The world is in utter turmoil as the screams of people in agony and despair spread like the instantaneous sound of hundreds of thousands of bombs exploding. This is the day of prophecy, the day of the great purge, the day of final judgement, rapture, the end of man, the day is the Apocalypse.
With a scythe resting on his shoulder, a man clad in black sits atop a hill overlooking a large valley in the countryside of Jerusalem. This man has no affiliation with either heaven or hell, yet he is the most important to both sides. Over the millennia he has had many names, such as shinigami, the god of death, the grim reaper; but the tall pale faced man clad in black has given himself a name that speaks to how he feels about his destiny. The destiny of forever being feared by humans, and used like a slave to the will of Satan and God. He has chosen to name himself Rage.
Rage is about to witness the greatest and most important battle in the history of man, in this, the valley of Harmagiddo will be the foretold battle of Armageddon.
Out in the distance approaches an army of millions of men and demons, a dark aura of hate and bloodlust seemingly cascades over the massive collection of desperate souls.
All humans fooled into believing they will be saved for fighting against God bear the brand of 666 on their forehead as proof of loyalty, with the brand there is no turning back for them. They have chosen to fight on the side of the beast leading them all forward. The Beast is the Anti-Christ.
Chosen by Satan to rule his army, this great deceiver of man looks toward the opposite side of the valley, where he gazes at the golden light of God’s army, led by none other than Jesus Christ. After analyzing the size of the opposing force a confident grin appears on his face, he can clearly see that his army largely outnumbers the other. With the simple rising and dropping of his hand the two forces charge toward each other. The battle prophesied will now commence, with the face of everything hanging in the balance.
With a sigh of resignation, Rage looks upon the landscape littered with the forms of millions of people; their movements picking up dust and the continuous sounds of their weapons and battlecries are almost deafening.
He stands to his feet and readies his scythe, he knows that the work forthcoming for him will be taxing, and he almost looks disgusted as the two forces collide.
“So it begins."
Chapter 1: The End of Royalty
1000 years after the Apocalypse...
The peace after the Apocalypse foretold in the book of revelations never happened. It was said that the aftermath would bring about a thousand years of prosperity to man, but the battle didn’t go as planned. Instead, both forces had just about completely destroyed each other. The result of the massive war has left a world drastically different, the map of the land has completely changed. The continents have been slightly broken apart and shifted closer towards each other, certain countries are now connected making travel much more simple. As a result many different surviving cultures have integrated, and after the battle the world was left with just 1/5th of its original population, the extinction level even left humanity in shambles.
In God’s final judgment, the belongings of the remaining humans were taken away, this included governments, weapons, knowledge, history, even basic human identity was returned to the heavens as if to give them one final chance to start over.
And so in the thousand years since the restart, the human race has worked their way back to grandeur; although there are no cars, guns or planes, the cities and roads much more resemble the drawings of ancient Alexandria or the fabled Atlantis instead of the metropolises of New York or Tokyo. So while the human race is closer to its past intellectual level, they are still slightly behind by many generations.
There are three superpowers of this new world. La’Juune of the west, Troy to the north, and Eiyalazo to the east.
These three Kingdoms have been at an on and off war since their founding, thus bringing hate and animosity that will likely never fade. Due to the power struggle of obtaining land in each other’s country, many of the people who were once occupied tell of terrible tragedies bestowed on them by the opposing nations.
However, countless years of conflict have been at a dreadful cost to mind, body, and purse, and the leaders and their people have grown weary of the accumulating toll. After 10 years of relative peace after their biggest war to date, the three Kingdoms have decided it is now time for an attempt at permanent peace.
Through arranged marriages between the princes and princesses of the three countries, the royal families will call a truce to generations of past wars and conflicts and become allies under the bravado of obtaining world peace.
A horse drawn carriage with 20 guards armed with swords, shields, and silver armor moves slowly on a marble road through a temperate forest. There are six women sitting in the extravagantly designed carriage. Four of whom are dressed in nun attire. “You should be happy Princess Trojia, this could really be the first step to world peace you know.” said a woman dressed in armor.
The princess she is addressing has glowing blonde hair and deep forest green eyes that are peering out of the window. She looks agitated as she stiffly replies, "Niomyo, there’s no such thing as world peace. This so-called tri-alliance between La’Juune, Troy, and Eiyalazo is just a ploy to see who can gather the most territory from the north and south, only to declare war on each other once they have what they want. You should know how my mother and the other Kings think by now.”
The princess is only sixteen but gives off the impression that she is wise beyond her years.
”Come on now, that can’t happen, you’ll have some kind of control over La’Juune in the future as the Princess and then--" ”You’re right.” Trojia swiftly interrupts, “’ll have to poison the King quickly so I can become the Queen and stop this mess.” Her stern declaration was accompanied by a wry smile, but her bodyguard didn’t notice.
With a shocked look on her face, the brown haired guard exclaims, ”You can’t be serious!?”
”Of course I'm kidding, you idiot."
A loud sigh of relief spread through the inside of the carriage as all the five women held their chests to control the nervous beats of their hearts.
”But... I truly don’t want to get married, not like this, and especially not to that spoiled brat of a prince.”
Paying no mind to the concerned glares of the four nuns sitting across and next to her, Trojia blankly gazes out the window towards the greenery of the forest.
Something in the distance flashes and catches her eye when she says, ”Hey Niomyo, I remember overhearing our archbishop saying that almost half of La’Juune’s population is against these marriages, similar to how we Trojans feel... you don’t think that there will be any retaliation from radicals on our brigade right?”
“I’m not sure, but we’ll be meeting with the commander of their army in a few miles for added protection just in case. Besides, I’ll be here to protect you!”
As soon as Niomyo finished talking...
A loud, fiery explosion rips through the right side of the carriage, two of the four nuns seemingly disappear in smoke and flame. As the carriage suddenly halts; on the side of the carriage where she is seated, Trojia looks back out the window in shock and sees what the flashing was that caught her eye earlier.
A man clad in camouflage apparel with a painted face is pointing a bow and arrow directly at the window of the carriage. Directly at the face of the young princess.
One of the nuns sitting next to Trojia shouts, “Get down!!!” as she pushes Trojia to the floor.
The green eyes of the teenager are still frozen as she looks up at the face of the one pushing her down, she sees the woman show a strained smile as if knowing what is about to happen and resigning herself to it. A short moment later, an arrow explodes through the temples of her head. Blood sprays all throughout the cabin stains the frilly white dress of the princess, and on to the unconscious faces of the last surviving nun and the maiden bodyguard Niomyo.
Seeing someone die for the first time, the sheltered princess faints, only to wake up bound and gagged by a surrounding group of fifteen men a short time later.
One man notices the frightened glares of the princess and proceeds to remove the gag cloth from her mouth.
Trojia looks around her only to see the huddled mass of armored dead bodies of all the guards protecting her carriage just moments earlier. She then nervously asks, ”An ambush? Why? Who are you people!?”
A man approaches dressed in armor with a fur coat; with this outfit it’s apparent that he is the one in charge.
With a satisfied smile he answers, ”You know, I had a daughter once, she was around your age when the armies of Troy invaded our land and burned down my village. She’d be damn near 30 now if she wasn’t murdered by your army.”
”Where is my bodyguard and the nuns who were with me in the carriage?” Trojia demands, ignoring the story of the man.
Angered by the tone of the princess's voice the man licks his lips whe he replies, “They’re being taken care of.”
The wise beyond her years teenager knows exactly what that implies and shouts, “Don’t you dare lay a finger on them!”
“I don’t think you understand the position you’re in, we are the ones in control here, not the kings or royal families. How can we let this disgraceful marriage happen? Not while the evils of your country are still so fresh in our minds. It’s time we stand up for ourselves if our King won’t do it for us. With you dead, we can avenge our fallen comrades and keep La’Juune for the La’Juutians.”
Trojia looks at the man, disgusted, as his face turns distorted with a twisted smile.
“Of course, we can’t let an opportunity for the spoils of war to pass us by, it’s not often that mere peasants like us get a chance to put our hands on the untouchable body of a princess.” He then shouts towards the younger men in the group. “Who wants to be the first to take her!?”
Seeing three men shove at each other while making their way closer to Trojia, she finally reveals an expression of fear while thinking to herself that she’d much rather die.
One of the young men gets within a few feet of her and reaches out his hand, attempting to grab her arm.
Trojia tightly closed her teary eyes, begging in her mind for someone to help even though she knows that she is all alone and helpless.. Suddenly a ghastly scream is heard, it’s the approaching young man holding the area where his hand should be, there is nothing there but blood and bone.
Trojia looks up as a reaction to the sound and sees a whitish silver flash, dart in every direction as her captors collapse one by one. As quickly as the flash started, the blur of the moment ended, and all of the men who sought to kill the princess were writhing on the ground in pain.
In the midst of all the carnage stood a light brown skinned man with silver hair wearing a white long sleeved shirt with an etching of a dove on his chest. He confidently holds a red diamond sword that’s of an unfamiliar shape compared to any weapon she’s seen before. The man turns to look at Trojia with his unusual light green eyes that have pupils that look more like a reptile than a human.
“Are you okay?”
Trojia, still in shock cannot utter a word, she is still overwhelmed by his appearance.
He sheaths his sword, reaches out his hand and unties the ropes that bound the princess's arms; Trojia doesn’t even flinch as her eyes are set on the face of the man who looks not much older than her.
He then holds his hand out to help her back to her feet, the sun shining through his silver hair made his appearance even more angel-like as she looked up at him.
Trojia obliges and grabs his hand.
As soon as they touch, her heart races and beats like never before, there is an energy about his presence that sends shockwaves of electricity through her body.
Through her dried throat she nervously asks, ”Why did you help me?”
The young man smiles and explains, ”Because you were in trouble.”
He turns his body and begins to walk away from her.
Without realizing it, her instincts take over and she grabs the sleeve of his shirt.
“Who are you?”
"I’m just someone trying to do good.”
Before the man could say anything more, the sound of approaching horses and voices are heard echoing through the trees and coming from down the marble road. After a few short moments they are now visible, it is the La’Juutian army on its way to the late rescue.
The young man looks at Trojia with another smile, “I’d rather not have to explain myself to them. I’ll see myself out.”
He then waves goodbye and jumps freakishly high over the trees and disappears from sight.
Trojia only had time to shout, “Wait!”
But it was too late, the hero who saved her had made his exit before any more pleasantries could be exchanged.
“I never got to thank you….”
The La’Juutian army arrives at the scene of the massacre with Niomyo in tow, overwhelmed with happiness the princess’s bodyguard runs at Trojia while exclaiming, “Princess! I'm so glad to see your okay!”
She then gets on her knees, and with sorrowful eyes to the floor she says, “I'm so sorry... I failed to protect you, please punish me as you deem fit princess.”
Trojia ignores the words of her servant and with a concerned glare replies, “What did they do to you, Niomyo?”
Surprised at the princess’s concern, Niomyo hesitantly answers, “They didn't do anything, thank goodness the army came just in time to save me... but our nun Sherry wasn’t so lucky, they chose her first.”
It was obvious that Niomyo was traumatized by the happenings of this incident, so Trojia didn’t pry any further.
Breaking their moment of silence, a powerful voice is heard coming from behind them.
“Let’s get going towards the city, your highness, our King awaits your arrival. I’ll leave behind some men to bury the dead. And I'll make sure that the attackers will never see the light of another day.”
The voice came from a tall black man decorated in an extravagant suit of golden armor. He is Napoleon Leopolo, the world famous twenty six year old military leader who has been the Commanding General of the powerful army of La’Juune since the young age of fifteen. Next to the King of La’Juune, he is the most hated man in Troy; he is responsible for tens of thousands of Trojan deaths in his eleven year rule.
Napoleon walks to within a couple yards of princess Trojia, he bows and introduces himself in such a humble way it catches the wise teenage royal completely off guard. Trojia has only ever heard of the horror stories that surround this man’s legend, even her own father had fought with Napoleon and barely escaped with his life. So having him not appear as the monster she had imagined in her head left her not knowing how to react. “I don’t need an introduction from you.”
The General shows an expressionless face as if knowing exactly what she implied, but purposely ignores the malice in her tone when he asks, "Shall we? “
The group travels for another few hours or so until they reach the apex of a large hill, and over that hill in a valley is the sight of the renowned city of grandeur. The Capital City of La’Juune.
A seemingly endless amount of incredibly designed buildings stretch across the horizon as it gives off a golden bluish tint, this is the first time the princess of Troy ever visited La’Juune and is amazed that the rumors of what it looked like were actually true.
After proceeding down the hill and through the center of the town, they are greeted with a parade of people that stretched for miles down the road they traveled on; flower pedals, music, and the smell of food flowing through the air welcomes them warmly.
“Woah! I thought the people of La’Juune didn’t want this alliance?” says Niomyo, who is entranced by all the colors of the surrounding buildings and people.
Trojia, who is equally mesmerized by this but refuses to show it, says with suspicion, “It seems like they were already in the process of celebrating someone else's arrival, doesn’t it?”
“Now that you mention it, it kind of does.”
“Yeah, could it be that ‘they’ are here as well?”
After quite some time traversing the busy city streets, they reach the large castle of the King, the castle stretches dozens of stories up and seemingly shines in gold as they enter. Almost every member of the army that accompanied them to gates of the castle were left outside, and only two of them are with general Napoleon who is now leading Niomyo and Trojia through the labyrinth like innards of the massive castle.
Finally after what seems like a long walk, they are led to the top suite of the castle; it is a luxurious room with gorgeous oak furnishings and rare paintings. Underneath their feet are expensive rugs that they both almost feel guilty to even stand on. This room really shows off the riches of the La’Juutian Kingdom, from the massive windows allowing sunlight in to the very details of the porphyry marble columns along the walls of the room.
“Please wait here and wash up, there is a change of clothes in the bathroom for you both.” Napoleon informs the two women, “the others will be here shortly so please refrain from taking too long.”
Trojia is a little offended by his choice of words because she felt she was being talked down to.
Just as she was about to say something snippy in reply, she was interrupted by a bowing Niomyo saying, “Thank you for saving my life, General.”
Much to the surprise of both women, Napoleon reveals a slight smile and humbly replies, “You’re welcome.”
He then shuts the door and the two of them proceed to the bath.
After being told the story of what happened by Niomyo, Trojia is somewhat grateful to the great Trojan murdering general for just a brief moment for saving the life of her precious guard.
Soon after changing into a fresh pair of nicely made clothes, the mood changes when they exit the bathroom and look towards the giant window on the other side of the massive living room. That's when they see the figures of two women with two stealthily dressed men; they aren’t La’Juutian, rather they are the two princesses and bodyguards of the eastern country of Eiyalazo.
“What the hell are you doing here!?” yells the Eiyalazonian princess with pinkish hair and bright purple eyes.
“Hmph, princess Daey DiVore, I see you're as loud as ever.” Trojia replies with a puff out of her nose.
Eiyalazo and Troy were once allies in a war against La’Juune ten years ago, so the two princesses are quite familiar with each other. But after the war was called a truce due to a worldwide drought, the two allies became enemies immediately afterwards because of disagreements in economic policies. They also fought amongst themselves in bloody battles for the rights to the remaining lakes and rivers on the border between the two countries.
The former childhood friends now hold animosity towards one another, though to Trojia, the only one who really takes the grudge to heart is Daey. “Um... it is nice to see you again after all this time Trojia.” The soft spoken voice came from the fifteen year old younger sister of the noisy eighteen year old princess.
She resembles her older sibling but her hair is black. She has always been shy, gentle and kind, much to the opposite of Daey. Trojia very much likes Niera and the two were both very close friends before their country’s relations took a turn for the worse.
"It’s great to see you too Niera, we’ve all grown so much since the last time we were together. I wasn’t told that we were all going to be here at the same time, so this is a nice surprise.”
The official marrying age of La’Juune is sixteen, so the original plan was to have the elder sister Daey, marry the middle prince of La’Juune, and the younger sister Niera, marry the youngest at the same time. But both the young ones are under the age requirement, so it’s odd that Niera was even summoned in the first place.
“We were told that it was important to visit now to officially become engaged to the Princes. We weren’t told that Trojans would be here at the same time! I'm not ready to be around you people yet!” Daey shouts.
Ignoring Daey’s insult, Trojia replies, “That’s odd, that wasn’t mentioned to me either. I was summoned specifically to stay here forever as the prince’s wife... this is my first time in this country, I never had to go through some official engagement process."
Everyone in the room was left pondering what could possibly be the reason for this, but it was quickly shrugged off when the large doors opened and they laid eyes on the people who stepped in through the hallway.
In walks Napoleon, guiding a priest clad in church garments’; the priest is a black man with glowing purple eyes and starch white hair. Behind him walks two teenagers dressed in royal garments, beside the two are what seems to be their bodyguards, both of whom are women.
"Alright then let’s get the introductions over with, you all have met Napoleon, the priest here is Phoenix Navara, and last is my bodyguard Tsubiri.”
Those hurriedly spoken words came from the Crown Prince and rightful heir to the throne of La'Juune, Xavier Courlivet.
“So you didn’t feel the need to introduce yourself huh?” said the other young man next to the Crown Prince.
Xavier, like a snobby little kid replies, “They already know who I am of course!”
The other young man smiles with an embarrassed look on his face. ”As you might not know, this is prince Xavier, and I am Luke, the second prince of La’Juune, and next to me is my bodyguard Sora.”
Surprised at the difference in maturity between the two princes, Trojia and the rest introduce themselves as well. After the formalities, the doors shut and out comes the questions being pondered just moments earlier, but the questions oddly come from the bodyguard of princess Daey and Niera.
“If you don’t mind me asking, why was princess Niera summoned here for an official engagement while both princess Daey and Trojia never before had to visit for such a reason?” asked the tall man wearing a long coat that covers half of his face so only his black sunglasses can be seen over his eyes. He introduced himself as Cyrus in a previous conversation.
The other bodyguard is an elderly man named Rudo, he is wearing a short sleeved shirt that reveals the abundant amount of scars that tatter his arms. He joins in and asks, “And from what I see here, Niera’s future husband is not present with you all.”
“Geez! It’s not often that a prince gets bombarded with questions by mere bodyguards, know your place you worms!” Xavier exclaims. Once again embarrassed by his sibling’s words, the much more mature Luke tries to explain, “He is currently attending a military meeting, he should be arriving shortly.”
“What about the king? I do believe this is hardly a matter that can be handled by ourselves.” Trojia asked.
All of the La’Juutians look at each other in confusion when Luke softly says, “That’s a good question... we actually don’t know where he is, he was supposed to be the first one here.”
Everyone stood in silence as they thought about the oddness of the situation when they heard an unfamiliar voice coming from the other side of the room.
All the occupants of the room look at the source of the voice with surprise. A young man sits on a throne-like chair next to the fireplace, he has black hair and blood red eyes with white pupils. He is wearing a gray coat with a series of small chains that wrap around the linings of the coat, giving off a menacing look.
With a faint smile he then says to the confused group of royals, “It looks like everyone I need is here, except for the two stars of the show.”
Napoleon and the guards all simultaneously pull out their weapons and point it at the mysterious man.
“Who are you!? How did you get in here!?” shouts Cyrus.
The intruder mixes his faint smile with an emotionless glare and calmly responds, “I’ve been here the entire time, waiting...”
Trojia is genuinely frightened by this person as he gives off an evil aura that she’s never felt before. But she is somehow able to nervously force out a question of her own. "What do you mean the king is dead?”
The smile leaves the man and with a sharp stare he answers, “I killed him of course. Weak sin-filled men like him are easy to manipulate, once his use was up, I had him die.”
Wondering whether to believe him or not, the two princes of La'Juune were truly wary about what he said, they are experiencing a similar feeling to Trojia’s and have no reason not to believe him.
The man stands up and spreads his arms. “The answers to all of your questions lie with me. Though you will find them to be trivial once 'they' arrive... oh? One actually has just--”
A loud sound of glass breaking is heard, in seemingly slow motion the giant window the size of the room has exploded into shards, and in the middle of the ear ringing noise, an even louder scream is heard.
The voice comes from a light brown skinned man with silver hair.
Trojia, the only one who hasn’t prostrated on the ground, instantly recognized this person, he is the person that saved her.
The dust has settled and the young man is standing in the middle of the large room with his red diamond sword ready to slash down his enemy. Everyone has gotten up and looks in amazement as they come to terms of what just happened.
“What the hell! Did he just jump through the window!?” yelled Xavier.
He spoke the thoughts of the others who know that the suite they are in is at the top of the fifty story castle.
Paying no mind to the physics of the situation because she has seen the abnormality of this person just hours earlier, Trojia shouts out to him. But the look that he gave her in return was the complete opposite of what he expressed in the forest, a frown filled with hate caught Trojia off guard because she had only seen him smile.
The frown gave way to a confused look when he asked, “You!? What are you doing here?”
Hearing him ask that, she realizes that this boy had no clue who she was from the very beginning, and just like he said, he saved her for no reason other than the fact that she was in trouble.
Before she could reply, the man addressed as Damien spoke.
”Very good Ubica, my old friend, for a while I thought you wouldn’t come. Now there's just one more actor to join my play.”
After hearing Damien’s voice, it seemed like the young man named Ubica completely disregarded the presence of the others, “Where is she? Damien!”
When Damien simply glares silently in reply, Ubica is overcome with anger as the two make eye contact and he rushes in to attack.
This is when the sky outside suddenly turned a maddening black, filling the room with darkness.
The attention of all the occupants in the room was shifted toward the shattered window from which the darkness came.
“Ah, he’s finally here,” Damien said with a faint smile.
