The Promise

 

            ‘How do I always get myself into these messes?’ Silver thought to himself, as he stared down at the two lifeless bodies around him. Silver shook his head, trying to clear his head of such thoughts and instead focused on the battered brown door that stood in front of him.

            “Sapphire, I promised I would always protect you,” Silver said to himself, as he pushed his way through the doorway, into a long, cold, dark hallway.

 

           

            It was two months ago, when Silver learned the awful news. The love of his life, his wife, Sapphire had been kidnapped.

            “Beautiful day, isn’t it?” Silver’s half brother, Sparow asked, motioning up to the clear blue sky

            “Uh, huh,” Silver answered in a half daze.

            The two brothers strolled down a deserted dirt road, on the way to the meeting point stated in the kidnapper’s note.  It was a typical summer day, bright skies, and cool breeze. However Silver was in no mood to discuss the weather given the current circumstances.

“You know, this would have never happened if you weren’t away for a year, training,” Sparow said.

            “Shut up!” Silver uncharacteristically snapped.

            “So who do you think it was?”

            “Huh, what?”

            “Pay attention,” Sparow lightly punched Silver in the arm. “Personally I think it was Spider, that kidnapped Sapphire.”

            “Spider? He does have a large crime syndicate, but I doubt he would draw attention to himself by kidnapped Sapphire.”

            “Awe yes you are the big hero, No one would want to draw your wrath,” Sparow jokily said.

            “Very funny,” Silver sarcastically laughed. “No I think the culprit is someone who has been hiding for a while, and now using my wife to draw me into a trap. Once I’m gone, his army can take over. Yes I’m sure, the one responsible is Reaper.”

            “Reaper, the Lord of the Underworld? No way, Reaper is too heartless to ever kidnapped someone. He would kill them right on the spot.”

            “Perhaps you are right,” Silver said, trying to think of other possible culprits. “Who else is there?”

            “Chaos?”

            Silver shook his head, “No it can’t be. Chaos doesn’t have the man power to pull this off.”

            “Then how about-“

            “Am I interrupting you two?” a familiar voice asked, interrupting Sparow.

            Silver looked up, and realized they had arrived at the location, the kidnapper’s note demanded him to be. They were at Athena, the World’s most popular town. Then again calling Athena a town was an understatement. Athena was filled with tall towers, colorful buildings, clear lakes, and lush tress. No Athena was more like a kingdom, than a town.

            “Show yourself, Spider!” Silver demanded.

            “Aren’t we the impatient one?” Spider asked, as he stepped out from behind a bright white house.

            “Told you so,” Sparow whispered into Silver’s ear.

“The note said to come alone, so why is the bird here?” Spider pointed an accusing finger at Sparow.

            “For the last time my name is Sparow, with one R. I’m not a bird!” Sparow yelled in anger.

            “Relax, boy wonder, I’ll take care of this,” Silver said, as he stepped in front of his brother. “Spider’s sword is coated in a deadly venom; we wouldn’t want anything to happen to you now would we?”

            “How about I shove my sword up your…”

            “Boys, boys,” Spider interrupted the brothers for a second time. “Focus here, I’m your enemy.”

            “I wouldn’t be in such a hurry to fight if I were you,” Silver said, returning his attention to Spider. “Now tell me where my wife is!”

            “You don’t think I would give that information up without a fight would you?” Spider asked, drawing his sword.

            “Fine, for you sake, I’ll end this fast. Twin dragons!”

            Twin dragons were Silver trademark attack. It summoned forth two fiery snake-like dragons, which were capable of taking down the most powerful of foes.

            “Hold it right there,” a voice said from behind Silver.

            “I knew you were behind this, Reaper,” Silver said as he faced his new attacker.

            Reaper coldly smiled, “I wish I could take credit for this.”

            “Good even odds, I can finally get a work out,” Sparow said, with excitement in his voice. Silver knew it had been a while before Sparow has a good fight, and for someone who lived to fight one day without fighting seemed liked an eternity.

            “I’m afraid the odd are much worse than you would have hoped for,” a third voice said from high above.

            The voice belonged to Raven, a highly skilled, and deadly mercenary. Raven was perched high above on top of a bright yellow building.

            “Seems like we have quite a party here,” Silver carefully studied his three attackers, and wondered the best course of action. “So who is the host of this little get together?”

