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Michael, an 18-year-old boy, is followed one night on his way home by a mysterious hooded man. Finding refuge in an apparently abandoned residence, he is surprised that the place belongs to a sect, which gives him the choice between being part of them, or dying. In the ritual, a girl, Selina, becomes his Side, a loyal companion forever. The surprises would come after that night, since, the next day, his parents receive a mysterious job offer that cannot be rejected, for which they leave town along with Michael's brothers, who would go on to live with Selina in his parents' house. Although for Michael everything is very strange, his days are more interesting, and his new abilities please him. Until the day of his mass arrives. In a ritual, he enters a well that takes him to the underworld, where he must find his Moon. To his surprise, the events that occurred made him see that he was the only descendant of Sadhyria, the one who is not a demon, human, angel or magician, but is everything at the same time. After the reincarnation ritual, he stops being a demon, but hides it from the sect, including Selina. That is the beginning of the new story that Michael is about to live. His days at school are more interesting as it contains past life memories, so studying is unnecessary for him, but he must. Conflicts come when he meets Mikayla, one of the 3 Crys that the grandmaster had told him were traitors. Michael does not know that she is a Cry, and Selina's suspicions are the origin of the conflicts, involving other sects. Despite everything and without being a demon, Michael does not abandon Septum Black, until the execution of Ada, a member of the sect and who helped him more than anyone in the underworld. The White Knight (Ada's Luna) becomes Michael's Luna after she dies, causing a feud between him and the grandmaster, not to mention that the Knight revealed to him that Ada was not a traitor. Michael slowly falls in love with Mikayla, which upsets Selina and starts her plans to kill her. In a confrontation between them, a sect arrives, one they had not seen before. It is there that Michael realizes that he is not the only reincarnation of someone exceptional. Tyler is the boy's name, although he is still inferior to Michael. The confusion in the protagonist comes when he has relations with Selina, who with her persuasion manages to get him back into her hands with the intention of taking him away from Mikayla, whom she finds difficult to kill. Being tricked and manipulated by his Side, Michael makes powerful enemies who threaten to take him and the cult down. It is then that Mikayla advises him that he should make peace with his enemies, to which he refuses, causing him to be ambushed one night along with Luz, a friend and member of the sect, who loses her life trying to protect it. Seeing her fall without a sign of life, he makes use of much of her power, but Drako (who lives in him) intervenes, making her mistake and calming her anger. It is when he makes a decision that will change everything: assassinate the great teacher, who has the God of lies for Luna, powers that he used to deceive everyone and make Ada look like a traitor. In the fight, the sect splits. Some support Michael, and others the great teacher. The fight is intense, so much so that the 3 Crys considered traitors show up to support Michael, who discovers that Mikayla was one of them. They claim victory, but the grandmaster manages to escape with some loyal subjects. At the end of the fight, Charon appears and tells Michael that this will not stay like this, implying that she will find a way to kill them and take them all down the River Styx. Selina did not participate in the fight. She only got to the end to say goodbye to Michael, and that the next time they would see each other, one of them was going to die.

Chapter 1

I panted. I find myself a bit tired because of basketball practice. Sweats pour down my forehead and cheeks and finally drops fall down my chin. My hands grip my knees as I look at the coach, practice must’ve ended more than an hour ago. At last, the deafening whistle blows and so we make our way to the showers. The cold water relaxes my muscles, making me forget how sore I am. White smoke began to fill the shower as I closed my eyes and let the water bounce off my face. I could just fall asleep in here, but I must hurry, it’s getting late.

It was kind of the school principal to let us train at this late hour. My clock marked 11:23 p.m., not too long before midnight. I come out of the shower, get dressed and brush my hair whilst my teammates say their goodbyes for the night.

Scott offered me a ride home, but I declined. I wanted to walk; I know the town is safe even at this hour.

Everyone had left, except for me. I was most likely the only soul still at school, or maybe along with a few custodians just wandering around, maybe sleeping.

I go out with my earphones on, so I don’t get bored along the way. The streets are empty, just like the parks. A few streetlamps flicker, leaving a brief moment of darkness that I have no choice but to go through if I want to get home. It doesn’t scare me; it wouldn’t be a lie if I said I know exactly how many lamps don’t work correctly and on which street.

I could make out a figure walking from the other end of the street. I didn’t pay any mind until they were close enough for me to notice that they were covered completely by a robe, even their face was obscured by the shadow of the hood. I could barely see the person, the black fabric of the robe blended in the darkness when the lights flickered out.

I tried to ignore it, it was Friday maybe they were going to some costume party or some other thing, it wasn’t something that I should be wary of.

