Dantega:Volume 3

From Baka-Tsuki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Messor -2.jpg
Dv03-chp09 img002.jpg

Chapter 20: Northbound Reunion

(PART 1)

The group of Ubica, Napoleon, Tsubiri, Daey, Trojia, Strauphius, and Niomyo have been walking north for a couple days. After staying at a couple towns along the way, the group has exhausted their supply of money and are now resting by a small lake.

It is a beautiful sunny day, and the scenery around this lake seems like a perfect occasion for a picnic. Green grass accompanied by numerous colors of poppy flowers stretch as far as the eye can see and few trees spot the grassland and the areas around the lake.

Ubica walks to the flowers and intentionally falls on his back, he sighs and shuts his eyes to let the warmth of the sun beat on his face.

Tsubiri walks up to him and says, "You're not wearing the jacket I bought you.."

He looks up at her and can see right under her skirt, he flinches and turns away quickly before saying, "Because it's not cold out, and I'd prefer not to look like an idiot wearing that thing unless I absolutely have to."

Tsubiri frowns, "Haven't you ever heard that gifts should be cherished!? You seem to like that stupid beanie that Trojia got you!"

Ubica is wearing the beanie, though there is no need for the jacket, it is still a little cold, so he feels the need to keep his ears warm.

"I can’t help it if my ears are cold."

Tsubiri reveals an evil grin and her glare grows sharp.

"Your ears are cold huh?"

She pounces on him, takes off his beanie and chucks it away.

"Uaaaahh! What are you doing!?" Ubica desperately shouts as he's being manhandled by this nineteen year old girl.

"Muhuhahahahaha! Allow me to warm up your stupid ears!!!"

She grabs both of his ears and begins to yank on them extremely hard. The loud screams of Ubica mixed with the evil witch like laugh of Tsubiri causes a scene and everyone gathers to witness the carnage.

"This is all fun and dandy, but the problem is, we're broke." said Napoleon as he huffs air out of his nose in annoyance.

He and Niomyo are leaning against a tree.

"So what are we going to do?" asks Niomyo as she takes off her shoes.

"When we get to the next town, we all have to look for jobs."

"We don't have time for something like that!"

He looks at her and then back to Ubica and Tsubiri. Because of their wrestling, different colored flower petals are flying all over.

"We also don't have a choice. Let's just hope that there will be some high paying jobs that won't take too long."

Niomyo walks into the shallow end of the crystal clear water. "...Yeah, I guess your right."

"How does the water feel?"

She kicks her legs, splashing the water she turns and smiles, "It's great!"

He chuckles at her kid like reaction and proceeds to take off all of his clothes.

Niomyo is instantly flustered at the sight of Napoleon in his briefs, though he is quite tall and thin, his body is perfectly toned.

Napoleon jogs into the water and floats on his back, he smiles and shuts his eyes.

Niomyo is zoning out on his abs like a pre-teen school girl seeing her favorite idol shirtless in a magazine.

Napoleon notices her staring at him. "What?"

She jumps in surprise and scrambles to find the right words to say. "Eh uh... it's just that, this kind of thing... it doesn't seem like you."

Napoleon back paddles in circles as he says, "These kind of carefree moments..."

He once again glances to Ubica and the rest. Now Trojia, coming to Ubica’s aid is trying to get a relentless Tsubiri off of him, Daey is picking flowers while laughing and Strauphius has eyes full of envy with his shoulders slumped in an overly dramatic way.

Napoleon slashes his hands in the water and loudly laughs, an occurrence never before heard nor seen by the group.

Tsubiri halts her vicious attack and they all stop to stare; they wonder what is so funny that he would actually show this kind of emotion.

Napoleon never really had a childhood, he was the son of a military man and his mother died shortly after his birth, so he was raised by a strict father who demanded discipline.

His father fell ill from an old wound and on his deathbed, asked a then fourteen year old Napoleon to fulfill his wish of joining the La'Juutian army. Naturally Napoleon agreed and after a full year of living on the streets, he joined the army when he reached the required age.

These events made his childhood rough and rotten, he doesn't remember the last time he actually had fun, but seeing the other’s carefree rowdiness makes it feel like they are all sharing in a nice moment, despite the situation they have found themselves in.

After a few long moments, Napoleon finally stops laughing, he looks at Niomyo who is stunned just like the others and says with a smile, "I guess they're starting to rub off on me."

"Woah I think the sky is falling!!!" shouts Ubica who is completely shocked.


Like an utter idiot, Tsubiri took him seriously and looked up to the sky.

"Did you really just do that??"

Tsubiri, knowing that she had just made a fool of herself can only frown in embarrassment while Ubica mercilessly laughs in her face.

She readys to slap him and swings her hand down, but Ubica grabs it and shows her a devilish grin.

"I think it’s time we join napoleon."


He grabs her waist and lifts her from her mounted position, he then stands up and throws her onto his shoulder.

"Whaaaa! What are you doing!?"

"As revenge for the death of my ears, you're going for a dip!"

Tsubiri starts pounding on his back and shouts, "Don't you dare! Don't--kyaaaaahhh!"

Ubica takes off running with Tsubiri in tow, he takes a giant leap and before she knows it, she is under water in the middle of the lake.

Tsubiri pops her head out of the water and what she sees is Ubica laughing at her.

They are both soaked with all of their clothes on.

Since the split of the group a few days ago, Ubica has been paying most of his attention to Daey due to the death of Rudo. Of course this is a justifiable reason for being ignored, but she feels that even when he wasn't with Daey, he ended up spending more time with the others. So at that time, she promised herself that if they ever were to be alone together, she'll go to any lengths to seduce him.


Tsubiri throws her arms over his shoulders and clings to him, she wraps her legs around his back so he can't get her off. Their faces are only a few inches away from each other and this makes Ubica extremely nervous. He tries to move his head back but she pulls the back of his neck closer to her, thus making it impossible for him to get away.

"What are you doing?"

She runs her fingers through his hair and says, "I can't swim."

"Are you kidding?"


"What are you, a toddler?"

She yanks his hair back, punishing her for his condensation.

"That’s why I told you not to throw me into the water!!"

"Ngggyyaaaahhh that hurts!!!"

Daey and Trojia are watching the chaotic scene of Ubica once again getting beat up by Tsubiri.

Merrily picking flowers, Daey says, "They sure get along well."

She spots a multicolored purple daisy and like an excited child, grabs it and marvels at it as though it was a diamond.

Trojia plops herself onto the ground, kicking up flower petals in the process, she folds her arms in a pout and sharply replies, "They get along too well if you ask me."

"Geez, you need to relax when it comes to him." Daey said while wrapping the stems of a few dozen flowers with a piece of string she pulled from her dress.

Trojia pouts and says under her breath, "I can't help it..."

To tease her a little, Daey flashes her self made bouquet in Trojia's face and says, "Hey take a look, it's pretty right? I wonder what Ubica will say when I give it to him?"

Trojia turns slowly and gives her a sour look. “I don’t need to be bullied about it.”

Daey backs up and nervously says, "Okay okay I was only joking."

She wonders how angry Trojia would be if she found out what occurred between her and Ubica back at the stone house.

"You don't need to get so worked up all the time. It's not like you guys are lovers or anything, you haven't even kissed yet."

As soon as the word kiss leaves her lips, Trojia's face turns beet red and her shoulders rise.

Just by seeing her reaction, Daey drops her bouquet and along with it falls her jaw.

"Have you!?"

"I get it I'm sorry! You can stop pulling my hair now!!" Ubica shouts.

She sighs and decides to relinquish her attack. Tsubiri releases her death grip and tries to tidy up the scruffy look of his hair as though she felt a little guilty about it.

"Good as new."

He takes a huge sigh before saying, "Since you can't swim, let’s get you out of the water."

Tsubiri gestures as if she is about to say something but then stops, she can't find it in her heart to say that she actually just doesn't want to let go of him yet.

He gently moves her hand away from his shoulder and in a dream like motion he steps on to the surface of the water and stands like he would be if he was on land.

He is holding Tsubiri's hand to keep her afloat and she is looking up at him from the water as the sun shines behind him, making his wet white long sleeved v-neck shirt transparent, and making his silver hair glitter like a diamond.

He lifts her up out of the water and holds her close, she embraces him tightly as if she is afraid to fall back in.

"It's alright... put your feet down." he said with a soft smile.

Tsubiri looks at this beautiful smile, she hesitates at first, but she puts her feet on the water surface. And much to her surprise she finds that she can stand perfectly.


"Don't let go of my hands or you'll sink."


Tsubiri is in awe, she feels like she is in a fairy tale; the man in front of her simply isn’t from a world familiar to her.

"Ubica... I’ve been thinking about the way you were able to save me when I was falling into the abyss, and now we are standing on water. If you’re not human, then what are you?"

Ubica strains his lips as if he is trying to find an answer to give her. “I’m not so sure of that myself anymore... but I know that I am capable and willing to do good.”

Tsubiri smiles and looks him in the eyes, “That’s good enough for me.”

“Is it really?”

Tsubiri starts laughing and pushes herself off him, springing herself into the water. He scrambles to get her out of the water thinking she can't swim but to his surprise she surfaces about ten feet away, and is now floating effortlessly on her back.

"Hey! You can swim?"

"Of course I can swim."

Ubica frowns and is walking after her while she back paddles away. "Then why did you---"

“Just think about it for a moment." she interrupts with a playful smile.

Ubica holds his chin as he ponders, while lost in thought, he loses track of where he was walking and ends up right on top of her.

She grabs his pant leg to keep him from stepping on her and shouts, "Hey watch it!!"

"Oops, I was zoning out."

She huffs air out of her nose and swims away from him. She is overcome with happiness in this moment; while looking up at the magical man standing on the water, time feels like it has slowed down. In a dreamy haze, she begins thinking back on everything she has gone through in life that led her to this spot at this very moment.

Throughout her whole life, Tsubiri has never had anyone that she felt she could call a friend, and only until a couple of weeks ago, she would have said she would rather have it that way. However, she has been lying to herself; the truth is, she has always been alone and it has made for a difficult life. Her parents had abandoned her as a 4 year old toddler at the gates of the La’Juutian castle and she has suffered from dreadful loneliness ever since.

In La'Juune, this kind of thing happened often and was looked upon as a death sentence for the child, in most cases, the castle guards were ordered by the King to send them to be raised in a ruthless labor camp, or sent them to kill centers if the camps were overcrowded.

These labor camps forced men, women, and children of all ages to work unreasonable hours for slave wages. There is a branch of government called Exes, and they are in charge of monitoring people's wealth, debt, and other financial matters. If they find someone they deem fit of being below the poverty line and debt allowance, they will send out Collectors to get them. If one were to be caught by these Collectors, they would be sent away to do whatever amount of time the Exes executives feel that is needed in the camps.

Even when Napoleon's father died and it left him homeless, he had to spend a year running away from them until he was old enough to join the military. Joining the armed forces is the only way for most young able bodied men and women to avoid persecution. This tactic to send the poor and homeless to do hard manual labor was thought as an ingenious plan to keep the country wealthy and save people from an impoverished life; and to the detriment of basic human rights, it worked. 'The City of Grandeur' can be called this only because there literally isn't a poor household within those walls.

When Tsubiri was abandoned, one of the guards at the gate felt pity for the young child, so instead of handing her over to Exes, he brought her into the castle grounds and gave her to the head of maintenance who was a close friend of his. From then on she was raised to follow orders and would do odd jobs in and around the castle. Though she was always working and doing menial labor, it wasn't a fraction as bad as the camps, at least at the castle she had a stable diet and a roof over her head at all times.

She grew up as a servant until she was 9 years old, when on the fateful day of the Battle of La'Juune, she happened to stumble upon a panicked Xavier who got separated from his family during the chaos. Not knowing that this crying kid was the Prince, she grabbed his hand and took him through a barrage of flaming arrows and led him to the safety of the castle through hidden tunnels and escape passageways. She had spent her childhood maintaining every inch of the massive castle; Xavier on the other hand never left the pampered life of a Crown Prince and didn’t even know that there was this hidden labyrinth within his home.