            “That would be me,” A fourth man said as he appeared from behind a shiny red house, closely followed by a beautiful lady in green. The female was Emerald, older sister to Sapphire, and the man she accompanied was her husband, Chaos.

            “Emerald, how could you let Chaos kidnap your own sister?” Silver asked.

            Emerald rolled her eyes, “Oh please, I have no love for my goodie two shoes of a younger sister. It was because of her my parents kicked me out of the house at such a young age. If you asked me Sapphire deserves whatever my husband does to her.”

            “Funny, I heard you got kicked out after trying to steal your families fortune.”

            “And I would have gotten away with it, if not for my meddling sister,” Emerald yelled in anger.

            “Seems like you made her upset,” Chaos said, with a slight chuckle. “Don’t you know it isn’t wise to invoke the wrath of a woman’s scorn? What do you say boys, how about we let Emerald have the first attack.

            Silver could start to feel the ground below his feet shake, and watched as a few of the smaller building start to shake violently.

            “An earthquake?” Sparow asked, as he tried to maintain his balance.

            “Emerald’s using her magic to cause this,” Silver shouted over the loud rumbling.

            “I knew that,” Sparow said as he dodged a fallen tree.

            “Sure you did.”

            “I…” Sparow’s words were cut short as a large crater opened up, and swallowed the two brothers whole.

            “Now look at the trouble you got us in,” Silver said. Silver slowly rose to his feet, and dusted himself off. He then offered a hand to his brother to help him up.

            “Don’t you dare blame this one me,” Sparow slapped Silver’s hand way. “… Strange it was clear skies not too long ago.”

            Silver looked up and spotted dark clouds forming overhead, “You fool that’s not rain clouds, that’s Chaos’ magic.”

            As if on cue, the angry black cloud overhead opened up and started to rain down black fireballs on the two brothers.

            “I suppose you are going to blame this on me too,” Sparow replied.

            “Just shut up! You should have stayed home!”

            “I’m surprised you two haven’t killed each other yet, with all the fighting you guys do,” a kind voice said with a laugh.

            “Father?” Silver asked, recognizing the voice of his father, Shade.

            “Took you long enough to realize I was here,” Shade smiled as he motioned upwards.

            Silver followed his father’s eyes to see the three of them were incased in a protective clear blue barrier. It was Shade’s mystical magic that was protecting them from the black fireballs.

            “I don’t recall asking for your help, old man,” Sparow said in a bitter tone.

            “Would you’d prefer staying in that barbeque pit?” Shade asked, as he used his magic to lift his protective dome up and out of the crater.

            “It be better than having you save me,” Sparow said as he turned away from Shade.

            “Honey,” a large Amazon like woman yelled as she rushed up and wrapped her arms around Sparow in a large bear hug. “Are you ok?”

            “Not you too,” Sparow said, breaking free of the woman’s grasp.

            The woman was Ruby, younger sister to Emerald, older sister to Sapphire. She was also wife to Sparow.

            “And as for you,” Ruby turned and stomped towards Silver. “How dare you rush off, without telling me my sister has been kidnapped?”

            Silver looked away from Ruby, not able to find the words to answer her question.

            “Looks like we have a few unwanted guest,” Chaos said, almost as if he disliked not being the center of attention. “We will withdraw for now. Silver, if you want to see your wife alive again, I suggest next time you do exactly as I tell you.”

            Chaos, and the other retreated, perhaps afraid of a fight with even odds.

 

 

            Later that same day, Silver and company met back at Phantom’s house. Phantom was an old friend of Shade, and a mentor to Silver. He lived in quaint little log cabin, on top of a grassy peak overlooking the ocean.  The five of them were gathered outside to discuss the next plan of attack… or at least that was the plan.

            “Can’t you go one day without following me?” Sparow questioned his wife.

            “Is it my fault, I care for you, and don’t want to see you get harmed?” Ruby answered the question with a question of her own.

            “I’m a grown man, can’t you understand that?” Sparow replied the same way Ruby did.

            “Are they always like this?” Shade questioned Silver.

            Silver nodded his head, “Pretty much.”

            “And you,” Sparow stomped over towards Shade. “I thought I told you, I never wanted to see your face again!”

            “As you wish,” Shade bowed politely, turned and walked off. Silver followed.

