A/N: This is the second to last chapter! ;A;
He will not allow Yami to go anywhere near his friends. He vowed to find him and keep him in his sights at all cost. No more will he allow others to suffer for his mistakes, and he promised to himself that he will not fail. When he saw Yami standing over his first wizard friend, he was in a blinding rage and charged towards him. He wasn't entirely sure what overcome him, but that he was so tired and infuriated of seeing others suffer for him. Just this one time, he wanted to finally feel he was useful.
He remembered falling over the stone bridge, and Yami's shadows were swallowing him whole. The wind was rushing past his ears, and they crashed into almost every bridge along the way down. Miraculously, he didn't felt any pain with each impact, as if the shadows protecting Yami were also encased around Jun. He noticed that Yami's shadows weren't softening their fall, but rather burdening them down more like extra weight. Jun kept a firm grip on Yami, making sure he wouldn't disappear again. Yami seem discombobulated and he couldn't control his shadow powers as he normal does.
Despite them spiraling in a frenzy, Jun saw they were about to reach the ground. He braced himself but they went through the floor as well. Something chipped across his right ear, and everything went to pain. He felt something hot ooze down his neck, and all over sounds were reduced to a constant ringing. He couldn't hear Yami's grunts or his own breathing. They continued to plummet down. The temperature quickly turned cold, and everything in his vision was a blur. Floor after floor, they crashed through it.
Yami mouthed, "Let go of me!" But Jun still couldn't hear.
Just how far down does the Ministry building go?
At long last, Yami kicked off from Jun's stomach and he released his grip. He landed on cold wet stone, his left arm took most of the shock, he was sure he heard a distinct pop, and he rolled to a stop. The impact caused his hearing to come back, but the pain still remained. He cried out in pain and rolled onto his back. He still had his wand and pointed at his shoulder and elbows.
"Episkey," he moaned.
His shoulder and elbow grew hot and then turned cold, softening the pain away. Still, he felt shaken and slightly sick from the fall. He slowly stood up and noticed he was alone. Yami was no where in sight, and he clicked his tongue in annoyance. He was in a large pentagon-shaped room. The floor descend like a spiral, and there were statues with each level going down to the very center. The statues were sculpted as hooded beings that towered over Jun, and inside each hood glowed a candle. The hole in ceiling was so high that he could barely see the light from main lobby, as if it vanished into the mist.
"Where am I?" Jun whispered.
Suddenly, he felt a sharp pain struck his back. His vision was upside down until he crashed into the stone floor again. He winced the pain away, knowing that Yami will strike again soon. Jun saw another shadow claw come down and he dodged out of the way. The shadow demolished one of the statues to rumble, and Jun quickly took cover.
"You can not hide forever!" Yami mocked. "Matsumoto Jun, the Gate Keeper! I will end you!"
"How am I going to stop him?" Jun thought.
He glanced up at the candles inside the statue hoods. The flame danced and flickered inside the hollow space. The light made a downcast shadow over the statues figure. Suddenly, Jun felt as if a light bulb went off his head. He raised wand.
A powerful gust of wind blew out the candles one by one down the spiral formed levels until the very last light was snuffed out. Jun couldn't see anything but pure darkness. He waited in silence, wondering if Yami can still fight back, but nothing happened. And Jun smirked in the dark.
"So that's it then," Jun said. "You can't cast your shadows without light!"
He heard footsteps to his right, and they weren't running towards him, but away. Yami was trying to find the exit. Jun fired another hex where he thought Yami was, but he missed his target. He took off running as well, and trying his best not to run into a statue.
But he did, and the statue grabbed him.
He felt strong hands made of stone grip his arms tightly and lift him up. He could barely raise his wand and he tried kicking and struggling for freedom, but it was no use. He could hear the sounds of stone moving against the concrete floor. It was as if the statues where alive in the dark.
"Damn it!" Jun grunted.
Then, a light shined in the darkness. Yami had found the door, and Jun saw the boy escaped without a glance back. In the short amount of time the light filled the room, Jun saw the statue that held him captive. Before, he thought the hooded beings were hollow and held only candles, but there had faces. Faces molded from the candle wax with vicious wide eyes, and a large gaping mouth.