When she found Xavier, the castle was already infiltrated by a few Trojan and Eiyalazonian soldiers who were killing anybody they could get their hands on, so the two of them spent most of their time desperately trying to get away from them and hiding.

Reaching one of the many different escape passageways was the difficult part, but luckily they were able avoid detection and made their way to the innards of the castle through a small door behind a vase in front of a pillar. After following the dark tunnels they eventually caught up with the fleeing royal family. As compensation for saving Xavier's life she was given status, and not too long after she was getting trained in a prestigious military school for upper class members of society. Upon her graduation she was offered the job as the royal bodyguard of the Prince.

Though this sounds like she has had a blessed life, she hated her upbringing because she was always isolated from real human connection. All of her conversations with the people around her were transactional, if she was ordered to do something that would be her time to speak. So she was forced to shut herself in and look upon the world outside herself and everyone in it as foreign and untouchable.

That is, until she met a certain magical man who showed her unconditional kindness when he defied the Prince and lent her his back, the man who brought out the voice she has kept hidden inside for her entire life. Somehow this man, even with all his secrets of his past and his god-like abilities like walking on water, is still able to make the world around her touchable for the first time in her life.

“Since you can’t seem to read the mood, how about I spell it out?” Tsubiri asked, letting go of his pant leg and swimming towards the shore.

Ubica shrugs his shoulder and says, “Please do.”

Turning to him in a smooth motion in the water with her magenta hair wet and glistening under the sun, she confidently smiles and declares,

“I just wanted to hold onto you.”

As if an anvil had fallen onto his head, a flustered Ubica loses his focus and sinks into the water with a big splash.

(PART 2)

With the group dried up and rested, they continue their northbound journey a few more miles until they reach a large walled city. The outskirts of the city walls is surrounded by green grass and a seemingly infinite amount of different colored flowers. The buildings are quaint and are made of wood, stone and grass.

After entering through the open gates of the city, they find that it is bustling with a large festival that seems to be celebrating numerous large statues of Pagan deities. Entering the town square, one can see the similarities between this place and that of middle aged central Europe. Merchants, both on horse drawn carriages and merchants with their own shops closely occupy the place. Bars, restaurants, motels, and outdoor food stands are in or around every other building.

Napoleon bumps into, and knocks over a drunken man, he lifts the man up and says his apologies.

The man burps and raises his wine glass in the air while shouting, "Don't worry about it! I barely spilled a drop!"

Napoleon's eyes water when the stench of alcohol when the man's breath enters his nose, he takes a step back and asks, "If you don't mind me asking, what are these festivities for?"

The man starts laughing a loud drunk laugh and replies, "Ohh? You guys are from outta town eh? Well this is the first day of a week long celebration for the God of Harvest!"

"Harvest God? I see, well thank you."

"No problem kind sir! Get drunk and be merry! She won't bless us next season unless she sees that all of us are celebrating to our maximum potential!"

Napoleon waved goodbye as the man sang a song and stumbled off into the crowd.

He walks to Ubica and asks, "Worshiping such gods as this, would it classify as something that will keep these people from being reborn on Earth?" Ubica looks a little disappointed when he answers, "Unfortunately yeah... though the people of Purgatory aren’t structurally religious for the most part, they can experience things as simple as good luck, and turn their good fortunes into the influence of a god quite easily."

Napoleon is quite interested in what he has to say and listens intensively as he continues.

"The thing about this kind of idolization is that it creates real deities here, so this god of Harvest is alive and likely does bless them. These deities are fueled by their worship, and whether malicious or not, worshiping them takes away their chance at rebirth.”

"To be honest, that doesn’t sound too bad to me. It’s a shame they get punished for something they have no control over."

“I agree, there’s always almost no way of winning with ‘him’.”

“You mean God? Why is he so unfair?”

“Because he hates False Prophets.”

As soon as he said that, his body jolted and he put his hand on his head as if suddenly something forgotten had come to mind.

Napoleon sees his odd reaction and asks, "Is something wrong?"

Ubica takes a deep breath and looks away. "It’s nothing…”

Napoleon shrugs his shoulders and looks at the backs of the rest of the group, they are running around and smelling the many different foods and looking at all the different clothing, jewelry and other goods. They look like they are enjoying themselves so much but it's a shame that they are so broke they could barely afford a loaf of bread.

Napoleon realizes how fortunate they are that they had come to this very town during such a vibrant event; the odds of them getting some kind of part time job is very good.

He gathers everyone together and makes an announcement.

"Hey everybody, I think this is a good time for us to split up and find some work just like we had discussed earlier."

They all agree at first until they realize that they would be spitting up into pairs. Like children at a schoolyard, they want to get picked to join their desired team.

After a few minutes the three decide on who goes with who by playing rock paper scissors, and Trojia wins in a clean sweep. So the groupings go as such, Tsubiri and Daey, Ubica and Trojia, and Stauphius is paired with Niomyo and Napoleon.

Struaphius is disappointed at this outcome as well, out of everyone in the group, Napoleon and Niomyo are the dull ones.

But with the decision made, they all go their separate ways while planning on meeting up at a motel in the town square at midnight.

The sun is almost set and the festival lights begin to shine; the illumination of the city really sets the tone for this carnival like atmosphere. Colorful paper lamps line the streets and frame food and trinket vendor’s carts as they pass by selling their products. Napoleon and the two find a large restaurant and head in, by now hunger is setting in because they have not eaten since the early morning, and the delicious smell of the food is causing Strauphius to drool.

They enter and find that the restaurant is stacked with people and all of the waiters are hectically running around trying to please the rowdy customers.

Napoleon walks up to the host and politely asks, "Excuse me, the three of us are looking for a part time job during this festival, and we were wondering if you needed the help, you'd be gracious enough to allow us to--"

The overweight man interrupts him with a loud and panicked shout, "You're hired!"

He then points at Strauphius, "You, dishes!"

Then to Niomyo, "You, waitress!"

And to Napoleon, "Can you cook!?"

"Uh.. yeah I guess so."

"Good! One of our chefs just quit so you go to the kitchen and take his place!"

The three are so surprised at the suddenness of this hiring they are left speechless.

The man looks at them with a face full of urgency and shouts, "Now go! We're shorthanded here so get to work!"

They jolt up, shout "Yes sir!" and quickly scurry away to their new jobs.

"This wasn’t my idea of having a good time at the festival!” shouted Tsubiri in exasperation.

She and Daey are walking down the colorfully lighted crowded street and are frustratingly bumping shoulders with strangers. They almost seem most focused on dodging bodies than anything else.

“Is the thought of spending time with me so bad? Sorry I’m not Ubica.” Daey asked cheekily.

“Uaah no princess I didn’t mean that. I was just hoping we’d all be able to enjoy this together. I didn’t think that we’d be playing rock paper scissors and splitting up.”

"I curse the fact that I am so bad at that stupid game... Trojia always beat me when we were kids too." Daey mutters angrily under her breath, thinking back on her swift defeat.

Tsubiri roughly rubs her hair and says, “Ugh I guess we need to find a way to make money anyhow, as broke as we are we wouldn't have been able to leisurely enjoy ourselves even if we wanted to.”

"What kind of job do you think we should look for?"

"Hmmmm, oh! That place looks perfect!"

Tsubiri points to a building where there are dozens of rowdy drunk men standing outside the door, it's obviously a bar.

Daey sees this and instantly says, "How does that place have anything to do with us getting a job!?"

Tsubiri grabs her arm and leads her toward the large wooden building. "Just watch, I'll make us plenty of money before the night is done!"

Tsubiri walks up to a group of ten men that are sitting around a small table; she follows her sudden appearance by slamming her foot on the table to get their attention.


The men all stop what they were doing and look at give her a wide variety of agitated glares.

She smiles and grabs a drink out of one of their hands and asks, "How about we make a little bet here, what do ya say?"

It seems that all of the men know exactly what she means and smile, confident that they'll win at whatever game she conjures up.

Daey is standing there completely aloof as to what is going on when one of the men asks, "So what's the wager?"

Tsubiri laughs aloud and answers, "If I win, you all have to give me half of whatever money you have in your wallets."

A man pours some of his beer into a cup from his pitcher and asks, "And if we win?"

Tsubiri huffs a taunting air out of her nose and grabs a confused Daey. "If any one of you guys can beat me... your prize will be both this girl and I for one night."

The men look at the two beautiful women with eyes full of lust and all simultaneously shout,


Daey's face drops, though she doesn't know what the game is, she knows the odds are greatly stacked against Tsubiri by numbers alone. And the mere fact that she is one part of the opposing team's prize makes her quickly realize that this could end up being an absolute disaster.


Trojia and Ubica are circling the town square gazing at the sights, all of the lights seem to dance around them and the atmosphere is happy and fun. Ubica has never experienced such a thing so he is thoroughly enjoying every minute of this with a big smile on his face.

Trojia is quite nervous, she can't find the right words to say and is twiddling her fingers awkwardly.

"H-Hey Ubica..."


Trojia zones out on his face for a few moments and scrambles her sight off into the direction of the sky.

"Eh uh, um... it's nice weather today..."

As soon as she said that she thinks to herself, (Uuahh!!! That was pathetic!)

Her thoughts are stopped by Ubica's gentle shove on her shoulder. "Relax Trojia, it's me you're talking to."

"Ahh sorry! I don't know what's gotten into me."

Ubica chuckles and breaks the ice for her by asking, "So, what should we do for a job? Any ideas?"

Trojia looks around the town center and doesn't see anything that catches her eye until she looks at the large wooden statue of the Harvest god. This large statue is covered with hundreds of candles and is surrounded by torches, the light emanating off of the statue makes it appear that a real goddess is actually gracing the festivities with her presence.

At the front of the statue, a platform with a large sign is based at its feet, she tugs on Ubica's sleeve and points at the writing on the sign. He looks and sees that the platform is for some kind of dance competition.

Trojia grabs his sleeve and shyly looks up at him, "Can we do that?"

"Uh, but we need to find a job."

"I think we’re allowed to have a little fun first."

Ubica takes a sigh of resignation, the face she showed when she said that should be illegal, there's no way he can say no to her now. He takes her hand to lead her and they both walk to the platform.

A man dressed in jester-like clothing is working the booth in front of the platform, gathering the attention of all the passersby around him he shouts, "Come one! Come all! Grab your woman and bring her to the dance floor!"

A large amount of people begin to gather and merrily grab random women as the man continues, "Our judges will find the couple that best pleases the God of Harvest with their dance and will pay you generously! To the victor goes the spoils! Come one! Come all! Only two minutes left until the music starts!"

By now, people are rushing onto the platform and it is filling up rapidly.

Ubica grabs Trojia's hand and says, "Did you hear that!? They'll pay us if we win, this could be our job!"

They run onto the dance floor and position themselves for another waltz, she can sense the sudden surge of enthusiasm out of him and it makes her heart race in excitement.

He puts his arm around her back and pulls her close, with a tender smile he says, "Let's win this thing."


The music from a band on the left side of the platform begins playing.

"Remember that our judges will be looking for style, chemistry and beauty! These are the conditions needed to please the God of Harvest!" The announcer shouted before proceeding to join the three judges in watching the group of people dance.

Some are dancing ridiculously in their drunken stupor, some are taking it extremely seriously and some are just making out. But out of all these people, a certain two stand out in the crowd like there is a golden light surrounding them. Dancing very close and very well, these two are by far the most beautiful people on the dance floor and the judges can't look at anyone else but them.

Trojia is staring at Ubica with a face full of content, she is pleased that all of the past dance lessons she received training for royal balls have come to be of good use; she is also surprised that he is such a talented dancer and is wondering where and when he learned as well.

She often seems to find herself internally asking questions about him, and is often nervous at the thought of his rejection to them if she were to ever ask aloud. Wondering what is appropriate or not, she finds that she forces herself against her attempts to learn about him. But this time she wants to ask, she feels as though she has to ask. In somewhat of an entranced state, she accidentally blurts out a thought that she has carefully spent the last couple weeks suppressing.

"What am I to you?"

Her face instantly drops at her own words, she can’t believe she just blurted that out so haphazardly.

Though they are still dancing along without a hitch, she feels as though the suddenness of her question has ruined the once romantic mood.