Emerging from the darkness is a white haired man clad in black standing on a black cloud, in his right hand he holds a large scythe. Ubica, not looking surprised at all clicks his tongue and spits out the name of the man, “Rage...”
Speechless, Trojia and the rest are frozen with the overwhelming aura of death spewing like toxic smoke from the man.
“You’ve been careless Ubica, today is the long awaited day I obtain your soul.”
“No Rage, here is where you're wrong." Damien interjects. "It’s you who is the careless one.”
Damien is holding out his hand and makes a gesture of a finger snap.
Rage reveals a face of shock. “Damien!?”
“Who would have thought this would happen after all this time.” Ubica said, posturing himself into a position to strike whoever makes their move first.
The tension between the three gave off the feeling of gods saying their final words to each other before squaring off in an epic battle. Naturally, everyone else was curious as to what was happening but the intense vibe from the three sucks the will to speak out of their mouths, all they could do is watch stiffly.
”Everything is going just as planned, if you all have not noticed yet, everyone in this room is here because of my will.”
Ubica looks confused by Damien’s words and Rage has a face of anger as he realizes he was actually too careless.
Rage charges at Damien, scythe in a readied position for a strike.
”It is time for the long awaited return of Father’s army, with this, soon enough, it will become a reality.”
Damien reveals a final look of content and with a snap of his finger he vanishes.
Suddenly a strong tornado like wind blows, the entire room starts shaking violently; all of the expensive furniture is sliding through the room at dangerous speeds. Wooden chairs slam into the walls and shatter, all the broken glass once on the floor is slicing through the air across the entire length of the vicinity.
All one can do is hit the deck and throw one's hands over the neck and head for protection, which is exactly what everyone other than Ubica and Rage are doing. On the contrary, they are simply just standing in the midst of the chaos glaring at one another like there wasn’t even a hint of danger.
Trojia looks up and sees the two men who are standing calmly in the center of the mass of glass, furniture, and other large objects when in the corner of her eyes she sees a large oak cabinet hurling towards her.
Not being able to move due to the shaking of the room, she is currently the textbook definition of being defenseless. All she could do was close her eyes and wait for the pain of the broken bones caused by the heavy object slamming into the side of her body.
The disturbing sound of the cabinet smashing into a person is heard, but it is not Trojia who was hit. She opens her big green eyes only to see the chest of someone who is embracing her tightly, tilting her head upward she sees Ubica. He took the full brunt of the force to protect the helpless princess, realizing this, Trojia’s face turns a little blue, she figures he must be terribly hurt after such an event.
“Are you alright!!?”
Ubica looks down at her and with a joke of a smile shouts, “What!? I can’t hear you, the wind is too loud!”
After a minute of intensity, the wind and earthquake like shaking halt to a stop.
Ubica helps Trojia to her feet as the others all check themselves for any injuries, to their relief they find that no one is hurt. As if the moment of kindness towards the endangered princess never happened, Ubica’s facial expression turns cold as he shifts his body toward Rage.
“Well then, it seems I can’t just avoid you anymore. If it’s a fight you want, then I’ll give it to you. Just know this, there is no way I will die before I get what I want out of Damien. I will not lose.”
Ubica draws his sword and points it at Rage.
Without flinching Rage calmly speaks. “I don’t believe us fighting is all too wise.”
“You can feel it right? You should know where we are, you are going to need my help, and I am going to need yours.”
”After all this time trying to kill me you expect me to just call a truce?" Ubica sighs and lets his guard down. "Well, by looking outside I guess I have no choice.”
The rest of the group look towards the broken window, what catches their attention is that there is no longer a view of the city of grandeur, but only the color of gray clouds can be seen.
Rage looks at the crowd of royals and then shifts his attention back toward Ubica.
“This is bad...”
“About his father’s army rising again? Isn’t that impossible?”
“Do you have any idea who is standing behind you?” replies Rage.
Ubica looks back at the group of weary and confused royals and thinks nothing of them.
Rage continues to speak, “There are heirs to the throne of the three largest countries on Earth in that group.”
Ubica now gives off a look of surprise.
But right as he was about to speak the panicked voice of Xavier is heard. “What the hell is going on here! Who are you people!? Answer me!!”
Both Rage and Ubica send him a sharp glare and simultaneously say, "Shut up.”
Xavier looks stunned by what they said and shouts, “You bastards! How dare you speak that way to the prince of La’Juune!”
Ubica shrugs it off and ignores him but Rage moves closer to the young prince, grabs his collar and with a mild hint of anger says, “Listen boy, in this world, there is no such thing as royalty.”
Shocked and scared, Xavier backs toward the door and he grabs the handle. “H-Hey why aren’t my bodyguards attacking these monsters!!? Napoleon!! He threatened me, you saw him threaten me!!! Tsubiri kill him!”
Napoleon looks at his cowardly prince with a dejected glare, it is obvious he has no intentions of making a move on his behalf.
Tsubiri on the other hand looks completely determined to follow the orders from her master, but her legs can’t move due to the dark aura of fear surrounding Rage.
Naturally, Xavier took their reactions as blasphemy, feeling betrayed he opens the door to the hallway and shouts, “I’ll have you two killed for this, I don’t need you guys! My father will execute you for insubordination!”
He runs out the door and instantly finds himself falling uncontrollably into the thick gray clouds, before he could even scream he was grabbed by both Napoleon and Tsubiri.
His life was saved by the very people he had just threatened to have executed.
Once pulled back into the room, Xavier shakily sits with his back against the wall, struck with the feeling of shame at his actions along with the undeniably helpless feeling of falling out of the sky.
“Damn I was kind of hoping he’d fall to his death, it would’ve been much quieter if he had.” Ubica said sarcastically. Trojia shoves him in jest and says, “That’s a mean thing to say.”
Xavier lifts his wary head and shows her a face filled with gratitude. “Thank you princess Trojia, even though everyone else turned on me, at least I know that my future wife is supportive.”
Trojia’s face turns pale, she has forgotten about the marriage until now. She has always disliked the spoiled prince of La’Juune since the first time she met him. During the peace talks after the war ten years ago, the King of La’Juune met with the Queen of Troy and brought his little eight year old son along, and in Trojia’s eyes he hasn’t changed at all since, still arrogant and still spoiled.
“You want to marry this guy?"
"Of course I don’t! It’s just, it’s just that I have no choice in the matter...”
Ubica tilts his head and asks, “What do you mean you don’t have a choice?”
“I'm the princess of Troy and my mother and his father arranged the marriage between us. You haven’t heard the news about all this?”
"We have much larger things to worry about now.” Rage interjects, “so you can both stop this pointless conversation.”
Responding to his words, Napoleon walks towards the giant broken window. “I agree, so if you don’t mind, would you kindly explain to me what is happening?”
Looking at the calm demeanor of the legendary general, Rage felt much more obliged to answer his question. “That man’s name is Damien, he is the son of the devil and has brought us to Purgatory... The world between Earth and Hell.”
Upon hearing this, the priest exclaims in surprise, “Purgatory!?”
Napoleon looks at the royal priest and begins to have a feeling that they are involved in something beyond human comprehension. "I take it you’ve never read the Bible, General?” Rage asks.
Hearing his words, Rage halfway smiles and says, “I think you and I will get along well in the near future.”
Ubica looks back to Trojia and says, “If I would have known what your situation was when we first met, I would’ve done something to help.” Trojia is now blushing by the kindness of Ubica but before she can speak...
The room starts to shake again and now is breaking apart.
“We’ll finish answering the rest of your questions when we get to the ground.” Rage says while he raises his scythe.
Ubica suddenly grabs Trojia’s hand, and with a smile looks at the scythe bearer. “I assume you can handle the rest right? I’ll see you on the surface!”
With the princess in tow he jumps out the window into the dense gray clouds and disappears.
“Princess!!!” shouts a horrified Niomyo.
She runs after her only to be stopped by dark black clouds with a frightening looking man standing on it.
“She’ll be fine. If you all want to live, gather what you feel is important and come with me.”
Hesitantly, the royals, still skeptical of the reality of it all begin to gather items in the room that might be necessary in the near future. They grab extra clothes and weapons once in cabinets that are now scattered around the room before the group joins Rage on the evil looking black cloud and floats like a feather towards the ground.
Seeing the structure of the living room dissolve from outside on the cloud was quite an astonishing spectacle. The only form of stability holding the suite are four extremely large pillars on each corner that are fading in and out of the moving gray of the thick clouds. The most amazing thing about it is that there was once the fifty story castle of La’Juune beneath the room where the pillars are now. One can’t help but believe that they truly have been taken to a different world.
Tightly held by Ubica, Trojia is free falling rapidly towards the ground, but the princess is not afraid in the least, she has an odd sense of security in what should be a terrifying situation. Even though the wind is loud she feels as though she can hear his heartbeat as her head rests on his chest, and entrances her in an unwavering calm.
After a couple minutes the speed in which they are falling drastically decreases and halts when they land on the ground like a butterfly on a flower.
Trojia, still embraced, looks up at Ubica and with the sunlight breaking through the clouds and shining on his silver hair, she works up the courage to finally do what has been on her mind since they first met a few hours earlier.
Trojia moves her face upwards and kisses the cheek of a surprised Ubica.
“That’s for saving my life... thank you.”
He smiles and let’s her out of his grip when he asks, “Is that how you plan on thanking me from now on?”
Flustered, her shoulders tense up when she replies, “N-No, I just felt like that was the best way to show you my appreciation.”
“That’s a relief.” Ubica replies, “As much as appreciate kisses, if you did that every time I help you going forward the others will get the wrong idea.”
Ubica takes a deep breath and looks up towards the incoming black cloud carrying the rest of the group.
“All of you are going to need a lot of help now. If I want to do good, this is my best chance.”
The sight that is seen is a lush green grassland, the occasional tree, and many flowing rivers and large lakes. One would never expect that they are in a different world other than Earth. The terrain of the land is actually quite beautiful as the sun shines through the clouds onto the water and grass.
The group has been walking for hours now and there is no end to the view that the tired royals have seen since the beginning of their journey.
“Let's rest here, It’ll be night soon.” said Rage, fatigue not anywhere near apparent in his body language.
Soon after they stop the rather loud voice of Cyrus replies, “What? The sun is still high, it won’t be dark for a few hours, we should keep moving.”
Ubica hears this and replies, “We’re not in a world as predictable as Earth, no matter where the sun is there is a chance it would drop and be dark at any moment, I recommend taking his advice since he’s been here before. This is probably the most peaceful place in Purgatory, but it can still be very dangerous at night.”
Silenced, Cryus hides his discontent by lowering his face further in the long neck of his coat.
“If we’re gonna stay here then, how about I go gather some water, and perhaps I can find some food by one of these lakes?” asked Tsubiri.
“You shouldn’t go anywhere near that water, it might not be safe for you. I’ll take care of everything for tonight.” Ubica politely replied.
Ubica grabs a few of the canteens that were grabbed from the room and gets ready to walk off.
“You can handle the fire right?”
He asked this to Rage as he walks toward the nearest body of water and disappears in the haze of the rapidly setting sun.
The group begins to form a circle under a patch of trees and casual conversations begin to start. Napoleon walks back with a burrow of wood and places it in the middle of the circle, he then begins to rub some sticks together in an attempt to light the little bit of kindling he found on fire.
“That’s not necessary.” says Rage.
He grabs his scythe, and with it he simply touches the pile of wood on the ground and with a flash it is engulfed in flame that lights the whole area.
“I’ll make sure this fire won’t go out, so don’t worry about gathering any more wood.”
Napoleon shows a calm face but with a twitch of his eyebrow in curiosity, he asks, “How did you do that?”
It’s now completely dark, under the dazzling star filled night sky the group begins to huddle in their blankets to get ready for the first night. The outside living is totally new to the royals and their bodyguards, the only one used to it is Napoleon because he has been in this kind of situation countless times on the battlefield. Rage is leaning on the tree with his eyes closed while the rest chat about random things.
Trojia stops her talking when she realizes that Ubica has been gone for more than an hour, she thinks back on what he said about the night and water being very dangerous so she begins to worry. Thinking the worst, Trojia quietly gets up and sneaks away from the circle and heads in the direction of the lake that Ubica was heading to.
After a few minutes of walking she encounters a hill, what she sees when she gets to the top is a view so amazing that it nearly took her breath away. The sky is flushed with the many different colors of stars that are all reflecting brightly off a large lake; soft cool breeze blows through the moonlit grass and her blonde hair.
Mesmerized by the scene, she looks around the area and spots a white long sleeved shirt near the shore of the lake, the closer she walks to it she can clearly see the rest of the garments worn by Ubica.
Trojia has yet to see any movement in the water, so panic pokes at her chest as she pictures him drowned.
It's been about ten minutes, she is now pacing back and forth uncontrollably, becoming more and more frantic by each passing second she shouts out his name at the top of her lungs but to no avail, the water remains still and no movement outside of the lake in sight.
She walks to the shore of the lake while asking herself, (What do I do?)
Tears begin to form in her green eyes when she notices the sound of bubbles popping, she looks toward the sound coming from the lake and sees the bubbles form and pop more rapidly with each second.
The water expands like an inflating balloon and then
A huge splash is heard and water is flying all over; through the water one can clearly see the silhouette of an extremely large fish the size of a mid size car.
Trojia’s face is full of shock as she watches the giant fish fly towards her at a crazy speed.
Thinking she is going to be crushed she instinctively shuts her eyes and curls up in a ball.
But much to her surprise she hears the sound of the huge fish land on the ground far out in the distance over her head.
“Trojia? What are you doing here?”
Of course, the voice is none other than that of Ubica.
“You’ve been gone for so long! I was worried.”
“Eh-um... I appreciate your concern. I really do, but I don’t think now is the right time for you to talk to me.”
“Why not- EEHH??”
Trojia is taken aback when she looks down and realizes that he is soaking wet and completely naked; her face turns bright red as she pushes him away and covers her eyes.
“P-P-Put your clothes on you pervert!!!”
“Hey I’m not the one who is perverted! You’re not supposed to be here!”
“Why are you naked in the first place!?”
“Isn’t it obvious!? I’ve been swimming in the lake to find us all dinner!”
“Alright alright! Just put your clothes on already!”
“Am I not allowed to dry off first??”
Trojia now has her back turned to Ubica who is in the process of getting dressed, she looks up the small hill and sees the massive fish that flew out of the water. It’s fairly apparent that it is dead but she is still slightly afraid of it, she has never seen a fish that large after all, the size of its mouth could easily swallow a human whole.
“How did you catch that thing?”
“Hmm? Well I jumped in the lake and spotted it right away; I figured that it’d be the perfect amount for everyone so I swam after it, it ran away though so I was chasing it for a while. I didn’t think that the lake was so deep!”
Trojia is actually disappointed at his explanation because it seems he is trying to downplay his inhuman abilities.
“Alright I’m all dressed up, you ready to go?”
Walking to Ubica’s side she looks at him dragging the large fish on the ground effortlessly, once again it amazes her cause she is getting fatigued just from holding the three canteens filled with water that he brought, and she figures that the weight of the fish has to be well over a ton. She wants to ask him how he got so strong, she wants to ask him who he really is, she wants to know everything about him, but for whatever reason she is afraid to ask.
The two reach the rest of the group and they all stand to their feet when they see them.
“Princess!!! Please don’t run off like that without telling me!” exclaims Niomyo as she sighs in relief.
Ubica looks at Trojia getting scolded by her bodyguard and chuckles a little. “Okay who’s hungry?”
“Whoah look at the size of that thing!!” Daey shouts.
Everyone is amazed at the size of the fish and all have something to say about it. The rest of the night proceeded just like this as they all enjoyed a huge dinner.
The vibe of the night was truly filled with no worries at all, until Niera’s elderly bodyguard speaks, “Now, would you mind telling us exactly what’s going on?”
As if expecting the question to be asked sooner or later, Rage begins to speak.
“I’ll start with introducing myself.”
The group goes silent.
“My name is Rage... I am the Angel of Death.”
The power of Rage’s words sent chills down the spines of the group, even the usually calm Napoleon felt a little unnerved at this.
“The one who sent us here is named Damien, like I said earlier, he is the son of Satan the devil.”
“It’s hard to comprehend things like this.” Napoleon said while rubbing his temple.
“That’s because you’re not a believer.” These words came from the priest Phoenix Navara.
"That man said that he killed our father, is that true?” asks Luke.
“In order to fulfill his plan, it seems it was necessary for him to kill the King. Unfortunately, I do believe your father is dead.”
Both Xavier and Luke slump their shoulders, they don't cry, even though the king is their father, they are both able to handle the thought of his death well. One must wonder just what kind of relationship the two had with him before this.
“So what is Damien planning by sending us here?” asked Napoleon. It would seem that his king's death has affected him more than the two brothers, but as a soldier he can only control what he can currently control.
Rage shows an expression demanding the utmost attention of the group.
“Imagine how the people of your country are going to react to the death of their King, and the disappearance of their army’s Commanding General along with two of their Princes? The same thing applies to Troy and Eiyalazo, they are all going to blame each other for the vanishings. La’Juune is now in a weakened state without the leader of their army and the king of the country. The youngest Prince will be crowned the new King and he'll likely declare war on the other two countries. The result will without a doubt be a world war.”
“So what does that have to do with Damien’s plan?”
“It has everything to do with his plan, a thousand years ago Satan’s army rose from the depths of Hell and fought God’s army on the Earth’s soil... At that time, a world war was the key to harvesting enough souls to allow them to rise. But this time is different, I won’t be there to gather my share of souls and send them to their rightful place, so all the souls of the departed will easily be stolen by the Devil's reapers.”
“I don’t get it, why would he go through all the trouble to send us here? Couldn’t he have just killed us in that room?” asked Cyrus.
Ubica replies, “Damien is definitely strong enough to inflict massive amounts of damage on his own, but I'm sure he used a substantial amount of power to break the seal to get to Earth, and even more just to send us here. He wouldn't want to risk fighting Rage and I at the same time on Earth in a weakened state so he chose the easier option. But Purgatory on the other hand is a neutral world that exists independently. Damien will send countless demons to kill us. So don’t any of you ever let your guard down.”
Startled by the thought of never being safe, Xavier speaks, “W-Well can’t you just send us back to home? Don’t you have that ability?”
“No, I don’t." Rage answers. "I can only travel from Hell, Heaven and Earth, Purgatory is a separate world than the ones I have freedom of passage to.”
Daey, who hasn’t said much most of the night, stands up and looks at the stars with a frustrated look. “So what exactly are we supposed to do then, sit here and wait for him to catch us?”
Ubica and Rage look at each other as if wondering which of them is to answer, instead the both of them end up saying at the same time, “There is a way out of here.”
The comments of the two immediately catch the attention of the group.
Beginning to grow wary of being pestered by questions Rage explains.
“Just like Hell, there are different levels of Purgatory in which you must go through in order to escape. Whereas Hell has seven of them, there are only five in this world, if we get past the five gates of Purgatory we will end up somewhere back on Earth. It is our only way.”
Relief strikes the crowd that until just a moment ago, thought they were going to be stranded.
“Well that sounds easy enough!” declares Xavier.
Hearing this, Ubica sighs and Rage chuckles with a wry smile, the relief of the rest turns into an awkward silence because of their reaction. Rage suddenly halts his light laughter with an eye piercing glare and simply stares at the Prince.
“This world is large, plus we don’t necessarily know where these gates are, and there is an abundant amount of dangers that will follow us wherever we go specifically to keep us from escaping. Unless you are able to adapt, I can guarantee you’ll be the first one to die in this place.”
Xavier’s face turns blue and he cowers behind Tsubiri.
“Listen, this involves everyone. Some of you will not make it out of here alive, and that is a fact. So don’t be a foolish optimist.”
The faces of the royals turn pale at the thought.
Napoleon, still remarkably calm begins to clarify. “So, I take it we're on the first level, and we need to travel upwards to the fifth in order to escape and put an end to the soon to be world war? This is the only way to keep that Damien fellow from being able to resurrect his father’s army of Hell and take the world over.” With arms folded as though he were deep in thought as he spoke, he continues, “Naturally there will be obstacles keeping us from passing the Purgatory gates, Damien’s demon allies correct?”
Pretty much exactly spot on with the gist of the situation, Rage felt like he was done explaining things for the rest of the night upon hearing that. One reason is that he was tired of talking, and the other is that he feels Napoleon is likely the only one that needs to know. As the world’s best general, he can grasp the situation properly, and handle the actions of the others himself.
“That’s correct, now I believe it is time for all of you to rest. I sense that we will have quite a long walk before we enter the nearest village.”
“Village? You mean there are people here?” inquires Rudo.
Rage frowns and with a mouth full of annoyance is about to speak when he is interrupted by Ubica answering in his stead, “Of course there is. This place wouldn’t exist if there weren’t people occupying it.”
Ubica can see that the elderly man wants more of an explanation but Ubica stuffs Rudo from speaking again.
“I know all of you want more answers, and you’ll get them in due time, but for now just give it a rest.” He gestures towards Rage with a shrug of his shoulders, “Besides, you don’t wanna see him when he’s cranky.”
It’s been a few hours since the last words were spoken between the group, the royals and their bodyguards are all fast asleep in the thick green grass that actually makes for quite a comfortable bed. The sound of crickets, frogs, and other animals are serenading the atmosphere around the plains, rivers and lakes. The landscape is truly breathtaking as the different colors of the stars and the three moons reflect gracefully on the gentle windblown lakes that surround the area.
Despite the perfect conditions for sleep, Trojia is awakened by the sound of the firewood cracking, she slowly opens her dark green eyes and yawns gently. After a slight rub of her eyelids she looks in the direction of where she last saw Ubica sitting up against a tree, but he is not there, and neither is Rage.