The door was closing and so was the light.
Two bright lights pierced through the darkness yet again, but this time they came from above. His friends, Nino and Aiba, came just in time. The statue still held Jun, but it didn't move. The wax face vanished in the presences of the wandlight, as if there never was anything there. But the statue still held Jun tightly. Nino raised his wand and pointed at the statue.
The statue blew up to bits and Jun was finally released. He glanced up and saw Nino and Aiba riding on the back of a Hippogriff. Aiba held the reins firmly and almost expertly landed the creature without a problem. However, the moment Aiba and Nino got off, the Hippogriff started screeching nervously. It was as if the creature knew something was terrible wrong with the room. Aiba tried to calm the poor creature down, but it reared and flapped its wings as if it couldn't stay any longer. Aiba held onto the reins, but his hand slipped and the Hippogriff went soaring back up towards the ceiling.
"Jun, are you alright?" Nino asked.
"I'm fine, but...where did you get that?" Jun gawked up at the creature before it disappeared entirely.
"Once the spirits were sent loose through the Ministry, the Department for Regulation and Magical Creatures got totaled," Aiba explained. "And the poor guy escaped. We saw you swan diving with Yami through the floor levels. So I managed to get the fella to trust me, and we followed you down here."
Jun was amazed once again by Aiba's magical talent with animals.
"It's a shame now," Aiba sighed, glancing up. "Now we have no way out."
Jun shook his head to stay in focus, "Thanks guys. But we have to hurry. Yami is escaping. Come on!"
Jun ran up the spiral leveled floor towards the only exit where Yami left. Nino and Aiba were right behind him with their wandlight held high. Jun burst through the door with his friends right behind him. There was only one corridor to follow, and they race down the hall. Their footsteps echoed off the walls, as if they were the only living beings. There was another door at the end of the hallway, and Jun practically ram his whole body to open the door.
He fumbled into a grand foyer. The floor was made of crystal, and there were pillars supporting the arched ceiling. There were numerous doors leading to other mysteries that Jun didn't dare venture. Yami was still in the middle of the room, looking lost.
"Yami!" Jun shouted.
The cursed child whirled around and didn't even hesitated for a second. He summoned more of his dark powers, but this time, they took form into human beings. They were as tall as they were, as if they were their own shadows. It wouldn't matter if Jun extinguished his wandlight since the crystal floor gave off its own shine. The shadows slowly advance on them.
"Lumos Solem!" Jun yelled.
A beam of light struck one of the shadow monsters in the chest, and it immediately dissolved into nothing. Jun smirked. They may be present where there is light, but too much can also obliterate them. Nino and Aiba also advanced forward with sunlight spells, and the shadows were easily defeated.
"What's the matter, Yami?" Jun mocked. "Why don't you just disappear like you always do?"
Yami looked extremely annoyed, "To tend unfinished business!"
"Incarcerous!" Nino shouted.
Ropes flew across the room towards Yami, but the boy conjured a wall of shadow to block the spell from binding him. Yami dashed away through another door, and they followed after him. Jun couldn't understand why the boy was running from them. He thought Yami's target was him, but the boy looked more concerned running away than fighting.
Then, it hit him.
"He's trying to find the vault!" Jun shouted. "We can't let him open it again!"
Yami ran down the hall and opened the door at the end, and they followed in as well. They stumbled upon a massive field, but Jun could have swore they were indoors. They were in a midnight garden where ivy grew over ancient ruins that looked like a cathedral. The ceiling was enchanted to look like the night sky, and fireflies glowed low across the glass.
"What is this place?" Nino frowned.
"Just focus on Yami," Jun said, "He's in here somewhere, and the only way out should be this door."
"How would you know?" Aiba asked.
"The last room with all those statues had only one exit," Jun said. "It must be the same for all the other rooms. This must be the Department of Mysterious that Naruse talked about. He's in here somewhere, and he can't let him escape or he'll find the vault soon."
"I'll guard to door," Nino offered. "I have Aiba's old Bunny Walkie Talkie with me. I'll call Sho and Ohno for help."
"Alright," Jun nodded. "Aiba, you take the left. I'll search around the right and met you at the center."
