Reforging The Broken
Chapter 3, Haunted.
In the wide open plains of north Asteron, two huge beasts resembling saber tooth tigers galloped into the distance. They were not creatures that looked natural. Someone from earth could tell that something magical had to be involved with their existence from just one glance. Their muscles bulged, showing little to no fat on their frame. Their fangs shone like silver in the sun, and their fur glistened with a sheen that resembled silk. They didn need armor, their bodies were their armor. These beasts were known as Uthar by the Zaohin people, but were generally called ”Long Fangs ” by the rest of the world.
Of the two beasts, one was pure white and another was gray with black stripes. While the white Uthar looked pristine and clean, the gray and black Uthar had scars all over its body as well as multiple patches of fur missing. Each of these beasts had a figure on top of it. Riding the white Uthar was a young girl. She had long, perfect white hair pure as marble. In the daylight, it almost hurt to look. Her eyes were a bright aquamarine which basically glowed with illustrious radiance, matching her sword strapped to her waist. Her skin was pale, except for her cheeks, which were colored a light vermillion. Her hair was parted to the right, just above her eyebrow, with only a little spilling over to the left. Her bangs reached down to her rosy red cheeks, swaying from side to side ever so slightly in the wind.
All of this set her apart from the average person, however, the most unique thing about her was the pair of cat ears which stuck out of her head, just as white as her hair. She was a Zaohin, otherwise known as Beast-people.
Alessia gazed at the world around her, rapidly swirling her head around and around to get a full view of the fast, open plains of northern Asteron. She had an air of enthusiasm about her, a sort of childlike wonder.
”Its so open! I could run from miles and not be met with any obstacles! Human territory is so unique! ”
The open wasteland to humans looked like a green sandbox for Alessia. In her homeland, the landscape is dense jungle, cluttered and claustrophobic. You couldn see fifty feet in front of you because of the ever constant foliage. Her people called this ”The Jungles Mist ”. This open landscape was new and beautiful for her, like a child who had been kept inside all her life, but was now finally seeing the world. As she skipped forwards, a voice spoke from behind her, deep and full of rumble, like the sound of faraway thunder.
”Slow down, young miss. Youll tire out Snowball before we reach our destination. ”
Alessia turned around in her saddle, looking at her most loyal retainer, and personal mentor, Aatazaz. He was a huge, hulking monster of a man fitted into a luxurious black suit with a blue tie, like a butler crossed with a gorilla who became a bodybuilder.
His chin was covered by his long red beard which was connected to a full head of raging red hair through thick sideburns, giving him the appearance of a lion with a glorious red mane. His body was similarly decorated with muscles that bulged under the thin fabric of his suit. Just like Alessia, he had a pair of animal ears on his head, separating him from humans as a Zaohin, or as the humans called him, a beast-man.
Strapped across his back was a bright blue axe with a curved blade. It was almost as large as the man himself. The weapon was massive enough to split boulders in half, yet Alessia knew that her mentor was capable of swinging it like a baseball bat. He rode on a black and gray Uthar which he called Thornpest.
She had great respect for him, as a warrior and as a teacher. Alessia said as much as she ran up beside him.
”We have a long road ahead of us, so try to pace yourself, ” Aatazaz told her. He stared at her, those piercing lion eyes staring straight into Alessias soul. ”We are in no hurry. ”
Alessia shook her head. ”I know, this scenery is just getting me excited. Its so much different from back home. ”
Her mentor smiled. ”Try to think of Snowball. Don run him into the ground for no reason. ”
Alessia glanced at the beast beneath her and gave it a pat on the shoulder. ”Sorry Snowball. ”
Snowball began to purr at his masters touch, seemingly not bothered by the unending sprint they had been going on. Seeing this, Aatazaz shook his head with a smile.
”I still can believe you named such a valiant beast . . . Snowball. ”
Alessias ears burned red instantly.
”I was twelve, okay? Leave me alone. ”
Aatazaz chuckled, a rarity for the stoic man.
They both turned their attention back to the path ahead and continued down it for a while, when suddenly, Alessia and Aatazaz both froze. They both could sense something sinister in the air. Something . . . wrong. A feeling of impending doom.
