“Do you even know what your mother did?” I asked.
“She failed,” Madok said as he pushed himself off the floor. With a huff, he dusted off his clothes.
I narrowed my eyes, keeping my hands at the ready. Black magic can be tricky to fight as it is truly an art of deception. “Failed to what, dearie?”
“To kill you!” He stomped his fancy shoe on the floor, sending a wave of black energy forward.
I leapt to the side, dodging the spell as I pushed my palm forward. “Wrong!” A green orb of fire exploded from my hand.
Crossing his forearms in front of him, an opaque black shield flashed, blocking my spell. As I lowered my arms, he stood up straight and smirked. “You’re not so powerful at base level, mate.”
I grinned wickedly. The little bastard’s pride mocked my own. “I’m just getting warmed up, dearie.”
“Well bring it, ya fucking twat!” Swinging his arm in an underhand toss motion, a wave of energy ripped the hardwood floor up, exploding splinters into the air.
“Ón Domhan go huisce!” I blurted, sending a green wave of energy forward. My power may have been diminished without the ring, but my reflexes were still sharp. The shards of wood turned into water and splashed on the floor.
Madok narrowed his eyes. “Cute.”
“Like your mother, dearie.” I bowed sarcastically, pausing once I was bent over. I slowly looked up. “I understand she put up a harder fight.”
Truthfully, I didn’t know how Mariana Blackwood died, but I was glad. She had hunted me in the early 1700s, making my life a living hell after she mistook me for a witch hunter that killed her husband. I was certain Madok assumed I killed his father too.
“You fucking cunt!” he roared as he released his anger. With an explosion of black energy, my ribs felt like they were being crushed as the entire room was ripped apart.
The ancient wards contained the damage within the confines of the back section of the Nine luckily. As I pressed myself off the floor, I realized that many of the spectators weren’t so lucky. Madok made my crimes against the House of the Nine look like a light insult. I gazed around at a dozen fresh corpses and double those that were wounded. My eyes were widened as I found Madok. “What…hypocrisy.”
He stood still, albeit the quick rise and fall of his shoulders as he gasped. “Why are you here, Rumpelstiltskin?” His tone was sinister.
I noticed pain in my stomach when I relaxed. Looking down, I saw a thick chunk of wood sticking into my flesh. My shirts were shredded, and riddled with dots of blood. “Well, look at that, dearie,” I muttered as I dropped to a knee.
“I asked you a question!” He stepped forward.
Without hesitating, I pulled the wooden stake from my torso and threw it at him. “Ó choillte go lasracha!” The splintered share of wood burst into a bolt of fire and accelerated. As the bright orange flame crashed into his chest, he was knocked backwards into a flip before smashing through the wooden railing of the combat ring. I winced and pressed my hand over the gaping hole in my stomach and muttered, “Déan as an nua.”
New skin grew over the wound as my body began to heal. The pain quickly subsided. I stood up straight, realizing the damage in full focus for the first time. Many were lying on the ground, groaning in agony. Others were trying to heal the wounded. The night did not go according to plan.
Madok slowly began rising to his feet. He looked as fatigued as I had felt. I tilted my head. “Stay…down!” I roared as I sent a wave of green energy across the floor, tripping him again. His head made a hollow thud as it collided with the floor. Let’s finish this, I thought.
You see, truthfully I had an ulterior motive. I raised my hands as I chanted, “Is liomsa an rud a bhí agatsa anois.”
The cracking sounds slowly grew in volume as the Nine began to shake. Madok looked around. “What are you doing, mate?”
My eyes glowed bright green as I absorbed the magic residue in the ward. The taste of the spell was like that of the ring; powerful. “What I should’ve done a long time ago!”
“You are the worst traitor to the world of magic in the past three centuries, Rumpelstiltskin!” Fortunately, I drained the ward of its magic, adding it to my own. Unfortunately, there was nothing to contain what came next. Madok walked over to the fat man laying on the ground and grabbed the lapels of his suit. “I’m sorry, Uncle.”
I cocked my head. “Uncle? I guess family just seems to die around you, dearie.”
Grunting, the fat man leaned into Madok. “Do it.”
With a swift twist, Madok broke his back, killing the old man. I should’ve reacted faster as I didn’t realize until that moment…he was using sacrificial magic. He turned as he stood. His eyes were solid black. “My mother couldn’t kill you because she lacked the fortitude to do what was necessary.”
“Did you know I was coming?” I asked.
Dropping his uncle on the floor, he walked forward. “I’ve been watching you… tracking you…for months.”
“Obsessed much?” I cocked with a half smirk.
“You killed my parents, mate.” Black smoke poured from his hands, propelling him off the floor. “For that… you should’ve kept in the ring.”
“Fuck!” I wasn’t fast enough. The mother fucker tricked me! Once again, the room filled with darkness, but I removed the ward. I was instantly washed over by pain and the cold snap of the air outside as the House of the Nine exploded. I only had the reflex to shield myself from impact damage as the bricks, wood, bodies and bloody mist shattered and filled the night air.
I flew backwards and burst through the wall of another building. Landing on my back, I slid to a halt. Even with a shield, it fucking hurt. I was pissed. The contrast of the quiet building to the chaos at the Nine was jarring. I winced as I rolled over and pressed myself off the ground.
As I stood, an eerie feeling crawled up my spine. This night was not over. From behind me, a familiar deep voice called, “You should’ve kept the ring on.”
My heart raced. Goddamn it I should have kept the ring on. I shoved my hand into my pocket, hoping to slide my finger into the ring in a single move. I missed it. As I pulled it out of my pocket, I was shoulder checked, sending me soaring across the, what I assumed to be a warehouse. I landed face first into a pile of pallets. This night turned to shit rather quickly.
“This is the guy?” asked a woman as she picked me up by my suit with ease. Spinning me around, she tossed me like a rag doll across the building.
“Hello, old friend!” he said as he caught me. Where the fuck was my ring?
I swallowed the dryness in my throat. “Nice to see you again…Lycaon.”