She is not as worried about Ubica’s safety this time; perhaps because she is half asleep, she yawns again and readies to fall back to sleep when she realizes that when she first met Rage in the suite of the La’Juutian castle he was chasing after Ubica to steal his soul.
She immediately jumps out of her makeshift blanket that was once a curtain of the King’s room and scours around the premises for any sign of where they went.
Walking behind a couple trees she can hear the faint sound of a voice, and after walking ever so slowly closer to its source she can sense the cold energy of animosity emitting from it.
Trojia can now see Ubica and Rage scowling at each other with a tremendous amount of killing intent.
Frightened, she hides herself behind one of the lone trees in the area; now unable to move, she has begun to eavesdrop into a conversation that she feels she might regret hearing in the near future.
“That’s a stupid request, Ubica.”
“I never said that it was a request.” Ubica replies. Rage’s face turns cold and angered as Ubica demands, “That’s right, it was an order. Keep my past out of your lips.”
With a twitch of his eyebrow, Rage swings his scythe and points it at Ubica’s face.
“How interesting, what is it that you want me to keep from them? They're better off knowing who you really are, they’d be smart not to get too close to you and your unforgivable sins.”
“Unforgivable sins, huh? Why am I not allowed to at least try to make up for them when I have the opportunity to do it? And who do you think you are to judge me? You’re not much different from me, you only have the luxury of acting high and mighty because you think you were forced into yours.”
“What I am is no secret. You have known this group for less than a day and you already want to hide what you are. There’s no point in trying to save face to strangers, pretty pathetic don’t you think?”
“Pathetic or not, I deserve a chance to do right by them and to the world they left behind. I won’t let you and your self righteousness get in the way of that."
Rage clicks his tongue and turns his back to him, as he walks away he says, “I won’t say anything to them about you. But, that princess you’re getting close to will become your greatest weakness, and Damien will exploit that weakness and use it to destroy you. You can try your best to keep her and the rest from your darkness, but you should know that them finding you out is unavoidable.”
A black mass begins to form under Rage’s feet and he slowly rises into the air. Looking down on Ubica he says, “At the end of all this, I’m going to take your soul and all your pitiful efforts to save face will be pointless.”
Rage rides out of sight on his black cloud and leaves Ubica standing there clenching his fists in frustration.
As though releasing the tension in his hands and shoulders, he takes a soft breath and exhales slowly; he looks up at the diversity of different colored stars and softly says to himself, “Pitiful… is what I want now really so bad..? No, repentance is never pitiful no matter how little it will make up for what I’ve done.”
Trojia stands shocked and silent behind the tree, she peeks her head over only to see Ubica staring blankly into space.
(This is a good time for me to head back) she thinks to herself and starts walking back to the circle of sleeping royals.
All the while Trojia is rewinding the conversation she had just overheard in her head, her heart beating wildly at the mystery behind their conversation. It would seem that the person she has so quickly become so fond of has a horrible secret; she can’t help but wonder what he could have done that would be so bad to where he’d go to such lengths to keep it from her. She then asks herself if this is a secret she even wants to know? She’s already created this image of the person who saved her life twice over in her head; to her, he is this magical savior like boy who could do no wrong. What about his past could make her not see him that way?
Stopping the walk in her tracks she realizes the answer to that question.
Trojia’s legs are moving rather quickly now, however they are not moving in the direction of the campfire.
Thinking to herself with each step she comes to terms with what her instincts are saying.
(I want to know everything about him, whether good or bad, I have to know!)
Trojia is breathing rather hard, she has run back to where Ubica is and they are both now staring at each other.
“You’re awake? You really should get some rest, it’s been a long day for you.” he said, hiding his discomfort behind a fake smile.
Ignoring his words, Trojia walks closer to him and says, “You know, I’m okay with it.” “Okay with what?”
“Whatever you are, I’m okay with it!” Trojia declares with a flushed face.
Ubica is taken aback, and the thought immediately comes to mind that she overheard the conversation he just had with Rage after all.
“I wouldn’t be so sure about that if I were you.” He replied while scratching his head in exasperation.
“I know that the person in front of me right now is good. I’m sure of it! So don’t torture yourself,” Trojia puts out her hand to him and looks away bashfully. “if you want to make amends for whatever it is that’s hurting you, take my hand and let’s go join the others.”
Ubica smiles; though he’s sure that she has overheard his conversation with Rage, she’s not prying into it and instead is just accepting the person in front of her for who he is now. He might feel guilty about it, and he certainly wants to keep it from her despite sensing that she is curious as to what it is that’s bothering him, but she is still standing here, her hand outstretched to him in acceptance despite it. This princess is special.
He takes her hand and asks, “Is this really alright?”
“It is.” Trojia replies, confidently leading him back toward the light of the campfire, “Because what matters is that we’re all in this together. We have a lot to look forward to!”
The End of Royalty: (END)
Chapter 2: First Contact
Chapter 2: First Contact
The sun has risen and the dawn light shines on the grassland as the group continues their walk westward. After a couple hours the scenery is beginning to change into more of a hilly terrain.
“We should be there shortly.” said Rage with his usual stern look.
“Hopefully we find certain people who are ‘aware’ so we can get some information on the location of the first Gate. And also, it looks like those guys are getting tired of walking.” replies Ubica with a sigh of exasperation.
The two of them are far ahead of the others, and looking back at the rest of the group it is quite obvious why. Most of the group is struggling with the fatigue of this long journey up and down the hills; Napoleon seems to be managing well but the others look exhausted. However there is one Royal member of the group who looks completely unaffected; Xavier is resting comfortably on the back of his bodyguard Tsubiri as though she were a donkey. Tsubiri is a trained soldier and could normally handle the rigors of a hike like this, but the look on her face is pure anguish and her legs are shaking.
Ubica can’t help but feel some kind of anger at the sight and he begins to walk toward Xavier.
“Get off of her now.” he hissed those words through gritted teeth and a mean scowl.
Frozen in fear at Ubica’s demand, he doesn’t move nor speak.
But an equally surprised Tsubiri shows a flustered face that doesn't fit the assumed look of a battle hardened bodyguard when she says, “I-It’s ok, I’m fine... it’s my job and my duty to protect the prince.”
“This isn’t what I call protecting someone. It’s called letting a selfish brat walk all over you.”
Ubica grabs on to the collar of the stiff prince, lifts him to the air off her back and roughly tosses him on the ground.
“Prince Xavier! Are you alright!?” Tsubiri shouts as she rushes to his aid.
But before she could reach out her hand to help him up, she was blocked by Ubica.
“Do you remember what Rage said yesterday?”
“Ehhhh!!? W-W-What are you doing!?”
Before she knew it, she was on Ubica's back.
”There is no such thing as royalty here, in Purgatory, you're just a normal girl.”
Tsubiri's face turns bright red. “B-But…”
“No one deserves to be treated like an object, remember that. Your legs hurt right? Just take a rest, we’ll be there soon.”
Silent by his gentleness, Tsubiri gives in to his words and leaves Xavier on the ground alone; she wraps her arms around Ubica and rests her head on his left shoulder.
After seeing the situation unfold, Trojia is truly impressed by how kind Ubica is; but she is also feeling envious. She tries not to show it but when a pretty face like hers is troubled it is completely obvious.
Niomyo sees this and with a wicked smile says, “Ohhh, quite the player that guy is huh? He is really handsome though, I wonder if he will hit on any of the other girls here?”
The frown of Trojia’s face progressively becomes steeper. “He’s not like that! He is just being nice to her!”
“Hmmm? I think I’m sensing jealousy from you princess.”
“I’m not jealous at all! Besides, why are you keeping an eye on me? Shouldn’t you be keeping your eye on that general? He looks like he’s getting pretty close to Prince Luke’s bodyguard.”
“Hah? Why would I be?”
Niomyo looks in Napoleon’s direction, but sees the sight of the dull atmosphere between Napoleon and Sora. They are walking next to each other but are not saying a word, it’s almost like they don’t even realize the presence of the person next to them.
Either way, whatever he does has no effect on Niomyo; it’s obvious that Trojia is trying to make a mountain out of a molehill in an attempt to switch the topic away from her unreasonable feelings of envy.
Ubica is once again with Rage in the front of the group, Tsubiri is still on his back and now fast asleep.
“Damn that punk kid, how can he treat someone like that?”
Rage looks at him dejectedly, “I don’t know what you’re trying to accomplish, but just because someone has a problem it doesn’t mean you should be obliged to help them.”
Rage turns his head and looks toward a large hill that lies just a few hundred yards ahead. “The majority of them will die here anyways, there is no point even wasting your time on being kind.”
Ubica frowns and shifts his gaze to the ground, “They don’t have to die, not if I can fight for their sake. I’m not kind to them because I want to accomplish anything, it’s just the least I can do.”
“Your naivety makes you look stupid. I think I prefer the less fragile old you.”
“I prefer the old version of you that kept his opinions to himself. Think what you want, Rage, but leave me out of your mouth.”
The two glare at each other maliciously, and without realizing it they have arrived on top of the hill that was once quite far away.
Rage looks out in the distance and says, “We’re here.”
There is a large city just up ahead at the bottom of the hill, the quaint houses and shops on the outskirts of the town don’t match the central area that holds two massive metallic looking buildings that are surrounded by a series of smaller structures.
Ubica looks backwards to see where the rest of the group is and sees that they are fairly far away, he thinks to himself that he and Rage must have left them behind by accident. He tilts his head to the side and bumps the head of Tsubiri, he has forgotten that he has the sleeping bodyguard on his back. He whispers his apologies to her and she remains fast asleep.
After a few minutes of waiting for the rest to walk up the hill, Tsubiri begins to wake up.
“Oh? Are you feeling better now?” asked Ubica with a smile.
Ubica gently lets her down to her feet, she stretches for a little, yawns, and makes direct eye contact with him.
“Hey..." Ubica says, "I’m sorry for intruding on your relationship with your boss.”
She gives a shy face like a nervous child and replies, “N- No don’t worry about that. It’s okay really…”
The rest of the group arrives, huffing and puffing in exhaustion.
“I assume we will go to that city to find a place to stay for the night.” Napoleon says in an almost monotonous tone. “There must be a different currency here, so I assume it will be more difficult to find a place to stay than we’d think.”
Rage responds, “You sure make a lot of assumptions.” “It’s my job to properly assess the situation at hand.”
Napoleon truly impresses Rage with his attitude, he operates so differently than the others. He has been thrust into a surreal situation and is still able to think calmly and manage himself stoically in such chaotic and unreasonable circumstances.
On Napoleon’s fifteenth birthday he had met the minimal military age requirement and joined the La’Juutian armed forces for front-line combat as a swordsman. His talents were extraordinary from the beginning and as a result it grew into tremendous heroic acts that allowed him to rise up through the ranks at a fast rate. After a year of his triumphs, rumors began to spread about his accomplishments all throughout the world, he quickly became a celebrity and the pride of La’Juune.
When the former general died in a battle in which both Troy and Eiyalazo were just yards away from invading the city of La’Juune, Napoleon took command over the panicked army and led them to a miracle like victory which promptly saved the entire country. Naturally, he was christened as the new leader of the army and has made it into the leading military superpower of the world.
Rage, who has gathered the souls of the dead in these battles for the past eleven years has seen his feats firsthand and watched him grow into the person who is respected even by death.
“Your armor and their clothes have gold and other precious metals” Rage says, pointing at Napoleon’s chest. “they will sell for a lot of money in the town.”
Napoleon looks at the golden tint of the armor he has fought countless battles in, there are dings and scratches from many fights on it, but once melted down it will be valuable all the same.
A bittersweet feeling is felt in the pit of his chest, he’ll be leaving behind the evidence of his life’s work when this armor is gone, but knowing that the value that comes from it will be used to win a new battle is enough to fill him with determination.
With a strained smile he says, “Understood.”
The group has now entered the town; the outside of the buildings are very renaissance-like, cobblestone streets intertwine the city and it gives of the feel of an Italian town much like Firenze. A walled river, a hundred meters wide runs through the center of the town, splitting residential areas in two. The bridges leading from one side to the other carry markets and shops and many people are conducting business over the top of fisherman’s boats floating on the river below.
The people that are simply going about their daily lives are all shocked to see something so unusual as a large group of strangely dressed foreigners and are staring at the group with wary eyes; one can’t help but feel awkward by this.
“Geez! Do we really look that weird to them?” Daey exclaims, feeling extremely uncomfortable.
Ubica laughs, “Well if you really look at our group we are pretty odd looking.”
Daey ganders at the difference between them and the other townsfolk. The people of this city are dressed in dark pastel colors, thick wool and leather outfits blend everyone in with each other.
Daey notices the difference as well, she and the rest are wearing bright colors and look extravagant.
“I guess we do stand out like a sore thumb, of course the most noticeable one is that fellow.”
She points at Rage who is clad completely in black and is holding a large scythe well over six feet in length.
“Haha yeah no kidding! I’m surprised the people of this city haven’t thrown rocks at him and ran away.”
Ubica and Daey share a laugh together and walk down the street towards their next destination.
After a half hour of walking, the group finds a large brown building with about fifteen windows, there’s a sign that says something in a foreign language.
“Eh? What does that mean?” Daey asks.
To which Ubica replies, “It's Italian..It says hostel.”
“Hmm? What’s Italian?”
Ubica gives her a facial expression like, ‘Are you kidding?’ But he then quickly realizes that there hasn’t been an Italy for over a thousand years.
So he tries to explain, “Italian is the language of an old country called Italy. Most of Purgatory is occupied by all the people that weren’t sent to Heaven or Hell. So I’d figure that the remnants of cultures that once existed in the past would be carried on in this place.”
Daey raises her eyebrow in confusion which makes Ubica smile awkwardly as if he has just said something completely asinine.
“Well... you will get it more the longer we stay here.”
“So how do you know so much about this whole mess?”
Ubica jumps a little and tries to find an answer, “Eh-um I... It’s a long story you see I-“
Before he could get a chance to finish his bumbling sentence, Rage interrupts him saying, “Let’s find somewhere to sell the armor and clothing so we can check in.”
“R-Right!” Ubica replies and takes a sigh of relief. (Saved!) he thinks to himself as he and the group head off to the local flea market.
After selling off and buying some more casual clothing, the group checks into the hostel; they take four separate rooms to fit the party of fourteen.
Niomyo and Trojia have one room. Luke, Xavier, Sora, Phoenix and Tsubiri, have one. Daey, Niera, Rudo and Cyrus share one, and the last is occupied by Ubica, Rage and Napoleon.
Night is beginning to fall, naturally the royals are restless due to the overall enormity of their situation; but after bathing, the fatigue of the day’s journey catches up to them as they ready for bed.
“So what brought you into this room Napoleon? Shouldn’t you be with the rest of your group?” Ubica asked as he leaned up against the wall of the hotel room.
“I have no reason to be there with them, as far as I am concerned, this is the most Important room to be situated in.”
Rage lets out a harumph as if he knew his reason from the beginning.
Napoleon looks at the two with a serious face and asks, “What kind of enemies will have to go through in order to get back?”
Rage and Ubica glance at each other and then back at Napoleon when Rage replies, “Since you aren’t familiar with the bible or religion, you’ll find this hard to understand... our enemies are everyone from Hell who can reach us here. Damien will likely send numerous demons to keep us from returning to Earth.”
“Couldn’t he just have sent them to kill us all back on Earth? I don’t see why he would go through the trouble to send us here.”
“That's because of Rage and I..." Ubica answers, "If I were to die on Earth, my soul would still need a destination to travel to, I could easily end up being able to come back in some form or another. Though Rage is different than I am, if he were killed, he’d just end up manifesting in Heaven and could return to do his job as a reaper. But here in Purgatory is a completely different story, if either of us die here, we completely cease to exist.”
Rage concludes Ubica’s statement, “We’re at an extreme disadvantage, with a certain amount of work, Hell has almost complete access to Purgatory. It would be a complete disaster if any of the 7 Demons of Hell's Hierarchy come to kill us, or even if Damien himself arrives. I don’t think you or the rest realize how bleak our situation is here.”
Napoleon doesn’t seem fazed by the words of the two and sternly says, “I’ll help you find a way to victory.”
Both Ubica and Rage have respect for his bravery and commitment, but they know that he still doesn’t comprehend the true evil of the reality that awaits him and the rest.
It’s now around midnight, the streets are empty and the group, including Rage and Ubica are fast asleep. There are no sounds reverberating through the town when suddenly Ubica awakens in shock.
He looks towards Rage who has awakened suddenly along with him and says, “Did you feel that?”
Without another word, the two get up, grab their weapons and proceed out of the door of the hostel room.
Before they can get out of the doorway the voice of Napoleon is heard, “I assume an enemy has appeared... let me accompany you.”
“Once again, your assumption is correct.”
The sound of footsteps is heard in the hallway outside of Niomyo and Trojia’s room. Trojia wakes up to the noise and glances out the door in curiosity; she sees Napoleon, Rage and Ubica hurry down the stairs and out the hostel's front entrance. Trojia immediately knows something is wrong and wakes Niomyo.
With dreary eyes the half asleep bodyguard asks, “What’s wrong?”
Trojia gives a worried face and doesn't explain anything, she just says, “Let’s go!”
The three are running through the moonlit streets of the Italian like city at a fast pace. Most of the city’s inhabitants are all inside their homes, the occasional light through a window can be seen with the silhouette of a person gazing through in curiosity.
Napoleon sees this and while running he says to the two leaders of the pack, “Is it just me or are those people looking at us in an odd way?”
Rage has noticed the same thing and replies, “It seems like they know what’s going on.”
“That doesn’t matter, we’re almost there!” yells Ubica.
After a couple more minutes of running, the three arrive at a bridge that leads over water and into the center of the city which holds the more metropolitan area of the city with the two massive buildings that were seen earlier from the hill. The two towers are completely lighted in green, yellow, and blue. The difference between the towns on one side of the bridge from the other is glaring.
The three cross the bridge and look around; there are dozens of smaller buildings surrounding the two towers, a large statue of a man dressed in a robe and wearing a crown of leaves on his head sits in the middle of it all.
“That is a statue of myself when I was Emperor of Rome.”
This is an unfamiliar voice and it catches the three by surprise; shifting their attention from the statue towards the source of the voice, they find a man standing there with a cynical smile on his face.
He is wearing a tattered black trench coat that stretches down to the silver of the metal guards on his boots. His face is wrinkled but it doesn’t seem like it’s from old age, it’s more like someone who lacks sleep or is extremely stressed. But one thing that stands out right away upon first glance is a big horizontal scar on his forehead that crosses out the number 666. Above that scar and brand, a leaf crown sits atop his curly dark brown hair.
Trojia and Niomyo arrive at the base of the bridge, both in awe at the sight of the lights that all the buildings cast. In Troy, electricity is very rare and can only be used in small quantities, but here the lights are so bright it’s like looking into an intense starry sky. Trojia shows a face of determination and proceeds to run to the center of the lights.
The two of them can see Ubica and the others standing in front of an unknown man and they quickly hide behind a corner of a small building. Easily able to hear the voices of the men, they stand back quietly and wait.
“Nero!?” Ubica exclaims in surprise.
The man’s eyes grow large and through a wide grin he yells in excitement, “Leader!!? You have come back for me!? They said you were thrown into the eternal lake! Haha! I knew it was all a lie!”
“What are you doing here?”
“After a thousand years, my punishment has finally ended. Not only that, I have been rewarded with my own city! Isn’t it grand? Hahaha this is worth all the pain I have endured!”
Nero raises his arms, his trench coat rises up and reveals his body. It’s completely wrapped in barbed wire that stretches to his forearms. His torso, down to his legs are drenched in blood.
“Who is this guy, Rage?” asks Napoleon, disturbed by the sight of him.
“His name is Nero... he once was the emperor of the world’s most powerful country, Rome. Nero was also one of the first emperors to persecute the Christians, the executions of a large number of his people angered God, so he set fire to Rome and burned down a third of the city. Naturally with Rome in such a weakened state, its enemies rebelled, Nero was exiled, and was in constant fear of assassination until he committed suicide.”
“But why is someone like him calling Ubica ‘Leader’?”
Before Rage could speak, Nero loudly asks, “Do you not know who you are standing beside?”
Ubica draws his sword and with a flash appears in front of Nero, the blade is pressed against his neck.
“Don't say another word.”
“Leader? What is this?”
“I am not your leader.”
Nero’s facial expression sinks towards his chest. At the end of his reign as the emperor of Rome, some of his closest friends and allies betrayed him and plotted assassinations against the disgraced ruler. So having someone he obviously trusts threaten him like this snaps a fragile wire in his brain.
“No... I was told that you betrayed us... it’s not true right!? If you help me kill the humans and the reaper, I’m sure 'he' will forgive you!” said the shaky voice of Nero.
Ubica’s face turns cold, “I refuse.”
Nero grits his teeth violently as his eyes grow larger, he lets out a ghastly scream. “GRAAAAHHH! BETRAYED AGAIN!! I HAD FAITH IN YOU LEADER! WE ALL DID!!”
Nero grabs Ubica’s sword with his bare hands and,
Ubica's sword is pushed violently toward the ground and from the corner of his left eye he sees a silver flash. With the sound of a butcher knife cutting through meat, Ubica’s left temple becomes very hot, he jumps a few yards back and grabs his head which is now covered in blood. The attention of Ubica switches from his bloodied hand and back to Nero, who is holding out his arms once again revealing the barbed wire that writhes his body. But this time the scene is different, the barbed wire is now circling his body like a snake.
“Do you know of my punishment after Armageddon? Hah Leader!?”
Ubica clicks his tongue as Nero continues to speak.