            “I wish my brother would show more respect towards you,” Silver lowered his voice. “After all, you are our father.”

            Shade shrugged, “I can’t really blame him. If I did half the things his mother said I did, I would hate myself too.”

            “I suppose, but you would think, by now he would realize it was all lies. I know you didn’t abandoned him as a kid, but rather it was his mother who kept him from you out of anger.”

            Shade nodded his head in agreement; “Yes she could never accept the fact that protecting the innocent took priority over her.”

            Silver suddenly found himself at a lost for words.

            “Silver can I talk to you for a minute?” Phantom asked, as he walked up to join the father, son combo.

            “Yeah sure,” Silver followed his mentor to the edge of the cliff, so the two of them could talk privately. “So what did you want to talk about?”

            “It’s about Chaos. I’m worried you aren’t taking him serious. Chaos is a very sadistic man, I’m sure he is keeping Sapphire alive for a reason.”

            “You and father fought Chaos many times in the past. You two never had any problem beating him; I’m sure I won’t have any problems either. No I’m more worried about that merc Raven. I fought him many times this past year, and every fight was tougher than the last.”

            “Yes but Chaos is different now, you can’t underestimate him, or you will pay the price.”

            “Relax,” Silver patted Phantom on the shoulder. “I’m all grown up now, I can handle myself.”

            “I hope you are right.”

            “Of course I am. I promised Sapphire I would always protect her, and I always keep my promises. I won’t let anything happen to her, no matter what.”

 

 

            Thud!

            Silver watched as Reaper fell to the floor, unconscious.

            “Did he really think I would fall for such a simple trap?” Silver questioned himself, before he continued down the hallway that never seemed to end. “… I wish I saw the trap coming that day.”

 

 

            It had been one month since Sapphire was kidnapped. Chaos said if he ever wanted to see his wife alive again, Silver had to stay out of his business. Silver had no choice but to stand by helplessly as Chaos and his gang went on many crime sprees, killing many innocent people along the way. But despite Silver living up to his end of the promise there was no contact from Chaos, until that day.

            “It’s such a shame, this place used to be so beautiful,” Shade said as he entered Athena.

            It was true; Athena started to show signs of a month’s worth of constant crime. The tall towers were toppled, the colorful buildings were faded, the lush tress were barren, and the clear lakes were polluted a dark gray.

            Just like the time before Silver had unwanted company on his way to meet Chaos in the middle of the town. Shade, Sparow, and Ruby all insisted on coming along to help Silver rescue his wife. 

            “You four burn this town to the ground. I’m sick of looking at it,” Chaos barked out his orders, unaware of the arrival of Silver and the others. “I will take care of Silver.”

            “You haven’t paid me for my work yet,” Raven angrily said. “When you have the money to pay me you can order me around, until then I’m out of here.” Raven walked away without any argument from Chaos.

            “Don’t worry about him,” Emerald said as she watched Raven walk off. “We can handle this job without him.”

            Spider and Reaper nodded their approval, and the three of them were off to set their plan in motion.

            “Did you hear that?” Sparow questioned. “They are going to burn down the town. There are still people living here we must stop them!”

            “My fight is with Chaos, I must get him to tell me where he is keeping Sapphire,” Silver responded.

            “Your joking right? You aren’t going to let more innocent people die are you?”

            Silver didn’t answer.

            “Some hero you are. Fine if you won’t stop them, I will,” Sparow rushed off in the direction Emerald and the others went. Ruby followed after him, saying nothing to Silver.

            “I’m going to help too,” Shade said before rushing after Sparow, but not before turning back and giving Silver a confused look.

            “Awe Silver, I see you couldn’t resist bringing help again,” Chaos said, as he watched Sparow, Ruby, and Shade rush past him.

            “Why don’t we leave the others out of this,” Silver drew his sword for the first time in a month. “This is between you and me.”

            “Fine with me,” Chaos drew his own sword.

            Silver charged towards Chaos with a burning passion in his eyes. Silver was only fighting Chaos for a minute before flames started to rise up around them. It was about a minute after that, when Silver heard a shout.

            “Father, watch out!”

            A sickening thud, that sounded like bones breaking followed.

            Silver looked to his right and spotted Emerald on top of a burning building. Below her was Shade clutching a crying child in his arms. Not far from Shade was a large boulder.

