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Chapter 25

Chaz stood his ground as his enemy came at him. He dodged the incoming shots as best he could, but this form that it was representing was much better than Chaz. And he knew it. But, he would give it. No matter what kind of strive they put him under, he would not, could not give up.

The figure stood there and grinned, "You can't keep this up forever, my son."

"You are not my father." growled Chaz, "You aren't even Zio. That chump couldn't cast a Foi without little Dark Force to help him."

Zio curled his lip and smiled. Things were going just as he planned. His attacks which were meant, not to harm his body, afterall, he couldn't do that to the very thing that was still keeping him alive. No. Pretty soon, Chaz's soul would be as corrupted as his. And then, they could unite. But, until then it was time to have a little fun. Fun, which he couldn't have as his own controller wanted this vessel as quickly as possible.

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"Master, we've got them trapped in the Throne Room."

"WHAT?!" belched out the dominating master of the Dark Espers, "That's where the Telepathy Ball is! Great! Gather up the Lost Weapons of Nei, and have those two scouting parties return with the two remaining pieces. It is time to teach this twirp who the Master of this castle is."

"Yes, Master." says the Dark Esper, who seems eager to be able to, once and for all, crush those pathetic Espers at the Mansion once and for all.

The Master grins at such a thought. He too was eager to put the plan that they had been working on for so long into action.

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Tom opened his eyes and took his hands off of the Telepathy Ball. "Good. I was hoping that it would work."

"You got the message out then?" asks Rika staring back nervously at the door. Tom had used his powers to put up a field around the door that would act like a barricade, but they both new that with a castle full of well trained Espers, that spell shouldn't be holding them off. They were waiting for something. And whatever that something was, it scared the crap out of her. And she could tell that Tom wasn't too thrilled about it either. "So, now what?"

"Hang on. There is supposed to be knowledge of an extremely potent teleportation spell called Grantz. It should be enough to get us both out of here."

"You don't sound entirely convinced." says Rika with surprising skeptisium. She is usually MUCH more upbeat and positive. But, thinks Tom, she has just spent who knows how long deceived by this "Master's" trickery. It isn't her fault, but it most likely a humbling experience to say the least.

"Well, it's a matter of how strong the field around this castle is, and how quickly I can grasp the spell. It's supposed to be one of the most complex..."

"Just do it."

"Oh, yeah, sorry."

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"Chaz, why are you fighting this?"

"Because of you." he growls.

"Pity."

There had to be a way out of this. In whatever condition he found himself in, Chaz knew he was a complete disadvantage. He had to find someway to turn the tide. But, something wasn't right about this whole situation. IF this guy could read his thoughts, what's to say that he couldn't read this Zio's thoughts, if he was who he said he was.

That's it! He wasn't the real Zio after all, it was just an image used to bring out his hatred. Hatred which has been fueling the very thing that he had sought to defeat.

"What...what are you doing?" asks the image of Zio which was partially fading.

"It won't work, step-father." said Chaz, and even though the image knew that this little game was over, he had to put icing on the cake, "Oh, and as for all the things you've done, both Missy and I forgive you."

Suddenly an image of Missy was right beside him, in his mind. His own hatred had blocked her out before, and now that he had mentioned her her, his love for his sister had her by his side. Adding to his strength. He then forgot all about whatever this thing was and thought about the love and protection his friends and espically what Rika meant to him. Suddenly HE was the one glowing with the Light.

"Hey dark boy, paybacks can be a real bitch. Know what I'm saying."

The dark energy around him gathered and took shape. It wasn't Zio, it was a part of the Profound Darkness. Despite wielding the Elysdeon against her, she had still managed to gather a piece of herself in his mind, and she was trying to come forth again.

"Now, I understand."

"Fine! If it's a fight you want, then damnit, let's rumble!"

"I think it's time I rock your world."

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The glow around Chaz shown a bright red, which seems to get brighter, then suddenly it started to slip down, until you barely make out a faint glow which could have easily been mistaken for a magic aura.

"What....what's going on?" asks a concerned Missy.

"It's Chaz. He is fighting something, and winning!" exclaims Rune.

"You almost sound surprised." says Rika, as she strolls down the hallway of the Esper Mansion, haphazardly carrying the Telepathy Ball in one hand, and Tom over the other shoulder.

Everyone is there in a second.

"Kyra," says Rune, "Help Tom to a bed. Rika, it's so good to see you."

"It's good to be seen."

Neilast smirks, "Ya can't keep a good Numan down Mr. Esper." Neilast then slaps the Lutz heavily on the back. Forcing him forward a little.

"Chaz?" asks Rika, "So, what Tom said is true."

"He went into the Telepathy Ball?" asks Rune, normally a punishable crime, a very harshly punishable crime, but giving the circumstances.

"Yes, according to your orb."

"Telepathy Ball." says Rune.

"Whatever." comments Neilast.

"Chaz has been infected with the essence of the Profound Darkness. Part of the Darkness itself is in his mind."

"Unbelievable."

"I know. Many have been infected, and it corrupted their minds well beyond the hope of repair. Lassic, some guy called Rulakir, the Earthmen, and Zio, just to name a few. But, those always resulted in the same effect. When the host is killed or defeated. They usually become immortal, but its a twisted, cursed existence."

"That certainly explains out most recent encounter with Lassic."

"But, he said, that there were memories of some people with powerful minds that could defeat and crush the darkness from spreading in their minds. But," she says looking at Chaz with tears of worry, "those were rare cases. And that damn Master will be here soon."

"Is this 'Master' another one of these immortals?"

"I think so. How can we stop him, he has to have at least 200 ships and even more dark Espers."

"Is that all?" he says with a surprising grin, he pulls out a radio of sorts, and pressed a receiver, "General?"

"Yes, Mr. Lutz."

"Move into position, they'll be attacking soon."

"Yes, sir."

"What are you hiding?" asks Rika.

"Moi? Hiding something? Parish the thought."

"Right."

Then, quite suddenly, the aura around Chaz intensified ten fold. Around his head a brilliant white aura which went down to his waist. And around his feet up to his waist was a dark, blood red aura. Each aura fighting pushing at each other trying to obtain domination over the other.

"Isn't there anything we can do?"

"Tom said, we just need to be here for Chaz."

"Derren?" asked Wren through Derren's own modified communicator.

"Yes?"

"They're on the move now, they should reach the Mansion in about ten minutes."

"Thanks."

"I hope this works."

"You and me both." comments Derren.

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The Master glared at the screen. "Can't we get this bucket there any quicker?"

"Master, our ships can only go so fast. We'll be there in about ten minutes."

"Right." he says resigning himself to this. He lost his prize prisoner as collateral, mainly because of that bastard Forsha screwing things up. He would make sure that devil Tom would die VERY slowly. He had underestimated his ability....again.

"Remember the plan. Feign your attack on the Mansion, then fire into the mists of the surrounding mountains, where the Dezorain's army is supposed to be waiting for us."

The pilot chuckles, "Yes, Master. I imagine that your going to reward your spy quite well, eh?"

"This will be the greatest victory for us. Indeed it shall."

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