Love, Life, & Regret
Chapter 10: House Call
Chris was laid out on the old couch in Ah-Mahs house, staring up at the ceiling. Across from him sat Ashley, now sporting a pair of Junipers old jeans and a blue and pink t-shirt. Her hair had straightened out since the last time they had met, but she still wore it the same way. The witch twiddled her thumbs as she tried desperately to think of something to say to him, but nothing seemed right. That was when the door bell rang. Chris was up and answering it in a flash leaving Ashley alone with her thoughts.
As the bespectacled teen pulled back the door he was met with a kiss as a slender pair of arms wrapped around his neck. Stepping back he pulled Jody into view, their lips never parting until finally they had to stop to breathe.
Hi, Chris said taking deep breaths.
Jody just smiled until she saw the bandage wrapped around his right forearm, What happened?
Chris bowed his head, Its nothing, just a scratch.
Ashley stood in the living room listening as the couple spoke. She leaned back against the wall and slid to the ground, hugging her knees. Her stomach was twisting in knots as Chris explained to Jody what had happened, leaving out the part about the boy and about how bad his wound really was. She had always wondered what it felt like to have someone care about you, someone to worry about you, someone to be there when you got back from a call. Ashley had never known that feeling, she was always alone.
You have to take better care of yourself! Jody yelled looking up at Chris with pleading eyes.
He sighed before pulling her up against his body and whispered into her ear, Im sorry. Ill do my best next time.
You have to come back to me, she responded, starting to cry into his shoulder, Youre all Ive got.
I promise, he told her, No matter what, I will always come back to you.
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Juniper stood on the roof of her grandmothers house looking up into the night sky. Her body ached and she was exhausted. It had been a long, hard day, especially when they found out that they had been fighting a child. She couldnt believe that anything could be so cruel as to use a little boy as a host. The boy was okay, but he was scared and very confused. Just one more reason why the Devils had to be stopped.
Behind her, Ashley stepped out onto the roof and slid down next to her. She had tears in her eyes, but she tried to hide them from Juniper.
The Asian teen looked over at the newest member of her team and rested a hand on the blondes shoulder, Whats wrong with you?
Ashley didnt look up. What could she possibly say? That she was jealous of Jody? That she wished Chris would hold her in his arms and promise her that everything was okay? No, she couldnt say that
Nothing, the blonde snapped, catching Juniper off guard.
Juniper already didnt like Ashley, but the attitude wasnt helping any. The raven haired teen stepped back and crossed her arms looking back up at the stars. The silence between them was deafening.
Finally Ashley spoke up, How did you guys first start working together?
What? Juniper responded, blown away by the sudden interest.
How did you and Chris start doing this? she asked again.
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You want to know how me and June started doing all of this? Chris asked in response to Jodys request.
The couple sat with their arms wrapped around each other, Yeah, I dont know that one.
Chris thought about it for a minute and then took a deep breath
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Eleven year old Juniper Lee checked to make sure the banishing stone was still in her pocket. It was her first time using a magical weapon and she still couldnt believe its power. The stone looked just like an emerald, except that it was the size of her fist. She couldnt wait to use it for the first time.
Twelve year old Chris pulled on his glasses for the first time and looked at himself in the mirror. He couldnt believe itglasses! Like he wasnt already different enough, now he would have to endure the endless wave of four-eyes taunts that were sure to come with them. Well, at least he could see clearly again.
Juniper ran through the park searching for any of the usual signs of monster activity, but there were none. Where was everyone? This wasnt normal, she thought as she continued her search for some form of life. As she neared the parks entrance to the forest her wristband went off. Her eyes lit up as she reached into her pocket and pulled out the banishing stone. This was going to be fun.
Chris jumped when Hakus gigantic head burst through the door of his room. The dragon quickly explained the urgency of his entrance and seconds later, he and Chris soared through the air headed towards the park. Whatever it was, it was big and it was mean. The boy rolled up his sleeves and pulled up his hood to hide his face. Another monster had made the mistake of coming into his territory.
The Asian girl ran through the forest in search of the disturbance, but nothing looked out of the ordinary. The tree spirits all waved as she ran past, but they belonged there. So then what was the call for? Juniper entered a clearing and hunched over taking deep breaths. Above her something stirred sending several leaves fluttering down to the ground below. The raven haired girl looked up just as her opponent made his presence perfectly clear.