I focus hard on the music to the point that I walk to the beat of the song, however, there is something that bothers my solitary party, something that I couldn’t let go and I knew that my mind wasn’t playing tricks on me: a few meters away, a light flickered once and once again, as if human eyes blinked every five seconds. What’s funny about that? That I had already gone past that lamp ten minutes ago, and I make sure of that glancing to the right of one of the houses: that’s the Bolton’s home, my little brother’s best friend’s house. There is no doubt, I am here again, but that’s impossible! I haven’t turned on any street, I couldn’t just be going in circles.

Something happened. I turn the music off deciding to look back. The air got sucked out of my lungs. My body got a mind of its own, I went into overdrive in a matter of seconds as if I had the longest workout of my life. My eyes were looking at no other than my school in the distance. It was as if I hadn’t been walking at all. I try to make a call, yet nobody answers, not even my parents.

Fear starts creeping in, making me jump when a grey cat strokes my leg then disappears when it gets to the next street. I wait a couple of seconds to see if the cat comes back, but it never does. I figured that if I want to move, I need to follow that cat. Ironic, feels like I’m in a Matrix movie.

Before even daring to take the first step, I noticed that the hooded figure is walking from the other side of the street. A chill runs down my spine. I resolve to pretend to ignore it waiting for them to leave. The figure walks the same as before, however, they stop right by my side on the other side of the sidewalk, they stop, keeping their gaze forward. I look at them, the void preventing me from distinguishing any features. Without warning, the figure turns to me, and our eyes collide. I didn’t need another cue to know what to do next.

I bolted tracing the cat’s path. As I crossed, I saw the figure running after me. I turn to look at the person, who is now walking slowly towards me. I remain frozen in place, I want to confront them, though I notice the nearer they get, the colder it feels. The sidewalk takes a lighter shade just as the lampposts around us. Doesn’t take long for me to find out: that person is freezing this place, and if I dare to let them any closer, they’d do the same to me.

I keep on running, but this time I lost sight of the cat. I think of hiding somewhere when I reach the other side, yet as I turn to look behind me, I find that the person isn’t walking anymore… THEY ARE RUNNING TO ME!

My feet get tangled between them and I fall backwards on the pavement. I quickly get up and sprint to no end.

My head bounces on my heavy footsteps, I can’t remember if I left my backpack three or four blocks ago. It was heaving me down; I brought the basketball in it. I gained some distance between me and that figure, though not enough to lose them.

Minutes passed and my stamina was running out. My vision was getting blurry at times until I wiped the sweat with my hands. I had no hopes of escaping, not until I found the grey cat once more, sitting on the Adams' mailbox. He stood up on the rears when it saw me, then he jumped off the mailbox and crossed the street. I followed.

I didn’t realize how much we walked, we were nowhere near a neighbourhood, it was like I didn’t know this part of my town; I reckon I kept running north, a dangerous area. Of course, there were some grocery stores, hardware stores and the like, but that didn’t mean that it was safe out here at night.

Now I wasn’t passing family homes, but trailers in the middle of the street, locked stores with a lot of garbage pilling up at the door. I could see one or two dead rats along the sidewalk, some others skittered away to the sewers terrified after seeing me running. These streetlights were in better condition, something I urged.

I kept running and running, not looking back. In doing so, the person that was chasing me no longer did. As if the earth had swallowed them.

I let myself fall to the floor, leaning my back over one of the empty locals. The cat comes to sit next to me. I have no idea what happened, but I need to notify the police as soon as I get out of the part of town.

My heavy breathing is awfully audible in the otherwise quiet street, I was exhausted and had lost the bag pack.

The cat looks directly into my eyes as if he wants to communicate something telepathically. It got up and turned away, and that’s when I realized it wanted me to follow him.

We walked up to the next corner and then turn on a tight ally. There was nothing but a trash container and a door in one of the side walls. The cat disappeared the moment it entered that ally.

With no other options and fear of walking back to where I first was, I approach the door. Black with a metal feel to it, a small window looked at me from the top, it opened from the inside, and it was closed, though the door was slightly opened as if left like that on purpose. Or maybe they forgot.

I open it and sneak inside. I find myself facing a flight of stairs that lead to a giant wing, I could see it from the door. I down the stairs to a massive stone table sitting in the centre. Stone walls were carved in intricate detail, and even though the room was dim, I could barely make out the furniture thanks to the moonlight coming from the windows on one side of the ceiling.

I run a hand over the stone table. There are symbols that I cannot make out due to the bleak atmosphere. In front there are statues, there are seven: the first one was of a man with bear paws and legs like a wolf’s, its face had multiple cuts; the second one was of a woman with a mermaid’s tail and fangs the size of a spoon. The third one was a woman with three eyes, an apron and a rob that cover her hands and feet; the fourth, standing in the centre, was a man with a great mane, he had some sort of misshaped halo over his head, like it was floating, on its right hand was something like a trident. The remaining three were seemingly human, but their heads were gone.

