- Part 1
Chapter5- Part 1
Arcana X: Succubus
Want to know how their second assignment started?! Click the links below!!
Arcana X: 2nd Assignment Chapter 1 Pt.1
Arcana X: 2nd Assignment Chapter 1 Pt.2
Arcana X: 2nd Assignment Chapter 1 Pt.3
Arcana X: 2nd Assignment Chapter 2
Arcana X: 2nd Assignment Chapter 3 Pt.1
Arcana X: 2nd Assignment Chapter 4 Pt.1
Arcana X 2nd Assignment: Chapter 4 Pt.2
Arcana X 2nd Assignment: Chapter 5
Arcana X 2nd Assignment: Chapter 5 Pt.2
Arcana X 2nd Assignment: Chapter 6 Pt.1
Arcana X 2nd Assignment: Chapter 6 Pt.2
Arcana X 2nd Assignment: Chapter 6 Pt.3
Arcana X 2nd Assignment: Chapter 7
And check out my latest fan fiction Yu-Gi-Oh X Beyblade!!
Yu-Gi-Oh X Beyblade Ch.1 Pt.1
Yu-Gi-Oh X Beyblade Ch.1 Pt.2
Yu-Gi-Oh X Beyblade Ch.1 Pt.3
Yu-Gi-Oh X Beyblade Ch.1 Pt.4
Yu-Gi-Oh X Beyblade Ch.1 Pt.5
Yu-Gi-Oh X Beyblade Ch.2
Yu-Gi-Oh X Beyblade Ch.3
Yu-Gi-Oh X Beyblade Ch.4
Yu-Gi-Oh X Beyblade Chapter 4 Pt.2
Yu-Gi-Oh X Beyblade Chapter 4 Pt.3
Yu-Gi-Oh X Beyblade Chapter 5
Yu-Gi-Oh X Beyblade Chapter 6 pt.1
Yu-Gi-Oh X Beyblade Chapter 6 Pt.2
Yu-Gi-Oh X Beyblade Chapter 6 Pt.3
Yu-Gi-Oh X Beyblade Chapter 6 Pt.4
Yu-Gi-Oh X Beyblade Chapter 6 Pt.5
(Check out my first novel Defenders!! CLICK HERE!!
Dante vs. Bayonetta
The Witch dances with the Devil 1
The Witch dances with the Devil 2
The Witch dances with the Devil 3
The Witch dances with the Devil 4
The Witch dances with the Devil 5
The Witch dances with the Devil 6
The Witch dances with the Devil 7
The Witch dances with the Devil 8
The Witch dances with the Devil 9
The Witch dances with the Devil 10
The Witch dances with the Devil 11
The Witch dances with the Devil 12
The Witch dances with the Devil 13
The Witch dances with the Devil 14
The Witch dances with the Devil 15
The Witch dances with the Devil 16
The Witch dances with the Devil 17
The Witch dances with the Devil 18
The Witch dances with the Devil 19
The Witch dances with the Devil 20
The Witch dances with the Devil 21
The Witch dances with the Devil 22
The Witch dances with the Devil 23
The Witch dances with the Devil 24
The Witch dances with the Devil 25
The Witch dances with the Devil 26
The Witch dances with the Devil 27
The Witch dances with the Devil 28
The Witch dances with the Devil 29
The Witch dances with the Devil 30
The Witch dances with the Devil 31
The Witch dances with the Devil 32
The Witch dances with the Devil 33
The Witch dances with the Devil Epilogue