The boy and his dragon tore through the forest searching for the cause of all the ruckus until they came to the same clearing Juniper had come across. Chris leapt down from Haku and looked around. Nothing seemed too out of the ordinary, but then again he didnt live in an ordinary world. Suddenly something lunged at him from behind, knocking his glasses from his face.
They rolled across the ground punching and grabbing each other until they leapt away from one another. Stepping back into fighting stances they tried to measure each other up. Juniper could only smirk when she saw that her opponent was nothing more than a magically imbued human, hardly even worthy of her attention. He was even trying to be cool by having his hood hide his face.
Chris on the other hand could just barely see the form of his opponent. Without his glasses all he could make out were dull shapes, no details. He was in a world of trouble and there was nothing he could do except rely on his training as his opponent raced forward to strike.
The fighters dodged and swung, punched and kicked, occasionally blocking an attack, but neither gained or lost any ground. Finally Juniper saw her opening as Chris threw a roundhouse kick. The Asian girl swept his leg to the side, opening up his stomach just as she threw an uppercut. Chris felt something in his chest pop as he heaved. Hed never been hit so hard in all his life, but the pain was just starting. A left hook sent him sprawling to the ground as his opponent leapt on top of him, pulling him up by the collar as his hood fell away. Juniper wound up, ready to deal the finishing blow when she recognized her opponents face.
Chris? she asked, bewildered as to what her half brother was doing there.
He flung his head forward, grabbing her by the collar to look up at her, June?
In unison they both yelled, What the hell are you doing here?
So you nearly killed each other? Jody asked worriedly.
Chris laughed, No, it was more like June nearly killed me. I never stood a chance.
Jody shook her head as he continued to laugh. It would be years before Chris was strong enough to stand against Juniper, but the next time they faced off it was a very different outcome. However, that was a story for another day.
Up on the roof, Juniper chuckled as Ashley sat in wide eyed wonder at her story. It really wasnt that funny and yetthey couldnt help but laugh about it.
Ashley smiled as she shook her hands up and down excitedly, What happened next?
Juniper turned away and continued, And there we were
Haku heard a loud whap and suddenly Chris came skidding up beside him. From out of the forest stepped Juniper, who froze when she saw him. They hadnt seen each other since the day Junipers powers activated, but they would never forget one another.
Crossing her arms and sweeping away, Alright, someone has a lot of explaining to do!
Chris rubbed his jaw as he woozily stood up, You first, he moaned.
Suddenly Haku formed a shield around the two of them, Time for that later!
The kids looked up as loud explosions started sounding off and Haku began yelling in pain. Juniper watched as Chris pounded on Haku from within, surprised by his actions.
Haku, stop! Let us out, we have to fight! the boy yelled trying to get free of his guardian.
The dragon didnt respond. He coughed and then fell away revealing that the clearing now stood in ruins and flames. Chris was at Hakus head in a flash trying to wake the dragon up. He didnt see their attacker floating high above in the sky, but Juniper did. She gritted her teeth and pulled out the banishing stone as their enemy came down to greet them.
Chris! Juniper yelled, causing him to look up at his new opponent.
I dont care who you are or what you wantnobody and I mean nobody does that to one of my friends! the boy declared leaping forward and kicking with all his might.
His opponent sidestepped the attack, but Chris wasnt done yet. He spun with a punch and then dropped down to sweep out his attackers feet, but no matter what attack he used he just wasnt strong enough. Laughing, Chris opponent backhanded the boy sending him to the ground with a thud.
Pathetic human! he yelled turning his attention to Juniper.
He had grey skin and long, bushy yellow hair. His clothes looked like something from some samurai fantasy anime and his laugh was sickening. His eyes shifted red as his tattoos began to glow.
I am Chadric the Conqueror and I claim this land as my own! Chadric declared.
He had just finished introducing himself when Juniper smashed him in the face with all her might. She stepped back as he began to wobble and mumble.
Whos pathetic now, wannabe? she asked sarcastically.
Chris watched as Junipers stone began glowing and a beam shot out tearing open a portal to a land he had never seen before. And then just as suddenly as it had started it was over and Chris and Juniper were left standing in what was left of the clearing.
After that we just sorta came to a conclusion that we should work together. Haku was fine except for a few bumps and bruises, not that he didnt milk it for everything it was worth, Chris finished.
