Chapter 9: Bloody Sparta

Two months later Eden and Jared stood in front of a giant grey castle in curiosity. They were in Sparta, Greece, and the two were staring at Aura Sphere's second training facility. It was early December, so everything around them was either grey, black, or white. The sky was cloudy, the air a bitter cold, and the snow crunching under their feet almost froze them in their tracks. They had entered a twisted version of a winter wonderland.

"I don't like it here," sniffed Eden, wrapping her dark coat closer around her.

"Neither do I, but luckily we're not going to be here for long," said Jared, taking one of Eden's hands and leading her forward. He too was bundled up in warm clothing.

"Luckily is the key word there," muttered Eden. Jared just grinned. Eden sighed, staring down at the snow. Even though being in Greece was something new for them, Eden still regretted waking up that morning. The whole facility reeked of evil for some reason to her, she didn't want to linger their. If only Ren hadn't checked the mail that morning…

Eden woke up early that morning, the sun barely rising in the sky. She stared at the yellow-orange radiance as Eden attached her Claymore to her belt and dressed; also, shoving the Cards of Insanity into her pocket. Leaving the comfort of her simple, tiny room, she tip-toed down the hall and escaped outside. The first thing Eden noticed when she stepped outside was Jared sitting next to the pond, deep in meditation. Eden smiled, and, walking over to him, kissed him on the forehead. Jared's eyes fluttered open when she did that, and he smiled when he realized who it was.

"Hello," Jared said huskily as he got up from the ground, giving Eden a peck on the lips and hugging her.

"Hi. What are you doing up so early?" asked Eden.

"I could ask you the same question," grinned Jared. Eden rolled her eyes but smirked.

"I just woke up because I had a weird feeling in my gut."

"I did too," frowned Jared. Eden's eyebrows furrowed together as they stared at each other in confusion.

"Well, whatever. Let's go eat, the others are probably awake," said Eden, trying to shrug off the bad vibes. Jared just nodded, following Eden as she took off for the dining hall. In the mornings, Eden and Jared were actually allowed to have oatmeal or cereal, sometimes toast too, rarely though pancakes, bacon, and eggs. As they entered the dining hall, they noticed that Ally was already their, eating a bowl of cereal. She looked bored, but when Ally saw Eden and Jared, her expression brightened.

"Well hello you two. How are you?" she asked as they sat down at the table with her, helping themselves to some cereal.

"Eh okay," grumbled Eden. Jared grinned.

"Well I feel better than she does."

"Cool, cool," said Ally, taking another bite of her cereal.

"Hey, where's Ren?" asked Eden. For the first time since she and Jared entered the dining hall, Eden noticed Ren wasn't their; he usually was awake at the crack of dawn.

"To tell you the truth, I have no clue," frowned Ally. Jared raised an eyebrow.

"Well isn't that weird." Ally nodded. Not even a minute after Jared said that did the doors to the dining hall slam open, Ren entering with a half grin on his face.

"Look's like we spoke too soon," snickered Eden as Ren approached them.

"Do either of you two know an Erica?" asked Ren, addressing Eden and Jared. Their eyes widened.

"Yes! We recruited her to Aura Sphere, why do you ask?" said Eden, astonished that he even asked.

"She sent you two a letter," said Ren, pulling out a red envelope from his jacket pocket. Eden took the letter from Ren, glancing at her and Jared's names scrawled on it, and also saw Erica's name in the top corner. Jared scooted closer to her.

"Open the letter Eden, let's see what she wants," murmured Jared. Eden nodded, and flipping the envelop over, she ripped it open and took out the letter. It read:

Dear Eden and Jared,

You're probably wondering why I'm writing you two a letter considering the last time we saw each other was in Mexico City. Well, I simply wrote this letter to invite the two of you to visit me at the Aura Sphere training facility in Sparta, Greece. I want to find out what you guys have been doing in Japan, and share our experiences so far. I hope you accept the offer.

Sincerely,

Erica Ramirez

Eden raised an eyebrow at the letter. Something wasn't right about it.

"So, what does it say?" asked Ally.

"She wants Eden and I to visit her at the training facility in Sparta," said Jared, also puzzled by the letter.

"Well then, do the two of you want to go? I would have to schedule your transportation there soon though if you two decided to go," said Ren. Eden chuckled.