            “Darn, I missed,” Emerald shrugged her shoulder. “Oh well, I guess a dead bird is better than nothing.” Emerald turned, and walked out of view.

            “Guess our work here is done,” Chaos said as he turned his back on Silver and walked away, disappearing into the flames.

            Silver was about to chase after Chaos, but something told him he should go check on his father.

            “Silver give me a hand with this,” Shade said as Silver approached the large boulder.

            Silver took a closer look at the boulder, and spotted what could possible be a human hand just sticking out from underneath the boulder. Concerned Silver quickly helped Shade push the boulder from its resting place, and was horrified to find a bloody and battered Sparow trapped underneath the rock.

            “Brother! What happened?” Silver questioned with anxiety.

            “I was rescuing a little girl from this burning building, when I saw this boulder falling from the sky. Before I had a chance to react, Sparow pushed me out of the way” Shade answered for Sparow.

            “Serves me right for helping the old man,” Sparow coughed up some blood. “I just didn’t want to see the little girl get injured.”

            “Save your energy,” Silver leaned down and held onto Sparow’s hand. “Where’s Ruby, is she injured too?”

            “She rushed after Emerald,” Shade answered.

            “Silver,” Sparow coughed up even more blood.

            “Don’t talk, we get you back home and Phantom will take care of you,” Silver said in a reassuring voice.

            Sparow shook his head, which seemed to cause him great pain, “No, I’m afraid I’m not moving from this spot. Silver, I’m sorry I couldn’t help you rescue Sapphire.”

            “Don’t talk like that,” Silver pleaded.

            “Tell Ruby,” Sparow coughing increased, and sounded harsher. “Tell Ruby, I love her.” Sparow’s eyes slowly drifted close.

            Shade leaned over and checked Sparow’s pulse. The sad look on Shade’s face was all the answer Silver needed.

 

 

            “Does this tunnel ever end?” Silver stopped to catch his breath. He had been running for the past fifteen minutes. Even though it had been a downhill run for the past ten minutes, it still took a toll on Silver. “Maybe I should just rest here for a few minutes.” Silver briefly though of his father. “No I can’t let the same thing happen to Sapphire. I will not allow any more deaths!”

 

 

            “Still no word from Ruby?” Shade questioned.

            “No, I haven’t seen her since that day, one month ago,” Silver answered, with a tone of sadness in his voice.

            “Don’t you think we should go search for her?”

            “No, she is a big girl, she can take care of herself. Sapphire takes priority over everything else right now.”

            Shade looked up at the sky, as if it would provide him with an answer to where Ruby was hiding. “Looks like it about to rain.”

            Silver looked up to see dark storm clouds forming overhead. They were once again heading to the once majestic city of Athena. Athena was now mostly rubble, with only a few burned out buildings left standing.

            “Not much of a welcoming committee,” Shade motioned towards Spider who stood in front of run-down, charcoal gray building.

            “Welcome, Silver,” Spider said with a false smile. “Seems like you are missing a few people in your party today.”

            “Save you energy son. I’ll take care of him,” Shade said.

            “You’re joking right,” Silver said in a concerned tone. “You don’t even carry a sword!”

            Shade smiled, “I’ll be fine.”

            “You must have a death wish,” Spider drew his sword. “Don’t worry, the venom on my sword will provide and quick and painless death.”

            Spider charged towards Shade, but could not land a single hit on Shade. Shade dodged each blow, like a dancing ballerina. Shade had dodged the fifth strike in a row when he retaliated with a blast of his magic, hitting Spider square in the chest, sending him hurtling towards the ground.

            “Not bad,” Spider said, as he reached for his sword that had fallen out of his grasp during the fall.

            “Where is this quick and painless death you promised me?” Shade questioned, with a coy smile.

            “It’s coming,” Spider reached for a handful of dirt and threw it into Shade’s eyes. “Right now!” Spider picked up his sword, and slashed Shade across the chest.

            “Dirty tactic,” Shade said as he touched the blood that was pouring out of the slash on his chest. “But I won’t lose so easily!” Shade gathered his magic into his right hand, producing and large blue ball of magic. With his last bit of strength, Shade threw the ball at Spider, before collapsing to the ground. Spider had no chance at avoiding the blast, and crashed hard into the door of the abandoned building, before also collapsing to the ground.