Ubica is caught off guard at first, and it takes him a few moments to gather his thoughts and figure out an answer.

"What you are to me..."

He can see that Trojia is flustered and apprehensive while she waits for his reply, so he decides to consider his answer carefully, though this causes her to suffer in anxiety a few moments longer.

He thinks back to when they first met on that road in the forest, and remembers how kind and caring she was when he was struggling with problems that he never had the courage to even tell her. He can't help but think that as of this moment, she is his someone very special to him.

"Trojia...you are----”


Suddenly, a woman’s voice rings in his head and it shakes him to his very core, this voice is familiar to him.

"It sure looks like you've forgotten all about me."

Not only is this voice familiar, it is one he knows all too well, he shuts his eyes and thinks that there is no way he is hearing this voice. After a few moments of denial, he opens his eyes only to see that the people who were once dancing next to them are all gone, and the person he is holding is not Trojia at all.

It is a girl with long, straight but flowing white hair, she has bright gold eyes with almost reptilian-like pupils, a bright halo sits about a half foot above her head and its color matches the golden tint of her eyes. She looks to be in her late teens and she is wearing a flowing white and red outfit with wide gaps at her shoulders, revealing much of her blemish free skin.

The music is still playing and they are dancing, Ubica cannot seem to control his body for some reason, the surroundings around the platform that they are standing on is all black and the only sight that can be seen is the large candlelit statue of the God of Harvest.

The girl is wearing a faint smile when she says, "I see you’ve made some friends in my absence."

"Is she okay?"

"Is that any way to greet me after all this time apart?"

He sighs and says, "Just tell me you didn’t do anything to her... Messor."

"Don't worry she's fine, I'm just taking her place for now."

Ubica stays silent as they dance, Messor puts her hand on his face and strokes his lips with her fingers. "I’ve missed this so much."

Ubica shifts his eyes away guiltily and asks, "When did you escape?"

Messor simply answers, "It’s been a few months now."


"Yeah… but don't worry, I ditched that bastard the moment he set me free."

“I knew that he would try and get to you, but I was scared that he wouldn't make it in time. When I found out he had been making appearances back on Earth, I was hoping so much that you’d be with him.”

Ubica takes a sigh in relief, but he still looks like he’s troubled about something.

The smile on Messor's face disappears when she asks, "Is that a face full of guilt I see?"


"I have forgiven you for leaving me back then, it’s okay.””

“I’m sorry Messor, I’m sorry.”

“It’s okay, I’m here now, it’s all been worth it. We can go back to the way things were before.” she said with her soft hand pressed onto his cheek.

He lowers his eyes and replies, "I don’t think we can do that anymore..."

She glares at him with eyes that seemingly penetrate into his soul. "I will always be your past, present and future. you and I are one… of course we can still do it."

Ubica is overcome with emotion, and he’s feeling so many different things in regards to her presence in front of him. The strain on his face is evident, and it isn’t lost on Messor.

"You’re the same person, yet you seem so much different to me now. I’ve never seen you look like this."

He flinches, but the two still dance effortlessly, she does a twirl and says, "What has changed you into this I wonder? Something has had to influence you after you escaped the pit… or is it someone?"

Ubica is starting to feel his senses come back to his body, but he still can’t find it within himself to reply to her.

“Perhaps this is why my search for you on Earth felt so impossible, the you I could sense ceased to exist, it only took me until a few days ago when you finally used Dantega that I was able to make my way here to you."

“I was waiting for Damien to release you, but I never could sense you either, I had thought he’s had you hidden this entire time. I don’t understand why or how, but I’ve become separated from Dantega.”

“Separated? It seems more like you’ve rejected Dantega.”

She snaps her fingers and the music stops, she puts both of her hands on each of his cheeks and moves her face closer to his. "And if you’re rejecting yourself, that means you’re rejecting me."


"I won’t allow you to do that."

Messor puckers her lips and begins to kiss him.

Ubica has now regained complete control of his body, and instead of pushing her off of him he strokes the silky soft skin of her lower back with hands full of sensuality. It’s as if a long lost sensation has returned to his body in a bolt of energy, and it feels addicting; just a bit of this isn’t enough, he instinctively wants more and squeezes her tightly into him.

Messor gently pushes him off her just when she felt him melt from her kiss, she smiles and says, "I'm pleased to see that my lips still have such an effect on you."

She pulls his collar and moves his face so close to her that their noses are touching.

“We’ve found each other again, and this time you’re not going to leave me behind.”

She puts her hand over his eyes and gives him a quick kiss on the lips.

But the electricity that came with her touch quickly fades, and when he opens his eyes he is shocked to see that he is actually touching lips with Trojia.

The music is still playing, but by now the majority of the dance goers have their eyes stuck on the sight of these two beutiful contestants sharing this kiss.

Trojia's face is beaming in a bright blush, she smiles and embraces him tightly. "So that’s your answer... I'm so happy."

Ubica is about to try to explain what had just happened but he himself doesn't exactly know what's going on.

Before he can find the words to speak he is interrupted by the host of the dance competition saying, "Ladies and gentlemen! I think we have our winners!"

The host is pointing at Ubica and Trojia and all of the participants begin to clap.

Trojia smiles and excitedly says, "Yay we did it! Did you hear that Ubica? We won!"

Ubica is still confused and is so distracted he has yet to blink, without a shred of positive emotion he replies, "Y-Yeah..."

In her elation, Trojia fails to notice that he is obviously distraught as she grabs the sack of this town's currency being handed to her by the host.

After being congratulated by the judges and others who were standing by, Ubica and Trojia are now walking to a fireworks show that the host had told them about. The host stated that it is said that any couple who sits on a certain hill in the middle of the town during this event are destined to be together, so with this and the fact that they had won the dancing contest she can hardly contain her excitement.

Ubica hasn't said much since they left the competition and is being helplessly dragged by the hand of Trojia. They begin walking up a stone path that leads up a flower filled hill; once they reach the top they join a group of a dozen couples all sitting or laying on the grass and flowers awaiting the fireworks show.

The two sit down and Trojia glares at a spaced out Ubica. "Hey... are you okay? You look distracted."

He doesn't respond quickly and it causes her to be a little impatient.


His shoulders jolt, "O-Oh sorry about that... I'm just a little tired."

She blushes and pats her hand on her lap and asks, "You can rest on my lap if you'd like."

He bashfully replies, "No it's alright, but thank you though."

She pouts and grabs his ear, she pulls him closer to her while she also moves closer to him, causing them to both be leaning on each other with an equal amount of weight distribution.

"No need to be tentative, you are always welcome to lean on me."

He smiles and begins to relax, this is the same warm feeling he was reminiscing on while the two were dancing. He feels a rare sense of security until the first firework is shot into the air, the flash and the bang instantly make him think about the face of Messor.

He flinches and Trojia assumes he was frightened by the blast, she begins to laugh along with all of the noise. "Hahaha, how cute of you to be startled by such a silly thing."

He nervously laughs and replies, "I wasn’t expecting it to be so loud I suppose."

The two's eyes meet for a split second and in that short time frame a multicolored firework explodes and the shining lights flicker on their face. Trojia's heart beats fast as she scrolls her view from his eyes down to his lips. She leans in for a kiss, with her slight movement the sound of another exploding firework bangs in the air.

Ubica is frozen, he feels that he should move but he finds it very hard to reject her advances. But again, the image of Messor once again pops in his head and all he can think about is how her lips felt and how it made his body numb with a certain feeling he failed to remember after many years.

He grabs her shoulders and gently pushes her away. "There’s something I need to tell you."

Trojia is surprised and is suddenly feeling her touch is unwelcome to him. "W-What's wrong?"

“When I kissed you earlier, my mind was somewhere else.”

Confused, Trojia looks at him quizzically and says, “I don’t understand…”

“There’s someone that I know that took me away from you, obviously I was physically with you so it’s hard for me to explain, but I wasn’t fully there for that brief moment.”

“So you’re saying that you didn’t mean to kiss me?”

“Yeah… I’m sorry.”

She doesn’t like the tone of this apology, it sounds like he’s rejecting her and it is almost making her feel sick to her stomach.

"If that wasn’t for me, was it for this person who took you away?"


“Don’t do that.” she says, raising her voice to get his attention. She looks guilty about demanding something out of him so aggressively, but as tears well up in her eyes it’s obvious that she can no longer hold her frustration back. “Stop keeping secrets and just tell me what's happening with you!”

She blinks and the tears that were forming in her eyes fall down her cheeks, she looks so pitiful while she unsuccessfully tries to wipe her flowing tears with the palm side of her sleeves.

"What just happened was so important to me… if you push me away from knowing why it happened, you’re going to break my heart."

Ubica can't stand the feeling that is brewing in his chest, he knows that what he’s doing isn’t fair to her, but he’s too spineless to reveal the truth. It makes him wonder why he’s so afraid for her and the others to know about him in the first place, and then he realizes that it’s just because of this new found insecurity in maintaining the relationships he’s formed with them. It’s this selfishness that’s starting to push Trojia away from him and cause her pain, and he can’t stand that his weakness is the cause of it.

Ubica grits his teeth as he tries to explain. "In the past, I had a lover…” He leans back and finds it extremely hard to allow the words to escape the back of his throat. “We were inseparable for as long as I can remember, and it was only recently that we’ve been apart.”

Finally getting into the head of this person she’s found herself so infatuated with, Trojia looks on in amazement as he reveals this new fact about himself.

“But the truth is, we’re still connected, and she has just regained access to my soul. She replaced you in my mind and it was her I kissed.”

“I see…”

As hurtful as it was to hear this, she is relieved to at least learn something about him deeper than the what he presents to her on the surface.

“This woman, do you still love her?”

“I don’t know if what I feel for her is what you would consider love.” Ubica said, troubled by how hard it is for him to understand what constitutes that word. “But I can tell you that I’ve never been able to live without her.”

Trojia takes a deep breath, trying to expel the array of emotions she had just gone through underneath the exploding fireworks overhead. She looks disappointed, but satisfied at the answer when she says, “Then I guess my question to you was just a burden, huh?”

“No.” Ubica quickly replies, “I can give you my answer.”

Caught off guard, Trojia’s shoulders jump and she looks at him wide eyed in apprehension.

“I consider you my savior, I wasn’t who I wanted to be before I met you... you are my first real friend, and I am forever indebted to you for that. In a way, you’d call that love right?”

Blushing with a racing heart, Trojia finds it within herself to smile.

“Well, it's certainly a start.”

Tsubiri and Daey are walking rather gingerly down the street toward the motel, it's close to midnight so they are ready to rendezvous with the others.

"Buahahahahaha! I told ya Daey, they didn't have a chance!" said Tsubiri in a sloppy slurred tone.

Daey hiccups and replies, "Yuuueeeaaah, nooo chance!"

It is quite obvious that they are in a drunken state as they weave and bump into each other, their loud laughing and manner of speech allows them to blend in with the rest of the rowdy crowd still partying in the streets.

The two are drunk for a reason, the challenge against the group of men proposed by Tsubiri was a drinking game.

This game is called 'fire and ice', it involves a deck of cards and the rules are simple. In a standard deck there are four different suits of two different colors; black and red. Each contestant is given three face down cards, and before they can flip one over, they have to guess what color it is beforehand by saying 'fire' being red, or 'ice' meaning black. If the card is opposite of what they chose that means they have to chug a large wooden cup of beer or wine, so the one who chooses the most correct out of three wins the bet.

Tsubiri played ten of these best out of three games and by pure luck she won them all, but she still guessed wrong more than enough times to be completely belligerent.

The money she had earned can be considered a small fortune since all of the men forfeited half of their wallets to her, chances are they made enough cash to cover at least another week of travel. As a celebration, Daey joined her for one cup of wine, it was her first time drinking and it truly showed because she was faded before she even knew what hit her.

The two wobble to the front of the designated motel; in front of the entrance is Napoleon, Niomyo and Strauphius. They look comically exhausted and their bodies are slumped over in a pathetic way.

"Soooooo how much money didjjyaaall make?" asked Tsubiri.

"Are you two drunk?" replied Napoleon dejectedly. He automatically assumed they never found a job if they are in this bad of shape.

