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Chapter 29

The dark spirit entered the park from the only remaining entrance left open to it. Alexis attempted to focus her concentration on the aura. If only it would show its form again she would have a better target – she thought bitterly to herself. She also couldn’t let it suspect Zack. So far it seemed to ignore him but Alexis wasn’t sure if it was only because Zack had hidden himself somewhere in the bushes.

The mass of negative energy concentrated, Alexis turned towards the north end of the park, to where it was gathering. “So, you will show yourself…” she whispered pulling the arrow back on the string. She aimed at the growing swirl of dark blue energy visualizing itself before her. The second Alexis saw the paw of the beast step forward she fired. The talisman made the arrow give off a light purplish colour as it sailed through the air and connected with the paw.

“NOW ZACK!” Alexis shouted, hoping he wouldn’t have run away by now. She needed that last entranced closed. The beast let out a howl as the arrow made contact, and broke apart in a small sphere of bright light, disintegrating the negative energy around its foot.

It didn’t last, with the head now in physical appearance, the paw reformed itself, along with the other three. Larger than before, it loomed over Alexis. It must be over seven feet high. The face resembled a wolf, with large teeth and glowing red eyes. The body of a lion with a long whip-like tail with spikes along the tip. Alexis had never seen a creature like this before.

She notched another arrow as it came charging towards her. Fired and watched as the beast twisted his body to the left. The arrow grazed the shoulder instead of the head. Once more a sphere of purifying light erupted than vanished. The swirl of bluish-black smoke circled and reformed into its body.

“Damn.” Alexis cursed as she jumped to her left to avoid the jaws. Why did she wait to long? Did it really have that much energy to reanimate itself? She let loose a third arrow, towards the belly of the beast, with similar outcome. It seemed all of this had been a waste, the spirit was too strong.

“Alexis!” Zack shouted from the top of a tree branch. Alexis jumped back to her feet, again narrowly avoiding the jaws of the beast as she ran towards the tree. She saw Zack take his wand out again, and aim for the creature.

“No, don’t risk it.” Alexis yelled. She jumped, grabbed a lower branch and spun herself around to hop to the same branch Zack was on. “This is my fight!” Alexis released another arrow. It hit the beast in the chest as it leapt towards them. For a split second Alexis thought it had worked. That she had found a weakness. But the dark clouds and bluish smoke swirled and reformed.

“It’s smaller now.” Zack noticed.

“That is not reassuring.” Alexis pointed out. “It’s still larger and stronger than us.”

“But it’s working, isn’t it?” Zack asked. “It’s taking longer to reform after every arrow you send.”

Alexis mouth hung open, her words caught in her mouth as she realized Zack was right. The spirit was using its reserves of energy to reform itself. If she could keep hitting it, the purifying talismans will eventually disintegrate all the negative energy. Reaching over with her right hand, she felt the ends of the arrows she still had, fifteen. Not many. Would it be enough?

Notching he fifth arrow, ready to aim it at the creature who suddenly vanished from the two’s vision.

“Where did it go?” Zack asked. Alexis lowered her arrow and tried to reach out with her senses. Tree they were in shook, neither could hold on to the branch and tumbled to the ground with a thud. Alexis landed on her feet, Zack wasn’t as lucky. The snout of the beast poked out from around the trunk of the tree – which was now at a forty-five degree angle.

With it’s prey on solid ground, the spirit moved to attack. Its jaws snapped at Alexis while its tail sung towards Zack. Alexis released the arrow she had already notched at the beast’s open mouth, grabbed another and aimed it towards the lightning fast tail without thinking. She continued to release arrows one after another in rapid succession. Every time it hit the beast, part of it would disintegrate but before it could manifest itself, another arrow would strike.

It seemed to keep the beast in a state of limbo, unable to continue with its attack but unable to flee. Alexis notched and pulled back her last arrow. The beast was the size of a dog now though still just as dangerous. She released the arrow, striking the beast square in the forehead. A final howl of pain emerged from the spirit’s throat before the bright light from the talisman absorbed off of the remaining negative energy, purifying the spirit once and for all.

“That was… amazing.” Zack said, panting at Alexis’s side.

“Quickly we’ve got to go. Grab those talismans!” She ordered, heading towards the closest entrance to pull off the paper talismans. Alexis met up with Zack at the third entrance and ran into the streets just as a momentum of fireworks went off in the sky above.

Alexis took one look back at the park just in time to see a wizard apparate outside of the entrance. With a shove and pull on Zack’s sleeve they continued to run through the streets back towards the Dragon’s Scroll.

“I can’t believe we got away with that!” Zack shouted as people filed out of the pubs, drinks in hand all shouting ‘Happy new year’ or singing.

“Barely. But I figured as long as we flee the scene, they wouldn’t be able to tie any underaged magic to us. After all there must be a few underaged wizards and witches living around London, unless they catch us at the scene of the crime, how can they pinpoint the culprit?” Alexis smiled at Zack and found an empty tin can. She took the paper talismans and placed them inside carefully, pulling out a match and lighting the corner of one.

“You’re going to burn them?” Zack sounded shocked. “Those are incredible! You can’t destroy them!”

“They are used.” Alexis explained. “They won’t have enough power next time. They’re a one time deal anyways Zack.” She clapped her hands and said a few prayers in Japanese as the talismans turned to ash, thanking the Shinto deities. Once it was all over, The two sat on the curb and watched the merriment of the drunkards in the street.

“Some start to a New Year.” Zack mused.

“Not bad.” Alexis agreed. “I guess we’ll be heading back to Hogwarts soon.”

“Yeah, another semester.” Zack turned to Alexis and inched closer towards her. “I’ll save you a seat on the train… if you like.”

“Sure. Sounds good.” She replied, a blush coming to her checks when she noticed that they were touching shoulders together. Before Alexis could find an excuse to leave, Zack’s head was inches from hers, she froze as their lips touched in a kiss.

Alexis froze, half in a daze half scared out of her mind. It was her first kiss. How was she supposed to act? Did she like it? So many thoughts ran through her mind during the moment of contact. When Zack finally fell back, Alexis saw the blush on Zack’s face, she too felt the heat rise within her.

“That was… nice.” Alexis finally said, unable to come up with a better word. Zack gave her a smug smile which only made her blush a deeper red. “I should get bac-“

An laud explosion ripped through the stillness around the two. A bright light could be seen in the near distance, followed by an earth shattering rumble. Alexis grabbed onto Zack, as the two stared in amazement around them.

“What was that? The spirit again?” Zack asked as shockwave passed.

“No  – it came from…” Alexis paused. A look of pure fear crossed her face. “It came from the Dragon’s scroll.”

Chapter 28                               INDEX