            Silver stood there, motionless for a long time, before a clap of thunder, and a couple of raindrops started to fall onto Silver’s shoulders, brought Silver back to reality.

“Father!” Silver rushed over to check on both Spider and Shade. Spider was just unconscious, and would be fine in a couple of hours. As for Shade…

 

            “Finally,” Silver came to a stop at the end of the never-ending hallway, and stared at the sturdy black metal door in front oh him. “Sapphire, I promise I won’t allow the same thing happen to you.” Silver pushed through the door in a large, mostly empty room. A large clock, that read five forty-five hung above two doors, was the only furnishing in the room. The mercenary, Raven stood in between Silver and the two doors at the other end of the room.

            “Guess you finally got paid,” Silver walked up to join Raven in the center of the room.

            “You see that is the funny thing about money. Money will make people do anything. Money will make people lie, steal, and kill. Take the person behind you for example. All it took was a little bit of money to make them betray you and bring Sapphire to Chaos,” Raven motioned for Silver to look behind him.

            Silver turned, and his eyes widened as if he saw a ghost. “It can’t be.”

            “Why because I’m dead?” the man asked. “Come on, did you really think I would sacrifice my life to save him?”

            “But why, brother?” Silver questioned Sparow. “You were never the type of person to care about money.”

            “You are right. The money was just a nice bonus. The real reason I did it is so I can show everyone the true person you are.”

            “What do you mean?”

            Sparow laughed, “You are such a hypocrite, you claim to protect the innocent, to do the right thing. You claim to be a hero. But once the person you love is gone, you turn into the rest of us, just another man who is only out for himself. You couldn’t give a damn about the people; you let them die, just so you have a chance of seeing one person alive again.

            “But you don’t understand, I made a promise to her. I promised her that I would never let anything happen to her.”

            “And so you let hundred of people die to keep your promise. Some hero you are.”

            “Just shut up! You don’t understand!” Silver drew his sword and struck out at Sparow.

            Sparow easily dodged the sloppy blow. “Striking at an unarmed man, that signs of a true hero right there. But if you want to fight so bad, I will gladly accept.”

            Sparow drew his sword and easily blocked the next two strikes from Silver. The two brothers were always evenly matched, but Silver’s anger caused him to fight poorly. It wasn’t long before Sparow disarmed Silver, and pressed him up against a corner.

            “Oh come on, you can’t be serious,” a voice said from the side of Silver.

            Silver looked to his right and that time he was sure he was seeing things. There stood a second Sparow… no this Sparow was transparent, as if he was just an illusion in Silver’s head.

            “Have you forgotten about Raven’s magic?” The phantom Sparow asked.

            Silver thought for a moment before answering, “Raven has the powers to see into other peoples nightmares and make them a reality… Does that mean, this isn’t real?”

            The phantom Sparow laughed, “Bingo! If this were a real fight between you and mean, I would have beaten you five minutes ago. Listen Silver, we may not have gotten along well we I was alive, but the fact is I would have never betrayed you. For better or worse you are my brother, and would never wish harm upon you.”

            “Thank you,” Silver said, fighting back the tears. “Brother… I’m sorry I couldn’t save you that day.”

            The phantom Sparow laughed again, “You try to hard to be a hero. You can’t save everyone. The real trick is to knowing who to save.”

            Silver let those words slowly sink into his head, before he finally opened his eyes.

 

            “Not bad,” Raven said, as Silver slowly drifted back to reality. “Only took you five minutes to break free from my spell. Impressive. Don’t you agree, Ruby?”

            “Don’t worry, I handle thing from here,” Ruby said from the side of Raven.

            “Ruby? No, not another nightmare,” Silver said, as he tried to wake from the nightmare.

            “Sorry to say, but this time it’s real,” Ruby rushed up to Silver and connected with a right hook to Silver jaw.

            Silver touched his bottom lip, which was now swollen and bleeding, “That certainly felt real; but Ruby, why? Sapphire is your sister, how can you be helping the people who wish harm upon her?”

            “Don’t make me laugh,” Ruby connected with another punch to Silver’s stomach. “I hate my little sister, she always got all the attention in our family. I thought that would all change when we grew up, but things just got worse. She went and married a wonderful guy, and would never shut up about how wonderful you are. And what did I get stuck with? A prick, who had no meaning what the word love means; I’m glad my sister finally killed the little bastard.”