Tsubiri pulls out a purse full of gold coins and smiles. "Tellll me how great I am."

"Wow that's a lot!!!" shouts Strauphius, the first to jump in and praise her.

"So whaddya got?"

Napoleon takes the three’s combined earnings out of a pouch out and shows them less than a quarter of what they have.

Tsubiri and Daey look at each other and proceed to break out in laughter at their expense.

Tsubiri can hardly contain herself when she says, "Hahaha what the hell's up with that chump change?? What kind of job did you guys even do for that mere pittance?"

They don't answer her question because the fact of the matter is, they spent all night working the most back breakingly stressful job they have ever done for this small amount presented.

Niomyo changes the subject and asks, "Well what did you guys do to make so much?"

"Let's jusstss say that some men weren't able to hold their liquor as well as meee."

What goes through their minds when she said that is the thought of them robbing some drunkards. But that thought is brushed off when they catch sight of Ubica and Trojia walking back. They all say their hellos and the two drunken girls glare at them coldly, in their unstable emotions and through their inebriated lenses, they feel as though the two of them are looking awfully cozy.

"How did you guys fare tonight?" asked Napoleon.

Trojia has a smile on her face when she pulls out a sack filled with almost as many gold coins as Tsubiri's and says, "There was a dance competition in the town center, we won and we got this as the prize."

Strauphius's shoulders drop and he asks, "Is that all of the work you guys did?"

She smiles and replies, "Yup!"

Strauphius, Napoleon, and Niomyo sigh loudly and their body language is that of complete dread. They worked a ruthless job and they don't even have half the amount of money the other two groups have, to add insult to injury, the others earned that much by simply drinking and dancing.

All of them are sleeping in two rented rooms, the men in one room, and the women in the other. Tsubiri is still extremely drunk and restless laying on a bed next to a passed out Daey. All she can think about is Ubica and she is getting more and more agitated at the fact that they did not spend any time with each other at the festival.

So she decides to leave her room for a walk, while in the hallway she passes Ubica's room and figures she might as well see if he is still awake. It is a couple hours past midnight so she is hoping for the best, she knocks on the door to see if he'll answer but nobody does.

She tries to open the door and finds that it is locked, with a drunken smile she takes a hairpin off her head and easily picks the lock. She learnt this through her days as a maintenance worker when she would need to clean the inside of a room that had its door locked; because she did not have the keys to every room, she would sit at the door for hours on end until she figured out how to pick it.

"Sorry to intrude." she said quietly with a slight slur.

Once entered, she sees that all three men are asleep.

She finds it hard not to laugh at Napoleon's sleeping position when she sees that he is laying on his bed flat on his back and has his hands crossed over his chest, making him look just like a vampire fitting perfectly in a coffin.

Strauphius on the other hand is sprawled out on his bed with his limbs flopping in different directions awkwardly and is snoring loudly. He flings his arms upwards as he yells in his sleep and shouts,

"No more dishes!!!"

Ignoring his nightmares of his tortuous night’s work, she passes him by and finds Ubica sleeping beautifully on the ground in the corner of the room.

"Jackpot." she snickers to herself as her eyes turn glassy from the alcohol.

Tsubiri walks to him and turns him from his side onto his back, she removes his blanket and while doing so she accidentally hiccups loudly, she looks to see if she had woken anyone up and to her relief they remain dead asleep.

Napoleon and Strauphius worked long, grueling hours at that beyond busy restaurant so they are already past their breaking point; it's doubtful even an explosion would wake them up. Ubica on the other hand rarely seems to sleep, so when he does he's usually out like a rock. She throws the blanket back over him but this time with her joining him under the covers, resting on top of him she finds that he is not wearing any pants, and is only in his boxers.

"Ohhhhooo izz this an opportunity to take a little peeeek??"

Because she is not thinking straight, she doesn't realize how creepy this kind of act is considered to be, all that is going through her hazy mind is that of wanting to be with him in any kind of way. Before she pulls down his underwear she decides to sneak a kiss or two in first so she shifts her eyes to his face, there she sees a sight that makes her sober up a bit.

Under Ubica's head is the giant obnoxious blue jacket that she had bought for him a few days back, he is using it as a pillow. At first she assumed that he is just using it because there was nothing else to rest his head on, but it turns out that just a few feet to his side are two pillows that are not being used at all. The only explanation for this is that even though he doesn't like wearing the cumbersome jacket, it was still a gift from someone important enough to him that he will put it to use whenever he can, specifically with that person in mind.

Tsubiri starts smiling and halts her sneaky stealth attack on his lips.

"You are so kind Ubica..."

Instead of proceeding with her drunken plan to assault him while he’s asleep, she rests her head on his chest and asks, "I hope you don't mind if I stay like this for a little while do you?"

Of course, Ubica doesn't answer so she adds, "Good, cause either way, I'm not leaving just yet... Muah...ha...ha...ha."

By the end of this sentence she trailed off into a deep sleep. This mission on her part was a complete failure, but she will certainly wake up realizing that it was better off this way if she can remember it.

"Uaaaaahhh! What is this!?!?!?" shouted Ubica when he woke up to see Tsubiri sleeping with her head a few inches below his belly button. She is drooling on him and he can feel it sliding down his belly all the way to the inside of his boxers.

She slowly opens her eyes, and looks at him with a tired face full of confusion. "What are you doing on my bed Ubica?"

"You're the one laying on top of me in 'my' room!"

Tsubiri puts her hand on her head and rubs her temples. "Could you not yell so early in the morning? I have a terrible headache."

Even though this is such an odd situation, Ubica can't help but think of how cute a face she made when she looked at him like that, but that doesn't change the fact that she is on top of him for a reason unbeknownst to him.

"Just let me go back to sleep for a little." she says as she drifts back to sleep.

Ubica grabs her shoulders and begins to shake her. "No! You can't go back to sleep like this! Imagine what someone will think if they see us!?"

As soon as he said that, he felt the sharp glare of two pairs of eyes coming from the left of him. He turns to see Napoleon looking at him dejectedly and Strauphius is looking so stunned that it seems as if his jaw will fall to the floor.

"W-Wait guys! This is a misunderstanding!" Ubica pleas, but his words fall on deaf ears as they continue to give him a death stare.

At this moment, with brilliantly bad timing, the rest of the girls come rushing in through the door of the room.

"What's wrong!? I heard some shouting!" Trojia asked in a huff.

Once she sees the scene that has just unfolded she gasps with a face full of horror.

Daey, who walked in fighting a hangover of her own, flinches back in shock.

"Ubica, I didn’t take you for someone who would take advantage of a drunk girl." Daey said while shrinking behind the door and giving him a cold stare.

Ubica has gotten blindsided by this, one moment he was asleep and the next moment, everybody thinks of him as some kind of pervert. "This isn't what it looks like!!!"

He frantically tries to wake Tsubiri up so she can explain this to them, she postures up but she is obviously still asleep. He tries to get away from under her in this brief moment of freedom. He backs away but she quickly drops down onto him, and as a result her head lands right on his groin.

He looks at everybody in the room and they all have their mouths wide open upon seeing this. He can feel her face sink into the gap between his legs and he continues to turn blue knowing that everyone is watching this unfold.

"This isn’t what it looks like!!"

(PART 3)

"Hey you got a bug on your neck Ubica." said Daey while pointing her finger at him.

Ubica raises his eyebrow and slaps his neck. "Did I get it?"

He looks in the palm of his hand to see if he did but nothing is there.

"No it's more towards the back, let me do it for you."

She hastily slaps the back of his neck to catch the bug before it flies off or stings him, but in doing so she hits him extremely hard, jolting his head forward.

”That was a little rough don't you think!?"

Daey puts her hands together apologetically and gives him a bashful smile when she says, "Ahh sorry, I hate bugs and wanted to make sure I got it."

“Well did you get it at least?”

She then leans her head close to him and finds that it was not a bug after all.

"Huh? What is that?"

Looking closely it actually seems like a small black tattoo in the form of a fly.

"What is what?" Ubica asks.

She gets even closer and pokes at it. "When did you get a tattoo?"

"I don't have a tattoo."

"Well there is one right here and it looks like a fly."

He backs away and looks really surprised, he thinks about it for a second and realizes that this mark came from Beelzebub back when they were at the tundra village.

He had almost completely forgotten about the fact that Beelzebub had poisoned him, and he still doesn't know what kind of poison it is and what the Demon’s intentions behind it are. Since there is still a mark on his neck, that means his body has yet to rid itself of it, and it makes him nervous thinking about just what it’s doing to him at this very moment.

Trying not to look panicky he smiles at Daey and says, "I would have never noticed it had you not told me."

"It was from that Demon with the flies right?”.

"It seems that way..."

"What do you think it means?"

Ubica rubs his neck and replies, "No clue..."

Daey can see that he is a little distraught about this so she tries to lighten his spirits by grabbing his hand.

With a smile she says, "Well you're alive now and you aren't sick, so we'll worry about that later. For now let's just get some lunch!"

"Sounds like a plan to me."

The two are walking down a long line of street vendors in the center of the town, they are trying to decide which food stand they want to stop at for lunch. It is the seventh and last day of the festival so they are getting ready to leave the town and head north toward the Gate. A lot of things have happened since the time they got here, but the week long stay was basically spent working and enjoying the festivities when they had time off. Leaving this place is bittersweet, this was as stress free of a week they've had since they were abducted, leaving such an environment and returning to the harsh reality they've found themselves in is not something they look forward to. But at the same time, enjoying themselves here is not getting them any closer to home, at least once they leave they'll be moving towards that destination.

After a few minutes, Ubica and Daey end up ordering from a food stand that serves fried meat buns. The two found an open table in a seating area where many dozens of other people are eating and enjoying the final day of the festivities.

"Wow this is delicious!" said Daey the moment she took her first bite.

She has never eaten something like this before, it is made with local meat and vegetables that are wrapped with salted dough and then deep fried until crispy and brown.

Back in Eiyalazo, this kind of thing would be considered peasant food to the royals; they only eat the most premium meals cooked by the best chefs the country has to offer. Out of all the kingdoms of the world, they feel that they exude the most class. This stuffy environment she grew up in would never have allowed her to enjoy a thing like eating meat buns from an unknown vendor around hundreds of drunken blowhards in the middle of the day.

Ubica is wearing a gentle smile as he watches her eat the food so excitedly.

As soon as she sees that he is looking at her she becomes flustered. She's blushing when she asks, "Is there something on my face?"

"There is, actually.”

He leans over the small two person table and takes a piece of the bun off of her face with his finger and puts it in his mouth.

This causes Daey to become even more flustered, she scrambles for words until she notices that hardly a bite has been taken out of his bun.

"H-Hey Ubica, you haven't eaten much... is something wrong with yours?"

He leans back in his seat and says, "No it’s good, I just don't eat much."

"Well you should start eating more... it isn't healthy you know."

"I’ll finish it eventually, I just found myself enjoying watching you eat yours more."

Daey drops her bun and hides her face in embarrassment; saying these sappy lines so casually is a trait of Ubica’s that she’s yet to get used to.

"Why’d you stop?"

"How in the world do you expect me to eat after you say something like that!?"

"Huh? Like what?"

"Damn it all Ubica, why do you have to be so dense?"

Before Ubica can reply, he feels a slight tug on his left sleeve, he looks over and sees a little boy who is looking at him with eyes full of youthful ambition.

He is a plain boy with brown hair and brown eyes, he looks to be around ten or eleven and is wearing clothes that look like they’ve seen a fair bit of sun and dirt.

"Uh... can I help you?" Ubica asks.

The boy scruffs his nose and replies, "You are the one that won the dance competition right?"


The boy sighs in relief and smiles, he stretches his arms and says, "Thank goodness, I've been trying to find you and that girl all week." The kid then looks at Daey and raises his eyebrow. "Though... that doesn't look like the girl who was dancing with you."

"That’s because this isn’t her." Ubica replies.

The boy laughs really loud and pats Ubica's back quite hard. "Buahahah, amazing! I've never met a real player before."


"You know, those guys who always have more than one girlfriend."