I heard whispers coming from one of the halls to my side. I can see them approaching and as they come, the room begins to light up.

When they arrive, I can see some of them are carrying torches, all wearing the same robes as the one that was chasing me.

I raise my hands, meaning no harm. Nobody speaks, they all look at me intently from head to toe, then I heard the whisper again: “He’s seen the statues”, “he must not leave alive”, “we must kill him

―Enough! ―shouts one of them―. What is your name… young man? ― he steps closer to ask.

―Mi… Michael ―I reply, I couldn’t help but stutter in fear―. I… I haven’t done anything. Somebody was chasing me and I… I just followed the cat…

Cat?”, “He was brought here”, “we must do the ritual”, they kept whispering. That man silenced them once again, now raising a fist over his head.

The room felt silent for a few seconds. The man put his hand in one of his pockets and took out a gold coin, so bright and shiny almost looked like it fed off the fire from the torches. I still wondered why they haven’t turned on the lights.

The man grabs the coin between two fingers and offers his hands to me.

―I wait for the flame to blaze ―said the man throwing the coin.

I see it spin in the air as if the time had slowed down, to the point that I could blink before I catch it in my extended hand.

When I did, the stone table left back glows with the light of five candles. Among them, a river of fire grows to form a pentagram. It was then that I knew where I was: this was a cult, however, I didn’t know what the coin in my hand was. I study it attentively; the gold was impeccable. In its centre, I could see a tiny boat, on its back a name: Charon.

―It had been settled! ―they all cheered.

―Selina, he’s all yours ―said the man from before. He appeared to be the leader.

The people began to take off their hoods, allowing me to see their faces, yet I couldn’t see the man.

A girl with blond hair approached and stood at the other side of the table. I turn my back on the other to face her. Her skin was white as snow as if sickly pale almost. Her blue eyes gleam under the torchlight she’s holding. Her gaze was as cold as a corpse.

―You must make a decision, Michael ―she spoke, her voice was softer than I imagine, like a child.

―What… what decision? ―I ask, still processing all that I have gotten myself into.

The girl brings her torch to one table's corners and a circle of fire appears. As if the table is covered in gasoline or something.

―Your blood will now belong to Charon, or it will run until dry this mere night.

I didn’t need to see my eyes to know that my pupils dilated enough to make my iris disappear. I swiftly turn and, to my surprise, the other hooded people are only half a meter away from me. Each of them holding a long knife and glaring into my eyes, don’t need to be a genius to know what would happen if I don’t do what they want.

I turn back to the girl. She tosses me a knife, looks like it was recently forged. The handle has a ferryman carved on it; the material is alien to me, but it shines brighter than gold.

At the centre of the pentagram, a small circle of fire bloomed.

―Your blood, Michael ―the girl pointed. Seeing that didn’t react she continued―. A few drops of your palm will suffice.

I brought my left hand to the circle, holding the pointing knife with my right.

My breath grew agitated, but I wasn’t sweating. I knew that, if I did it, there was no turning bad, whereas if I refused, I’d be killed in a gruesome manner. While I hesitated, the cat that I had followed climbed onto the table, walking in the fire. It seemed to have no effect on him. It looked at me and I felt confident as if it was my own mother easing my worries. I had no other option. I cut down my palm and a gush of blood penetrated the centre of the pentagram.

The flames turned red and raised almost touching the ceiling. The whole place lights up with red-fired torches placed on every wall. The hooded people concealed their knives and placed their hands together, bowing their heads.

The girl extended both arms to her sides, raising her eyes to the limit. When she looked down at me, she dropped her arms.

―From now on until your last day, Michael, I will be your Side. There will be no one more loyal to you. You are my purpose now.

Chapter 2

The next morning, I kept wondering if everything that happened last night was real. I prayed that it wasn’t, though I guess I don’t have that right anymore. I couldn’t comprehend what had happened but one way or another I had made a pact with someone… Or something.

When I woke up, my body felt as if cured of a threatening illness. Lighter and with full energy.

There was something that surprised me more than anything else: on my wrist, a tattoo had appeared. It was a fire ring inked in black. It rounded my whole wrist and the flames pointed to my forearm.

It makes me feel trapped, though there are no ropes. I checked my back with a tint of excitement to see if I got a hint of wings, but it was pointless. I know I shouldn’t be happy about what happened, there’s no turning back.

I relaxed on my bed, it’s Saturday, so I don’t have to worry about school. I decide to get up to brush my teeth. When I looked in the mirror, I can see some sort of ring floating above m

Heroes

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