Their mounts felt it too. Snowball and Thornpest both stopped in their tracks. Snowball, a young Uthar who had not yet seen combat, fell into a deep crouch, poised to make a break for it at any moment. Thornpest, a beast tempered by many battles, only bent its knees slightly, waiting for Aatazazs command. Out of anyone present, Alessia felt it the strongest. The hairs stood on the back of her neck, making her feel uncomfortable. A slight shiver passed through her entire body. She reached down and put a hand on Snowball, trying to calm him down. Under her guidance, Snowball returned to a standing position.
Aatazaz nodded with a knowing look, his face turning serious.
”You can feel it, can you Alessia? ”
Alessia nodded in confusion. Just moments ago she had been filled with wonder. Now, she was on edge, clutching herself in a hug and shivering.
”What is this feeling? Im . . . cold? ”
Aatazaz gazed at the horizon as if looking for something.
”Corruption. A power only the Zelksis can use. ”
Alessia frowned, her face growing more serious like Aatazazs.
”This far into the continent? What is one of those insects doing here? ”
Aatazaz shook his head and crossed his arms in thought.
”I do not know. I want to think it a mere scout . . . but the aura it gives off makes me believe otherwise. It cannot be a mere scout, it wields considerable power. It must be an Officer at the least. ”
Aatazaz shook his head in disbelief cursing their bad luck before turning around in the opposite direction. An Officer ranked insect this far into human territory was not something he expected.
”No matter, we can take a detour around it. For whatever reason, it is preoccupied at the moment. ”
Alessia did not move, her gaze still focused on the horizon.
”And leave that monster for some poor merchant to encounter? ”
Aatazaz knew this was coming. In his mind, he wasn surprised at all. She was just like her father.
”Don be a fool, Alessia. You are more important than whatever that insect is after. You are the last of the white tiger bloodline. ”
Alessia dismounted off of Snowball and took a step forward, showing her resolve.
”Lives are more important than any bloodline. If I am to die, then thats okay. I don think I could look my people in the eyes if I ran away like a coward. You may stay here if you like. I won force my foolish choices on you. ”
Both of them, despite their difference in size, looked into each others eyes. There, in the window to the soul, Aatazaz could see it. That same willpower and determination her father had. It had been passed down to her. The willpower of a white tiger was something to behold. The girl who had been looking at the world with such a smiling face was now dead serious. Aatazaz smiled as he responded to Alessia.
”You know I will never leave your side. I promised your father that I would protect you. ”
Alessia stroked the back of Snowball and spoke to him.
”Stay here buddy, Ill be back. ”
Then, she began to walk away, slowly picking up momentum. A white magical glow began to surround her, empowering her slender body with inhuman strength and speed. Her spirit had been roused, like a dragon awakened from a long slumber to the smell of prey.
”Lets go, Aatazaz. ”
Aatazaz closed his eyes and surrendered. He could not deny her will. Even if it was foolish, Alessia was a White Tiger. Her word was law to Aatazaz. A moment later, a fiery red glow surrounded his body. Aatazazs own spirit, determined to protect Alessia, began to awaken. He hopped off of Thornpest, ordered him to stay with Snowball, and responded to Alessia.
”So be it. ”
As the two raced off into the distance, the young Snowball let out a low yowl of frustration. This was the first time its master had been so far away. Thornpest, who had done this song and dance a thousand times before, sat on the ground and watched his master disappear beyond the horizon.
Within minutes, they arrived at the scene. Alessia looked down from a hill, gazing at the execution of a young boy in tattered rags that was about to take place before her very eyes. Her mind quickly reacted, and without so much as a word to Aatazaz, she bolted down the hill like a white lightning bolt. Her momentum carried her across the ground in a blur, arriving before the trio in no time.
In one smooth motion, she reached down to her sword and unleashed it, quickly knocking away the cheap piece of iron. As the man tumbled backwards from the force of her blow, she spoke in a deadly serious tone, a rarity for her.
”Thats enough. ”
The man on the ground had wild black hair, unnervingly calm gray eyes, and a scrawny body. He looked up at her and spoke.