“One thousand years of having barbed wire inserted into me. Through my eyes, through my nose, ears, mouth! Everywhere! Because of you! Because I followed you! But I believed that you would come back and that you would lead our army to victory once again! So after a thousand years I have harnessed my punishment and turned it into power, a power to help you! Are you really standing here in front of me now, telling me that all of those years of agony was for nothing!?”
“What in the world are they talking about?” asks a stunned Niomyo.
“Oh, sorry princess!”
Trojia lets out a slight gasp upon the release of Niomyo’s hand from her mouth, “What did you do that for Niomyo!?”
“Sshh, it looked like you were going to call out to him when he got hurt. You heard that Nero guy, he wants us dead, so I think it’s best to stay quiet and let them handle it.”
Trojia’s eyes look at the bloodied Ubica as she thinks to herself, (Does this have something to do with that secret he doesn't want me to know about?)
“It looks like that's how it's going to be." he says to Nero, he then turns to Rage. "Let me be the one to handle this, I can't think of a better way to show you my resolve than to expel a ghost of my past.”
Ubica charges at Nero with incredible speed, as a reaction, Nero leaps back a few feet. He points both of his open hands in Ubica’s direction and out of his palms spews out barbed wire screaming towards Ubica’s head and body.
He jumps over the wires at a height parallel to the smaller buildings and shoots downwards as if he pushed off an invisible wall in the air. The loud sound of metal slamming against metal is heard, Ubica is holding his sword only a few inches from Nero’s face, but it is entangled in the barbed wire that is protruding from dozens of different holes in Nero's body.
“Oh? You look surprised, don’t you know that there is ferrum in both blood and metal? It’s amazing what one can learn after a thousand years of feeling the same barbed wire rip through your body, I learned how to carbonize the ferrum in my blood to form an infinite amount of this steel wire once it leaves my bloodstream!”
For those who don't know what ferrum is, it is the chemical component found in iron. Since iron is formed naturally in the human bloodstream, he's speaking of how he's used it to his advantage.
The sound of dozens of wires slicing through skin is reflected off the glass of the buildings like an amphitheater. A spider-web of barbed wire is zig zagging through the air at Ubica’s body from dozens of different angles.
Ubica is dodging them in mid air by jumping off and through the wires. There is seemingly no escape when he becomes more and more entrapped by the metal strings of death.
With a loud crash, the wires disperse in different directions and Nero’s body slams into the ground.
Nero looks up in shock only to see Ubica standing impossibly on the vertical side of one of the two towers’ windows about thirty stories up.
“HAHA I’D EXPECT NOTHING LESS FROM YOU LEADER!”
Nero’s face contorts as he lifts his body out of the marble hole he was half buried in. He spreads his body as if he is doing a jumping jack and every line of barbed wire in his protruding from his body flings out at incredible speeds upwards in Ubica’s direction. Ubica is running quickly on the side of the tower as the wires pursuing him in hot haste explode each of the large lighted windows in its wake. The yellow, green and blue lighting of the surrounding buildings shine through the large falling shards of glass hurling toward the marble ground. It gives off the impression of hundreds of shooting stars falling to Earth.
One can’t look at this pretty spectacle for too long however, because the seemingly meteor shower like scene is actually the form of numerous large razor sharp objects that could slice open any unfortunate bystander in an instant.
Rage and Napoleon fled to escape the falling car sized shards of glass, the area they are now in is just a few feet from Niomyo and Trojia but the corner of the building between the two groups blocks their view of each other.
The sound of Nero’s ear tearing laugh and the uncountable amount of glass shards shattering on the marble floor is almost deafening.
“How is any of this even possible!?” yells the rarely surprised General.
Rage calmly answers back, “In our world, just about anything is possible.”
Napoleon composes himself after a few seconds of deep breathing while Rage continues to speak.
“This is nothing compared to what you will see in the future Napoleon, so watch closely.”
Napoleon looks at the scene of the two scaling freakishly on the sides of exploding buildings. “That Nero, he called Ubica Leader... tell me what this is about.”
Trojia, who is standing quietly behind the corner, has her interest piqued and begins to eavesdrop on the conversation that is about to ensue.
Rage shows a dead serious face and says, “I’ll make this short.”
Trojia’s heart is already beating at a fast rate at the sound of Ubica’s battle, and the thought of hearing of Ubica's past speeds it up even more. “A thousand years ago, a third of the human population was destroyed during the battle of Armageddon. Hundreds of thousands of Angels in God’s army squared off against the billions of Demons and humans that allied with the army of Satan.”
Trojia, Napoleon, and Niomyo’s minds are all racing with questions about how something like that has anything to do with Ubica. God, Satan, and a thousand years ago. How could any of those subjects possibly be relevant to this young man who they have found themselves in the company of? They stay silent as Rage continues to speak.
“Just like your role with La’Juune, there were leaders of each army. The Son of God, who led the army of Heaven, and the Anti-Christ, who led the army of Hell. Each side had its lieutenants, knights, pawns and foot soldiers. Nero was simply one of the thousands of past lieutenants in the army of Hell.”
By now, a cold sweat begins to fall down Trojia’s temple.
Rage’s face turns cold as if he is a judge that is sentencing a man to death for his crimes. “The one who is responsible for intentionally misleading billions of people to their doom... the only person who can truly lead the army of Hell is the physical embodiment of sin… that person is Ubica the Anti-Christ.”
Trojia’s legs buckle due to shock, her falling body is caught by Niomyo who is also taken aback by Rage’s words. Both of them know the bible quite well, most places on modern day Earth have many different religions, but Troy is mostly influenced by catholic beliefs. In the third and newest testament of the new holy bible, the story of the first apocalypse ended with the battle of Armageddon where the side of God was victorious. As a result, the Anti-Christ was cast into an endless lake of eternal hell-fire by the Son of God. But supposedly, the one banished to the eternal burning is fighting right before them, risking his life to protect them. Trojia is thinking this in denial as she searches through the memory banks of her brain that contain the stories she has read about the topic.
Napoleon is staring into Rage’s eyes as if checking for any sign of dishonesty, but he sees nothing that would suggest he isn’t telling the truth. “If that is the case, why is he helping us? Why is he betraying his own comrades and trying to kill that Damien fellow? Shouldn’t they be allies?”
“They probably still would be, if Damien wasn’t the one who betrayed Ubica first.”
There’s a momentary pause between the two until Rage speaks again. “In the bible it is said that the Son of God cast Ubica into the bottomless lake of eternal hell-fire, but that was not the case. In actuality, God’s army was utterly defeated. Ubica became so powerful that even God’s Son himself couldn’t put a stop to his tyranny. To Damien and Satan, he became too unstoppable of a force to control. If they allowed him to succeed, there is no doubt they would be next in line for destruction. The one who stabbed Ubica in the back and sent him to an eternity of burning was Damien himself. History speaks for itself however, it took all the power they had just to seal Ubica away. Victory for Hell was lost solely because of their betrayal, but the betrayal kept them alive and allowed them to escape to fight another day.”
“And so Damien blamed the loss on Ubica’s betrayal..? I can see why Ubica would want to take revenge so badly.”
Rage looks upward to where Ubica is fighting Nero; even from the ground he can see the true determination on Ubica’s face as he is fighting with all of his heart.
“That’s not what he’s fighting for”
Napoleon shows a look as if he was silently asking what he meant by that.
But before Rage could answer his glare...
A huge explosion of green flames is seen at the top of one of the towers. Large green fireballs containing huge chunks of the tower slam on the ground with thunderous roars.
Through a plume of smoke, Nero crashes to the marble floor with a large thud.
Ubica is flying downwards in a green haze, his light green eyes are glowing brightly and can be seen shining through the night sky. He lands with tremendous force and mercilessly thrusts his diamond red sword into the stomach of Nero.
Blood is spraying form Nero’s gut like a geyser, but seemingly unfazed, Nero’s face turns cock eyed. “I’M SO DISAPPOINTED! YOU WERE SO MUCH STRONGER BACK THEN!”
With both hands, Nero grips Ubica’s sword with all of his might, slicing open his palms in the process.
“YOU WEREN'T SO FOOLISH!”
Nero flicks his hands sending blood spatter towards Ubica.
Ubica attempts to jolt backwards, but with the sudden movement of his legs, a sharp, horrid feeling is felt in his two arms.
The burning sensation is the result of having hundreds of razor-like barbs penetrating his flesh and tearing into his muscles. The wires holding the barbs are squeezing tightly into Ubica’s forearms like a snake constricting its prey. Pain reverberates in Ubica’s body as he is starting to feel the razor sharp metal rubbing against his bone.
Trojia and Niomyo have backed away to a different building in order to stay hidden and they now have a clear vantage point of the gruesome battle. Trojia’s eyes turn large at the extremity of Ubica’s wounds, “Ubica is getting hurt, Niomyo! We have to help him!”
Trojia’s tone is becoming increasingly frantic with each breath. Niomyo isn’t daft enough to think for a second that there’s anything either of them can do; she clasps onto Trojia’s arm and pulls her further away.
Ubica is trying to escape but with each move the barbed wire sinks deeper into his arms.
The geyser of blood spewing from Nero’s stomach is beginning to harden and take the shape of something thin.
(More wires!?) Ubica struggles to think as the pain makes his vision blurry.
As if having his mind read, Nero brings an answer to his thoughts.
“Oh? You think the only weapon I can shape my blood into is this?”
The geyser of blood takes the shape of a spear and is pointed directly at the heart of Ubica.
“I wish I could’ve seen the old you just once more... SOMEONE LIKE YOU IS BETTER OFF DEAD THAN BEING WEAK!!! IT’S OVER!”
The spear rips through Ubica’s torso and into his heart, the spear is shot like a projectile out of his back and smashes violently into a window of one of the surrounding buildings.
“N-no way...” said Trojia in disbelief.
She is so stunned her body is as stiff as a board, she has just witnessed Ubica’s chest exploding but refuses to believe her eyes.
Ubica grits his teeth for a moment then slumps over his sword.
The boy who saved her has died right in front of her, and she couldn’t do anything. The feeling of helplessness gathers in her heart as tears begin to flow down her face. Trojia in a panic is once again about to shout out his name but she is grabbed tightly by Niomyo.
Napoleon shows another rare expression of surprise and says, “He was defeated!?”
Rage readies his weapon and begins to back away. “This is bad..." he then turns to Napoleon and shouts, "Run!”
Rage runs down an alleyway with Napoleon not too far behind, but before they make it out of the view of Nero and a slain Ubica...
“Why didn’t you help him!!?”
The voice comes from a petite blonde teenager who's wearing a large frown while crying in distraught.
“You stupid girl! Why did you come here!?”
Trojia’s fists are clasped tightly, she is in such an emotionally broken state that she is about to attempt to strike the Angel of Death with all her might.
“Were you both here this entire time?” Napoleon asks.
Niomyo steps in front of Trojia, and with a cracked voice says, “I-I’m so sorry, we heard your footsteps at the hotel and got worried...”
“Forget about that! We have to get away!” shouts Rage.
His voice rose into a frantic tone the others have yet to hear from him, nor would they ever have expected it.
Niomyo and Napoleon follow his directions and begin running, but Trojia hasn’t and is standing there like a statue.
Niomyo stops and shouts, “Let’s go! It’s dangerous!”
But her words fall on deaf ears, she is frozen stiff.
“I’ll go get her.”
Napoleon runs back and puts his hand on Trojia’s shoulder, after she ignores this action he readies to carry her.
“It’s too late.” says Rage in a deep voice, “this is not what he wanted...”
Suddenly, a sickening feeling reaches the bodies of the three, so nauseating that it makes them instantly want to vomit.
“It looks like your wish will be granted... Nero.”
These words are heard clearly in the heads of Napoleon, Trojia and Niomyo. The words simultaneously arrive along with a painful migraine.
“This voice! It’s Ubica!” shouts Trojia while she is struggling to even stand.
Ubica is still bloodied and is still slumped over his sword, an ominous green light coming from underneath the silver hair that is cascading over his eyes shoots out like a burst of flame. His hands begin to move upwards until they point to the night sky. He’s still alive, against all odds, the bloody mess of a man he is, is still moving. But it is different this time, his aura gives off a feel like he is still dead. From all the wounds of his body comes a black smoke excreting upwards; the mere sight of this smoke strikes fear into the hearts of the three.
Even Napoleon, who has seen almost every horror known to man has his knees shaking at what is standing before him.
It’s becoming completely unbearable for the innocent Trojia. She is quickly losing consciousness but she is willing herself through the horrid feeling in order to have confirmation of Ubica’s survival.
The black smoke has now wrapped around Ubica and is lifting him gently to his feet, Nero is stiff with amazement, but shaken in fear.
“How is this possible!? I pierced your heart!!!”
Ubica’s head hangs down and his body is still limp.
“Did you really think I have a heart?” Ubica asks.
These words pierce the hearts of the three humans in a series of thuds.
It is a truly terrifying experience that will last in their minds for the rest of their lives.
Under Ubica’s hanging hair, a thin grin is revealing his two long canines, and with a quick lift of his head he shows two flaming green eyes that are now surrounded by a maddening black sclera; and there are two black lines that seemingly melt from his eyes down his face.
He spreads his arms as he declares, “All I have there is Dantega.”
The final straw that broke the camel’s back for Trojia is the look of Ubica’s new face and the weight of his declaration. Her knees buckle and she falls to the ground and is only a couple seconds away from losing consciousness.
The last thing she thinks to herself is, (He’s alive... thank goodness...)
With a smile, she passes out on the marble ground.
However, there is no goodness to thank, goodness doesn't exist here any longer.
“Princess!” shouts Niomyo, in pain from simply being near the scene in front of her.
“She passed out Rage.” said Napoleon as he tries to keep a calm demeanor even though he himself is shaken deeply by what he is seeing.
“She’s fine, this is a common effect to an innocent person experiencing an overload of evil energy like this. You two are probably still conscious because of your past battles.”
Rage’s eyes are set on Ubica, he didn’t bother to see if Trojia was actually alright or not.
“Napoleon, carry her and get away from here, I have to stay behind.”
Napoleon uses the last of his strength to lift Trojia off the ground and onto his back.
“Let’s go!” he shouts to a downed Niomyo.
“I-I can’t move...”
A massive shock wave rips through the buildings surrounding the center where Ubica and Nero are. Windows are exploding from all around and shards of glass are slicing through the air in a tornado like gale. The framing of the buildings are now falling apart and flying into the night sky with intense speed; the large two towers are taking the full brunt of the force and are swaying awkwardly back and forth while breaking into pieces.
The two towers fall to the ground, and pieces of the buildings litter the area after the collapse. Jagged pieces of metal, stone and glass point dangerously in thousands of different directions. Lung ripping debris is dropping down on the center and through the alleyways of the other half downed buildings.
Napoleon is covering Niomyo and Trojia with his body as a natural reaction to the sound of the blast. He then opens his eyes and wonders how in the world they are all still alive. The two towers that fell were less than a hundred yards from the alleyway that they are in, it's only natural that he would think they should be dead.
Napoleon looks to where he last saw Rage and sees that black clouds surround him, he is standing as if nothing had happened. After glancing in other directions he realizes that all of them are completely surrounded by black clouds as well.
“What the hell just happened!?” shouts Napoleon.
Rage’s voice is unwavering when he says, “See for yourself.”
The clouds disperse and disappear. The sight that Napoleon witnesses is that of absolute destruction, the scene is like the aftermath of an atomic explosion. Only rubble remains of the tall buildings that once surrounded them. Through the debris one can only see the dark silhouettes of the jagged broken mess of the former structures through the smoke.
“You have just witnessed a small extent of Ubica’s power.”
"There’s more!?” Napoleon shouts in shock.
Looking carefully enough one can see a man standing amidst the chaos, it’s Ubica.
Ubica raises his hand and with a swift move of his arm, the debris that pollutes the air gathers rapidly into a tornado like ball and disperses into the sky.
“My city! No! My beautiful city!” shouts Nero, his voice raspy and dry as though the air was sucked out of his chest along the remains of this once bright city.
The mass scale of the destruction is seen clearly under the light of the three moons.
“It’s been so long since I have demolished someone’s pride like this.”
Nero whales in pain, initial shock has suddenly worn off and now he can feel the damage that has been thrust upon him by Ubica’s attack. Where his right arm once was is now a bloody stub of flesh that reaches all the way to the joint of his shoulder blade.
“So despite the barbed wire that you can make out of your blood, you’re still able to feel pain huh?.”
“W-Wait Leader! If you are back to normal you should want to help me!”
“Help you? Have I ever really helped any of you?”
"B-But what about those humans!? Aren’t you helping them?”
“In a lot of ways I’m no different now than I ever was… it all benefits me in the end.”
“How!? How can doing this give you more than being our leader!?”
“Because I want something different now.”
The bones in Nero’s right leg splinters and corrode through his skin. The muscles shred slowly and his whole leg is contorted into three different directions, it is truly a ghastly scene as he writhes in pain.
“Your presence here was meant to get in the way of it, for that I won’t forgive you.”
“Amazing... Ubica isn’t even moving and he is causing so much damage.” Napoleon says in awe.
He and Rage are standing with a barely conscious Niomyo leaning on his shoulder.
“Against someone weak like that, his mere presence alone is enough to kill.” replies Rage in his usual stern voice. “Now you see why I have been trying to reap his wretched soul ever since he escaped from the eternal lake.”
“Is he really that big of a threat?”
“He is, if he loses himself completely to Dantega, he alone is the biggest threat to everything and everyone. I can’t risk that, he must be destroyed before he fully awakens. While he is still weak... I’ll have no choice but to end it here if this gets worse.”
The body language of Rage changes into that of absolute determination.
A shiver rolls down Napoleon's spine when he considers how powerful Rage must be if he can say in such confidence that he can defeat the monster that has completely obliterated numerous large buildings with one wave of a hand.
Now rocking like a sailboat in stormy waters, Nero is surrounded by a large puddle of his own blood on the marble ground. Ubica sees this and mocks him, “I wonder how much you can withstand before you bleed out?”
Nero has rolled on his stomach and is motionless.
Ubica looks agitated at the fact that Nero has passed out from shock.
But then, a soft laugh is heard. “Kuffuuuuuhhahaaaahhahaa.” the laugh becomes loud until it turns into a roar, “DON’T THINK YOU HAVE WON!”
With a splash sound, the blood puddle that is surrounding Nero begins to shake, and from it spews hundreds of knives hurling toward Ubica’s body and face. In an instant the red diamond sword that was on the ground a few yards away appears in Ubica’s hand, and with a simple wave the projectiles are scattered off into the distance.
Seemingly all were dispersed when Ubica clicked his tongue bitterly.
There is a twelve inch knife protruding from his body just above the naval area. Nero’s face turns raw with excitement.
“Heheh, it’s over Leader.”
“Naturally, I can oxidize the ferrum in your blood as well!!”
The knife in Ubica’s stomach melts away into a silver liquid and has entered into his bloodstream. The natural form of iron in its purest state is even softer than aluminum, so it takes little heat to melt it into a liquid. After it combines with carbon it begins to take its hardened form, and once it reacts to the air it will oxidize and solidify. Each one of these steps, though minuscule, can be found naturally in a human body, thus Nero is attempting to virtually turn the insides of Ubica into raw steel.
Nothing is happening, Ubica is still standing with a thin grin on his face.
“WHY ISN’T THIS WORKING!?” shouts a desperate Nero.
“I told you didn’t I? I don’t have a human heart, my blood is cold.”
Nero instantly knows that his plan isn’t going to work, in order for Iron to flow through the bloodstream, the blood must be warm enough to keep it in liquid form. His plan was to carbonize Ubica’s iron once his own blood began flowing through Ubica's veins. But instead, the wound instantly clotted, thus making this an impossibility.
“On any other person that would be an instant death. I commend you Nero, you have gotten quite strong.” He takes in a slow breath and sharply exhales as he shoots the injured man a cold glare. “But I'm tired of looking at you.”
Ubica swings his sword horizontally towards the ground. A slicing wave of wind rips through the marble ground and shoots rapidly into Nero’s upper left thigh and shoulder, a wind trail of broken ground and blood is sprayed outward in a gale so strong it splits a massive gap into the rubble a hundred meters away.
After the dust is cleared, Nero is lying prostrate on the ground no longer in the form of a human. Both of his arms and left leg are gone, and the one remaining limb is a tattered and broken right leg.
“Uhhaaa Leader... please... show mercy.” Nero begs as he coughs out blood.
Ubica walks closer and is now standing just a few feet from his head.
“There’s no mercy for traitors who’d turn their sword against me.”
“PLEASE! I DON’T WANT TO DIE! PLEASE DON’T KILL ME!!!” shouts Nero with all of his strength.
Without a shred of emotion, he quickly inserts his sword into the open mouth of Nero.
Ubica slams the tip of his sword through Nero’s mouth and out the back of his head into the marble ground. The sound is truly disturbing as it goes through his throat, brain and skull, the sound similar to a large cockroach being stepped on.
The battle is over, Nero is beyond dead. Ubica is standing over his body as though he were in contemplation: he shifts his gaze toward the night sky and remains that way.
“This is the moment of truth. If he can’t control his power here and now, I’ll have no choice but to eliminate him.” says an onlooking Rage postured in a battle stance.
Napoleon and Niomyo can only stare in shock at what they had just witnessed.
“Such brutality... and against his own comrade.” Napoleon says, a cold sweat falls down his temple.
Niomyo, who might as well be paralyzed by Ubica’s presence is somewhat thinking the same thing, but her thoughts land on the person most important to her, (I can’t let princess Trojia get involved with someone like this!)
Each second feels like minutes as the watch on in angst.
Then suddenly, Niomyo regains the feeling in her body and can now move. “Huh? I’m back to normal.”