"That actually won't be necessary. I was shuffling through the Cards of Insanity the other day and found a teleport card. We'll be using that."

"Wait so you guys are going?" asked Ally.

"Yes. If Erica asked us to come and visit her; then, we shall," replied Jared.

"Plus, it would be rude of us if we didn't go," injected Eden.

"Well then, good luck you two," said Ren, not even bothering to say goodbye to them as he exited the dining hall. Eden and Jared just grinned at his action. Turning to them, Ally whispered "yes, good luck." The two nodded at her, and getting up from where they sat, left the dining hall to prepare for the journey.

Now though, they were their, and Eden wished she could turn back. Jared kept leading her forward, even though she knew he felt the menacing presence of an unknown evil just as much as she did. This castle didn't have a draw-bridge; instead, just two giant doors to enter the castle by. Before they could even knock on the door though, a beam of light shot from the sky and burned a hole in the ground in front of them. Startled, the two shot their heads up to the sky, and what they saw surprised them. Standing on top of the castle was a girl with brown and blonde highlighted hair, pale skin, and hazel eyes. She looked about Ally's height, their age too, and on her face was a snarl.

"Who the hell are you, and what business do you have here?" she yelled out to them. Eden snickered; she already liked this girl.

"My name is Eden Nedini, and this is Jared Botelli. We are here to visit Erica Ramirez; she has called us from our training in Japan."

"Oh, so you're the people visiting. Well then, hold on a second," she said, disappearing from sight. Eden and Jared glanced at each other, unsure of what to think of the girl's bipolar attitude. The two were waiting for five minutes when the one of the massive doors opened, the girl appearing before them.

"Welcome Eden and Jared to Desdemona Castle. My name's Catherine Neumann, guard of the castle," said the girl.

"Hello Catherine," said Jared kindly.

"Oh, well…actually, call me Cathy. I address myself as Catherine to be formal."

"Fine then," said Eden.

"Well, are you guys coming in?" asked Cathy.

"Yes. Lead the way." Cathy grinned, allowing the two to enter the castle. The inside of it was huge, two staircases leading upstairs could be seen, and many other rooms and hallways cluttered the castle. Paintings hung on the walls, and there were several lifeless knights scattered around the castle. There was a long red carpet leading up the staircases, but besides those objects, the castle felt barren and cold to Eden and Jared. Even so, the two tried to look interested, turning their heads this way and that. At the corner of their eye's they saw Cathy staring at them, waiting for their reaction.

"This place is pretty nice," remarked Eden.

"Indeed it is. I love it here, it feels like a castle from a fairy-tale," smiled Cathy. Yeah, the villain's castle, thought Eden.

"How long have you been apart of Aura Sphere Cathy?" asked Jared, turning to Cathy.

"For about two years now." Eden's eyes widened.

"Wait, where are you from Cathy?"

"Dublin, why?" Cathy was gazing at Eden with suspicion.

"Did you used to be a waiter for a pub their?"

"Yes…wait, I remember you two! You were customers at my family's pub before!"

"Ah! No wonder you looked familiar to me Cathy," laughed Jared. Cathy laughed too, but Eden was lost in thought. A crackling sound spilt the air, making Eden and Jared jump. Turning to one of the staircases, they saw a man in his early twenties with messy blonde hair and shocking blue eyes standing at the top of the stairs. He was tall, maybe an inch or two taller than Jared's own height, and was skinny; also, paler than Cathy skin tone wise.

The crackling they had heard was from him; where one of his hands was resting on the banister, ice was freezing it from his own hands, making it splinter and crack. He stared down at them in curiosity, but a smirk was making its way onto his face as he slowly descended the staircase. Eden already distrusted him.

"Well, well, well. You must be Eden and Jared. Both of you are different than what I imagined," said the man.

"Well since you already know us, who are you?" said Eden, cautious of him. The man stared at her, his smirk spreading to his whole face.

"My name's John Gemellos, Aura Sphere's second training master. I must say though, I like what I see. Too bad you didn't end up coming here instead of Japan."

"Hey back off bud," barked out Jared. John raised an eyebrow at Jared.

"What do you want? I'm just chatting with her, maybe change her mind about where to train," said John innocently.

"John give it up. You're an idiot if you don't realize these two are an item," said Cathy, rolling her eyes at John.