”Ivan. Kill her. ”
Alessia grabbed the shirt of the slave boy and bounded backwards as the ground where she had just been standing exploded. A large seven foot tall man, rivaling Aatazaz, stood in a crater looking at her with a frown. He hoisted a huge Warhammer onto his shoulder, which he had seemingly pulled from nowhere.
”Don go playing hero, little lady. Be a shame to mess that pretty face of yours up. ”
Alessia replied with a smirk. ”Im flattered, but I don think you should be worrying about me. ”
The man shrugged.
”Have it your way. ”
The man slammed his foot into the ground and accelerated towards her. The ground exploded, showering the area with uprooted dirt and dust. However, Alessia was already gone. A hundred of or so feet away, Alessia gently set the boy on the ground and spoke to him.
”Rest. Ill be back. ”
The boy made no response. His eyes were lifeless and dead, which worried Alessia, but she couldn focus on that right now. She had to get away from him or the boy would be caught in the battle between her and Ivan.
At the same time, Aatazaz came charging towards the fight with a roar of rage in his throat. His red hair and beard billowed in the wind of his passage as he swung his ax overhead. His body landed in front of Ivan like a red meteor.
An instant later, the ax was brought down, its blue edge glinting in the sunlight. It should have bisected Ivan, but out of nowhere, Sessair had stopped it with his bare hands, which had become black as night. The force from Aatazazs swing caused his legs to sink into the ground up to his knees. The wind blew widely.
Sessair grunted in pain, his expression distorting into a snarl.
”Cease your meddling, animals! ”
Aatazaz answered the man with his right leg, hitting Sessair squarely in the chest with a front kick. Sessair was blown backwards, ripped up out of the ground by force.
As Sessair flew backwards, his body slowed down before he could hit anything. For a moment, he hovered in the air, a black aura covering his body. His eyes turned pitch black. An ominous feeling filled the air, a hundred times more powerful than before.
”To think I would have to reveal myself to mere mammals . . . but it doesn matter. I shall show you the true power of the Zelksis! Dimitte virtutem quae intus est! ”
Once he had finished his incantation, Alessia gasped and fell to her knees. It was as if she had been suddenly dunked by ice-cold water and then had a thousand pounds hefted onto her shoulders. Her soul itself felt despair under this crushing weight. It was as if her body had been pierced by a thousand arrows at once. It was as though all hope had been stripped from her heart and left her with only a hollow shell. This was the power of Corruption, a type of energy only Zelksis could use. Just moving her head up to look at Sessair took considerable effort. When Alessia saw what Sessair had become, she almost looked away in disgust. Beside her, Ivan muttered to himself in horror.
”What the hell is that? ”
Sessair had shed his previous human form. Four insect wings had sprouted from his back, each longer than his own body. His two arms had each split and transformed into two more thin but razor sharp appendages, giving him four arms in total. His skin had grown darker, becoming a shiny black plate armor. His face now had four compound eyes, two in the front and two on the side of his head. His formerly human mouth had split apart, forming two mandibles which looked like they could chop a human in half with one crunch. A thick black stinger protruded from the tip of his abdomen.
Alessia would have been stuck on the ground unable to move if not for Aatazaz. His fire-red spirit surrounded her, burning away the fear which Sessair had implanted inside her. She felt warmth fill her soul, reinvigorating her.
”Alessia, steel yourself. Its unbecoming of you to kneel to this monster. ”
Alessia got to her feet, ashamed of herself.
”It won happen again. ”
”Good. Ill deal with this insect. Make sure that the human doesn interfere. ”
Alessia leaped forward, rapidly approaching Ivan. He was staring at Sessair like he was in a trance. He was so captured and horrified by Sessairs transformation, that he barely even noticed Alessia. Alessia sympathized with him, since she had been similarly immobilized not just a few seconds ago. If not for Aatazaz, she would have been just like Ivan. When he finally came back to himself, it was too late. She was already upon him, sword raised. As she brought her blade down from above, she roared out a spell, speaking in the true language.
Alessias blue blade began to shine as it was empowered with her spirit. Its razor sharp edge attained a white glow, wrapped up and empowered by her energy. Ivan raised his hammer in a last ditch attempt to save himself.