The migraine that plagued Napoleon is gone as well.
Rage returns to a relaxed stance and says, “Good, he’s back.”
Niomyo breathes a sigh of relief when the thought of Trojia pops into mind; she turns her head toward the direction where she was laying on the ground and sees her princess looking confusedly at Ubica.
“What? What in the world happened here?” Trojia asks as she awakens to the sight of utter destruction, nothing but rubble, pillars, broken glass and blood fill her view.
“Princess don’t look!”
Niomyo tightly hugs Trojia, trying to shift her attention elsewhere but Trojia’s eyes are fixated on the bloodied Ubica who is staring aimlessly at the sky, surrounded by rubble and standing over a brutally massacred body in which Ubica’s sword is still protruding out of its mouth.
Rage sees this and says, “Napoleon, escort these two back to the hostel. We can’t have Ubica ever find out that they have seen this.”
Napoleon regains his calm demeanor and replies, “Understood. You have my word.”
He and Niomyo have to drag a reluctant Trojia from the scene, her eyes are still stuck in the direction of Ubica, her mind wondering just what in the world happened.
Rage walks to Ubica’s side and asks, “How are you feeling?”
“Perhaps guilt? No... I don’t know what it is.” replies Ubica with a blank look on his face.
“Don’t come back to the hostel looking like that, you’ll scare everyone.”
“I’ll be back in the morning.”
“Will your wounds heal by then?”
“Heh, of course they will, I am a monster after all.”
Rage faintly smiles and blows air out of his nose as he walks away through the rubble and disappears in the distance.
Ubica is sitting alone on a piece of the broken building, his glance happens to hit something in the rubble and finds that there is a tattered arm hanging out of it. He double takes and looks closer and makes direct eye contact with the eyes of an unfamiliar head that has been severed and pressed between two large pieces of building.
He hangs his head low as he puts his hand over the hole where his heart should be, he then murmurs to himself, “This is guilt after all… I wonder how many more people I’ve just killed?”
Dawn has arrived, the sun has barely peaked over the horizon. Shops in the town are beginning to open for business and people are roaming the cobblestone streets trying to find the best early deals on fresh bread, fish and other goods. It’s as if they don’t even notice that in the center of their town lies a mountain of rubble where numerous and large buildings once stood. One can only assume that they either don’t care, or they were expecting this to happen eventually. In Purgatory, deities come and go quite often and claim land, villages and cities, so it is not all that rare to see something one day, and have it be gone the next.
In the empty lobby of the hostel sits an exhausted Trojia, she has been up all night since the incident waiting for Ubica’s safe return. Trying not to panic she takes deep breaths, but not a second goes by where she doesn’t think about how hurt he was, and how he was covered in blood. With her eyes stuck on the front entrance she sees a shadow of a man appear; Ubica walks through the front door with his head hung down. He is cleaned up and is wearing a different set of clothing, a black hoodie with a fur laced hood covers a long sleeved white v-necked shirt, and tightly worn gray pants are atop of white slip-on style shoes.
The change in apparel is the least of Trojia’s worries; much to her surprise Ubica seems like he is completely unharmed.
Ubica’s head jolts upwards, he shows her a happy expression and then looks away quickly.
“...You should still be asleep.”
“I couldn’t possibly sleep when you have been gone all night, I was worried!”
“Sorry about that.”
Trojia is flushed red, in her relief she walks to Ubica and puts her hand on his chest. She thinks to herself, (I can’t let him find out that I saw everything... but I wonder if he’ll lie about it if I ask?)
Ubica feels troubled by her touch and says, “Listen Trojia, you really should go to back to---“
“Why did you run off last night? Where did you go?” she interrupts.
After a few moments of silence Trojia says, “You won’t tell me..?”
“I can’t.” he replies, his eyes shifted toward the wall.
Trojia again becomes silent, if one fell, a pin drop could be heard in the empty lobby.
In the silence she remembers a conversation that Ubica and Nero had earlier in which Ubica said that he doesn't have a heart. She wonders if it is true or not and she presses her palm in the middle of his chest.
(Nothing?) she thinks to herself in surprise, there is no inkling of a heartbeat coming from Ubica. (There’s no way... I could swear I’ve heard it before.)
Ubica is growing increasingly uncomfortable and gently pushes her away. “If you don't mind... I'd rather not have this conversation right now."
He moves her to the side and tries to walk away, but his back is embraced tightly.
“You don’t have to shoulder your burden alone, you know? I can help you.” she said with a cracked voice.
“It’s not the kind of burden that can be shared."
Her grip gently loosens before she slides off his back and collapses on the wooden floor with a loud thud, Ubica quickly turns around and sees Trojia lying motionlessly on the ground.
“Eh? Trojia!? Hey!”
Ubica shakes her a little, when she doesn’t move he begins to feel panicked at the suddenness of her collapse. But seeing that she’s breathing fine, he realizes that she’s just passed out in exhaustion.
With a sigh of relief, he lifts her into his arms and walks toward the large couch in the middle of the lobby, after laying her down softly, he takes the new hoody with a fur hood off of his back and places it on top of the nightwear she’s wearing.
After watching her sleep for a few moments, he presses his hand on his chest and with a light smile says, “That gave me quite the scare… that emotion, it’s almost like having a human heart for a moment. ”
He looks up at the ceiling blankly, and with a sigh he shuts his eyes and begins to sleep.
First Contact: (END)
Chapter 5: The map to the Gates
“Gehhh! It’s so damn hot!!!” shouts an irritated Daey.
The entire group is feeling the same heat as well, though Ubica looks much more energetic than usual. Hs comfortably wearing his hoodie and long sleeved v-neck shirt that makes the others hot just by looking at him. Not to be outdone, Rage, who is walking in the front of the group is still clad in his heavy black coat that nearly drags to the floor. These two are so oblivious to heat one can’t help but be envious in this situation.
Daey is progressively becoming more frustrated with each passing step in this and expresses her discomfort. “Hey Rage, can’t we just fly around on your cloud thing? Why do we have to walk all the time!?”
It has been four days since they left the large Italian like city. Heading north, along their walking trail they have passed through a small village or town each day. It is quite convenient that they find these so close together, but the catch is that each of the stops are at least four to five hours of walking distance away.
“I can’t do that, my cloud is where I store the souls of people before I send them off to their rightful destination. If a normal human stood on it for too long your soul would be sucked in as well.” Rage replies. Daey didn’t look too convinced until he finished his statement off with, “That means you’ll die.”
The group was a little creeped out by this, they remember riding that cloud for a decent amount of time when this whole thing started. The majority of souls that leave people’s bodies when they die are not taken personally by Rage himself, unless it’s a soul like Ubica’s, or someone like a pope or saint are usually the only times he uses his scythe to obtain individual souls. In mass numbers they automatically gather directly into the cloud, and while there, they are in an open view of the beings that control the judgment branch of Heaven, and the Demons that work the salvage area in Hell who pick and choose who they want and where they rightfully belong. In a basic form, you can say that the cloud is somewhat of a flask, and its contents are drunk by both sides of the afterlife.
“Why are you giving me that, ‘I wanna ride on your back again’ look??” asked Ubica, who is being glared at by the wide wanting eyes of Tsubiri.
“Oooohhh! How did you read my mind!? A-Anyways please!!! Just once more! I’m dying here!” replies Tsubiri as she starts clinging to Ubica in a desperate fashion.
“Uaah why didn’t I think of that??” Daey asks as though a bolt of lightning made her just realize that she missed a golden opportunity. She knows that Ubica would be kind enough that it would be an impossibility for him to say no to such a request.
All that was needed was a few moments of 'convincing', and with that, Tsubiri is now resting on Ubica’s back with a content look on her face. Ubica on the other hand is wearing a strained smile, a little disappointed in his inability to say no.
Those thoughts are quickly forgotten once he feels something soft pressing on his neck, causing his body to tense up.
“You know, you’re riding awfully high on me this time around. I can feel your chest on my neck.”
“Huh? What’s the difference between your neck and your back? It shouldn’t matter where I put them! Besides I can’t see if I’m too low."
“Fine fine.” Ubica sighs and relents.
Daey is looking in Ubica's direction while walking beside her little sister Niera. “Hmmmm,” she says, her hand on her chin as though she is pondering something, “that Ubica guy really catches my interest.”
“Really? Well, he is pretty cute.” shyly replies Niera.
Daey looks very surprised upon hearing that. “Huh?? I didn’t know that you even thought of things like that!”
“W-Well I’m not a child.” said Niera while twiddling her thumbs in an adorable way.
Daey grabs her, “Awww you’re such a cute little sister! I really just wanna steal him away to get back at Trojia, but if it's you I’d be fine with that too!”
“Steal him away?”
“Can’t you tell that she likes him? Oooh the look on her face would be so funny when one of us got to him first!” Daey exclaimed with a large smile on her face.
In an instant, a shadow is cast over the heads of the two sister princesses.
Their conversation halts and their faces turn cold, a frightening voice sends shivers down their spines.
“Did I just catch wind of you two conspiring against me?.”
“Aah, Trojia!? That evil aura is coming from you!? Niera run!”
“Hey! Running off like this makes you look even more guilty!”
The three princesses are running around and sharing a laugh like lighthearted school children, somewhat reminiscing on past events when they were younger. After a few minutes of chasing Daey and Niera in the intense heat, Trojia is worn out and gives up.
Breathing rather hard she says to herself, “Damn they’re fast!”
Trojia regains her breath and is about to continue the chase when she feels a hand grab her shoulder, she turns around and sees the concerned face of her precious bodyguard Niomyo.
“You don’t need to be so worked up over a monster like Ubica.”
Trojia frowns and replies, “What is that supposed to mean?”
“Don’t you get it? That man is the Anti-Christ! You can’t possibly be dumb enough to get involved with him.”
Trojia slaps Niomyo’s hand off her shoulder. “That’s not the person I know!”
Niomyo, taken aback by the sudden surge of emotion begins to explain, “You… you didn’t see what I saw. You didn’t hear what I heard… please princess, if you have any kind of trust in me you will listen. Unless you distance yourself from him while you have the chance… he will be the death of you.”
A silence falls over the two, Trojia is agitated, but is speechless while looking at the dead serious face of Niomyo.
Trojia’s frown shifts into a gentle smile as she says, “I trust him with my life, he’s already proved to me that I can. I won’t turn my back on him now.”
Trojia walks away toward the rest of the group, Daey and Niera are still hiding somewhere around the rocky desert area so Niomyo is left standing alone in silence.
Niomyo clenches her fist and grits her teeth, “It looks like I don’t have a choice… I’m sorry princess, but in order to protect you, I must kill that monster myself.”
“C-C-C-COLD!!!! It’s so cold!” shouts Ubica.
The energy that the heat had given him is gone, the cold weather instantly sapped it away when the temperature dropped suddenly. Within a few seconds, the weather shifted from the hundred degree heat of the desert to the freezing bitter cold of a tundra.
“Woah! It was just hot a second ago.” said Tsubiri who is still riding on Ubica’s back.
She can feel that her weight is now affecting Ubica, whereas before it seemed he didn't even feel her.
“Hey.. are you okay?” she asked with a tilt of her head.
The two of them are lagging fairly far behind the rest of the group.
Ubica is shivering quite a bit, his whole body has somewhat of a comical expression. “I’m not good with the cold.”
Before Tsubiri can find the words to make fun of him with, Ubica stepped in a rut and fell awkwardly to the ground with Tsubiri in tow.
“Ouch! Sorry about tha- eeehhhh!?” shouts Ubica when he feels his hands are touching something incredibly soft.
Ubica is on the ground flat on his back with a stunned and blushing red Tsubiri on top of him. His right hand is pressed firmly onto her chest, and his left hand is grabbing the right side of her butt.
“Kyaaaaa! So it’s true what the princess said, you really are a pervert!!” she screams as her face is becoming more flustered.
Ubica tries to calm the situation. “N-No I’m not! This is an accident!!!”
Tsubiri puffs and sends him a suspicious glare as though she doesn’t believe him.
Ubica begins to panic, and with a nervous smile he continues, “And besides, didn’t you say it doesn’t matter where your chest is? There is no difference whether it's my neck or my hand!”
By all means this method in calming her down is an utter failure on Ubica’s part.
Tsubiri is so hot headed it's as if steam is coming out of her ears like a train.
“There is a huge difference you idiot!!!” with those words come a thunderous slap noise.
The cold air makes a sting that sends shockwaves into his left cheek.
Ubica and Tubiri are now walking side by side, the hand print on Ubica’s face is more outlined due to the cold weather. He looks absolutely miserable as they walk and Tsubiri begins to feel a little bad about the situation.
Trying to put on a cute face she says with a smile, “I’m sorry about that Ubica, I know it was an accident but I’m just not used to being groped ya know?”
After being patted on the back rather hard, Ubica slowly turns his head to her and gives her a bitter glare.
"You make it sound like I'm the bad guy here.”
“Well, you are a pervert.”
“That again? Gimme a break!”
Tsubiri giggles and latches on to his forearm, sticking it right in the center of her chest. Thinking that he is being teased, Ubica freezes as if expecting another slap.
But to his surprise, Tsubiri rests her head on his shoulder and says, “Being touched... only If it’s you... I don’t mind.”
Oblivious to this sudden sexual advancement, Ubica thinks she must still be teasing him.
The two share a few minutes in silence as they continue their walk. The temperature is seemingly dropping with each second, and with it lowers Ubica’s health.
“Hey… you’re seriously starting to look bad.” Tsubiri points out her concern.
Ubica is rather pale and his eyes are half shut. He looks her way as if he is trying to say something but no words come out, he moves his head closer to hers, so much so that the warm stream from his breath softly beats on her face.
“U-Um, you're getting awfully close...”
Her words fall on deaf ears, Ubica and Tsubiri’s foreheads are now touching, Tsubiri is completely flustered by this and her mind is floating around blankly until she grabs a random thought from her brain.
She grabs Ubica’s face and gives him a long kiss on his lips, when she finishes, her blank thought process returns.
(Eh!? When did I become so bold!?)
Ubica’s head slides from her face down her neck and her shoulder.
“D-Don’t get cocky just because I kissed you! T-That was just a waaaaaaa!!!!”
The entire weight of Ubica presses against her body and forces her to the ground.
This time there is no reaction to her words from Ubica, she was expecting him to say this was some kind of joke but judging by his silence she believes he is truly serious.
“That was my first kiss... I-I don’t know if my heart is ready for something like this so suddenly.”
Still no reply, she is fully expecting things to really advance from there and her face is bright red, but much to her surprise he remains completely still; moreso then that, his body is completely limp.
She shakes him, but to no avail; it is obvious that he is unconscious. Tsubiri struggles to get out from under him and puts him on his back, she shakes him repeatedly and begins to frantically shout.
“Are you alright? Wake up, Ubica!!!”
“This sure is some kind of drastic change in climate.” says Napoleon.
To which Rage replies, “You’ll find that this will happen a lot in the near future. There isn’t a set weather environment like on Earth where there are four different seasons.”
“It's because the sun and the three moons, and everything else in the space above us are all artificial.”
Napoleon looks somewhat confused as to how or why that is and is about to ask Rage when the scream of Tsubiri is heard about a hundred yards back.
“Help!! There’s something wrong with Ubica!!”
The group rushes to his aid and once there they see an unconscious Ubica.
“What happened to him, Tsubiri!?” shouts Trojia as she grabs Tsubiri’s shoulders.
“I don’t know! He just collapsed all the sudden!”
“Calm down you two.” says Rage, unworried about Ubica’s condition, “This is simply his body's natural reaction to the cold.”
Trojia grabs his ice cold face to try to keep him warm, his breathing is spotty and slow. She knows that he is cold blooded and is in danger of freezing to death.
She looks at Rage with a look of concern and asks, “What can we do to help him?”
Rage stays silent as he ponders her question. The surroundings are spotted with bits of snow, the foliage that lay around the tundra like area seem flammable but are most certainly too wet to set ablaze.
“It seems like it is the beginning of summer here. The plants around here can’t be burned because of the permafrost, so we’ll have to somehow get out of here quickly.” he says as he clicks his tongue.
The temperature is around 40 to 45 degrees, not enough to harm a regular unprepared human, but for something that is cold blooded this kind of weather can kill. The tundra is a bleak and treeless place. It is cold through all months of the year and summer is a brief period of milder climates when the sun shines almost twenty four hours a day, thus the reason it is called ‘Land of the Midnight Sun’. But even the sun can’t warm the tundra much, the short summer lasts only six to ten weeks back on Earth. It never gets any warmer than fifty degrees. The warmer weather causes a layer of permafrost, ice that never goes away in the ground to melt, creating bogs and shallow lakes that don’t drain.
Since it is so early in the summer in this particular part of Purgatory, the permafrost has not completely melted yet, so the breeding of dozens of species of stinging bugs have not yet arrived. The winter climate on the other hand has a temperature averaging between negative twenty and negative thirty degrees. If the group was unlucky enough to randomly stumble across this tundra during a random winter season, Ubica would not have made it even ten seconds without freezing to death; hypothermia would come to the rest of the group shortly thereafter.
Napoleon is carrying Ubica on his back and is running as fast as possible to escape through the tundra.
Rage would have carried him away on his cloud if it weren’t for two problems; the first is that it would be far too dangerous to leave the rest of the royals alone without the strength of he or Ubica. And the second is that Ubica’s soul would quickly be sucked into his cloud since Ubica is unconscious and weakened, while in such a state he has no control over his body or soul.
Napoleon begins his trek, he recalls doing this kind of thing numerous times before, albeit through training when he was a teenager or helping injured comrades in one of the countless battles in which he fought.
But no fewer than a thousand yards away from the rest,
An explosion rips through the ground only a few feet in front of him.
Napoleon flies back by the force of the blast knocking both he and Ubica to the ground.
“What the hell was that!?” Napoleon exclaims to himself as he removes the shards of ice permafrost sharply sticking out of his legs.
He unsheathes the sword that he carries on his back and is waiting for an enemy to appear out of the hazy aftermath of the blast when the unfamiliar voice of a man and woman is heard.
“Geez Aria! What’s the point of planting these mines if they just blow the people we are supposed to rob into bits!?”
“Oh shut up! It works doesn’t it?”
“No it doesn’t, your stupid mine blew up five feet before the guy even got there!”
“Whatever Strauph... lets just rob the guy like we planned and get the hell out of here.”
Napoleon was always trained to take the incentive in ambush situations where cover can not be attained, so he charges toward the sound of the voices.
He wildly swings his long sword through the dust cloud, and the girl's voice is heard again.
“Woah! Looks like we got a feisty one on our hands!”
Napoleon points his sword and thrusts violently at the mocking sound of the woman’s voice.
“Haha no kidding! Well its not like it’s gonna matter anyways.”
This sound comes from the man; now focused intently on the sound of the man’s voice, he senses something and moves towards it. Out of the corner of Napoleon’s right eye he sees the flow of the dust cloud change slightly.
With it comes a blade closing in fast on his face, Napoleon quickly ducks underneath the attack and reaches out his right arm as if to grab whatever is behind the sword.
He feels a soft object and instantly recognizes this as a human arm, from here his natural battle instincts take over and he throws whoever he is holding downwards into the ground, and with a large ‘thud’ noise the man's voice is heard.
He knows for sure that he has taken the advantage of this situation and twists the enemy’s arm violently while he slams his knee into the back of the enemy’s neck.
On a normal day, Napoleon would have stabbed his sword into the back of the man's neck and killed him without a second thought, but he stopped himself once he remembered that his comrade was lying defenseless on the cold tundra floor.
By now the dust has cleared, Napoleon can clearly see the man who he is on top of; the man looks like he is in his early twenties and has odd colored light turquoise hair and orange eyes. He is dressed warmly in a purple coat above black pants and black boots, along with a thick black scarf and headband.
“Uh-oh, I sure have got myself in quite the pinch here.” said the man with a carefree smile.
“Wow! This is a good looking fellow I got here!”
Napoleon shifts his attention to the woman’s voice and sees a girl with apple red hair with the same colored orange eyes standing over Ubica while pinching his cheeks.
She on the other hand looks like she is in her late teens and is dressed rather skimpy, especially considering the cold weather. She is wearing white skirt, with golden circular designs over black leggings that stretch from her waist down to her brown and gold boots. The skin of her belly is seen as there is a gap between her skirt and her white long sleeved crop top.
Napoleon clicks his tongue as though confirming the fact that he knew this would happen.
It is essentially a stalemate between the two because both can instantly kill the hostages they hold if needed.
With a sharp voice, Napoleon looks to the apple haired girl holding a large broadsword to Ubica’s neck and says,
“How this is going to end will depend on what you choose to do next.”
Chapter 6: The map to the Gates
Damien is walking in a large candle lit hallway; the pillars that line the window patterns have the feel of an old castle or mansion in England circa late eighteenth century. After walking for quite some time, he reaches a massive double door at the end of the hallway, cryptic drawings and pentagrams lined with Latin words are engraved in the smooth stone door.
Damien reveals a smile accompanied by a blank stare as the door seems to automatically open, allowing him to enter. The room is pitch black, so much so that he can only see two or three blocks of the black and white checkered marble floor that he is standing on.
“It has been a week since you pulled that stunt of yours without my knowledge, and only now do you choose to speak to me?”
This deep voice comes from within the darkness of the other side of the room; the one speaking cannot be seen but his presence can be sensed.
Damien, still wearing the same facial expression replies, “I must apologize, I seem to have lost track of time.”
“You of all people would never do anything without a reason…” The man in the darkness says with a light chuckle, after a momentary pause he asks, “Would you mind telling me what it is you have planned?”
Damien shrugs his shoulders and says, “Well I guess I can do that… you are my father after all.”