They both jolt back in their seats, Ubica is becoming nervous because he can sense Daey's growing agitation at the boy’s presence.

The boy scans Daey from head to toe with his eyes and says, "And this girl is pretty cute too! Though her boobs are way smaller than the other one."

Ubica squirms in shock, even though it’s just a child, he feels that the kid was purposely inappropriate just to get a rise out of Daey. He slowly turns his head and sees Daey with the dark aura of death surrounding her.

A vein can be seen in her forehead as she steps off of her high chair and down to the boy’s level. "Is breast size the only value you put in a woman?”

The boy looks at her and is completely unfased by the passive aggression she’s exuding when he replies, "Doesn’t everyone?"

Ubica wraps his arms around himself and shrieks, he thinks this kid must have a death-wish. Daey is smiling, but her eyebrow is twitching as she restrains her anger, this rude and unrefined child had gotten under her skin the moment he showed up, and now he is hurling insults her way. Ubica can see the deathly dark aura explode around like a flame that just had gasoline tossed on it.

"Listen kid, if you want to live you oughta hurry up and tell me what you want or I recommend you leave now!!"

"Okay then.” The kid smiles, showing a lot more respect to Ubica than he did Daey. “I'll cut to the chase, I need you to help me find the God of Harvest!"

Daey’s anger subsided in her confusion at his request, and both she and Ubica tilt their heads and say, "Huh?"

"She shows up somewhere in town on the last day of the festival each year. You won that contest because you pleased the God of Harvest the most... since she knows who you are it might be easier to find her." the boy said as he shuffled his feet, now looking meek as if trying to invoke pity.

Ubica and Daey look at each other and then back at him.

"Why should we help out a shitty brat like you?" Daey asked bitterly, folding her arms with a huff of air out of her nose.

"Because I'll pay you." he bluntly replies.

This catches their attention and he knows it.

"Well I guess technically it won't be me who pays you, it'll be my boss."

Ubica is intrigued but he is also not interested in dealing with deities unless he absolutely has to. "Sorry kid, but we're leaving soon so we won't have time."

"You mean all seven of you?"

Daey frowns, the range of tones this kid has already presented her has progressively made her more mad at him. "Are you some kind of stalker or something!?"

He shrugs his little shoulders and replies, "You all stick out like a sore thumb to the trained eye of a merchant. But that's beside the point, my boss said that he will pay you two horse drawn carts if you find the God of Harvest before sun down."

This offer is one not so easily refused; a horse and a cart would make their trip to the Gate go twice as fast, plus all the added energy is always good, two of them would be like a godsend.

Both Napoleon and Ubica have been thinking about buying one, but that would take up a majority of the money that the group has made this entire week so they decided not to. A cart is quite expensive because many people rely on it as the base of their business and livelihood. For example, if a merchant's cart were to break on the road in the middle of a delivery being made to a different town, it would be as bad as a death sentence financially. He or she would fail to make a profit on the goods that they bought beforehand and was intending to sell at a profit. The fact that a shop owning merchant is offering such a high price to find the God of Harvest must mean that this task is important enough that it might actually be worthwhile.

Ubica glances at Daey with a shrug of his shoulders and then back to the kid.

"Alright," he shakes the boy's hand and asks, "so what's your name?"

The boy scruffs his nose and declares, "The name's Ian."

"Are we all ready to go?"

Napoleon has a large packed duffle bag over his shoulder, he is addressing the group in the lobby all crowded together with their travel gear.

Trojia pats herself to see if she had forgotten anything and replies, "Yeah, so all we need to do is wait for Ubica and Daey to come back and we're out of here."

"How sneaky of Daey to pack both her and Ubica's stuff just so they could go out and get lunch while we get ready..." Tsubiri said with a pout, "I should've thought of that."

Niomyo walks up to the lobby door and peeks out of the window. "Hey guys, they're back."

In comes Ubica and Daey, and to everyone's surprise comes a little boy as well.

"Who the hell is this brat?" asked Strauphius.

Before they could reply, Ian jumps in front of them and asks, "Who the hell are you?"

A vein surfaces in Straupius's head and with a voice full of anger he speaks through his teeth. "And he’s a cheeky one too."

Ubica jumps in between them and nervously laughs, he wouldn’t have taken his travel mates for kid hating bunch, but Ian has some kind of talent for immediately getting under the skin of the adults around him.

After a sigh, Ubica looks to Napoleon and says, "We need to hold back on leaving for a little."

Napoleon looks confused and asks, "Why?"

After telling them the story of why they should stay, Napoleon instantly agrees and now they are all looking for the God of Harvest. Since they had already checked out of the motel, the entire group is walking the streets while the festival is staging its last hoorah.

"So, can't you sense this deity Ubica?" asked Napoleon.

"The thing is, for some reason I can't." he answers.

"So you're telling me you accepted this job blindly?"

"Well yeah, think about how much those two carts will come in handy if we pull this off, I couldn't say no."

Napoleon sighs and rubs his head, "I guess you're right. Now we just need to figure out how to go about doing this."

Ubica turns to Ian and gently grabs him by the ear. "Alright kid, I'm sure your boss gave you some kind of clues on how to find the God of Harvest, spill it."

"Ow okay okay! Let go of my ear!"

Ubica releases his ear and Ian rubs it with a sour look on his face.

"I guess she comes at random spots all over the city. One year, some guy found her dancing around in the flowers outside of the city walls."

Ubica takes a deep breath and says, "Great... a wild goose chase that anyone else can win."

"No it's not! If you and that girl who you won the dance contest with looked around, I'm sure you'll find her easily!"

Ubica looks at Trojia and then turns to the group and says, "Alright guys, we’re going to split up and search around the city. Trojia, you'll be coming with me."

Trojia smiles and agrees wholeheartedly, but she is quite annoyed when he adds,

"Ian, you’re coming with the two of us."

The groups are now settled and are searching throughout the city. As a strategy to cover the most ground, Napoleon is searching the center of the city, Niomyo in the north, Strauphius in the east, Tsubiri in the west, Daey in the south, and Ubica's group is searching the outskirts of the city walls.

"Wow! This place is amazing!" shouted Ian.

His eyes are full of excitement at the sight of all of the different colored flowers that tatter the grassland.

"Haven't you been out here before?" Trojia asked..

Ian is wearing a wide smile revealing two missing teeth when he replies, "Nope!"

Ubica is taken aback by this, the city is quite big but it's nothing more than a half hour walk to its outskirts.

"Why not?"

The smile on Ian's face fades just a little. "Well, I've been working for my boss since I was six. I live at the shop so if I'm not sent out of the city, I won't leave. This is the first time I’ve gotten the chance to see outside the city walls!"

Ubica and Trojia can't help but think that this is just a little cruel; sure a job like his is important but it might as well be working in a cage under these circumstances. But the fact that he is finally experiencing the outside world makes them feel a little better about it.

Ian runs to a small hill and looks over the flower covered valley; numerous squares of wheat fields and other farmland stretch and weave through the many different colored fauna as far as the eye can see.

He takes a deep breath and turns to the two, as if sensing their pity about his situation, he shows another big smile and states, "But don't worry because one day, I'm going to see the entire world as a traveling merchant! Just like the boss was!"

These kinds of dreams and ambitions really give Ubica a lot of energy, dedication to dreams is something he had never had the ability to appreciate in people until he escaped the eternal pit.

"It sounds like you really look up to your boss. What's he like?"

Ian replies and speaks quickly with enthusiasm, "He is great! He let's me live in the shop and he teaches me everything I need to know about becoming a traveling merchant!"

Ubica walks to the top of the hill to join Ian, he pats him on the head and ruffles his hair. "That's good Ian, don't ever give up on the path you’re on."

"There's no way I will!" Ian says with a laugh as he runs around through the flowers.

Trojia walks to Ubica's side and gently nudges his shoulder, with a smile she says, "This is kind of funny."

"What do you mean?"

"You remind me of my dad."

"Um... is that a good thing?"

Trojia reminisces on Zurvick and replies, "Yes it is... you're good with kids just like him. I bet you'd make a good father."

Ubica has never even thought about having kids. That's actually the one thought he can positively say has never crossed his mind. Though he does notice that when he sees families that are happily doing things like shopping or going out to eat, he gets a little envious. Such normal activities that humans are blessed to be accustomed to really make him want to experience that kind life. But as quick as those emotions rise up in him, he shrugs it off just as fast and continues down the road he has to walk on.

The three are walking down a stone pathway that winds throughout the many small hills of the surroundings, out in the distance people are gathering bundles of wheat into silos to make many different kinds of bread. Most towns that are similar to this one would usually make rye bread because it's the least expensive and easiest to harvest, plus, it lasts much longer than any kind of white bread.

This city on the other hand, has an abundance of wheat so the cost of certain types of breads is the least of their worries, and in case of a drought, other crops of many different foods are at their leisure for consumption. No doubt, this is all the result of the God of Harvest and this is making Ubica very interested in seeing what this person is actually like. Most deities that reside in Purgatory only do things that result in being worshiped, and will occasionally act maliciously towards their subjects, so the fact that this one is seemingly humble is surprising.

"So... which one is your real girlfriend Ubica?" asked Ian as he threw a rock from the pathway off a hill.

Ubica's shoulders jump at the suddenness of that question and he doesn't answer.

Trojia raises her eyebrow and asks, "What do you mean which one?"

Ian turns to them and starts walking backwards. "He was looking really comfy with the other girl at lunch earlier."

"Oh? Is that a fact?" she replied, shooting Ubica a suspicious glare.

Ubica smiles awkwardly in reply to her stare and scratches his head.

"Neither of us is his girlfriend." she said, sighing away the look she had thrown at Ubica as if realizing she has no right to feel that way.

Ubica is relieved that she was the one to answer that on their behalf.

"Really? Well it sure doesn't look like it."

It looks like he is about to continue but Ubica interrupts him, "Anyways! So what does your boss want with the God of Harvest once we find her?"

"Well he met her once when he became a shop owner, she gave him advice and helped him become very wealthy. All he wants to do is ask her for help in future business deals again, they say that if you are the first to find her at the end of the festival, she will grant one wish that involves a harvest of some sort."

Although this seems like such a great gesture of generosity on the God’s part, the people of the city accepting the deity's help will cruelly be damned to Hell. With each passing day, they are losing their chance at becoming human once more and returning to Earth. Any chances of going to Heaven after that are completely blown by worshipping this gracious God of Harvest.

"Well, we've walked more than a couple miles now, should we head back to the city and look?" asked Trojia.

Ian shows a sour face because he is thoroughly enjoying being outside of the city walls.

Ubica agrees with her until he looks out in the distance and sees a batch of trees on top of a rather large hill.

He gestures towards it and says, "Hey kid, up on that hill where those trees are... "

Ian looks over to the small forest and asks, "What of it?"

"The wood that is made into the statue of the God of Harvest... does it come from that batch of trees?"

"Umm, I think so... Boss always said that the statue is made from local wood.”

Ubica grabs Trojia's hand and says, "I got a feeling that we will find her there, come on let's go!"

With that, they all rush through the flowers and up the hill.

"What's so special about that place?" asked Trojia as she is helplessly dragged along.

"Remember when they said that the winners of the dance competition are the ones that pleased the God of Harvest the most? Well, assuming that it wasn't just up to the judges, that would mean that she was watching us, and if that were the case she would be watching us through the statue that was overlooking the dance platform." Ubica purposes.

"So you're saying that since she was dwelling in the wood of the statue, she'd be in the place where the wood came from?"

"Yeah, if I'm right then that's where the God of Harvest will be. If I'm wrong, it was worth a try anyways."

Ian runs in front of them and excitedly says, "You're smarter than you look Ubica!"

They enter the forest and look around, and to their surprise it is actually larger than what it looked like from below..

"Hey do you hear that?" Ubica asked as he gestured the two to be quiet. "It sounds like humming."

With open ears, the sound of a faint humming of a woman can be heard deeper into the forest. They walk quickly toward the sound. Ian's face is brightening up with each step, and Ubica has found himself quite excited to see this deity as well; after hearing about all the good things she has done for this prosperous city, he’s been very interested in finally meeting a benevolent God.