While he succeeded in keeping himself alive, he still paid a heavy price for his foolishness. He should have never allowed his focus to waver. Alessias blade sliced right through his hammer as if it was butter, leaving a deep gash in the side of the mans leg. Ivan winced in pain, but leapt backwards, putting space between the two of them. He looked at Alessia with annoyance.
”Spirit magic . . .just what I would expect from one of you animals. ”
Alessias expression held no remorse. She raised her sword and pointed it at the weaponless human before her.
”This animal is about to take your life. Surrender, you have no weapon. ”
”Surrender? You gotta be kidding me. Sessair would have me killed if I lost to a prissy princess like you. ”
”That Insectoid wearing the mask of a human will be dead within the hour. Aatazaz is a Crimson Lion of Clan Felina, one of the few who have reached the pinnacle of what it means to be Zaohin. Hes slain countless insects like the one you call Sessair. ”
”Don really care what Sessair is as long as he keeps the money flowing. Also, why the hell would a Crimson Lion be in Asteron? Youve got to make up some better lies ki- ”
Right in the middle of his sentence, an explosion rang out across the battlefield. A blastwave swept across the great plains, almost knocking the two of them off their feet. In the distance, a mushroom cloud rose high into the sky. Ivan paled while Alessia smirked.
”Can you feel it? The spirit pressure of a Crimson Lion . . . my mentor, Lord Aatazaz, is going to crush the one you call Sessair. Aatazaz never loses. ”
In the distance, Ivan and Alessia could feel the spiritual pressure of Aatazaz and the Corruption of Sessair rising at an alarming rate. Their energies collided with each other, swirling together in a storm of black and red light. Aatazas spirit felt wild, uncontrolled, and warm, like a raging bonfire. Sessairs Corruption was the complete opposite. Cold, oppressive, and deadly. Every time Sessair increased his output of corruption, Aatazaz matched it with his unyielding spirit. They were locked in a stalemate for now, but the battle kept getting more and more out of hand. As the two warriors battled, the area around them became barren, black, and desolate. Aatazazs spirit turned the land to ash with its intense heat, while Sessairs Corruption made any and all life wither and die.
As Ivan gazed at their battle, he came to understand that Alessia spoke no lie. He turned back to Alessia, his face grim with determination.
”A real crimson lion . . .but it makes no difference. ”
Ivan raised his fists.
”Ive got bills to pay. ”
Alessia sneered with disgust as she lost her temper.
”Does your greed have no bounds!? No amount of money is worth someones life! ”
Ivans expression twisted with rage.
”Shut the hell up! You goddamn nobles are all the same! You have no idea what we, the common folk, have to do just to survive! Don sit there and act all righteous! ”
Alessia was taken aback for a moment. Ivan continued, the air around him began to vibrate and shake as his emotions soared.
”You know nothing of what it means to struggle! I bet youve never worked a day in your life! Youve never had to worry whether your wife will get the medicine she needs, or if you have enough money to send your daughter to school! Youve never had to live day by day, constantly trying to make ends meet! ”
The more he spoke, the more pressure Alessia could feel. It wasn the spirit that Alessia and Aatazaz used, nor was it the corruption of Sessair. It was the type of energy which humans harnessed, Mana. It released no light in the air, but it was still there. If spirit was wild and Corruption was oppressive, then mana was calm and calculating.
”Ill do what it takes to provide for my family. You would never understand the struggles of the poor, you entitled little brat! Gladium, scutum et arma! ”
The mana surrounding him condensed itself, forming a double-edged longsword, circular shield, and armor which wrapped itself around his body. Each was clear like glass, but Alessia didn doubt their hardness. She had never seen human magic before, but she had read about it. Humans made up for their weak bodies by being crafty with their mana. Mana was different from spirit in that it was able to perform much more complex spells. It was also capable of being directed in a variety of ways. In short, if Spirit was a hammer, then Mana was a chisel. This was her first time facing off against it.
Ivan wasted no time, exploding towards Alessia with a hurricane at his back. She tried to dodge out of the way as best as she could, but he was faster than before. His mana-armor seemed to boost his agility by manipulating the air around him. With speed that couldn compare to before, he arrived before her, swinging his mana blade down upon her head. Without any other option, Alessia raised her sword to block, empowering her sword with her own spirit.