You just started working together after that? Jody asked, Come on wheres the substance? Wheres the big speeches about power and responsibility?
Chris gave her a weird look, I dont know what else to tell you. I mean we were already best friends so there wasnt any partnership to discuss and we both recognized each others power, so there really wasnt much else to tell.
What do you mean thats all? Ashley pleaded, What about the other stuff? Like how Ray-Ray gained his sight and how Chris gained his own powers?
Juniper walked back to the window, Thats all there is to tell, it wasnt like a comic book superhero team up, we just started working together because we were a perfect fit.
Ashley rested her head on her knees and stared out over Ah-Mahs land. Would she ever find that perfect fit? Had she already found it?
Ah-Mah slowly opened her eyes. She had been meditating for several hours now, trying to find some sort of fix on the Devils, but it was to no avail. They were far too powerful for normal magic and now that the weakest had been taken down, the others had more magic to draw from. Greed, Envy, Lust, and Rage, not to mention the blue haired assailant that attacked Chris. It was strange though, they hadnt really done anything to form a powerbase or tried to free any of the old gods that could reshape the world. They just seemed to show up randomly and cause trouble. There had to be more to their plan than that, but what?
As she thought back on her meditation she recalled the vision she had of Chris. He was surrounded in flames and his eyes burned with hatred. Something about that vision scared her. What did it mean? The teen had never shown any signs of having magical abilities beyond his sight, but his father, on the other hand, was one of the most powerful sorcerers ever born. He was also the last known firecasters and with his death it was believed that the genetic trait was gone. Maybe that was what the vision meant. Maybe Chris true power was about to be born, but why had it taken so long to blossom?
The door bell rang snapping the older Lee out of her thoughts. Quickly she ascended the stairs out of her secret fireplace lair. Pulling the lever the door leading to the rest of the house opened just as Chris crashed into the nearby wall. He slumped to the ground and his attacker stepped into view.
She had green hair and blue eyes and she wore a business suit with a skirt. Her smile revealed vampiric looking teeth as she held Jody by the throat. The blonde teen struggled to break free, but her attackers grip was too tight.
Greed! Ah-Mah yelled, Let the girl go, shes not involved!
Greed laughed evilly, If you want her back Jasmine, youll have to take her!
The old Asian woman gritted her teeth as she stepped back into a fighting stance.
Juniper and Ashley leapt away as Envy attacked, slamming his fist through the roof. He had dirty blonde hair and a wicked smile as he stood up. He looked just like any other teenager as he ran a hand through his hair.
Come on ladies, show me what you got! he yelled dashing forward, swinging at Ashley.
The blonde witch was a magic user, not a trained fighter. She fell backwards, just barely ducking under Envys punch, but she was far from safe. The blonde haired Devil brought a punch down, cracking her across the jaw. It hurt so much she couldnt speak, effectively neutralizing her magic. All that was left was the muscle.
Juniper had seen enough. She grabbed Envy from behind and slammed him down face first into the roof. She then took hold of his flopping feet and spun around tossing him into the air. Leaping after him, she tackled him in mid-air sending the opponents crashing to the ground with a thud.
Ah-Mah chanted and formed hand signs as her eyes began to glow. Greed smiled, watching the former Te Xuan Ze call up her magic. The room darkened as the light bulbs in the lamps shattered and streaks of electricity formed in the old womans hands. Greeds smile faded when the ball of lightning hit her in the chest. She convulsed wildly, dropping Jody as she screamed. Taking the best chance she had, Ah-Mah leapt forward driving an elbow into Greeds chest sending her crashing through the front doors.
Ah-Mahs still in this game! the older Lee said clenching her fists in victory.
She didnt notice her second opponent until it was too late.
Juniper punched and punched and punched, losing control of her temper. Envy still wore a smile on his bloodied face as the Asian teen continued her assault. Suddenly her fist stopped and her eyes went wide. She was looking down at Marcus.
Got ya! Envy yelled, catching her under the chin with an uppercut.
Staggering back, Juniper tried to attack again, but Marcus looked back at her. She couldnt attack him! Unfortunately Envy didnt have those same qualms. He grabbed her by the collar whipping her down into his knee. She wretched as he drove an elbow down on the back of her neck. The Te Xuan Ze collapsed to the ground desperately fighting off the daze.