A few trees away they can see the figure of a girl, though her body and face are being blocked by a tree, there is no doubt that this is the source of the humming. Her hands can be seen holding a palm full of seeds, she is tossing them on to the ground and within an instant, flowers bloom and small trees begin to grow. This sight leaves no doubt in their minds that they have found the ever elusive God of Harvest.

Messor -2.jpg

She is leaning against a tree as she takes a seedling from her hand and turns it into a stalk of wheat, moving closer to around twenty feet away her body and facial features can be seen. She is wearing a plaid painter's cap, a plaid button up shirt with its sleeves rolled up to her forearms over a small white thin strap shirt that makes the skin of her chest and belly visible. Small jean shorts barely cover her bottom and long black socks stretch from her brown boots all the way to her lower thighs.

She has astonishingly beautiful white hair and bright golden eyes. The sight of her sends a surge of electricity through Ubica’s body, the woman in front of them is Messor.

Ubica immediately let’s go of Trojia's hand when Messor shifts her attention to them.

"It's you! You look just like the statue!" shouted Ian with a big smile on his face.

Trojia finds it odd that he'd say that, because to her, the girl doesn't look anything like the wooden statue. "Are you the God of Harvest?" she asks.

Messor smiles and replies, "Indeed I am."

Ian starts jumping around in excitement. "This is so great! We did it!"

Messor chuckles gently and asks, "Were you looking for me?"

"Yes! We are the first to find you right!?"

"Indeed you are."

"Then that means that you'll help us!?"

Messor stands to her feet, patting the dirt off her black socks, "It would be my pleasure, you deserve a reward for your efforts in finding me."

Ian tells her the story of he and his boss while Ubica is still standing in the same position as stiff as a rock. The last time he saw her she appeared in what seemed like a dream, but this time she has shown up in reality just a few feet away from him, he can even smell the sweet fragrance of her hair from where he stands.

"Let's hurry back to the city guys!" Ian shouts.

With a cracked voice, Ubica responds, "Okay... you two go on ahead, I'd like to talk to the God of Harvest for a moment."

Messor smiles kindly and says, "Please, call me Messor."

Ubica flinches at how easily she threw out her name; though, in Latin her name literally means Harvester. It's almost like he could have figured out the possibility of all this if he had given it a little more thought.

"Okay, we'll meet you at the bottom of the hill!"

Trojia looks back with a wary face but Ubica gestures for her to leave with a reassuring smile so she reluctantly follows Ian.

"And you are?" asked Messor sarcastically.

Ubica ignores her sarcasm, puts his hands on her shoulders and says, “I can’t believe you’re actually here...”

She smiles and says, "It’s been a long time."

She rests her palms on the back of his hands that are clasped firmly on her shoulders, she can feel them quivering.

Messor gently pulls his hands off her before walking over to the side of a hill; looking out to the view of the city a couple miles away she says, "You know, the people of this city, they have come to rely too much on their deity. I had to do something about that so I took her place."

“You took her place?”

“Well, more like I killed her.”

“But why? She was doing so much good for them.”

Messor sighs and turns to him, to her surprise she finds that he has moved close to her again as though he unconsciously gravitated towards her. With a smile, she puts her hand on his chest and says, “When I left the pit, I found myself feeling things I’ve never felt before. Things like compassion, and things like pity. These people are on the fast track to a much worse fate than poor harvests, who else would save them if not I?”

Ubica is surprised that she would do such a thing, as cruel as this may sound, she has done this for their own good.

“Have you not come to feel the same things?” Messor asked, “It would seem like we left the worst of us behind in the flames; even though I know I shouldn’t care about them I couldn’t control the fact that I did.”

“I do feel the same way, but I doubt that I would have killed the God of Harvest because of it. I’m not so sure I have the right to make decisions for anyone.”

Ubica looks troubled, this conundrum had left two undesirable choices that the two acted upon oppositely with the same good intentions.

“We may not have that right, but we have the power. What’s done is done.”

Gently stroking the side of his face, Messor smiles and looks into his green eyes, “All that really matters is that I am here with you now, where I belong. Are you happy to have me back?”

“To see that you’ve changed with me, not only am I happy but I’m relieved. I don’t know what I would’ve done had you tried to push me back to the past.”

“The past is irrelevant now, let’s start our journey forward.”

Ubica smiles and says, “Yeah!”

The two start walking through the forest and down the hill to meet Trojia and Ian. Birds can be heard singing and they are flying close and landing on Messor's hands at will. Ubica sees this and is amazed by it; back in the past, both of them were repellent to animals because they could sense their evil.

"So what now?" Ubica asks, watching her stroke the head of a very happy looking blue jay.

Messor releases the bird and watches it fly off when she answers, "I guess it is to meet that child's boss and grant his wish."

“I meant after that."

She turns with a little curtsy and replies, "You know what must be done. Our fight isn’t over. Our enemies may be different but we can’t live on in peace until we destroy them."

He sighs and shows a troubled face. “I wonder if we’re strong enough as we are to take on Damien and the Hierarchy.”

“We’ll have to make the others strong first. We need all the help we can get."

This catches his attention and he raises his eyebrow as she continues.

"Your comrades are in Purgatory and they are 'aware', I can teach them how to use the powers that come with having that knowledge."

"You can?"

"You know better than anyone that I have always been able to harvest the souls of humans, it’s just that this time I’ll be using my powers to their soul’s benefit. It will be as easy as flipping a switch, after that it’s all up to them."

Upon reaching the other two down at the bottom of the hill, Ian and Trojia introduce themselves and head toward the city. Trojia slows down and walks to Ubica's side, Messor and Ian are holding hands as Ian dances and rushes her down the road.

Ubica can't help but smile tenderly at this scene, what he’s seeing is something he had never thought possible.

Trojia sees this and asks, "So what do you think of her? This God of Harvest."

His shoulders jump, knowing that she isn’t the Harvest God at all, he had completely forgotten about the prospect of having to reveal Messor’s true identity.

"I think she’s great. After talking to her, I think she's genuine in her desire to help the people of this city.”

“I’m surprised.” Trojia replies, “So far since we’ve gotten here to Purgatory, everyone has seemed to be bad.”

He nervously laughs and is quite passive when he says, "I’m as surprised as you are about this one, honestly.”

“Hmmm, hey Ubica, do you know her?”

“W-What do you mean?”

“I don’t know.” Trojia said as she held her chin and pondered, “I guess it just seems like you two are so much alike. I’m not sure why but I feel the same kind of energy from the both of you.”

“Is that so? And here I am thinking that I’m unique.”

“Oh you most definitely are one of a kind, but I can’t help but feel a similarity… so you really don’t know her?”

“This is the first time we’ve ever met.” Ubica replied quickly.

As soon as he answered that he was shocked by how easily he was able to lie to her. He doesn’t even understand why her identity is something he’d want to keep from her in this situation. But after his answer, he feels like he can’t possibly tell her otherwise.

“I see…” Trojia said, shrugging it off she smiles, “Well I’m glad she’s not like the last deity we came across.”

“Yeah, me too.” Ubica replied, attempting to hide his lie with a bashful agreement.

He’s still confused at why his instincts chose to react the way they did, and this makes him wonder how long he’ll keep this ruse up, and if it’s even possible to do so. It’s only a matter of time before Trojia and the rest find out, but as if there were something blocking him from spilling it now, he can only remain silent.

Whatever this feeling is that made him lie is brushed to the side when the four of them enter the gates of the city and back into a crowd of people enjoying the last day of the festivities. Almost relieved to push the pressure of this into the back of his mind, he sighs and grabs Trojia’s hand to help guide her through the mass of people.

The job has now been done; the three of them went to Ian's boss's shop and granted his wish. Though saddened at the fact that Messor, who is taking place of the God of Harvest said she planned on leaving after fulfilling her end of the bargain, Ian kept his head held high and said his thank yous repeatedly.

After acquiring the two carts they all wave their goodbyes and head off into the sunset, leaving the vibrant city behind.

"That was a lot easier than I thought it would be." said Ubica while scratching his head.

This past week has been a break from all of the dangers of the current situation they’re in here on Purgatory; having to leave a place where they shared in good times and gayety comes as bittersweet.

They are all sitting in their two horse drawn carts heading north once again, but this time there is an added person.

"Yeah, all I did was tell him what to expect in the market place in the next few months with the God of Harvest’s departure." said Messor, sitting casually in the cart as if she had always been there.

Trojia is sitting with the two along with Napoleon who is riding up front, guiding the reins for the horses, she smiles and says, "Ian seemed really happy that you helped him, he couldn't stop saying thank you."

Ubica adds, "It's probably because the more success that comes to his boss, the better chance it is that he will fulfill his dream of becoming a traveling merchant."

Trojia gestures to Messor for a handshake and says, "It was kind of you to help him.”

“It was nothing really.” she replied as she takes Trojia’s hand.

“We never got to properly introduce ourselves... It's nice to meet you Messor, I hope we can be good friends."

Messor looks delighted when she says, "It's my pleasure, I look forward to our journey together."

"I'm sorry to intrude on your conversation, but I am quite interested in how and when you will teach us how to gain abilities." Napoleon bluntly interrupts, his back turned to her as he holds the reins.

Messor giggles and sarcastically replies, "Nice to meet you too."

Ubica cringes when he notices Napoleon's shoulder twitch in annoyance, as much as Napoleon has started to lighten up since the beginning of this journey, he is still a hardened army man who’d much rather exchange important details than idle pleasantries.

“Napoleon.” He answers bluntly, not even a hint of cordiality in his tone.

The general isn’t hiding his impatience, and it seems that Messor senses this and decides to make him wait.

"You see, the thing about that is, I find it hard to explain anything when I'm tired. How about I tell you when we set up camp tonight?"

She teases the tense chauffeur, smiling and shooting a playful glare into the back of his head that he can feel beating on him, he knows can't really object because he understands that if she is telling the truth, she is vital to the group's survival.

All he can do is sigh and say, "Fine."

The simultaneous sighs of relief from Trojia and Ubica can be heard as they lean back in their seats and head off into the upcoming night.

"This looks like a good place to make camp." said Napoleon as he pulls the cart into a batch of trees just a few dozen yards off the dirt road in which they were traveling on.

He jumps off and begins to set up the tents that they had bought back in town with some of the money from all of their part time jobs. From behind them comes the other cart with the rest of the group being driven by Niomyo, she parks and steps off to help him with the tents. With camp almost completely set up, the group and Messor have all been acquainted and seem to get along fairly well. Ubica is leaning against a tree from afar and watching her interactions with his comrades with a soft smile on his face.

Messor turns to him and heads over to his area, leaving the others behind and talking amongst themselves.

"You look relieved, Ubica."

"I guess you can say that... you weren’t ever this personable in the past."

She laughs and says, "You weren't either."

"Hahaha, well that is true."

Messor walks past him and proceeds deeper into the woods.

"Where are you off to?" Ubica asks.

She turns and sticks her tongue out. "Even someone like me has to pee every once in a while."

Ubica blushes and mutters, "Ah... oh."

"Oh? Could it be that you're having perverted thoughts about me?"

Ubica shuts his eyes and holds out his hands in a swaying motion.

"No I'm not! I'm not at all!"

"Awww how cute your flustered face is."

She turns to walk away and thinks back on how she has never seen that side of him before, looking back on him she sees that he is still standing there with a stupid look on his face.

"A little privacy?"

Ubica scrambles and shouts, "R-Right!"

He quickly walks away and heads back to the others huddled around the campfire.

Messor has a smile as she watches his back become smaller the further away he walks, but it turns a little sour when she loses sight of him and she says under her breath with a sigh, "It's not like it's anything you haven't seen before."

Messor walks into the dark of the trees until she can't hear the voices of the rest of the group. She reaches into the pocket of her skinny jean shorts and pulls out a small locket with a pentagram on it, she opens it and what lies inside is just a blank piece of black velvet paper.

"Have you joined them yet?" a man's voice is heard coming from the locket.

"Would I have answered your call if I didn't?" she answers combatively.

"How sharp your tongue is. I am inclined to suggest that you remember who rescued you from the eternal lake of fire before you use your usual tone of voice towards me."