Her sword began to emit a white light as it collided with Ivans mana-blade. As Mana and Spirit met, both blades let out a high-pitched screech; the sound of metal grinding against metal. Both of them grunted as they pushed each other, their swords locked.
After a few moments, Alessias spirit overpowered Ivans mana. With a powerful shove, Ivan was knocked backwards a few feet. His body flew over the edge of a nearby hill, rolling and tumbling along the ground below. He regained control after landing on his back. Upon looking up, he could see Alessia descending upon him from the sky like a bird of prey.
Ivan titled his head to the right, dodging Alessias thrusting blade as he rolled away. He quickly got to his feet, but not before Alessia was upon him again. Her furious assault gave him no room to breathe, so he threw his shield up to protect himself. Her blows rained down on his shield, and before long, his shield broke. As his Mana-shield shattered into a thousand pieces, Ivan roared out a spell.
”Vento vehi!! ”
A huge gust of wind blew the thousands of tiny shards of Ivans mana shield through the air towards Alessia. Knowing that it was impossible to dodge, Alessia raised her right arm to protect her face while using her sword to cover some of her body. The shards of his shield, propelled by the wind, shredded her skin and clothes to pieces. While the damage was only skin-deep, it still hurt like hell, like receiving thousands of paper cuts all at once.
As Alessia dropped her arm, her eyes widened as she saw Ivan right in front of her, his blade accelerating towards her chest. While she had been protecting herself from the remains of his shield, he had been charging towards her.
Alessia had been warned that humans were crafty with their use of Mana and now she was learning it first hand. In an effort to stop a fatal blow, she moved her sword a few inches to the right, covering her heart. Ivans thrust bounced off her sword, but still sent Alessia careening backwards. As she hit the ground, all of the cuts she had received before screamed out in protest.
Knowing that Ivan would be upon her any moment, Alessia channeled more of her spirit into her body. Her muscles began to expand, and her veins popped out abnormally. It was a sign of her exceeding her limits. Her body could only handle so much spirit before it began to break, but she had a way around this. It wasn an actual solution, but it would allow her to fight at her absolute best, if only for a few minutes. A spell that only advanced Zaohin warriors could use. Usually, only old, experienced warriors could use this spell, but Alessia supplemented experience with pure talent. She was a prodigy, through and through.
”O bestia deus, domine bestiarum, da mihi fortitudinem tuam! ”
The pain of her body reached new heights, but she ignored it. Her tail and ears began to widely flick and twitch randomly while her body began to shine bright. The biggest change was in her eyes. Her pupils had become slits instead of circles, similar to what you would see in a tiger or cat.
Ivans expression changed drastically when he saw Alessia transform like this. He looked like hed just witnessed a ghost.
e so young and you can already channel the Spirit of the divine beast? What the hell kind of sick joke is this! ”
Ivans expression twisted with anger as he drew his longsword and charged toward her with renewed strength.
”Damn it all! ”
However, it mattered not. Alessias speed had almost tripled now. She quickly ducked under his swing and sliced his hand clean off. His sword and hand fell to the ground, spewing blood everywhere like a broken water fountain.
Ivan stumbled backwards, clutching his stump with a dumbfounded expression. He quickly reformed another mana-blade to use, but it was only delaying the inevitable. He was now fighting with his non-dominant hand. Alessias movements, while crude and lacking polish, were extremely fast. Even Ivan, who had fought in many multiple wars and hundreds of battles, found it hard to keep up with Alessia. Alessia had closed the gap with raw power.
In less than a minute, Alessia completely beat Ivan, but she did not kill him. He fell to his knees and tried to cast one last spell, but before he could finish, Alessia knocked him out cold with a blow to the head. Alessia immediately raced off into the distance towards Aatazaz and Sessair, climbing a hill to get a view of their battle. What she saw astonished her.
Aataza and Sessair were locked in combat as she had expected, but that wasn what surprised her. It was what she felt as they clashed with each other that made her gasp. The spiritual pressure from her master had risen to heights that she could barely even believe, yet she was seeing it with her own eyes. Alessia, who was hundreds of meters away, could still feel her skin burning from the heat.