Meanwhile back on Earth...
The Capital city of La’Juune has its streets filled to the brim with its citizens all clad in black clothing. Black flags hang ominously from the large windows of the surrounding buildings, the massive castle is the only structure in the entire city that is not hanging the flags. Instead, on a large balcony-like platform that lies on the fifth story of the castle stands a group of about a hundred people.
They are all high ranking soldiers, priests, bishops, and royals, all dressed in black as well. It is the funeral for the king of LaJuune.
The balcony looks over an amphitheater packed with thousands of people mourning over their dead leader. One can relate this scene to the Vatican when a crowd of people await the white smoke signifying the selection of a new Pope.
A young man wearing black armor walks slowly to the podium at the edge of the balcony; the young man of fifteen has orange hair, and is wearing a bitter expression on his face. He rests his hands on the podium, intertwined his fingers and addresses the crowd of people he is looking down on.
“I can see that you are all visibly distraught over the happenings of last week. Trust me when I say that none of you feel the pain that I feel.”
The crowd looks at the anger brewing in his dark black eyes as he continues.
“But the pain that you and I feel, is nothing compared to the pain of our motherland. She has lost her king, she has lost her two eldest princes, and she has lost the man that signifies the pride of her army.”
The cold black eyes of the young man stare blankly out in the distance, his speech is not being read from a sheet of paper, it is coming from the heart in his chest that is increasingly becoming filled with vengeance.
This young man's name is Noah, and he is the third prince of La’Juune. Though he is younger than both Xavier and Luke, he carries a much more stoic demeanor. He has modelled himself after Napoleon and has idolized the General ever since he was old enough to know what war is. As the youngest prince, he was not expected to become anything more than a political tool; but much to the king's surprise, he found that Noah’s obsession with Napoleon’s war and battle feats has given him prodigy-like knowledge. Noah has been creating battle plans and setting up successful live training simulations since he was eight years old, and he is considered to be the brightest war genius in La’Juune. Because of this, the king himself ordered Noah to succeed Napoleon as the leading general of the La’Juutian army.
But much to the young prince's disarray, his father the king is dead, to add to that his two brothers and his idol have gone missing, thus making Noah the temporary king of La’Juune and the leader of its army.
“My father is dead, but I have not yet given up hope that my brothers and general Napoleon are still alive. The key is to find the culprit who has committed this blasphemy.” Noah pauses for a few seconds, a frown surfaces on his face. “People of La’Juune! Who do you think the culprit is?”
The people of the crowd gesture and the murmured voices of many thousands of people are heard answering his question. Noah sees this and is beginning to sense the uproar of the mass gathering of people.
He takes a deep breath and speaks in an increasingly higher tone.
“There have been two messengers who have come to visit me since the incident, one from Troy, and one from Eiyalazo. The messages they gave me was that of their King and Queen accusing us of the disappearance of their princesses! They dare murder our king and have the audacity to say that we are the guilty ones? My people, do you agree with this accusation!?”
The crowd has gotten riled up, and collectively shout a resounding,
Noah feeds off of this anger and responds to their uproar, “Neither do I!”
Noah snaps his fingers and two soldiers walk toward the podium pushing two beaten and bloodied men in front of them.
“These are the bastards that dare question not only myself, but all of you! They question our integrity as a country! They question our honor as a people! Will you stand for such an insult!?”
The crowd is shouting obscenities at the two men as the soldiers tie a rope around their necks.
Noah continues, “Allow me to send this message back to both Troy and Eiyalazo... we will find my brothers, we will find general Napoleon, and we will avenge my father, our king!”
The two soldiers throw the two messengers off the five story high balcony; they fall quickly toward the crowd and then suddenly stop. The two messenger’s necks snap and their lifeless bodies hang about fifteen feet above the cheering heads of thousands of people.
Noah spreads his arms as though he were gathering up the resentment of the people below to gather more strength into the words that will be heard around the world.
“WITH THIS, I DECLARE WAR!!!”
The entire city erupts in a patriotic fervor, cheering loudly and celebrating the start of a new conflict.
Rocks, sticks, and other sharp objects are being hurled at the dead bodies of the two messengers. Their mutilated bodies signify only a fraction of the outrage and anger felt by the La’Juutian people.
With the words of the young prince, the world is thrown into the chaos of the fourth World War.
Chapter 7: The map to the Gates
“Hahaha up to me huh? Don’t get so cocky, from what I see, I am the one in control here.” The apple haired woman says to Napoleon as she holds Ubica hostage. She mocks him with a smile, “Do you know who that is you’re holding?”
Napoleon shows interest in her statement, as far as he knows he is fighting demons from Hell.
“His name is Strauphius, him and I are the most wanted thieves in all of Purgatory. We have been in this kind of situation countless times and we've never even been scratched.”
Napoleon finds this quite amusing; he is overcome with relief at the fact that the two are actually humans. He also finds it funny that she should say that he needs to be wary of the man he has a death hold on, when little does she know that she is holding captive the Anti Christ, the human embodiment of evil incarnate.
Napoleon suddenly thinks to himself, he recalls Rage explaining to him that the people of Purgatory have no recollection of their past lives on Earth and that as far as they know, Purgatory is their rightful birthplace and is named something completely different. Most people who dwell in this land are the lost souls from the Earth, people like agnostics or atheists, people who lived in the time before the bible, or children who died young in sickness or in tragedy.
Much to the contrary of the horror stories of future interpreters of the bible, under God’s judgement, if you are considered a good person you will not be punished by being sent to Hell. These people are sent here to live out their lives in a respectable manner before they are reincarnated into another body on Earth. Of course, at the sign of a wavering soul, Hell has a much easier grasp on the souls of the residents, so the majority of people in this land will easily succumb to one of the Original Sins and be ripe for picking after death.
In a simple form, this world is a second chance at being allowed to return to Earth, which would mean another chance at being accepted into heaven.
“Wait a second, you guys know tha-“
Before Napoleon could finish his sentence, he feels the sensation of seeing the ground and sky twirl before him rapidly. The next thing he can see is a blade protruding through the rounded forearm armor surrounding the arm of the man called Strauphius, and it is pointing dangerously towards his forehead.
(Damn it, I was careless!) Napoleon thinks to himself as he realizes that he put both he and Ubica in a dire situation.
“I must admit, for a regular guy like him to be able to put me on the ground like that is pretty amazing.” said Strauphius with a sigh and a smile.
“Woah! Strauph check this out! This cute guy's sword is made of pure diamond, its gotta be worth a fortune!” Aria is holding Ubica’s katana shaped red diamond sword carelessly as she sways it around over her head.
Napoleon looks around at his surroundings as if trying to find anything lying around that can help turn the tides of the frugal outlook of his near future, but nothing that can be advantageous is found. He realizes that the best, and likely the only chance at survival is to speak to them in an attempt to bide time until the rest of the group catches up.
“You mentioned that you two are renowned as thieves in Purgatory, correct?”
This catches the attention of the two, the both of them bite at the bit for the chance to brag about their accomplishments.
“Oh? So you can now see why we are so infamous eh?” said Aria while smiling smugly.
“Not quite, I may have believed you if the rest of the world even knew that this place is called Purgatory in the first place.”
Napoleon shuts his eyes as he hopes that they understood what he meant by that.
The mere fact that they even know what Purgatory is has got to mean that they know of their deaths on Earth. The rest of the unaware people in this land might as well be robots that are completely oblivious as to why they were created. This is not such a bad thing however, Purgatory is a much more peaceful place than Earth is, the main reason is that there is no such thing as organized religion; throughout the last few thousand years in the history of humanity on Earth, the main reason of unnecessary death and war is of the direct result of opposing religions.
“Wha?” Stauphius mutters out loud, stunned to hear this person talking about a subject they know all too well.
Aria is wearing the same shocked expression.
Judging by their reactions Napoleon knows that he is getting somewhere with this.
Aria sheathes her massive broadsword and steps away from Ubica, she has a serious look on her face when she asks, “How do you know what this world is?”
Napoleon simply replies, “I am from Earth.”
Aria’s eyebrows turn steep as she begins to shout, “What!? That can’t be possible, no one is supposed to know what this world is! Papa said… Papa said that we are special…”
Napoleon is taken by surprise at her sudden surge of emotion. (Papa?) he thinks to himself.
"Well maybe you are special, ever since I've been sent here, I have not seen one person who is ‘aware’.”
Stauphius’ eyes turn cold, he shoves his blade closer to Napoleon's head when he asks, “What do you mean you were sent here?”
Napoleon, who is not showing any signs of nervousness, calmly replies, “If you would lead my downed comrade and I to some place warm, I will tell you everything I know.”
Stauphius is staring straight into Napoleon's eyes, so much so that it looks like the two are in an intense staring contest. Both don’t blink until they hear the voice of Aria saying, “Let him go… these two just might be our key to getting the hell out of this place.”
Srauphius thinks this over for a few seconds; he is weary of trusting a random man that wandered out of the tundra, but he relents. With a click of his tongue he says, “Fine then.”
Just when Stauphius is about to get up from atop Napoleon, a black cloud suddenly appears a couple feet behind Aria, and from that cloud appears Rage wielding his scythe.
“ARIA LOOK OUT!”
Rage swings his scythe right at the neck of Aria with tremendous speed; with the slash, a black wind trail slices through the air, flashing over the head of Napoleon and directly into Strauphius.
It all happened so fast that Napoleon could barely grasp what had just occurred. After the black wind subsided, there is no trace of the two thieves; one can’t help but think that the two were completely obliterated from the strike. The other half of Rage's body exits the black cloud in which he appeared from; he looks at Ubica for a second and then diverts his attention to Napoleon, who is still on the ground.
“You look unhurt, we spotted an explosion in your direction so I got here as quick as possible. Were those people from Hell?”
Napoleon regains his composure as he rises back to his feet he replies, “No actually, they were just regular citizens. Except the fact that they were ‘aware’.”
Rage sighs as if disappointed, “Oh well, we didn’t have time to waste on them anyways. First thing's first, we need to get Ubica to a village quickly.”
Rage turns to Ubica and takes a step, and with it a ‘click’ sound is heard under his feet.
A huge explosion engulfs Rage with fire and smoke.
“Rage!” shouts Napoleon.
This blast seems familiar to him, (It can’t be, they are still…)
His thoughts are quickly cut off by the laughter of a man and a woman.
“Hahaha! Bullseye! What did you think of that one Strauph?”
“Very good Aria! Ten out of Ten!”
Napoleon looks about twenty feet to his right and sees the same thieves alive and well; he grabs his sword and begins to charge them.
“Don’t even bother, unless you have some sort of power there is no way you can beat us.”
Napoleon halts his charge when he hears her declaration.
Stauphius replies, “Of course, isn’t it obvious? How else could we have survived that freak's attack?” he shrugs his shoulders and continues, “Aria can turn anything natural into an explosive and I can slow things down so when I move I will leave an after image behind.”
“How is it possible that you normal citizens of this world are capable of doing something like that?” asks Napoleon, stiff with disbelief.
“It’s simple, anyone who is ‘aware’ has power hidden inside their souls. It is just a matter of being able to awaken them or not.”
This voice doesn’t come from the two thieves, instead from the flaming plume of smoke where Rage once stood.
As if it was reacting to these words, the smoke and flame begin to suck violently inwards, so much so that a metal object is seen vacuuming the fire and smoke into nothing. The metal object is none other than the scythe in which an unscathed Rage is holding upwards. He looks at the two thieves and points his scythe in their direction.
As if that was a trigger to a detonation charge...
The same type of explosion that hit Rage and Napoleon instead landed directly in between Aria and Stauphius, knocking both of them fifteen meters in opposite directions.
“Greeahhh!!” yells Stauphius in both shock and pain.
After sliding across the ground, he regains his composure and looks up to see if Aria is alright; she’s quite far away and is disoriented as she attempts to rise to her feet.
“Hang on Aria! I’m coming!” Strauphius says as he is slow to stand as well.
Suddenly appearing in front of him and blocking his view of his downed comrade is Rage.
Rage takes menacing steps forward with an angered look on his face.
Straupius is frightened at this sight and replies, “Get the fuck away from me! I’ll kill you!”
“Kill me? With that power of yours that you can only use once every few minutes?”
Strauphius is shocked and speechless as Rage continues, “You didn’t think I’d notice?”
Rage takes another step closer to him.
“I said get away!!” Strauphius shouts.
Mercilessly, Rage reaches out his hand to swipe away Strauphius's soul.
“Wait!” shouted Napoleon right as Rage’s hand was just a view inches from Straupius’s face. Napoleon, holding a large piece of paper, is leaning next to a subdued Aria. “She says this is a map.”
The map has an overhead view of a land that one would assume is Purgatory, the words are written in a completely unknown language and has numerous lines that dissect the paper that represent latitude and longitude.
Aria sits up and struggles to say, “T-This map tells us how to get to the Gate…. but only Stauph and I can read it.”
Rage glares at Strauphius, and the young man’s shoulders jump in fright. “It’s true!” he says, his expression begging Rage to believe him. Aria attempts to deescalate the situation by continuing to persuade them. “Since you guys are ‘aware’, you want to get out of this place as well don’t you? We can help if you would allow us to.”
Napoleon looks directly into Aria’s eyes. Napoleon is confident he can tell when people are lying or not by looking into the eyes of the person in question, it was a learned skill through interrogations during war time. Though it’s not guaranteed, when Aria doesn’t even blink, he feels that his intuitions about her are correct.
“She’s telling the truth, Rage… we should let them go.”
Rage pauses for a few seconds and removes his hand away Strauphius’s face and begins to walk to where Aria and Napoleon are. Rage leans on one knee and with an angered expression he moves only a few inches from Aria and says, “Listen,if I find out you’re lying to me in any way, you two are dead.”
Aria is blue with fear and shakily replies, “I-I’m not lying.”
“Hmph… this seems to be a lucky day for both of us then.” said Rage in a sarcastic tone. “But first thing’s first, we need to get Ubica out of this cold. Lead us to your village.”
Strauphius is now standing; he wipes the dirt off of his purple coat and smugly says, “You’ll need us as much as we’ll need you.. this doesn’t mean that we have to take orders from you.”
Rage’s eyebrows sink into his eyes when he says, “You need to understand this one thing, I own you now. The map is merely a convenience for us, you two and that piece of paper are expendable. So until I know I can trust you, you both will do everything I say.”
With a sigh and a smile, Strauphius shrugs his shoulders and begins to run towards the town in which they live.
“My goodness you are one scary bastard. Whatever you say boss! Follow me!”
The map to the Gates: (END)
Chapter 8: The Devil's Advocates
(Huh? Where am I?) Ubica thinks to himself as he slowly opens his eyes and sees that he is laying on a bed in a large room wrapped in a thick white blanket.
What catches his attention most about this room is that the ceiling has extravagant paintings of children and women with wings floating in the sky.
(Angels?) His eyes are stuck on this painting, it truly is a magnificent piece of art; it looks much like the paintings of Micheal Angelo that look down on you from the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.
Ubica’s blank stare is stolen by the sound of a beautiful melody being hummed by a woman; he averts his eyes to the source and sees a sight that makes his body feel weightless. A girl is sitting at the edge of the bed he's laying on.
She has her back turned to him and she is looking out of one of the five large windows on the side of the room they are in. The sunlight escapes through the windblown blinds and hits the hair she is gently grooming with a brush, giving it a whitish tint. She is loosely wearing a white bathrobe that hangs low, revealing the gorgeous tint of the skin of her right shoulder down to the middle of her back.
(An Angel?) Ubica asks himself, his body in paralysis as though he were dreaming.
He wants to reach out and touch this warmth, and is suffering as his body refuses to move despite his best efforts; the glow and the warmth of this woman’s form is tantalizingly out of reach.
He feels himself slowly moving away from her light, sliding out of control into an abyss of darkness and cold, not even being able to struggle against it. He quickly realizes that this is his destiny; never will he feel what she feels, never will he be where she is. With the sight of this angel moving farther away, and the sound of her voice becoming weaker with each passing second, tears begin forming in his eyes as he works up the strength to speak.
“I am so sorry…”
The angel stops her humming and turns to Ubica, by now she is so far away he cannot make out what her face looks like.
“I would do anything to take it back…”
Tears are flowing from Ubica’s eyes, this is the first time he has ever felt the sensation of crying.
“Please forgive me.”
The angel is so far away now that all he can see is darkness, he has drifted the furthest into nothingness he has ever been to.
(No... I don’t want this.)
His plea is of no avail, he keeps falling faster and faster.
Ubica’s eyes are wide open but he can’t see anything; as hard as he is fighting the dark destiny of the monster he is, he understands that his desires and efforts will never change anything. The further he falls into the depths the harder it is to climb out, and despair breaks the resolve he put so much effort into building up. The farther he falls, the easier it seems to just give into it.
(Huh? A voice?)
“I said wake up! Ubica!!!”
With this loud shout, the darkness is pierced by light, and out of that light comes a hand that reaches out and rests on Ubica’s face. He can feel the warmth again, the darkness disperses and shatters away like breaking glass, and he can see once more.
“You’re awake!? Huuwaaaa thank goodness.”
This relieved voice comes from Daey, she is sitting next to Ubica with her hand resting on his cheek. She is loosely wearing a white bathrobe and showing a good amount of skin, her hair is down and still damp from a recent bath. The sun shining off her pinkish hair gives off the impression that it is glowing white.
Ubica’s eyes are fixated on her, his voice shakes as he speaks, “I-It was you..?”
Daey looks confused, she tilts her head questioningly.
Ubica grabs her hand that is resting on his face, he gently pulls it under his shoulder, moving Daey towards him. Ubica wraps his arms around her and holds her tight into his chest, he can feel her warmth and smell the sweet scent of her soft hair.
“This is a little sudden don’t you think?” Daey asks, flustered and surprised.
She realizes that her appearance is rather provocative but she wouldn’t expect someone to suddenly hug her like this. One in her situation would think that there would be ill intentions involved in something similar, but she feels nothing but the pure kindness of this embrace. In fact, she feels her heart racing like never before and for some reason she does not ever want to be let go. She strokes his back with her hands as they sit there is silence.
As if realizing he lost control of his emotions, Ubica loosens his embrace.
“I’m sorry, I don’t know what I was thinking”
To his surprise, Daey presses herself back into him.
“It’s okay, sometimes you need someone there to hold onto you when you cry.”
“Yeah.” Daey replies, with her head resting on his neck and shoulder, she could feel the vibration of his voice rub against her temple.
Ubica takes a deep breath and can feel the moisture on his face, an entirely new sensation to him. “This isn’t anything like what I thought it’d be.”
“Tell me… what are these tears for?”
“At first it was out of guilt and sadness. But now it feels so much different than that.” Ubica pauses for a moment to give thought to his feelings before explaining, “You just saved me from a very dark place that I don’t want to go back to… is it okay for me to cry because I’m grateful for that?”
“Of course it’s okay, tears aren’t just for sadness you know? Crying is also meant to make you feel better. You’re only human after all.”
After hearing those tender words, Ubica squeezes her even tighter and begins to softly cry once more. He is crying like someone would if they had held in their emotions their whole life and decided to finally let go and allow himself the bit of humanity he thought never existed. The tears are proof that he isn’t just a monster, she has made him realize that he’s so much more than that.
Daey is at a loss for words at this reaction, she can feel the water of his tears falling on her shoulder and sliding down her back.
“There there, it’s going to be alright.” Daey said, stroking his back in the process. Her maternal instincts seem to have taken over and she's nurturing his emotions in this vulnerable state he’s revealed to her.
After a couple minutes, the two are no longer embracing, instead their shoulders are pressed into each other as they closely sit side by side.
“Thank you Daey… I’m sorry about that.” Ubica said as he wipes the tears from his eyes, his nose is red and he's sniffling.
Caught a little off guard by the cuteness of the expression on his face, she fumbles her words a little bit when she replies, “N-No don’t worry about it, I’m glad to help. I have to say it was surprising to see you like that though... are you sure nothing’s wrong?”
“No nothing’s wrong! I’m really really happy!” Ubica shows a strained smile, averts his gaze and says, “That was the first time I have ever cried, I feel like a weight was lifted off my shoulders.”
Daey tilts her head, she raises one of her eyebrows and asks, “Wait, so you’re telling me that in your whole life, you have never done that?”
Ubica scratches his head as if trying to find an answer, “I guess it’s because I never had a reason to.”
The truth about that statement can be based more on the fact that he has never had a positive reason to live until now; in the past, loss to him was replaceable, relationships were hollow and nothing outside of his ambition was held precious.
Ubica looks around the room with a confused look on his face when he decides to change the subject by asking, “Anyways… where are we?”
“Whaaa!? Three days!!?” shouts Ubica after finding out he’s been asleep for three days and learning about what happened with Napoleon, Rage, and the two thieves Strauphius and Aria.
“No need to feel bad about it, the map they have says that the first gate is pretty far away. So we all needed to relax for a little anyways.”
The two stand in silence for a few moments until Ubica's shoulders jump. “Trojia and Tsubiri, are they alright?”
Daey giggles, she knew that the next question he would ask would be about them, “Yeah they’re fine. Those two... they are the only ones that wouldn’t take it easy.”
“What do you mean?” asks Ubica.
“They just wouldn’t leave your side these last three days. The first time they left this room was about an hour ago, Rage wanted them to go into the town to buy some warmer clothes for you.”
Ubica smiles, but he feels a pain in his chest because he worried them so much.
“You know, I think they love you...those two.” said Daey with a serious look on her face, causing the atmosphere in the room drop.
Ubica thinks about what she said for a few moments before attempting to downplay her statement. “I’m sure that’s not the case… they're just kind.”