Behind her, Ah-Mah fell to the ground. Her clothes were in tatters and her face was black and blue. From the shadows of the darkened house stepped Rage. Her blonde hair hid her face, but her glowing yellow eyes pierced through the darkness.
Stop playing around, she ordered, Get the girl and lets go!
With that Rage leapt into the air and disappeared in a green flash. Envy looked over at Greed and smiled. He walked back into the house, threw Jody over his shoulder and then joined Greed. Holding hands the pair of Devils disappeared in a flash of light leaving Ah-Mahs house in ruins and the four warriors severely beaten.
Ashley fell down the last bit of stairs and looked out through what was once the front door. Juniper and Ah-Mah lay unconscious in front of the house. As the blonde witch dragged herself to the door she saw Chris. His face was dirty and there was a trickle of blood at the corner of his mouth. She ran a hand along his cheek and smiled slightly. He was alive, so that was a plus. Suddenly his eyes shot open and he leapt to his feet.
He quickly searched for his enemy, but there were none to be found. Looking down he saw Ashley.
What happened? he demanded, Where are they?
The blonde witch could only shake her head. Chris turned searching for Juniper and Ah-Mah andJody.
Jody? he called worriedly, Jody where are you? He began to panic when he couldnt find her and then he tripped over her hoodie. It was stained in blood, JODY!
Juniper awoke in Ah-Mahs bed. Reaching up to rub her head, she ran her hand along a tightly wrapped bandage. She couldnt remember how she got it, but she remembered Marcusor something that looked like him. They fought and she lostthen there was nothing but darkness. She looked to her right and found Ah-Mah laid out wrapped in bandages too. Suddenly the door opened and in stepped Ashley. There was a big bruise on her cheek and her eyes were red and sore.
Oh youre awake, she said, I was worried.
Juniper looked back at her, What happened?
We lost, Ashley explained.
That was all that had to be said. Once again the Devils had overpowered them, but there was something else. Something that Ashley wasnt telling her.
Where are Chris and Jody?
Chris clung to Hakus horns tightly, You have her scent?
The dragon kept going, Yes, but its faint, it may not be so easy to actually find her.
I dont care! Chris yelled, We have to find her before those bastards can do anything to her!
Haku began his descent over the wharf. Quickly he wormed his way through the processing factories, but the overpowering stench of rotting fish was masking Jodys own scent. He had lost her.
Shes here somewhere, Chris, but I dont think you should be doing this alone, the dragon explained setting down so his friend could begin his search on foot.
Theres no time to wait for June and the others, I have to do this alone, Chris explained.
His hands were wrapped in bandages and it felt like his skin was on fire. The angrier he got the worse his skin felt, but that wasnt important now. The only thing that mattered at this point was finding Jody and getting her away from the Devils. Haku lifted into the air again to continue his search as Chris disappeared in the shadows of the factories.
He had just finished his second factory when he heard the scream. He knew who it was right away. Setting off in a mad dash he found the same woman who had attacked him earlier.
Greed! he yelled clenching his fists and gritting his teeth.
The green haired woman turned to greet him and revealed Jody. The blonde teen hung from the ceiling by chains wrapped tightly around her wrists. Someone had worked her over. Slowly she opened her eyes and looked up at Chris.
Helpme she managed to say in a weak voice.
Greed didnt even see the attack coming. Chris was on her in the blink of an eye swinging with all of his might. His first punch floored Greed, but just as she looked up he brought his foot down in an axe kick. She barely dodged and his foot smashed through the wooden floor. Leaping to her feet, she spun right into a right hook and as she wobbled away he tackled her to the ground and grabbed her by the hair.
Ill kill you! he roared as he punched her hard enough to knock a tooth out.
He prepared to punch her again, but stopped suddenly. His skin was burning so badly, he thought he was actually on fire. Seeing her opening Greed clawed him across the face knocking his glasses away and tearing the flesh above and below his eyes. He backed away holding his face as he screamed in agony. The female Devil cringed in hatred as he continued to cry out in pain. Searching for a weapon she finally found a lead pipe. She could have easily finished him off with her bare hands, but she wanted to make it hurt a lot!