Jun kept his wandlight on for safety. His shoes were soaked into the dampness of the tall grass and weeds. There were trees as tall as a house, and the air was thick. To his utter surprise, there were Ancient Spirits drifting across the grass. These weren't dead spirits from Paradise, but Nature Spirits that were suppose to be extinct. The mythical creatures of power and life. Jun spotted the all too familiar Water Spirits in their full form, tiny little fairy-like creatures dancing across a pond.
But Jun didn't had time to stare at them in awe. Yami was hiding somewhere, and Jun suspects he is where there is light. A cluster of fireflies hovered near the ruined cathedral, and Jun ventured in.
"Why are you hiding, Yami?" Jun called out. "I'm here, aren't I? The Gate Keeper? The one who can close the gates and the one you want to get rid of the most. Why don't we just finish this?!"
He climbed up the stairs of the cathedral with the stair railings were covered in ivy. The large glass pane windows were still whole, and the fireflies glow gave off more light thanks to the glass reflection. Jun turned around and observe the landscape. He spotted Aiba at the entrance of the cathedral, but his eyes drew back towards the center of the floor.
There was large circle painted, but it was faded. Jun recognized the markings because it was similar to the ones on his capturing spheres, and the sigils he would make to trap spirits and ghosts. It was cleverly disguised that even Jun didn't realized what it was when he crossed it until he saw it from above. But what frightened him was its vastness. He was so used to drawing traps in a small diameters. It looked like one giant gate. It didn't take long for Jun to realize what it was.
Aiba climbed up the stairs towards him.
"We have to get Yami out of here," Jun whispered low to him. "This is the vault! If he finds out, we're done for."
"Maybe we should leave," Aiba suggested, his voice barely a whisper. "We can seal Yami in this room and come back with more help."
"Nino called for help already," Jun said. "If we can just hold out until then, we can end this now."
"What if we can't fight them off when we come back?" Jun said. "We can't be too sure. We need to find him now. Keep him busy, and then we've got him."
"What if we use a trap on him?" Aiba proposed. "Just like trapping a spirit. He's from Paradise, isn't he? If we can corner Yami, maybe he can't move his shadows."
He frowned, wondering if it's too risky.
"I'll even make a few nearby the vault's sigil," Aiba pointed out. "Just in case he comes close to it."
Jun inhaled deeply before he nodded. "It's worth a shot."
He let Aiba draw the circles while Jun went outside the cathedral to find Yami again. Along the way, he pulled out his red chalk and made more traps and covered it with a few greenery. He was beginning to wonder if Yami ventured off further into the garden. It looked as if the field could stretch on across an entire country. He was marking his third trap nearby a courtyard fountain when he heard a rustling of leaves and grass. He quickly hid behind an ivy wall. He waited until the footsteps were just behind him, and he jumped out with his wand raised.
"Oh gosh! I'm so sorry, Sho," Jun gasped. "I thought you were Yami."
"I got Nino's call," Sho nodded, holding up his stuff bunny. "I ran into my father and helped him fight off a few ghosts. When I got the message, I came as quickly as I can."
"With Nino at the door," Sho said. "He looks pretty shaken about something, so I came to find you and Aiba."
"Did you bring more backup?"
"I told my father, but he said it'll take awhile. Top side is still hectic. But there's something I realized along the way. The Department of Mysteries is coated with powerful magic that even Yami can't escape except through the elevator. We should try to lure Yami close to the Paradise vault."
"What?!" Jun furrowed his brow. "That should be the last thing to do! The vault is in here, and we have to stop him before he finds it."
"No, he fears it if he doesn't have his powers," Sho explained. "I understand how he works now. It explains everything really. While Yami was at our concert, someone else opened to vault for him. Yami can't go near so many hunger spirits without his shadows. It also explains why he's always behind the portals whenever he opens them. He's making sure the spirits never see him without his shadow friends. Naruse said we have to find a way to cut off his power source."
"Light," Jun gasped.
Sho nodded, "Get rid of that, Yami is powerless."
Jun looked around him, "There's too many fireflies. And the enchanted sky is giving off starlight. We can't get rid of all light sources in this room."