Aatazaz stood at the center of a raging tornado of red spirit that rose high into the sky, almost touching the clouds. His spirit burned with an intense flame that illuminated the entire area. At its core, it was pure and untouched by Sessairs Corruption. Aatazaz was a true Crimson Lion. Upon seeing this strength, Alessia realized how long she had to go. She couldn even begin to picture herself wielding this kind of strength. It was far, far beyond her reach at the moment.
Faced with such a hurricane of flame, Sessair was understandably overwhelmed. Alessia knew that she could never have defeated Sessair. The fact that he had held on this long spoke volumes about his strength. However, he was losing now. His body was glowing red, like molten metal. His body was falling apart to the heat of the storm Aatazaz wielded. The screams he released didn sound human. It sounded as though he was screaming in agony.
Eventually, after a few more minutes of struggle, the flames died down. Standing at the center of a blackened wasteland, Aatazaz lowered his ax above the body of Sessair. Sensing the battle was drawing to a conclusion, Alessia made her way to Aatazaz. Once she was a few feet from him, she spoke.
”I took care of the human man. He is knocked out cold over the hill. ”
Aatazaz didn turn to look at Alessia, his gaze focused on the twitching insectoid body of Sessair.
”And the boy? ”
Alessia pointed into the distance as she spoke.
”He is safe. I told him to rest and set him down over there. ”
”Good. Now then, any last words, insect? ”
Sessairs spoke, but his words were so quiet that they couldn hear them.Its mandibles were fused together by the heat.
e going to have to speak up. ”
Sessairs voice sounded muffled, but he roared loudly so that they would be able to hear him. In one final show of strength, he lurched forwards to strike Aatazaz. Even as his body was falling apart in some places while fused together in others, he still managed to bring himself to his feet.
”For the glory of the queen! ”
Sessair tried to swing at Aatazaz, but it was pitifully slow and weak. The attack merely bounced off of Aatazaz shoulder, not even leaving a scratch. Aatazaz then proceeded to bisect Sessair, splitting him straight down the middle. Sessairs two halves fell to the earth with a dull thud, spraying dark green fluid all over the surrounding area. Aatazaz waved his hand, releasing a burst of spirit that evaporated the liquid before it could fall on him. He stared at the twitching corpse and quietly cursed the insect.
”Have fun in hell, Insect. ”
When I opened my eyes, I was no longer on the northern plains of Asteron. I vaguely remember some battle going on while I simply laid in the grass, but thats it. Not that I really cared anyways.
The place where I now resided was completely white. Blindingly so. An endlessly expanse of nothing. Upon turning around, I saw four figures before me.
Three had humanoid figures, while one resembled some kind of animal. The first of the three humanoid figures was completely beautiful like an angel. Long golden hair, only barely hiding her pointy ears. She also had a perfect face and skin that glowed like a pearl. She wore a long dress which flowed elegantly down to her feet. She smiled at me, but I felt nothing from it. She resembled what I had heard the elves looked like.
The second humanoid figure was extremely tall, standing at twelve feet tall. He was muscular with tanned skin, huge boulder shoulders, multiple battle scars, and a sword at his waist. His hair was short and dark, like hed spent much time outdoors and in the sun. His eyes were also dark, but they held a gentle gaze to them. He didn smile, but his expression wasn scary, like an old stoic grandfather. He reminded me of a giant.
The third figure was about the size of a normal human with brown hair, green eyes, and an average build. He was dressed in black and browns, like the average human civilian of some city. His eyes were sharp and piercing, like they could see every part of his soul. In his right hand he held a book, but it didn interest me. He looked like a normal human, albeit with strange eyes.
Lastly, the one which resembled an animal. It was like a mix of every animal I had ever seen. Its head had a lions head with ears of a wolf. It had the legs of a deer, the arms of a bear, the torso of a tiger, the tail of a dragon, the wings of a bird, and the hooves of a goat. It was strange, to say the least, but the presence it gave off was wild and uncontrolled, like the waves of an ocean in turmoil. I had never seen anything like it.
As I observed all four of these strange beings, the one which resembled the average human spoke.