She clicks her tongue and replies, "If it wasn't for you, I never would've been in that lake in the first place."

A chuckle can be heard from within the locket, "That is where you're wrong, do not blame other people for your own foolish decisions.”

Messor scowls at the locket and grits her teeth.

“Oh my, it seems that we are getting off topic." the voice in the locket says.

Messor takes a deep breath to suppress her anger and says, "So what do you want?"

"I just wanted to make sure you knew exactly what the plan is... and perhaps knowing your whereabouts would be nice."

She scoffs and answers, "Since the plan benefits me, it’s not something I’d so easily forget. As for where I am, I’m not going to tell you. I won't ever let you do something to harm Ubica."

"You are a walking contradiction Messor. I will find you eventually, it's just a matter of time."

She stretches out her arms and says, "When that time comes, I'll deal with you appropriately."

The voice coming from the locket slowly fades away, "Very well then; until that time I would like for you to keep this little secret between the two of us, none of our comrades can know about our plans just yet..."

The voice dissipates, leaving Messor with an unbecoming frown on her face. She shuts the locket and slips it back into her shorts.

Heading back to the rest of the group she turns the frown into a conniving smile and says, "Don't lump me in with that lot, Damien... my loyalty belongs only to one man, and I have my own plans for him."

Northbound Reunion: (END)

{{:[Dantega:Volume 3 Chapter 4|Revelation}}

(PART 2)

Out of the dust cloud shoots Belphegor at immense speed, he is flying forward with his hand surrounded by a blue light pointing at Rage. Rage lifts his scythe and Belphegor's hand slams into its handle, Rage thinks that he has stopped the full brunt of the force but he still finds himself blown backwards past his onlooking comrades and he crashes violently into one of the houses carved into a boulder.


As soon as he opens his eyes after the impact, he sees the light of Belphegor's hand just inches in front of his face, Rage ducks to the side and narrowly avoids a strike that demolishes the solid rock house directly behind him.

Swinging his blade upward it nips a few strands of Belphegor's messy hair, causing him to back away. Belphegor takes a deep breath and his cheeks become quite large, once at its maximum air capacity, he lets out a blast that matches the color of his eyes.

Rage lifts his scythe and raises his black cloud from the ground to shield himself, only to have it blown away when both forces seem to negate themselves.

Once visibility was returned after the light of the blast, Belphegor is once again inside of Rage's guard. He uppercuts his blue light covered hand into Rage's gut, causing Rage to cough out blood and literally fly hundreds of yards away.

The blue light surrounding certain extremities of Belphegor's body fades and it now seems that he is relaxed when he yawns and stretches out his arms.

With a loud sigh he says, "Huuaaaaahh man.... this kind of thing is such a bother."

To the left of him is a large flat piece of broken building, so he takes a seat and glares at the onlookers standing in awe at the demon’s strength.

Cyrus and Sora guard the group with their swords out, and Belphegor finds this amusing.

"Do you guys actually think you'd be able to do anything to me?"

He haphazardly makes his way back to his feet and takes a couple steps toward them, "Don't you find pointless effort to be tiresome? It would be much easier if you'd just sleep."

As much as the two guards have no intention of listening to him, his words truly do have a hypnotizing effect just as Sora had thought. His words can send a person with the slightest thought of hopelessness into a trance-like state, and they end up falling into his temptations until they reach a death similar to the people in the destroyed town hall.

Out of all the humans, one is caught in this trance, and it is none other than one most weary of this entire ordeal, Xavier.

"Yeah it would be..." he says as he walks to Belphegor.

"What are you doing?" asked Luke as his brother slowly walks past him.

His words fall on deaf ears and Xavier keeps walking towards Belphegor.

"Grab him!" Phoenix shouts.

Luke jumps to the act and attempts to do so, but Xavier seems to weigh a ton and no matter how hard he pulls, he can’t hold his brother back. Belphegor laughs as he holds out his hand and gestures his index finger like one would if they were asking someone to come, this motion seems like it has an effect on the young prince like a hooked fish on a fishing pole.

"Very good, I can give you peace of mind, I can free you from all of this boorish effort, just unload that weight onto my shoulders."

Looking closely, one can see that Xavier is starting to dry out and shrivel, if in this state much longer, he will surely die. Both Luke, Phoenix and Cyrus are holding him with all of their might but to no avail.

Sora knows that she must do something immediately, so she decides on a daring move. She rushes Belphegor and swings both of her blades toward his neck, he lets it get so close that he can feel the wind hit him and as soon as it does, he smiles. Sora is blown back viciously and she lands in a pile of rubble that causes a large plume of dust to rise.

Aria, who is still in shock, tries her damnedest to regain her composure when she realizes that the pile of rubble her friend just landed on has numerous sharp objects just waiting to skewer someone. She shouts out Sora's name but there is no answer through the dust.

"What am I doing?" she asks herself when she assesses the dire situation they are in.

Rage is likely still flying in the air, Sora is likely seriously injured, Niera is likely down for the count, still passed out from shock, and Xavier is more than likely about to turn into one of those disgusting corpses.

That is, unless she does something about it.

She stands and thinks, (I'm the only one who has the ability to fight!)

She leans to the ground, lifts a large rock and throws it at Belphegor's feet.

He pays no mind to this, thinking that it is only yet another desperate attempt at halting the capture of Xavier. But when he looks away, a flashing light stuns him.


Under his feet comes an explosion that knocks everyone around the blast herself off their feet and the plume of smoke and flames reach up more than thirty meters high.

Xavier is released from his trance, though thrown onto his back from the explosion, he is just a little out of breath as he wonders what had just happened while everyone takes a simultaneous sigh of relief. Aria is breathing really hard, she put all of her energy into that blast and for the object's size, she made the biggest explosion she possibly could.

After catching her breath, she runs to where Sora is and finds her laying on the pile of rubble seemingly unscathed; she is luckily pressed in between three jagged metal poles. One is in between her legs, the other is just left of her side and the last is only a few inches to the right of her head.

Aria starts to laugh a little and says, "Wow, I guess it really isn't your time to go."

Sora sits there with her usual straight face, if one looked at her closely enough it would seem that she is trying to smile though she definitely isn't.

The aftermath of the explosion leaves a long trail of black smoke that is floating into the air, without a doubt no one could live after being exposed to the epicenter of such a shock-wave.

Luke walks up to Aria and grabs her hand, with a face full of relief he says, "Thank you Aria, my brother would have been a goner if it wasn't for you."

She smiles and thinks about Strauphius, she can relate to the emotion he is showing her. She is about to say something in return when she is interrupted by a voice saying,

"As surprised as I am that a human could pull such a feat off, you’re still not even close enough to put me to sleep."

This voice of Belphegor comes from the black smoke: in the darkness, a shining blue light grows and grows, and to everyone's dismay, the demon steps out.

The demon looks agitated at the fact that he has just lost his prey. Normally, one person's life would seem insignificant to a demon of his caliber, but Belphegor survives on the sins of others, so much so that each person can give him immense strength if he or she is filled with enough of this exact 'Original Sin'.

"Interesting ability you got there. It's just a crying shame that this is the exact type of thing that can't harm me."

He coughs and black smoke comes out of his mouth while walking closer to the frightened group.

With a relaxed attitude he asks, "You wanna know why?"

Aria jumps in front of the rest to protect them, she is so scared that her knees are shaking. Though she is trying to put up a brave front, she knows that there isn’t much she can do to stop him because of how much energy she put into that last blast.

Belphegor proceeds to walk dangerously close, "I'm sure you know that fire needs oxygen and nitrogen to ignite right? Well, I can control them."

"What do you mean you can control them?" she asks as if not wanting to believe him.

He stretches his arms and sighs, "The perfect form of sleep can only be contained by the dead, and in this sleep, oxygen and nitrogen isn't needed. I give people the perfect sleep by controlling the oxygen and nitrogen in and around a human's body."

(That would explain why those people were so shriveled.) Phoenix concluded to himself. He sighs and sits on a chunk of rock and reads his bible as if nothing is going on. He smiles and says under his breath, "This is going to be interesting."

Because Belphegor can virtually manipulate air to a certain extent, he is capable of taking away the two elements needed to make a fire grow and explode, thus making her attack end up more like a harmless light show. Aria understands this and is frightened to her core, this means that no matter what she does it will be pointless.

Belphegor scratches his head and says, "Now that I've explained that much to you, don't you think it would be better if you just gave up? There's no point in putting any effort into a futile cause, so how about letting me help you?"

He takes another step closer and the breath from Aria begins to escape her body.

She has let doubt fill her subconscious and Belphegor is taking advantage of it. Aria can't breath and she falls to her knees in exhaustion, her eyesight begins to fade into darkness and her body is so weak it feels as if her only strength is coming from her bones.

This feeling is exactly what the human body is like if it has been deprived of oxygen, everything but the bones in the human anatomy consists of certain things in which oxygen is absolutely vital. If it were to be taken away, the blood would clot and dry, and along with it the brain, eyes, skin and the rest of the organs, and these horrifying results are exactly being felt by Aria, who is literally having life sucked out of her.

Belphegor starts to smile when he says, "You are almost free, just a little mor------"


A maddening black explosion engulfs Belphegor, once again interrupting his speech. From the sky, Rage floats down on his cloud just in the nick of time.

He points his scythe down and says, "So you can control the air huh? I never did know that, but that would explain why I flew so far away when you hit me."

Though he wasn't in attendance when Belphegor explained himself, Rage figured it out through the brute force of his earlier attack. When one is hit there is a shock-wave of air that is created throughout the body in a natural reaction to the initial blow, that is the result of air being pushed through the creases of that area. What Belphegor does is accelerate that air to the extent where there are thousands of pounds more pressure and force to it.

Out of Rage's scythe comes a black beam of energy that relentlessly plows into the plume of smoke before allowing him to recover. This results in the rest of the group being knocked back onto the ground. Phoenix on the other hand is still sitting on the rock, and shielding his face from the wind with his bible.

The lingering sound and other effects of Rage's attack begin to dissipate as they wait for the smoke to clear and see if the enemy is still standing, and of course, once it does they find that he is. But this time is different, he is bloodied and his gray pea coat is torn, he is standing in the same position he was in when he was trying to temp Aria as if nothing had happened.

"Well now, that's twice..." he says softly, but his voice was full of frustration.

He lifts his head up to look at Rage who is floating a little more than twenty feet above him and frowns. He then lifts his hand up and the familiar blue light forms around his arm.

"Get down here."

He clenches his fist and the air around Rage's feet pulls down hard and it sends Rage spiraling to the ground before a violent impact so forceful he sinks into a crater.

"I've grown tired of playing with all of you... this troublesome job has long since worn on my patience, all I want to do is go back to sleep..."

Belphegor lowers his head and his hair covers his eyes, his shoulders tense up and he shouts, "But you people are getting in my way!!!"

He jumps up into the air and floats, he points both of his hands toward the group on the ground, looking up at him in shock.

"If you don’t want to relax, if you don’t want to sleep, if you refuse to give up, then you’re all better off dead!!"

A blue wall of light forms in front of him and is pointing ominously down at them as it grows larger and larger with each passing second.

Rage struggles to get out of the hole he’s buried in, with a body battered he works up enough strength to shout, "Everyone, run as fast as you can! If you stay you'll die!"

The able bodied members of the group run away, Cyrus grabs Niera and flees, but both Aria and Sora are downed due to the injuries they had just sustained. Aria is breathing extremely hard as she tries to catch the breath that was almost completely stolen from her when she was in Belphegor’s trance, her legs feel like they’re made of stone and she can’t possibly find the energy to flee. Sora isn't too badly hurt but she is dreadfully stuck in the pile of rubble, she has a straight face but there is no doubt she's nervous as to what is coming.

"Damn it all!" shouts Rage in frustration.

Getting himself back to the surface, he runs in between the two remaining girls and raises his scythe.

Seeing this, Belphegor shows a wide smile, "I’ve collected the weight of the burdens of so many souls throughout my long life, as much as you think that these troubles were so easily manageable, I doubt even you could handle how heavy it truly is."

By now the blue wall is so large that even the fleeing group of royals will perhaps not make it.