            “You are wrong,” Silver ducked a left hook from Ruby, but curled up in pain as a powerful punch landed in his ribs. “Sparow’s last words, were ‘tell Ruby, I love her.’”

            “Lies,” Ruby’s uppercut, brought Silver down to one knee.

            “It’s no good she won’t listen to reason,” Silver wiped away a trail of blood off his face. “I got to end this quick, if I want to save Sapphire. But what can I do? She’s too strong to take on a fistfight, and I have no time to use magic under this constant assault. No, I only have one choice.”

            “Enough talk! I will show Sapphire my pain, when I show her your bruised and battered body.”

            Silver dodged the next two punches from Ruby, “I’m sorry,” Silver whispered, as he sunk his sword deep into the belly of Ruby.

            “That was entertaining,” Raven said with a small chuckle. “But it would have been better if you killed her. You should have punished her. After all if it wasn’t for her, Chaos would have never been able to kidnap Sapphire.”

            Silver withdrew his sword from Ruby’s waist, and laid her up against the wall, before he focused on Raven. “I’m sick of this! I’m sick of all these games! Just give me back my wife!”

            “She is right back there,” Raven motioned to one of the doors behind him. “All you have to do is get by me, and you can see her once again. Of course you know the consequences if you don’t beat me right?”

            “The note said at six pm, Sapphire dies,” Silver answered.

            Raven looked up at the clock, which now read five fifty-three, “You got seven minutes to beat me, and walk though that door and save your wife. If you fail to beat me, she will die.”

            “Seven minutes is more than enough time. I only need one minute to beat you. For her sake I will not fail,” Silver’s trademark blue flames started to rise up around him. “I will end this in one attack. May the flames of love rise up, and come to my aid. Show him the true power of love. Twin Dragons!” The flames rose up high above Silver, and formed into two snake-like dragons. The dragons let out a mighty roar and charged towards Raven.

            Raven drew his large sword, and with one slash he sliced through both of the fire dragons. “Too bad this isn’t like the stories where the hero always win?”

            Silver stood there, shocked his best attack was thwarted so effortlessly. “Fine, I guess we have to do this the hard way,” Silver readied his sword and charged towards Raven.

            Raven parried the a couple of blows from Silver, “What’s our record? Something like twenty-five to two, me?”

            Raven was right, during the many times the two of them fought, Silver’s victories were few and far in between. Raven was just too strong, despite everything Silver threw at Raven; he could not get past Raven’s defenses.

            “That’s enough,” Raven said as he withdrew from Silver and sheathed his sword.

            Silver looked up at saw it was two minutes from six, “You are going to let me go, what’s the catch?”

            “Awe, there’s always a catch isn’t there? Like I said before, Sapphire is behind the door to the right, all you have to do is go through there, and she’s free to go home with you. What I didn’t tell you is behind the door to the left, Emerald has been reciting a very powerful spell all day. By six pm her spell should be complete.”

            “And why should I care about all this?”

            “You see when Emerald completes her spell, it will cause a massive earthquake, that will shake the entire world to its core. The earthquake should be large enough to wipe out three quarters of the worlds population. I believe Chaos said something about, if you wanted to create a new World order, you have to start anew.”

            “You got to be joking! How can you let Chaos plan something like that?”

            “Why should I care, I have my money, and we are completely safe in this underground bunker,” Raven walked away from Silver.

            “You are a heartless bastard!” Silver yelled after Raven.

            “Yeah, but, at least I’m a rich heartless bastard,” Raven turned to give Silver one final look. “What’s your excuse?”

            Silver wanted to chase after Raven, but he didn’t have time. He had one minute to choice between the one he loved, and the rest of the world.

            “Damn this sucks,” Silver rushed over to a door and was about to go through it when he heard his father’s voice call out to him.

            “Wait, are you sure you are making the right decision?” his father questioned.

            “I have made up my mind, and I’m ready to accept the consequences for my decision,” Silver answered the voice inside his head.

            “Very well, I trust you decision. I know I couldn’t talk you out of it, even if I tried.”

            “Thank you, father, brother. Thank you for always being there for me,” Silver walked through the door, and never looked back.