"What if we blind him?" Sho said. "If he can't see light, maybe he can't use his powers."
"Alright...but how are we going to find him?" Jun sighed. "He's in here somewhere, but this place is huge."
"His only reason for coming to the Ministry was to find you," Sho said. "He wants you foremost."
"Not until I get him first," Jun muttered under his breath. "Aiba and I are planting spirit traps for him. We need as many red seals around to-"
Suddenly, Jun was throw across the courtyard and slammed against a brick wall. Yami's shadows were active again, and Jun saw them advancing towards him.
"I won't let that happen," Yami sneered. "For a bunch of wizards, you sure do babble a lot. I told you, Matsumoto...there's no need to be loud."
Sho fired another spell, but the shadows swallowed the incoming spell whole. Jun noticed that Yami's face was straining and sweating.
"Your barrier magic may be suppressing my escape," Yami said. "But I will kill you all, and I'll open the vault!"
Jun rolled out of the way as another pillar of shadow came towards him. The wall crumbled in its wake, and Jun ran for cover. He heard Sho's grunt as one of Yami's shadow fiends attacked him as well. He glanced over his shoulder and saw Yami heading towards the cathedral. He cursed under his breath and chased after him. He hoped Aiba covered more ground with the red seals as he climbed up the stairs. But it was as if Yami spotted their hidden marks and easily avoided them.
He entered the ancient ruins and saw Aiba dueling with Yami at the very center of the vault. He was doing an amazing job at parrying with Yami's shadows with his wand sparks. Aiba was trying his best to push him back into one of the traps nearby. Jun was about to raise his wand to help, but a shadow hand reached from underneath and threw him across the wall. Sho appeared, but he was also struck by another shadow. Aiba saw Sho's distress and it distracted him, causing him to slip as well. Three tentacles of shadow trapped them from moving like cages, as Yami dramatic walked towards the edge of the circle.
"How ironic," Yami grinned. "It is hidden in the most unlikely place. This vault, containing all the dead souls from Paradise, is surrounded by a garden of life."
Jun grunted and tried to twist his way free.
"It's quite poetic, really," Yami said.
The cursed child reached inside his pocket and pulled out a Nature Spirit from the garden. It was glowing orange, and its tiny body was also struggling itself free. Jun could see the horrified look on Sho's face from across the room. It was a Fire Spirit.
"Fascinating little creatures they are," Yami mused. "Nature's first spirits of existence. The very essence of magical creation. Do you know which element was created for the sole purpose to destroy life?"
Without mercy, Yami crushed the body of the tiny spirit. Orange ooze dripped from his fist until it touched the outer edges of the sigil.
The spirit engulfed into flames at the palm of Yami's hand. Jun watched as he dropped the fire onto the large circle. In an instant, the circle lit up. First, it blazed a hot and searing red flame as if traced the markings in and around the circle. Then it became a blinding white light, creating a massive pillar of light towards the enchanted sky like a beacon.
"No," Jun grunted.
With all this strength, he twisted his hand for his wand to point at the shadow trapping him down. He cast another sun spell, and the shadow shrank away. Jun hurried to his feet, and dived towards Yami.
"Jun!" He heard Sho calling to him.
He pushed Yami into the pillar of light, and Jun kept his eyes shut. He still felt the stone floor beneath him, and he wondered how much time they have until the vault is completely opened. Even with his eyes closed, light still pierced through and all he saw was his red eyelid veins. He heard Yami cried out.
"What did you do!?"
He grabbed hold of Yami and hurled out of the pillar light. After he was sure he was out, Jun opened his eyes and saw Yami on his back with his hands covering his eyes.
"I can't see! I can't see!" Yami screamed. "Do you have any idea what you've done?!"
Aiba and Sho got up, now that the shadows were finally gone. Yami started sobbing like a spoiled child, and he moved his eyes away. His eyes were once blood red, but now his pupils have shrunken so small, Jun thought the boy's irises would disappear. The whites of his eyes weren't white, but black as if his hidden dark side was finally revealed.
"What did you do to me?!" Yami yelled.
"Without seeing light, you can't use your powers," Jun huffed. "Your finished."