"Are they now?" said John, eyeing Eden and Jared.

"Yes we are. So you can stop being a creep now and leave me alone before I do something I'll regret," spat Eden.

"Oh really? I'd like to see you try to fight against someone who can freeze you in a second if he wanted to," threatened John, ice forming around his hands.

"Yeah, and I'd melt you before you even dared to do that to Eden," growled Jared. John narrowed his eyes at him. Jared glowered back at him. Eden scowled.

"Stop this useless fighting! Just take us to Erica."

"Actually I'm going to do that, and Erica has requested only you Eden to see her at the moment," said a familiar voice. Eden and Jared turned, surprised to see Skott appear from behind them, a small smile on his face. Eden and Jared grinned.

"Hey Skott," the two said, happy to see him. Skott just smiled back.

"Why does Erica just want to speak to Eden?" asked Jared. Skott shrugged, he had idea why.

"Where is she?" frowned Eden.

"On the second floor, turn two corridors and it's the second room on the left," said Skott, his eyes closed as he found her in his mind. His face paled though slightly when he opened his eyes, but none of the others noticed this.

"Thank you I guess," muttered Eden, walking towards the staircase.

"I'll wait for you Eden," Jared called out.

"I know." Eden turned her back to the four, ascending the stairs. She began following Skott's directions, feeling lost and sad as she traveled through the dark castle. Eventually, she found the room Skott said Erica was in. Eden paused outside the door, not sure of what she would see behind the door. Finally, she found the courage to grasp the door handle and twist it, slowly opening it. Peaking her head inside, she saw a brightly lit room, and the whole room was white: just like the rooms in the main Aura Sphere facility.

There was another metal table in the middle of the room, and sitting down in front of the table was Erica and Justine. Eden eyes widened as she opened the door wider, stepping inside. Erica and Justine turned when Eden entered, with Erica grinning and Justine looking relieved.

"Finally you're here," said Erica, a weird gleam in her eyes.

"What's going on?" asked Eden, closing the door behind her, and slowly approaching the table. Justine looked pale; she already knew something wasn't right.

"I brought you here Eden, to witness justice at first hand, and to also thank you for bringing me to Aura Sphere," said Erica, getting up from her seat.

"What are you talking about?"

"Justine here has done something…unfortunate, and for it she must pay the consequence."

"What the hell? I haven't done anything," yelled Justine.

"Liar! Five months ago you were supposed to recruit a Brandon Delgado…but you didn't and told us he escaped. Well, we found him, and it turns out you were hiding him from the company." Justine froze. Eden stared at the two, waiting to see what would happen next.

"He…he doesn't belong here, he's a good guy who just wanted to be left alone," cried Justine.

"Well because of what you did we had to kill him. For betraying Aura Sphere in that act, you will follow his path," said Erica, pulling out a gun from her pocket and pointing it at Justine. Eden immediately leaped forward.

"What the hell are you doing Erica!" yelled Eden.

"The order has been given to me by Oxi to kill her for betraying us. She has to die," snarled Erica. Justine glowered at her.

"This isn't the answer! You can't kill Justine. So what, she didn't bring the guy to Aura Sphere, who cares!" Erica looked at Eden incredulously.

"You should care! We are all here to spread awareness to people like us with abilities to save the world, to be the best they can be, and to be apart of Aura Sphere! She denied someone that right! I learned a lot of things from John…and one of them was that Aura Sphere comes first before all else," roared Erica.

"I thought that once too, until I realized this whole place, this whole organization is fucking crazy," murmured Justine. "We kill people if they betray us…we kidnap people off the streets and tell them to follow our beliefs…leading them into a well of misery and chaos because of it. It's a lie what Oxi says, we're not saving the world, we're destroying it." Eden turned to Justine. Everything Justine spoke of was the truth, but Erica would never see that, it was obvious from the look on her face.

"You hear that Eden?! She speaks blasphemy," said Erica, hysteria in her voice as she glanced at Eden. While she was distracted, Justine did the one thing she shouldn't of: she kicked the gun out of Erica's hand and lunged for her. Erica was in shock as Justine punched her in the face, knocking Erica back as she scrambled after her gun. Eden stepped forward, about to join the fray when time slowed. The second Justine grabbed a hold of Erica's gun, Erica pulled out Eden's Claymore from her belt. Justine was going to shoot Erica, but before she even could, Erica charged forward, sweeping the sword to the side, cleanly decapitating Justine's head from her body.

