Dantega:Volume 1 Chapter 7
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)
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