She swung at his chest, cracking his ribs. The teen heaved as he bent over, coughing up blood. The pain was masked by the burning in his body. She swung again this time sending him rolling across the ground, landing at Jodys feet. Chris looked up and reached for her feet only to have the pipe come down on the back of his head. He was just barely conscious as Greed lifted him by the collar and turned his head to face Jody.
Youre such a predictable fool! she yelled as Jodys face faded away to reveal Envy. You know shes already dead and yet you came here thinking you could save her!
Chris eyes went wide as tears began to pour from his eyes. It couldnt be true, Jody couldnt be dead! No! And yet, he knew it somewhere in the back of his heart that the Devils didnt take prisoners.
He was thrown to the ground, screaming as he held his head. The burning got worse and worse. He couldnt breathe. Everything was happening again. Hed lost Jody the same way hed lost his parents. But this timethis time he would make them pay!
Envy and Greed stood over him laughing. Suddenly a burst of flame sent Envy flying into the air. Looking back at Chris, Greed watched him rise to his feet. His pupils had disappeared and now his eyes burnt with raw, red power. The pain in his body was gone. All that was left was hatred for what these freaks had done to his life.
Greed screamed in terror as Chris grabbed her by the throat and began to squeeze. His hands burned with flame as he choked her and then tossed her through the brick wall. He then turned his attention back to Envy who backed away wide eyed as the teens hands became pure flame.
No mercy! Chris yelled.
Juniper and Ashley clung awkwardly to Haku as he flew them to the wharf. He knew Chris would be angry, but the dragon didnt want Chris to face off with the Devils alone. As the trio soared over the processing factories a roar rang out followed by a blast of flame.
Juniper knew who it was right away. Leaping from Haku she plummeted thirty feet and landed on her feet like it was nothing and set off searching for her half brother. As she rounded a corner Envy dropped right in front of her. He was badly beaten and his skin was raw from burns. Slowly his chest rose and fell taking shallow breaths.
Chris? Juniper asked searching for the bespectacled teen.
She entered the nearest factory and found him. He was standing alone in the center of the building. His hands still glowed from the fire he now controlled, but his head hung low. Steam poured from his eyes. His skin was so hot that tears evaporated on contact. Around him were the signs of a brutal fight and she had seen what had happened to Envy.
Did you do all of this? the Asian teen asked approaching him slowly.
He slowly looked up, They killed Jody.
Suddenly Juniper understood full well what had happened. Tears ran down her cheeks at the thought. She and Jody had been friends since kindergarten and nownow she was gone. And for what? She had been killed for simply knowing them, because she was with them.
Im through playing by the rules June, Chris told her, breaking the silence, When I find the others Im going to kill them and theres nothing that will stop me. I have nothing left to lose now.
Juniper couldnt believe what shed just heard, Nothing to lose? What about me and our family? What about us?
Youll be better off without me, Chris explained as he walked through the door.
The Asian teen stood there, alone, lost in her thoughts. Everything had fallen apart. So much had happened in such a short period of time and nowit was over. The dream of being a hero was over. This wasnt a game! People were dying and there was nothing she could do about it. Nothing
Ashley ran after Chris. She had to know what had happened. Where was Jody? Why were his hands glowing like that?
Chris! she called as he disappeared in an alleyway. Wait, Chris, please wait!
She entered the alley and came face to face with him. He stood there looking over her and grimacing. His hands were still burning and the way he was looking at her, she was almost afraid of him.
Go home Ashley, he said sternly.
She looked at him worriedly, What happened?
Get away from me before you wind up dead to, and with that he turned and started walking away.
Ashley couldnt find her voice. Jody wasdead?
Wait! she yelled, Where are you going?
He didnt stop, he just kept walking away. He didnt look back, didnt make a sound and thenhe was gone.
Rage watched happily as Chris alienated himself from the others and walked away. The plan was working out perfectly.
Its done, she said.
Excellent, came a low voice, almost a whisper, And now it is time for the next act.
Rage laughed as she and the blue haired teen entered a portal.
The teen turned around to look at Chris one last time, Youre playing right into my hands, little one, the same way your father did.
To Be Continued
Is it true? Have I lost my mind and killed Jody? Well, its more than likely. So, as the team stands fractured, what will happen next? Chris has walked away swearing vengeance against the Devils leaving June and Ashley to stand alone against the next attack. There are only two devils left and thenwell I dont know, so youll just have to keep reading.