“Geez Ubica, you’re so dense.” she said with a sigh. “So… do you have any feelings toward either of them?”
Ubica stands up off of the bed and stretches his arms and his back. “Of course I do… I have feelings for all of you.”
Daey sighs even louder and lays her back on the bed. “Geh, that’s not what I meant, stupid.”
“Hey, who're you calling stupid?”
With Ubica’s words, Daey throws her hair brush and it slams into his chest. “Who else? Someone who doesn’t even know when a person obviously loves him is what you would call stupid!”
Ubica leans over and grabs the hairbrush that Daey threw at him. He looks at it with a strained smile and holds it out as if to give it back to her. “To be honest, I wouldn’t know what something like love really is.”
Daey stands up and looks him in the eye, “You’re a very interesting guy, you know? There’s something about you that makes me feel like you’ve never lived before all this.”
His shoulders jump upon hearing that.
“You said you never cried, you don’t know how to love… no one would ever believe someone who said that about themselves, but I can tell you’re not lying. In a weird way it’s making me selfishly want to see you experience these feelings firsthand.” Daey gets back to her feet and walks away from the bed, turning her gaze to the scenery outside of one of the large windows. “While you were sleeping, you were agonizing over something, saying that you’re sorry… who were you talking to?”
Thinking that it was only a terrible dream, Ubica is uncomfortable at being confronted about words he unconsciously said aloud. But he can’t find it in him to dodge this question, not after everything she had just done for him.
With an inhale of determination and an exhale of resignation, he replies, “I thought you were an angel."
“A long time ago, they were my enemy. I’ve done horrible things in my fights against them that I’ve never gotten the chance to apologize for, I had thought you were my only chance, and you were slipping away, I was desperate for you to hear me.”
Daey is naturally confused, this man in front of her is even more of a mystery than she had originally thought; how can this kind person in front of her be an enemy to something like an angel? To her, this vulnerable man couldn’t possibly be as bad as he thinks he is.
“Well I did hear you, I’m no angel, but I’ll forgive you in their place.” she said with a warm smile.
“Ugh.” Ubica grunts and turns his head away from her with his hand over his face.
“You’re going to make me cry again!”
“Ah, I’m sorry! As much as I’m happy to incite such a reaction in you, I don’t want that to be the basis of our newfound friendship!”
“Okay, I think I can hold this one in.”
He wipes his eyes and smiles at her; she smiles back in return and holds her hand out to him, guiding him to the window alongside her.
They are in a second story room of a large house. From the window, the sight of large stone homes stretch about a mile and a half around four main dirt roads and intersections. Past the town, snow capped hills can be seen; some of the closer and smaller hills have been quarried due to the stone and rock excavation that is needed in order to build the numerous houses that rise from this desolate stretch of flat, cold and empty land.
In normal circumstances, stone buildings would not be able to protect humans from the rigid cold of the tundra. If it were not for the clay plaster used to bind the blocks of stone together that contain frozen permafrost-filled brush found on the tundra floor, insulation would be impossible. By filling the plaster with this watered down brush, it allows the cold of the outside temperature to absorb into the outer layer of already frozen permafrost brush, while the inner-house side is absorbing the warmth from a large intricately designed outhouse in the basement filled with boiling water containing rocks that constantly send heat from this machine through iron hot pipes that intertwine the innards of each room of the house.nQuite the clever use of the land by these residents of Purgatory.
“Oh, the two love birds are back.” said Daey, out of the window she can see Tsubiri and Trojia in the front lot carrying one bag each, presumably containing the clothing for Ubica.
They are making their way to the front door but are stopped and talked to by Xavier and Luke.
“I just got out of the bath right before you woke up, the water should still be warm.” said Deay as she points in the direction of the bathroom door on the other side of the room.
The water of the bath gets heated in virtually the same way the house does, by resting three iron hot pipes under the bath tub, the water will begin to heat until it reaches a comfortable temperature. And with a turn of a switch valve, the boiling water that heats the iron hot pipe will stop flowing, and as a result begins to cool.
Ubica is rather looking forward to nice hot bath, he walks to the door and reaches his hand out to turn the handle when he suddenly stops and his face drops.
“Wait a minute, you said that you just came out of the bath right?”
“Well yeah.” replied Daey in a nonchalant manner.
“That would mean that I would be bathing in water that you were just… you were just!”
Daey is looking at him like he’s crazy and thinks to herself, (That I was just what?)
She looks at Ubica’s flustered face and in her subconscious she feels that he is undressing her with his eyes. That’s when she realizes exactly what he is thinking, her face instantly glows red as she folds her arms over her chest.
“W-What the hell are you thinking about!? Perv!”
“Just what in the world else am I supposed to think about in this situation!?”
“You don’t think about anything and just get in the damn bath!!”
Frustrated, she opens the bathroom door behind Ubica and begins to shove him in.
“It’s not like I can get you sick, are you saying I’m gross or something?”
Ubica is holding the door frame in an attempt to keep her from pushing him in. “No it’s not like that!”
Flames seem to flow from Daey’s eyes when she gives Ubica one final push that sends him flying into the bathroom, Daey slams the door behind him and shouts, “Geez! I didn’t take you for a child!”
Ubica loudly sighs and looks at the innards of the bathroom, the pipes and valves that surround the bath tub confuse him into submission. He was thinking about trying to find a way to empty out the tub and heat up some new water but he thinks it would be too complicated to do so. Little does he know that it is as simple as pulling a switch to empty the tub, and turning a valve to fill it with water and warm it up.
Daey is leaning her back on the bathroom door, her hand is resting on her chest and she can feel her heart racing quickly. She realizes the reason why Ubica is shy about bathing in the same tub as her, but she doesn’t feel the least bit apprehensive about it.
She waits and listens to him undress and get in the water, with her cheeks flushed red she smiles and walks to the door to exit the room.
“This guy, I’m really drawn to him… I don’t think I’ll be able to leave him alone.”
As a naturally introspective person, she can't help but feel that she has taken a big step towards having found a new friend, the desire she has to help him makes her body feel warm with excitement. The fact that she is the first and only person to ever see a tear fall from his eyes means that their friendship has already blossomed into something special; she’s the only one to know and see a side of him that he hides and refuses to show the others.
Daey opens the door and enters a hallway that leads to a balcony, she looks off the railing and sees Trojia walking toward the stairs that lead to the second story while carrying a shopping bag.
She smiles as she looks at Trojia who is trying to hurry Tsubiri up the stairs.
“I wonder if this makes us rivals?.”
Chapter 9: The Devil's Advocates
“Both of you have one of these maps?” asks Napoleon.
He is loitering in the back yard of the large stone house, accompanied by Rudo, Cyrus, Rage and the two thieves.
“Yeah, Papa… um, I mean our guardian gave them to us. One map follows a different direction than the other, but will lead us to the same destination.” replied Strauphius. When he brought up the person who gave them the maps, he looked like he was uncomfortable.
Cyrus catches this expression and it prompts him to ask, “Where is this guardian of yours any ways?”
The two thieves share a troubled expression; Aria squints her eyes with her head hung low and softly says, “He’s dead.”
Rudo sighs and shakes his head. “If the guy who wrote the damn maps is dead, there is no way we can trust that they're even credible. “
“It’s the truth! I know it!” Aria protests.
Napoleon can see why they would not believe in their story, but there is no doubt in his mind that they are telling what they believe to be the truth. The matter is whether or not this ‘Papa’ character who wrote the map could possibly be capable of such a feat.
Cyrus shrugs his shoulders and takes a seat on a large rock. “It doesn’t look like we have much of a choice in the matter.”
Rudo frowns and shouts, “Yes we do! If we follow a faulty trail we could become lost and never find our way to the Gate!”
Cyrus removes his dark glasses from his face and looks at Rudo with his empty gray eyes. “If you haven't noticed yet, we're already lost. It’s been that way since the beginning.”
Rudo clicks his tongue, he realizes that what Cyrus said is true. They have been stuck in this strange world for ten days now and there hasn’t been any sign of the correct path in which to take.
Breaking the tense moment between the two is a sound of the back door of the large stone house creaking open. Out walks Sora, she is carrying a dusty old looking book in her hand. She points out the hand that’s holding the book and like a robot simply says, "...Diary...”
Ignoring her statement, and the book she is holding, everyone, including Rage has their eyes stuck on her appearance. She gestures the group to look at the book as her bright violet eyes stare blankly into the core of the group.
“Whoah! What the hell are you doing!?” shouts Aria.
Sora looks back at her and tilts her head.
“...What?...” she asks in this unusual robotic tone of hers.
She is only wearing a thin white sweater over her black laced bra and underwear; the stunning tint of her white skin shines in perfect contrast with the white snow that tatters the tundra ground in various spots.
Though one wouldn’t immediately be drawn to Sora’s attractiveness when side by side with the princesses, she is still quite the beauty, and seeing her half naked is enough to make any man blush.
“...Please put some clothes on Sora.” Napoleon says as he rubs his temples.
He has seen Sora guarding prince Luke around the castle grounds throughout the last couple years but he has only spoken to her a few times. She is not one to say much; during her training in the elite Dravic branch of the La’Juutian army, she was taught to forfeit the body language of her natural emotions in order to keep secret the hidden missions and any other kinds of damaging information from reaching the enemy. Since the majority of the Dravic branch's operations involve spying on countries behind enemy lines, this type of reaction is vital in the event of an intense interrogation or torture. It can fool the opposing foe into believing something that is false, and vice versa. Sora can feel pain, sadness, or happiness just like anyone else, but after years in this academy it has become an impossibility to actually show it. She could be completely embarrassed about their gazes, but no one would be able to tell.
“...No...Time...look...” Sora says as she once again pushes the book closer to them.
Napoleon takes the book out of her hand and opens it up and tries to read its contents. "What kind of jibberish is this?”
“...Latin...” Sora quickly replies, she notices Rage’s eyebrows twitch with curiosity, she grabs the book out of Napoleons hands and puts it in Rage’s chest. "...Read...”
Rage stays silent as he opens the book and begins to skim through it.
Strauphius and Aria look a little lost, they assume the book that Sora had just brought came from their house but they have never seen it before. Strauphius walks to Sora, not making eye contact in the least he shyly asks, “That book... where did you find it?”
The two thieves pause in silence, they think about what she said, and they want more of an explanation than just one word, both of them simultaneously exclaim, “We need details!”
Sora isn’t accustomed to speaking full sentences, in fact, she’s terrible at it, so she is constantly struggling to make things as short as possible.
“...Loose brick in wall... I noticed while bathing... Curious... Opened... Found book... Instinct says important... Excited... Rushed to show...”
“Well that explains why you’re half naked, though you don’t look like the kind of person to get excited.” said Aria while scratching her head, she looks at Struaphius who has a serious look on his face.
“Wait a second, we have read every one of Papa’s books in his collection. That means that this is one Papa has intentionally hid from us.”
“Why would he do that?” Aria asks with wide eyes.
“Let’s find out!”
Rage is reading through the contents of the book; so far the only things he has read are simple occurrences from this man’s daily life. There has not even been a mention of what the writer's name is yet. Rage is actually in a kind of shock over this book, the mere fact that this man even knows how to write in Latin is amazing.
Latin was once the main language of Christianity, throughout the generations it increasingly became less used and was almost to the point of extinction by the time of the Apocalypse. Even at that point, a small number of scholars and members of the clergy could fluently speak it. So naturally after the so called ‘End of the World’ the majority of smaller languages disappeared or molded into new ones. Already considered a dead language, Latin completely vanished. Very few people now even know of Latin’s existence, there definitely shouldn’t be anyone in Purgatory who knows anything about this.
The diary explains: 'I found two homeless children today, they were trying to rob me of my money purse. From what I understand they are twins, and they are only eight years old. I have decided to take them in and raise them properly, in the future years, they might be of help when traveling to the Gates.’
Though there is more information on the two siblings, Rage ignores it and continues to flip through the pages. Rage isn’t looking for a history lesson on these kids, he's trying to find something that he can gain confidence in proving the validity of the two maps.
Nothing of what he considers is important has been skimmed through yet, until he catches another interesting paragraph. This one is different from that of the others, deeper into the pages of the book, the date on the upper right side of the page is dated further in the past. 'I had been traveling north in this strange world on foot for over a month when I saw it, connected to the face of a massive cliff, a Gate. This Gate stands well over fifty meters high and one hundred meters wide. It was the most beautiful sight these eyes have ever seen, the arch was engraved in gold and numerous different colored diamonds. The stone was painted with the design of angels and cherubs. It’s as if God himself christened this massive canvas to be painted as the glorious image of his world. The only thought in my mind was to walk through the bright light that lies in the middle of the Gate; it felt like the warmth of paradise was but only a few steps away. However, before I could reach that light, I was attac-‘
The writing suddenly stops, covering the bottom half of the page is a large black stain. It looks as though someone carelessly spilled a bottle of writing ink on it. Even so, Rage believes this is just enough proof to trust the maps. He figures that the man wrote this page and drew the maps in a round trip conjunction of a two month long journey of exploration, the starting point being from this town. Rage also assumes that it is likely that the man decided to go on this journey when he became ‘aware’.
There are only a few pages left to turn, and finally reaching the back end of the book, he reads the last paragraph. The date written down is recent, only a year earlier...
'I have raised the two twins to the adult age of eighteen, they have grown into great people. I am proud to say that I consider them my own children. And because I see them as so, I cannot bring them into the dangers of where I am going. To my son and daughter, if you ever read this, I hope you know how much I truly love you both. I must apologize for my sudden disappearance, it's just that I knew that you two would follow me no matter what I said, so this was my only solution. I pray that one day I will see you both back on Earth. Until then, become strong. Sincerely: Achille Gallo.'
He shuts the book and looks at the two twins who are staring at him with eyes like that of two children begging their parents for ice cream. He gets ready to tell them the contents of the book when a small piece of paper falls from it and lands on the ground, Rage picks it up and notices that there are words written in bold red ink reading...
'Memor quis ut vir said , si unus est ut obduco porta , immortalis est sumo.'
Depending on how one reads Latin, this can be construed into meaning many different things. But Rage knows exactly what this says
'REMEMBER WHAT THAT MAN SAID, IF ONE CAN PASS THE GATE, IMMORTALITY WILL BE TO TAKE.’
This statement shows him that there is no doubt this Achille person’s maps are legit. Only people like Rage would know that if a human escapes, they can obtain immortality if they wished. The Purgatory Gatekeepers are also considered deities like Rage, so it is only natural that Achille gathered this information from one of them.
Rage hands the book to Aria and asks, “You said that this guardian of yours is dead, correct? What makes you think that?”
“Because that bastard left us without a damn word! Just like our parents did…” she replies while gritting her teeth.
Rage smiles wryly, “I’m not a guidance counselor, so I refuse to say something overly comforting, but I will say that you should be grateful to him. This book, most of it is about his love for the two of you.”
The twins stand like statues.
“But!” shouts Aria.
Before she can continue, she is stopped by the feeling of Strauphius’s hand on her shoulder.
“It’s okay." he says, "That is all we needed to hear.”
“This map is true, it should take a month to reach the first gate.” Rage says to Napoleon, Rudo and Cyrus.
The three all drop their head and sigh loudly in disappointment.
“Tch, damn it all, that’s a long time.” hisses Rudo.
Cyrus shakes his head in agreement. “Yeah and it’s only the first gate. By the time we get back, Eiyalazo could be destroyed.”
Napoleon lifts his head up and takes a determined breath, “If that is the case we shouldn't waste any more time here.”
Rage pauses for a few moments, then says, “I agree, but not all of us in the same direction. We need to split in two groups.”
“What!?” shouts Rudo.
Both Cyrus and Napoleon gesture in confusion.
“There are two maps following different directions that lead to the same destination. If we all follow one route, we would move slower and we are just one giant target for our enemies.”
Napoleon thinks about this dilemma for a moment and comes to the conclusion that Rage is correct, all sixteen of them following in one group would be foolish. If the enemies weren’t beings of outstanding power, it would be wise to copy the maps, split them into groups of four and send them off at separate times. But this idea is obviously meant for Ubica to lead one group, and Rage to lead the other.
“So how do we go about choosing who goes with who?” asks Napoleon.
To which Rage replies, “That is where I come in, I know that the bodyguards would want to protect their princes and princesses, however that would make things uneven, and that kind of emotional commitment could become a distraction. So I will choose, whenever Ubica wakes up I plan on discussing this with him. Of course you are welcome to join in Napoleon.”
“Don’t you dare think of splitting us away from our princesses!” shouts Rudo, threatened by the mere thought of this proposal.
Rage turns away to ignore him by walking through the back door and into the house. It is exactly as Rage said, he knows this will be hard on them to separate from the people they have risked their life on for years. In Rudo’s case, he has been the royal guard for Daey since her birth, he feels like she is a daughter or granddaughter to him. Sadly though, Rudo has no choice in the matter now, the God of Death is in control now and what he says goes. All he can do is clench his fists and grit his teeth in frustration.
Rage walks through the innards of the house towards the front door, he remembers that Luke, Xavier, and Phoenix were out in the front yard so he wants to tell them what he is planning. To his surprise he sees the anxious faces of Tsubiri and Trojia staring at him, their faces quickly drop at his appearance and they sigh loudly.
Rage scoffs at this reaction and asks, “Expecting someone else?”
Phoenix, and the two princes are standing to the left alongside Daey and Niera.
“They are waiting for Ubica to come out in the new clothes they bought for him.” Phoenix answers.
“He’s awake?” Rage asks in an uncommonly polite tone, he is probably anxious himself about finally getting out of this town.
“Yeah, he woke up just a little while ago.” answered a smiling Daey.
As if right on que, the creaking sound of the large wooden front door can be heard.
Out of the door comes Ubica, his face is a little flushed and he holds a rigid body language. He is wearing a huge blue snow coat that looks five sizes too big on the wide side; on his head lies a thick woolen black beanie that has a ridiculous looking big ball of white fluff on the top of it. These two non matching features combined with his skinny gray jeans and white slip on shoes gives off the impression of a fat guy with a small head and twig legs.
“Hahahahah!! You look like a giant puffball!” laughs Tsubiri as she points at him mockingly.
Ubica’s eyebrows steepen as she shouts, “You’re the one who bought me this stupid looking thing!”
“Hahahah well I had to make sure you are gonna be warm! But this is just too funny, hahaha I wish there were more hills here so I could roll you around!”
This truly is a hilarious scene, even Rage is struggling to hold in a chuckle, Daey is about dying with laughter and the rest are close to the same.
“Why you little!” Ubica rushes to her and grabs her head and begins to give her a ferocious noogie.
“Waaaaa oww oww oww! Why am I the only one who's getting punished like this!? Trojia bought you that idiotic looking beanie!!!” Tsubiri yells while her soft magenta colored hair is being scruffed over her gold eyes.
Trojia frowns and exclaims, “Hey I put a lot of thought into that thing, I think it looks cute on him!”
Ubica looks at Trojia with an agitated smile and says, “She’s right!”
And with that, Trojia’s face is engulfed by the thick padding of the giant jacket as well.
“I hate to ruin this touching moment, but we need to get down to business.” said Rage with a serious look on his face.
The three instantly stop and look at him like a deer in the headlights, stopping their gayety in their tracks.
“Everyone needs to gather their things and get out here. I have something to discuss.”
“I’ll go get them." replies Napoleon as he goes back inside the house.
“So what’s up?” asks Ubica.
“We are splitting into two groups, I need everyone to get out here so I can choose which people go into each group. After that, we’re leaving this town and heading toward the first Gate.”
The group all inhaled in surprise.
“What do you mean? We can’t just leave half of them to fend for themselves.” Ubica said assertively.
“We aren’t, you are going to lead one of the groups and I’ll be leading the other.”
Ubica looks surprised, “You actually trust me enough to allow me to do that?”
Rage stays silent for a moment, he rubs his temples as if he is contemplating the thought of himself making a terrible mistake. Then he remembers that Ubica lost himself to his evil during his battle with Nero, and somehow he managed to control it and revert back to his normal state.
”Do you trust yourself?” Rage answers Ubica’s question with one of his own.
Ubica shows a happy and determined smile, “I do.”
The thought of potentially ending up in a group separate from Ubica is hard on Trojia's and Tsubiri; and for Daey, she really doesn’t want to split from Niera and her elderly bodyguard.
Gloomy expressions can be seen on their faces, Tsubiri sees the princesses and can feel the worry emanating from the two; but unlike them, she has no one she holds particularly dear in the group except Ubica, he’s the only one who has ever been truly kind to her.
She gently grabs Ubica’s pinky finger and whispers to him, “Can I come with you?”
Ubica looks at her, her large gold eyes looking back up to him anxiously, in a way he can understand why she doesn’t want to make this trip in the other group because of how isolated she’d be.
“I’ll make it happen, don’t worry about it.”
Squeezing his finger a little more tightly before releasing her grip, she takes a sigh of relief and sofly says, “Thank you.”
“Napoleon sure is taking quite a while to get everyone out here.” says Phoenix, who's been steadily growing impatient for a while now.
“They are probably packing their stuff, good thing we already packed, right Luke?” replies Xavier with his chest puffed up.
Luke shows a strained smile, “Right.”
Ubica walks up to the middle of the walkway that leads to the door and scratches his head. “Sorry about keeping you guys here for so long, I’m sure that you all have wanted to leave over these last few days.”
Xavier somehow sees this apology as an opportunity to one up Ubica and shouts, “That’s right! You should be-oww!“
Xavier’s soon to be rant is halted by the feeling of a small marble hitting the left side of his head; the little marble bounces off his head and rolls to Ubica’s feet.
“Hey! Who the hell threw that at me!?” shouts Xavier while holding his head in an overly dramatic fashion.