”You look like a walking corpse, although I don blame you after all you went through. ”
I couldn remember what I went through. All I remembered was pain. Emotional and physical. Thats all life was. Pain. Endless pain. Even now, unfathomable pain radiates through my entire soul. It felt as though someone had torn out all of my guts and left me for dead in the dirt. It felt like the love of my life had left me for someone else. It felt like everything I had ever worked towards had been thrown in the trash. It felt . . . so incredibly, amazingly, inconceivably horrible. It was something I could never put into words. It hurt so bad and I just wanted it to end already.
The one who resembled a lady spoke. Her voice was filled with sorrow.
”We have seen your memories, child. I know how much it must hurt, but please find it within yourself to keep living. ”
I wanted to scream at her that she had no idea what she was talking about. She had no idea what she was talking about. She couldn possibly fathom what I was going through. I hated her, but even more powerful than my anger was my pain. Pain. Endless pain. Pain, pain, pain, pain. pain, pain, pain, pain, pain.
The tall one spoke in a deep, rumbling voice.
”You must be brave. I understand the pain you are going through. Existing with a shattered soul is no small feat, but even so, you must find a way forward. For the greater good of the world, you must forge onwards. ”
I interrupted him. The hatred inside me had grown strong enough to overcome the pain. I finally found my voice to speak through the pain. With all my strength, I let out barely a whisper.
”Kill me. ”
I sought death. I lusted for its sweet relief. I hated existing. This pain, endless pain! Life is torture, and nothing more! I hated it! I loathed it! I despised it! It made me want to tear apart the universe to be rid of it forever! If only this was the end, if only that would stop hurting. If only I could die and leave behind all of this, then perhaps I could move on. Anything was better than this.
These four beings gazed at me, each of their eyes filled with sorrow. The one who looked human let out a long sigh.
”We can do that. Im sorry, but youll have to abide by our selfishness for now. ”
My eyes filled with tears. I fell to my knees and grabbed at his clothes like a beggar. Just speaking through the pain took effort.
”Please. End! ME! ”
He said nothing. I began to sob, beating his body with my hands. My blows did nothing. The pain continued. My soul ached. Even as I struck the man, he still spoke with care in his voice. His voice was soft now, but it had a firm ring to it.
”I know it hurts now. I know youll never forgive us . . . and Im sorry, but the world needs your strength. ”
Then, he placed his hand upon my head. I felt a strong heat burn my forehead and spread throughout my body. After a moment, the pain got even stronger, rising to new heights. Somehow, it surpassed what I even thought possible. It felt like someone was forcibly shoving pieces of glass through my heart
I didn even flinch. I didn even move. I couldn . I couldn even think through the pain. I lost all perception of time. Existence was only pain.
There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain. There was only pain.
After who knows how long, my mind faded into nothingness.
The four beings sat alone in silence. The white expanse of nothingness offered no background noises to comfort them. The lady with golden hair let out a deep sigh.
”It pains me to see such a troubled child. I wish we could do more for him. ”
The one resembling a human nodded, his face just as solemn.
”I put a spell to hold his soul together for now. . . but I couldn reforge it completely. Its like I just put some duct tape on a shattered piece of glass . . . not a long term solution. ”
The tall giant muttered while closing his eyes.
”Not good. How much more can we interfere with the mortal plane before the Divine Pact activates? ”
The one who the giant called god-mage looked at his hands with annoyance.
”I used everything we had left to make sure he didn die. Just sticking his soul back together took every last drop of divinity we had saved up. All we can do is wait and stockpile enough power to intervene once more. ”
The beast which looked like it was made up from multiple animals let loose a growl of annoyance. The four of them shared in his frustration. The one with golden hair spoke with sorrow.
”The priests will wonder why weve gone silent. ”
The one resembling a human shook his head with annoyance written all over his face.
”Nothing we can do, no way for us to know when a soul like his would be born. Im willing to bet everyone on him. ”
The golden haired lady smiled and spoke.
”If the God-mage of Stratagem thinks so, Ill bet everyone on him as well. ”
”As will I. ” The giant voiced his agreement.
The beast of multiple animals let out a growl of approvement. The god-mage smiled, greatly touched by their trust.
”All we can do now is watch and trust in him. Don disappoint me, ******. ”
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