"Jun!" Aiba shouted.
He whirled around, and saw a stone warrior come charging at him. It was just a normal statue from the walls as decoration for the abandoned cathedral, but some how it was moving and swinging it's sword at him.
The stone warrior was cut down in half and crumbled to bits, but Jun wasn't smiling. It heard Yami behind him starting to giggle.
"It worked...it finally worked," Yami said. "The merging has finally begun!"
Sho and Aiba were thrown off their feet again by geysers from the stone floor. Jun stood there completely shocked. It just wasn't possible, but then Jun understood. The magics of Paradise was bleeding into the real world. Suddenly, the ability to create anything was possible, and the war between two worlds was bestowed upon them.
Yami laughed like a mad child, "It doesn't matter if you blind me! I can still have my shadows!"
Jun saw nothing but a massive shadow beast towering over him. This shadow monster was different than before. It came from something out of Jun's worst nightmare. Its shoulders hunched far higher than its own head, and the creature's eyes were real and fleshy: big, round, uneven, and forever staring down at him. At that instant, the monster gripped around Jun's entire body like a toy doll. Its massive hand lift him up, and he tried to free himself. He glared down and saw Yami standing underneath him, still laughing. The cathedral was starting to shake, but there was a fierce determination in his black eyes.
Everything was blur of harsh tunnel winds, earth trembles, and blinding light. The shadow hand squeezed and Jun thought his bones were being crushed. He dropped his wand, but it was the least of his worries. He couldn't breathe.
"Relashio!" He heard Nino yelled.
It seemed that Yami was desperate. Using his hearing, he summoned another shadow wall that blocked the spell. Jun saw Nino got punched by a massive shadow hand from the beast, and he sailed across the sky back to the courtyard.
"As long as I get rid of you, I can be at peace," Yami said. "I'll make sure you never come back to live!"
Jun groaned as the hand squeezed even tighter around him. He managed to reach inside his pouch where he kept all his hunting tools. The only thing he got his hands on was a small vial of amethyst oil. It was only good for ghosts, but he hoped it worked. He dropped the bottle and it shattered close to Yami's foot.
The cursed child only backed away as if the smell repulsed him, but the distraction was good enough. Nino, Sho, and Aiba were still down, but Ohno stood right behind Yami. He had waited patiently and stalked quietly until he fired wordlessly.
The spell hit Yami's back, and the shadow hand released Jun. The massive monster also disappeared as well, but Jun was falling from a great height. He could easily land on the soft ivy patch, but he never did. The world was suddenly slow.
Jun saw the shadow spike headed straight for him. He was wandless, defenseless. It happened so sudden, and the shadow pierced right through his chest and slammed against the stone wall. Shock took over him, his eyes wide open and staring down at Yami and his friends. He could barely hear their voices; it was nothing but mute in his ears. Everything was turning cold when he saw Yami's wide grin. Ohno's eyes were burning with rage as he raised his wand towards Yami again.
The shadow released him again, and Jun continued to fall...fall...fall...
And his world was black.
* * *
He heard music. A male voice as singing; it was soft, deep, and calming like a lament. It felt like he was waking up from a long sleep, and his opened his eyes. The sky was orange and he could hear the sounds of water. He realized he was laying on a bed of lilies and soft grass. He slowly sat up and looked around. He was on a hill looking down a river. In, the distance, there was a bridge and possibly a small town. He thought he was somewhere in the suburbs of the city, but he has never been here before.
Suddenly, his memories came rushing back. He remembered the cold world he left, and the sudden pain that struck him. Jun panicked as he clutched his chest, but there was no wound. Even his clothes were clean.
"I'm dead," Jun gasped. "No...no this can't be!"
"Almost dead, really."
"Jun glanced up and felt his jaw dropped. The man who was singing was standing beside him.
End of Chapter 10
To Chapter 11 - http://arashiforyou.livejournal.com/51303.html
I honestly wanted to continue, but then if i did, this chapter would be way too long :3
i'm on a roll, aren't i? first naruse now jun! (evil laugh)
i'm gonna get hate for this, aren't i? XDD
well, i'm making faster updates for a reason. so be on the look out!