They all look in the direction in which it came but see no one, Xavier is about blame someone in the group when the sudden voice of an unknown man is heard from above.
“It’s been a helluva long time since I last saw ya, Ubica!”
Ubica looks toward the source of the voice, across the way on top of the neighboring stone house is a man clad in a deep red cloak, he has light brown hair that hangs to his bright blue eyes.
Ubica’s face drops and Rage’s eyes grow large, Ubica immediately slams his foot on the little marble and spreads his arms like a bird and shouts “PULSUS!”
Instantly, Trojia, Tsubiri, and Daey are pushed ten meters to the right, while Xavier, Luke, Phoenix and Niera are push ten meters to the left.
Ubica looks down and yells out, “Everybody run away now!!”
Rage grabs Niera and jumps to the top of the house while Phoenix helps the two princes scurry further away from Ubica’s position. A tremendous shockwave is felt at their feet, causing everyone's knees to buckle for a moment and the ground under Ubica’s feet cracks into thousands of pieces and breaks. With Ubica in tow, the ground falls violently into a dark and seemingly endless abyss.
“Ubica!” Trojia yells frantically while being pushed by Tsubiri.
The hole grows larger and larger and is quickly growing closer towards the three.
“Run!” shouts Tsubiri.
The ground beneath the three starts to crumble and they begin to fall. As a royal bodyguard, Tsubiri’s natural reaction is to protect the two princesses, she pushes them away from the hole to safety, thus sacrificing herself to fall helplessly into the abyss.
(Shit, I’m going to die.) she calmly thinks to herself with her eyes closed.
As soon as she resigned herself to her fate, she suddenly felt her head fall softly into a thick padding, she opened her eyes to see that she was looking up at the serious face of Ubica. The two are flying from the hole towards the light of the sky as Ubica jumps upwards off of the falling rocks.
They reach the surface, and without saying a word Ubica softly sets Tsubiri onto her feet and begins to assess the damage. Strauphius and Aria’s large stone house is split in half, one side of it lies on Ubica’s side of a three hundred meter wide crack, and the other on Rage’s side. Following the trail of the crack in the ground leading towards the town, the sight of true destruction can be seen as houses, shops, and people unlucky enough to be in its path fall hopelessly into the darkness of the hole.
Ubica shifts his attention to his right to make sure that Trojia and Daey are alright, and much to his chagrin he only sees an out of breath Trojia. Ubica’s face turns blue at the fear that Daey had fallen in and he didn’t see her fast enough to catch her. “Hahaha, doesn’t it all look too familiar?” said the man in the red cloak.
Ubica clenches his teeth at his statement; he turns towards the sound and sees a sight that sends a shiver down his spine. The smiling bright blue eyed man is standing calmly on top of a house that has been split in half, and in his arms he holds a frightened Daey.
Ubica clicks his tongue and holds his right hand behind him. With that gesture, out of the massive crater comes his sword, he grabs it and glares at the man with eyes full of killing intent.
“Let her go… Abaddon.”
Rage is on top of the left half of the house looking out to the other side of the crater, he sees exactly what is happening and is hurrying to check on the others before jumping over to help.
Rage looks around and sees that Phoenix and the two princes are safe. He wonders about the safety of the rest of the group that were gathering their things in preparation to leave, but doesn’t have time. He is confident that Napoleon would have been able to get the rest to safety so long as none of them were unfortunate enough to be in the middle of the house when the crater formed.
He looks down at Niera, who’s eyes are fixated on the far away scene of her sister held captive by this strange man.
Rage gently strokes the top of her head and says, “Don’t worry, I’ll go over there to help.”
He readies to jump off the house when a few feet behind him, the sound of another unknown voice is heard.
“I don’t think that is such a good idea Rage.”
Rage slowly turns around as if he is frozen in shock.
A tall man around Rage’s height stands ten feet away from him atop the roof. He has dark green hair with its tips black, and light brown eyes hold a black line that swirls to form his pupils. Over his shoulders he is loosely wearing a large white and gold coat, under this coat is a black vest that is lightly worn above white pants that are tucked into aristocratic black boots.
A cold sweat rolls down the side of Rage’s face, his throat is dry and the only thing that he can even mutter from his mouth is the name of the man standing in front of him.
Chapter 10: The Devil's Advocates
“Now why would I wanna do that?” said Abaddon, mocking him while holding Daey captive under his right arm and tossing a small marble in his left hand.
“Because I’ll kill you.” Ubica sharply replies.
Abaddon lifts his head back and begins to laugh. “Hahaha, that’s even more of a reason for me not to let this girl go, ain’t ya gonna try to kill me anyways?”
Ubica grits his teeth in anger, he understands that he can’t gain any leverage on Abaddon by threatening him with physical harm.
From behind in the direction of the house comes the sound of a window breaking, they all shift their attention to this and see Napoleon, Niomyo, Strauphius and Rudo stagger out of the broken home. Napoleon and Niomyo look at the destruction of this scene in awe, they both feel like this is eerily similar to the aftermath of Ubica’s battle with Nero.
Rudo pays no mind to the devastation, his eyes are stuck on this unknown man holding Daey captive.
Rudo pulls his sword from the sheath that he wears on his back, blind with rage he charges toward the man. Blind cannot be used lightly in this situation, his eyes are blurry with adrenaline, but the man in which Rudo is running to stands atop a two story house, there is no way Rudo can get up there in any respectable amount of time.
Abaddon knows this and as if to mock the efforts of a mere human he dangles Daey over the edge of the house.
“Oh? Whaddya think you’re gonna do?”
But much to his and everyone else’s surprise, Rudo jumps incredibly high, and within an instant he is right beside Abaddon.
“Ubica! Grab the princess!” Rudo yells as he swings his sword toward the arm of Abaddon.
Abaddon wears a smile and casually drops Daey to the ground; he quickly moves his arm back and narrowly avoids contact with the sword. Like he transported, Abaddon phases ten feet away and flicks the little marble that he held in his left hand; the marble flings into Rudo’s forehead and sticks into his skin. With a snap of his finger, the marble explodes. Blood engulfs Rudo's face as he feels the warm fluid run down to his chest.
Rudo falls to his knees on top of the roof and covers the coin sized hole in his forehead with his hand; while applying pressure to the wound, he looks down behind him and sees Daey being held safely in Ubica’s arms. Rudo huffs in relief, he looks at the enemy before him and once again begins to charge.
“Persistent little prick aint chya?” Abaddon says while he guards himself.
Rudo jumps and swings down his weapon with all his might.
But Abaddon simply lifts his bare hand and grabs the blade. With this action, Rudo suddenly can’t move, after a second in this paralytic state he feels himself falling away from the view of his right arm. Rudo falls to the roof top floor, he looks in the direction of this weird sensation and sees a sight straight out of a nightmare. Abaddon is standing above him holding the arm that is still clinging to his broadsword.
Rage jumps in front of Niera to guard her, Beelzebub sees this and puffs air out of his nose with a faint smile. “Now now old friend, no need to be so hasty, we didn’t come here to fight.”
Rage looks confused and asks, “Then what brings a member of the Hierarchy here?”
Beelzebub shrugs his shoulders. “Though I do not know the exact details, I do know that it involves Ubica.”
“Like I said, I don't know. This is all the plan of the Father's child, I am merely playing my part in it.”
This statement is odd to Rage, when it comes to the Hierarchy of Hell, Beelzebub stands as the rank of third, only Satan and one other rise ahead of him as rulers of Hell. So Rage is wondering why such an important and powerful person is necessary for a mission where no fighting is involved. Beelzebub looks across the three hundred meter gap in the ground towards the others and sees his brazen partner with a hostage.
“It seems that it would be wise to retreat before my partner makes an unwanted mistake.” he says as he shifts his attention back at Rage and continues, “But first, there’s something I need to do.”
He holds out his hand and points his index finger in their direction, out of his fingertip comes a red bug, and the bug flies off rather quickly across the crevice.
Though Rage doesn’t know what his intentions for this insect are, he readies to intercept the path of the bug, but is halted by Beelzebub’s voice.
“Best not to be careless Rage, once you make a move, I can easily kill this child.”
Rage grits his teeth and reasserts his guard in front of a frightened Niera. “What are you trying to do?”
Beelzebub strokes his fringe and replies, “It would be much too difficult fighting Ubica whenever he is awakened, that bug carries a specially made poison to limit this possibility. In the small chance he still awakens, he will feel an unbarring pain throughout his body.”
“So basically, you are trying to destroy his natural power?”
“No, far from that. This poison will make his evil grow even stronger than ever before, this is the whole point. The key is making this power more and more vulnerable so it can be controlled.”
“Hmph, there is no way Ubica would allow himself to be controlled by the Hierarchy.”
Beelzebub lowers his head, his light brown eyes shine brightly underneath his hair, with a cold tone he responds, “I never mentioned anything about controlling Ubica himself.”
With these words Beelzebub spreads his arms and disperses violently in the form of a large swarm of flies. His echoing voice is heard, “Soon enough, Dantega will be ours alone.”
“Damn it all.” Rage says, his face cold with anger.
Niera throws off the concerns of what had just happened and looks toward the other side where she last saw Daey held captive. Much to her surprise she sees her sister safely held in Ubica’s arms. She is struck with relief until she sees the ghastly sight of that same man holding up something that looks like a bleeding limb. Though this view is quite far away, making visibility fairly low, the sight is confirmed when she sees Rudo stagger up to his feet with a missing arm.
“Oh no, Rudo!” Niera frantically shouts, she looks at Rage as if imploring him to go over there to help, but Rage can only bite his tongue in frustration because there is a chance that Beelzebub is still lurking somewhere around just waiting for a chance to kill Niera and the rest.
“I can’t leave you here alone, we can only trust that Ubica can manage to keep them safe.”
The back of Daey’s throat stings as she shouts this.
Rudo struggles to stand as blood drips under his feet causing his footing to slip, he smiles and says, “No need to worry princess, this stubborn old man will not die so easily.”
Abaddon begins to laugh rather loudly, he callously tosses Rudo’s arm into the abyss and says, “Didn’t ya ever hear that stubbornness ain’t a good trait?”
Ubica scowls at this comment; he gently lets Daey to her feet and says, “You haven't changed a bit Abaddon, I think it's time I get rid of you for good.”
“Oh? Try me ol’ pal, just don’t forget who it was that made the prison for ya to rot in.”
Ubica readies his sword and gets ready to charge when he suddenly feels a sharp pain in his neck. “Ahghh!”
Ubica slaps his neck and feels something crush underneath the weight of his hand, he looks in his palm and sees a flattened red bug.
His body instantly writhes in pain.
He falls to the ground and begins to uncontrollably shake.
Napoleon, Tsubiri, and Trojia run to his aid.
“What’s wrong!?” Trojia asks with a panicked look on her face.
“It’s Beelzebub! Damn it, I can’t believe I didn’t realize he was here!”
“Hahaha that’s right, yer ol' buddy Beelzebub has come to join the fun. He sure took his sweet ass time talkin’ to Rage, bout time he got ya with that creepy lil bug.” Abaddon smirks as he continues, “Well, it looks like my job here is done. Take it easy Ubica, soon enough, I’ll be back to fight ya seriously.”
Abaddon readies to leave when right behind his back he feels the presence of someone.
“After destroying Papa’s house, did you honestly think that I’d just let you leave?”
This voice comes from Strauphius, he swings his weapon at the neck of Abaddon, and is shocked when he feels the sensation of slicing through air. He looks where Abaddon was supposed to be and notices that he is simply standing a few feet back from where Strauphius swung is blade.
“Woooh you're a fast kid, but...”
Abaddon backs away and pulls a marble out of a sack that hangs off his belt.
Strauphius is exposed because he can only use his power once every few minutes, he has made himself a sitting duck.
“Hmph, after I’m done with ya, maybe I’ll stick around and take a few of the others out too.”
He readies to send an attack, but before he could flick the marble, he feels a sharp object press into his lower back, it’s the one armed old man Rudo.
“Never again will I let you lay your filthy hands on princess Daey.”
Rudo is stabbing a seven inch knife into Abaddon’s back, because of the loss of blood, Rudo’s vision is blurry so he is not sure if he has pierced any vital organs or not.
Abaddon frowns a little and says sharply, “Listen gramps, I’ll have ya know that I am the Angel of Destruction.”
The seven inch blade suddenly shatters and along with it, the bones in Rudo's fingers and hand.
“Hngggyaack!” he winces as he buckles to his knees.
Strauphius rushes to his aid but runs into the sight of a marble ready to be flicked from Abaddon's hand.
Abaddon smiles as he ignores the presence of Strauphius and looks into Rudo's eyes, he begins to explain, “I bet yer wondering how that just happened eh?” Rudo's eyes widen as he continues. “Every object, living or inanimate has a destruction point. It's quite easy to calculate actually, normality flows like a river in one direction for everything. I have an innate ability to control that vector and reverse, speed up, expand, or even shrink it until it reaches an unsustainable balance point.”
Abaddon mercilessly grabs Rudo's face.
“That means that if I wish it so, I can reverse your bloodstream, or perhaps I'll expand the size of your brain till it falls outta your ears. Do ya know how much of a bloody mess you'll be if I decided to do that?”
Ubica is struggling earnestly to get to his feet and help, but his body simply won't move.
He looks at Deay, her hands are clasped tightly on her chest as her face is pale with horror, he can only imagine how she is feeling at this moment, and he dearly wants her not to see a loved one die in such a gruesome way.
“Napoleon! Help me up!” Ubica yells with all of his strength.
Napoleon rushes over and lifts him to his feet.
Ubica readies his sword and begins to run toward Abaddon. “Let him go!”
Rudo hears Ubica's frantic voice, he smiles and comes to the realization that his time is up. He thinks back to when he first met Daey...
She was just a newborn, after his many years in the Eiyalazonian military as a high ranking officer, the King asked him to be the official royal guard of his first daughter. As part of this honor, Rudo was able to witness her birth, thus making him her Godfather. He'll never forget her first smile and all of the different moments he was blessed to witness as she grew into the fine young woman she is now.
After reminiscing, he puts every last bit of strength he has left into a shout, “Ubica!! I give the responsibility of protecting princess Daey to you!!!”
These words resound in Ubica's head as he runs, he knows he is not going to make it in enough time to help but he still moves on as fast as he can.
“You asked the wrong person to protect that little girl, gramps.”
Abaddon shows a sadistic grin as Rudo lets out a ghastly scream. Out of Rudo's ears, nose, eyes and mouth comes streams of blood. Rudo's body is shaking violently, blood is squirting in every direction like water off of a mop that's being shaken.
After a few moments, Rudo's body suddenly stops shaking and the blood flow that was once being excreted halts. Abaddon drops him to the floor like a sack of trash and says, “Have a look at that, whatta sight! But I got carried away and killed em too quickly. Huaaaahhhh I want more...”
He looks at Strauphius with eyes full of blood lust, Strauphius backs away while his knees are shaking.
“Beelzebub never told me that I couldn't kill the humans, after all, you people are expendable.” Abaddon takes another step closer and begins to toss a marble up and down in his hand.
Before this blood soaked demon can reach Strauphius, Ubica appears behind him, he swings his sword at Abaddon's torso in a horizontal strike. Abaddon jumps back and flicks his marble from his hand, the marble hits Ubica's swinging sword and deflects it with such strength it actually flings it backwards.
Ubica abandons his sword and ducks to the inside of Abaddon's guard, he twists his body and quickly sends a sound breaking kick that slams onto Abaddon's face, sending him flying twenty meters off the house and into the air.
While flying back, Abaddon spits out blood from his mouth and shows a cynical smile. “Hahahah! Good stuff ol' pal! It looks like it’s finally time to get serious!!!”
He stuffs both of his hands into his red robe and spreads his hands out causing the robe to flair out like a parachute. In between each finger in both of his hands are marbles.
“How can they expect me to not kill you after all this time when you’re right in front of me!!!?”
He readies to throw the marbles in Ubica's direction when he is suddenly engulfed by a swarm a flies. “What!? No! Wait Beelz-”
Before he can even finish talking, Abaddon disappears in the swarm and the flies all disperse into different directions.
Out of another swarm comes Beelzebub; he walks toward Ubica in mid air while the flies form into a pathway under his feet. He stops and looks at Ubica who is obviously in pain from the poisonous bug that had just bit him.
“I never thought I'd see you again.”
Ubica grabs his neck and asks, “What did you just do to me?”
Beelzebub replies, “It's nothing that would kill you if that's what you're implying. Does it still hurt?”
Ubica clicks his tongue.
“I had originally planned on leaving you in agony for a while before your body gets used to the poison, but I'll get rid of the pain early for you.”
He snaps his fingers and instantly the pain coursing throughout Ubica's body dissolves and he feels like he can move to his normal capacity once again.
The fly filled pathway that Beelzebub is standing on grows into his legs and rises up toward his face; he looks at Ubica and shows a faint smile when he says, “With this, I bid you adieu.”
The flies wrap around his body and disperse, in only an instant, he is gone.
“Tch, that bastard.” Ubica hisses to himself.
He then checks to see if the shocked and speechless Strauphius is uninjured and quickly shifts his attention to the mangled body of Rudo. It is beyond obvious that he is dead.
In a normal circumstance, one would close the open eyelids of the dead as a manner of respect, but in this case, Rudo's eyes are hanging from his sockets down to his cheekbone. Luckily, Daey can't see this because of her view point on the ground.
Ubica jumps down from the house and walks toward Daey, he grabs her clasped shaking hands.
“Is Rudo alright...?” she asks with eyes full of hope.
Ubica squeezes her hands tightly and replies, “I'm sorry.”
Daeys takes a deep breath and fails to exhale properly. “ I-I see...”
Ubica's face is filled with guilt, he feels that it is all his fault, he apologizes yet again and looks away.
Out in the distance a faint voice of a young girl is heard shouting, “Daey! Are you alright!”
This light sound is coming from the younger princess Niera who is on the other side of the three hundred meter gap in the ground. Daey takes a sigh of relief knowing that her sister is safe and waves back.
“At least she's ok.” she softly said under her breath.
Ubica assumes that she wants to see her so he runs to jump over the crevasse, he reaches the edge and a murderous shock of electricity pounds through his body.
He is blown back in a plume of smoke and harshly lands on the ground.
“What just happened?” asked Niera after she saw Ubica blown to the floor out in the distance.
Rage walks to the edge and reaches out his hand.
Rage's hand is shocked as if he had just touched a large electrical outlet. “Shit, was this part of their plan as well?” Niera looks at him with a face that's begging for an explanation.
Rage answers, “That man who was holding your sister, he is the Angel of Destruction, and also the key holder of the endless pit. He decides what goes in and what comes out... he made it so we can't rejoin with each other.”
Rage follows the length of the abyss with his eyes and sees that it goes for miles and miles, it's as if the massive crack in the ground never ends. Rage sighs and hops off the house onto the ground, he sees that Phoenix, Luke, and Xavier are safe.
He then walks into the split house and finds Cyrus and Sora climbing out from within a pile of rubble.
“Where is the thief girl?”
The two shake their heads as if saying 'I don't know'.
Rage quickly realizes that the two of them don't even know what had just occurred outside of this broken house, they are not in a position to answer any kind of question, in fact they should be the ones asking.
He looks around and hears Aria's voice from above saying, “I-I'm right here.”
Hovering directly over the endless abyss, she is sitting on a narrow piece of what used to be the balcony. Luck would be an understatement in describing how fortunate it was that she didn't fall into the crevasse, and even more so in the fact that the narrow piece of stone she is on did not collapse during this whole ordeal.
Rage once again sighs and says, “So this is my group huh..?"
Ubica opens his eyes and begins to cough wildly, black smoke pours out of his mouth with each exhale. “I should have figured he'd do something like this...” he said while trying to get to his feet, Trojia and Tsubiri both rush to help him up.
“I assume we won't be able to get back to them for a while, correct?” Napoleon asks.
Ubica looks at the length of the abyss and sees that it stretches as far as the eye can see and replies, “Yeah...”
“Well then, we should get going, lets try to gather as many worthwhile things that are left in the house as possible. I'll bury Rudo afterwards.”
Napoleon says this with no apparent sympathy in his tone, he walks to the broken house and goes in through one of the broken windows. Though the rest of them were hesitant in doing so, they eventually follow, all except Daey.
Ubica sees this and walks to her side.
“Don't apologize!” Daey interrupts him with her shout.
Ubica is taken aback and drops his head.
After a few deep breaths, she uses the palms of her hands and lifts his head up. “I can see it in your face..." she says as she looks into his eyes. "You’re blaming yourself right?”
Daey puts her head in his chest, “Well it's not... he died doing his job, knowing that old geezer, he'd be happy to die protecting me.”
Though these words sound cold, Ubica can feel the warmth in them, she wraps her arms around the big blue jacket that he is wearing and says, “I'm proud of him...”
A few tears fall from her eyes; she is trying to hold the rest of them back and Ubica senses this.
He rests his hands on her shoulders and says, “Even though these are tears of sadness, if you have someone’s chest to cry into, it could make you feel better, right?”
“I guess it can’t be helped, our newfound friendship is based on tears after all.”
By now, she is bawling into his chest, a person she has known and has grown to care for like a father figure her entire life was just brutally killed in front of her in this strange land she’s found herself in. To add to that she has just been separated from her sister for the foreseeable future; dealing with the trauma of this incident would be terribly difficult on anyone, if not for this new friend whose chest she is allowed to cry into, she’s not so sure she’d even be able to stand on two feet.
Ubica lets her squeeze him as hard as her sadness desires, and he gently strokes her back.
“I can promise you, it won’t always be this way…”
The Devil's Advocates: (END)
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