"NO!" Eden screamed, as Justine's eyes widened. Her body fell limply to the ground, and her head fell not too far away from it, blood splattering everywhere and making a puddle around Justine's dead body. Eden herself was drenched in it, and her body shook at the display in front of her. Erica sighed, dropping Eden's blood stained Claymore on the ground next to Eden.

"You bitch…you killed her," trembled Eden, tears blurring her vision.

"Yep…and what's done is done. She betrayed Aura Sphere, so she deserved to die."

"Shut the fuck up!" Eden yelled. Erica just smirked.

"I'll leave you now, since I don't want to have to kill you too. Goodbye Eden," said Erica coldly, shoving past her and exiting the room. Eden stared at Justine's lifeless body and cried, falling to the ground. This was the first time she remembered crying in a long time. Sobs raked her body, she couldn't control the outpour of tears. This was the bloodiest thing she had ever seen, and also the worst. This was corruption at its peak, evil in full bloom.

"Oh Justine, I'm so sorry. I should of stopped her…I was going to try, but it was already too late. I remember what you told me oh so long ago now about Oxi…and having the power to kill whoever he pleased. I understand what you meant now. Also…your last words were the truth. This whole organization is so corrupted its not even funny.

"You were one of the bravest people I ever met…because you actually tried to save someone, to fight back against all of this, but in the end you paid for it with your life. Your death though will not go in vain Justine. I will avenge you, I promise you that; even swear it on your dead body. I will stop all this madness…so nothing like this will have to happen ever again," sobbed Eden. Crawling towards Justine's severed head, Eden closed her clouded eyes, shedding her last tears. Turning towards the door, Eden got up off the ground, and slowly made her way out of the room. Dragging her bloodied sword on the ground, Eden began her trip back to the others. When she finally made it back to them, they were exactly where she left them, just talking quietly. They all turned at Eden's approached, wide eyed at Eden stained in Justine's blood.

"What the hell?" said Cathy, surprised at Eden's appearance.

"Eden?" said Jared, scared at what he saw. "Why is there blood all over you?"

"Erica…she killed her. She killed Justine with my Claymore. Justine tried to defend herself by knocking out Erica's gun from her hand…but Erica grabbed my sword and chopped off her head," said Eden, her voice void of emotion.

"What?!" yelled Skott. Clearly he didn't know what Oxi had asked Erica to do.

"Well of course she did! I even gave the okay for her to do it," said John.

"Why? Are you insane?" cried Jared. John just stared at him. Cathy looked disgusted, running away from them down the hall to return to her post. Skott was in a state of disbelief, the information not processing in his mind yet as he stared at the floor.

"I'm getting the hell out of here. Say goodbye to Cathy for us you two…and I'm sorry but I hope I never see you again John," snarled Eden, charging towards the two giant doors. Opening one of them, she stormed out of the castle, returning to the cold weather outside. Jared followed her, sadness written on his face. Eden plunged her Claymore into the snow, cleaning it that way. The snow turned pink from doing that, as she also tried to wipe the blood from her clothing and face by using the snow.

"Eden." said Jared. She stopped what she was doing. Eden's back was faced to him when she said "it's time to put our plan into action Jared…this company is not going to get any better, its time to save them all from Oxi."

"What are we going to do then?" Jared asked.

"We're going to France…its time I found my aura twin, and recruit whoever they are to our side. I don't want them to have to deal with this corruption any longer."

"Okay then, let's do it," muttered Jared, stepping closer to Eden. Pulling out the Cards of Insanity from her pocket, she shuffled the deck and found the teleport card.

"To France, and my aura twin," said Eden, spinning the card on an aura thread. The two glowed, and soon after the two were gone, leaving Sparta spattered in blood.


Yay finally this chapter is done! I know this one is more bloody than other chapters I have written so far for this story...but I hope you guys liked it anyway! Anyways wasn't that a crazy chapter? I would now though like to thank BillNye, Mr Ragna Badguy, HeavenHellButterfly, and Aspiemor for reviewing!

Next Time on The Puppet Master

The aura twin found!

a creepy girl with a creepy power...

and their plan finally begins!