Belphegor throws his hand down and shouts, "So try and carry it!!"

As though his voice was a trigger, the blue wall came falling to the ground.


Once it hits, it digs into the turf much like an anvil would if dropped into soft sand, the crater the intense weight creates is the exact size of the wall itself around a hundred yards in width and a hundred yards in length. It is more than fifteen feet deep and everything that was once there is as flat as a piece of paper.

"Buaahahahaha! Now you can see why it’s easier to just sleep!" Belphegor yells as he floats down to the now smooth surface and begins to look for the dead bodies.

He walks along the boundaries of the twenty foot deep perfectly square crater and sees that there are many different body parts scattered across the ground, he figures that they are more than likely the remains of the deceased townspeople. They are so flat that it literally looks like they are fake, much like a toy made of cardboard.

"Tch... there's probably no way I'll find them like this." he says with a click of his tongue, "Well, I guess all that's left to do is to take care of the others and then I can get to relax."

He sighs and begins to float upwards when he feels a sharp pain enter his back and out of his stomach.

Belphegor looks down and sees that there is a scythe protruding through his gut just above his naval, he coughs up blood and says, "...What?"

Belphegor is utterly puzzled as to how this is happening.

Rage can sense his surprise and explains, "Did you really not think that it was possible that I could do the same thing as you?"

Rage pulls the scythe out of the demon’s body and kicks him, causing him to jolt forward and slide onto the ground.

"The weight of that attack was the exemplified weight of the souls you have collected right? Well, I simply counter balanced the souls you needed for the wall with a circle of the souls I own. So when the two collided, all it did was make another crater under yours that kept us safe from your attack."

Belphegor coughs and says, "Sneaky bastard..." He struggles to stand as blood waterfalls from his wound. "But I'm not done yet."

He points at Rage and attempts to steal the oxygen from his body just like he had done with Aria. But nothing is happening, he tries even harder but it is once again failing.


Rage has a stern look on his face when he asks, "Are you trying to force me into a perfect sleep?"

Belphegor jumps back as he continues.

"That's what you did to the others, and now that I know what your power consists of, I understand how you did it, and what for." Rage takes a step closer and finishes, "A perfect sleep can only be obtained in death... are you stupid Belphegor? I am Death."

He swings his scythe and rips a black wind into Belphegor's chest, causing him to fly back and hit the crater wall at an intense speed.

"Here Sora, let me help you." Aria says as she pulls Sora from her stuck position in the rubble.

Though she doesn't say it, she gestures her gratitude with her hand.

They crawl out of the circled crater only to find that they are in another one, they look around and see Rage walking toward Belphegor who is embedded in the crater wall.

Above them on the surface comes the rest of the group, Cyrus, Phoenix, Luke and Xavier look down on them and are relieved to see that the two girls are safe.

Their presence here means that Cyrus was able to get Niera to safety and far away from their battle, and Aria and Sora can feel at least a little at ease knowing that they held the demon off long enough to keep her from harm.

"Everyone's okay! That's great! It looks like things are finally turning our way. Right Sora?"

Sora analyzes what is happening and softly responds, "...Right..."

"There isn't anything you can do that will affect me Belphegor." Rage said as if scolding a child.

Belphegor is showing his first signs of weariness at Rage's each passing step.

"Is that so?"

He shuts his eyes and takes a deep breath, with this, the wound in his stomach starts to clot. He is depriving certain points of its oxygen so he doesn't bleed out.

He pulls his head out of the hole when he hears footsteps approaching from above him on the surface.

"Hey! Are you guys okay!?"

He can hear Cyrus calling out from directly above his head.

Upon hearing this, Belphegor smiles and the pupils of his eyes shrink. "Is that so!?" he shouts, "I think I have something that will change your mind!"

From his eyes comes a horrifying black blood and it falls down his face, it's as if the blood carries the sound of people crying as it drips and connects with the wound on his stomach. The blood from there turns black as well and the sounds of moans and screams of agony are heard as loud as if someone was yelling in their ears.

"What is this!?" Rage asks in surprise.

Aria and Sora, including the rest of the group on the surface all cover their ears to these piercing voices but it still causes them to prostrate on the ground.

Belphegor starts to laugh wildly before saying, "If you don't appreciate sleep enough to want to reach out and grab it yourselves, then how about I force it down your damn throats!?!?"

The sky, the ground, and everything around them all seem to melt like in a multicolored oozing liquid. This in and of itself is very disorientating, but there is an added effect to this when it feels that all of their hearts are being grabbed at by thousands of little hands. Only a moment later, everything is black and the maddening screaming and moans completely stop, every last one of them including Rage is stuck in this atmosphere in a deafening silence.

"What's going on?" Rages asks himself as he tries to look around, this surreal out of body experience is certainly something that he’s not used to.

This is making him nervous, he doesn't see anyone else around and fears that they could be attacked and killed if he doesn't get out of this place, little does he know that the rest of them are in the same predicament.

Rage tries to walk but he feels no friction under his feet and he cannot move, "Damn it! There has to be a way out of this."

As if on cue with his words, the black that surrounds him disappears in a blink of an eye and he falls. He lands on a thin metallic surface in a loud thud, before he can open up his eyes he can hear five more similar thuds behind him. He turns to look and sees the others suddenly appear, but his attention is grabbed by their surroundings.

They have found themselves in a four by four metal room and each wall has a door in it.

"Oww my butt.... where are we?"

Aria said while rubbing her behind; looking around she sees the windowless blood stained and rusted walls that surround them.

Rage gathers his composure and tries to assess the situation, but even he is beyond confused, he and the whole group have been brought into this odd place intentionally.

"Well I guess there's only one way to find out." answered Rage as he reaches for the door handle on the north side of the wall.

He turns the handle and decides to open the large door as quickly as possible, and as soon as he does the same familiar and horrid screaming is once again heard, but this time it is amplified as if coming from a loudspeaker right in front of them.

The mere sound makes Xavier vomit in the corner, but the sight is far worse than anything imaginable. In a dull black, brown, red and gray tint, cages and cells line the walls for as far as the eyes can see, enclosed inside an unimaginably large building, the gray roof is lit by flickering light bulbs that stretch so far in the distance they seem like little stars. There are no windows, just fifty stories of bloodied cells on each side of this endless room.

With a closer look one can see thousands of people hanging from ropes, sharp hooks and other objects of torture and death from the railings and ceiling, they are dripping blood all the way down and splashing onto the floor that bathes the thousands of sluggish people writhing limbless and thin in the red liquid.

This is a scene purely from Hell, and for a moment Rage honestly thinks that they have been sent there.

He slams the door shut and turns to the rest, hoping that they did not witness any of that and to his relief, he sees that they are once again prostrated on the floor. That kind of scene would make even the most hardened man go mad, if they saw what he saw they could have easily broken down mentally.

The sound of the screams completely disappeared with the shutting of this thin metal door, this makes Rage even more confused as to where they are. "Are you okay Xavier?" asks Luke while rubbing his own temples trying to relieve the headache the moans had just caused.

"What kind of freakish noise is that!?" Xavier yells with tears in his eyes as if he had just been punched in the nose.

(I hope the other doors aren't half as bad as that one...) Rage thinks to himself, he knows that they sure aren't going to get out of wherever this place is without going through one of these doors. The light flickers as he ponders which door to go through when it hits him, (This place... it's probably where Belphegor stores the souls he’s collected throughout time...)

He leans on the wall and intentionally bangs his head into it in frustration.

"We're in Belphegor's world now..."

"Huh? What do you mean?" asked Cyrus.

Rage takes a deep breath and replies, "This is the place where Belphegor sends the tempted souls after he collects them, which means we are in a place that only he can access."

Aria's shoulders shake when she asks, "Can we get out?"

"I don't know, but I think we can... I'm sure that we are the first ones that he had sent here with their bodies still intact. I would guess he would do that with everyone if there wasn't any downside to it, so I think we are an anomaly in this case."

Luke sighs and says, "That's a relief."

Rage frowns and sternly says, "But there is one big problem."

The rest of them jolt as the fear level in their chests rise exponentially.

"This place is an unlimited power source to him, he will be ten times stronger here than he can ever be somewhere else."

Their hearts skip a beat as they think back to how strong he was before and how much more dangerous he'll be even now, they can't help but feel hopelessness in this situation.

After Rage comes up with a temporary game plan, they reluctantly are all ready to venture into this world of Belphegor's and are standing by the east door.

Rage holds the handle and asks, "Have you prepared yourselves?"

Cyrus pushes up his dark glasses and answers with a smooth, "Yes."

Luke nervously smiles. "Y-Yeah."

Xavier cracks his fingers and puts on the front of a tough guy to hide his own fear from himself. "Yup!"

Aria swings her large sword in front of her. "Ready."


With this they are all prepared to leave and Rage takes his first twist of his wrist on the doorknob when he feels like he is missing something. He halts and thinks for a second, it is not something, but someone, and this someone should most certainly be here if even Rage was caught.

He turns around to the group and sees that they are all looking at him in confusion as to why he hasn't opened the door. He furrows his brow in confusion when he asks,

"...Where's Phoenix?"

(PART 3)

Belphegor sighs and continues to tend to the wound on his stomach, he is pretty pale and it would seem as if sending the group to his soul storage facility has expended a lot of his energy. After getting himself out of the embedded lie in the crater wall he was once in, he lands on his feet and leans against the wall to keep himself upright.

"I wonder if they'll like my little world, hehehe..." He coughs and covers the wound in his stomach to keep blood from coming out. "As soon as this thing is healed, I'll be joining you all there. No one can stop me there, not even you Rage."

He sits there and laughs softly to himself until he sees a shadow being cast over his head in front of him, someone is blocking the bright sun from the surface.

The person casting this shadow then floats softly to the ground and lands in front of the demon. The man is clad in priest garments and is holding a bible, he is a black man with starch white hair and glowing purple eyes.

It is Phoenix Navara.

Belphegor is stunned at his appearance and asks, "How are you here? I sent you away with all of the others, I'm positive you were in my range."

Phoenix smiles and responds confidently, "I was."

"Then how!?"

"I simply didn’t allow myself to be sent somewhere against my will."

In this weakened state, Belphegor is physically more like a regular human than a powerful demon, and knowing that, he has to feign strength to infer that he’s still a threat to the priest.

He smirks and chuckles before saying, "Though that doesn't explain how, I think the most important thing to ask you is what you intend on doing here all by yourself? Do you plan on fighting me?"

Phoenix puts his hands behind his back and shuts his eyes with a wry smile. "Not at all, I try to avoid fighting." He takes a step closer to Belphegor and leans down to his level. "But I will kindly ask you to release my comrades and leave this place."

Belphegor doesn't know if he's serious or not, but finds that extremely amusing.

"Hahahahahahaaha are you kidding?"

Phoenix smiles in reply.

"I don't know who you think you are but there is no way I'll give up such a big advantage. Those people are as good as dead."

Phoenix stands back up and repeats himself, "Once again I must ask, will you let them go and leave this place?"

"That’s not gonna happen."

"Where is everybody?" asked Niera when she woke up alone in one of the rock houses.

She exits out of the home and finds that the village is just about completely demolished.

"Umm... did I miss something?"

She is really worried for the other's safety and decides to go explore the area.

Out in the distance she spots a couple plumes of smoke that rise into the air, she heads in that direction when she finds the hundred yard crater.

(Where did this come from!?) she thinks to herself.

She walks to its edge and sees Phoenix standing worry free in this anomaly of a hole. Niera is about to shout to him until she sees that he is looking down on an unfamiliar man. Though she has yet to find out that they have been under attack, she recognizes the man in front of Phoenix as the one who was laying on the mountain of bodies before she fainted.

Instead of reaching out to him, she chooses to lay down in silence and listen.

She can feel a distinct pressure coming from them, a pressure so overbearing that she feels it would crush her if she gets too close.

Phoenix turns away and walks a few feet in the opposite direction while talking, "Isn't this exactly what you dislike doing? I imagine it takes a lot of effort to keep them in there. I can see how it is affecting you."

"Of course, this is a shitty job but someone's gotta do it."

Phoenix turns around, "Does it have to be you?"

Belphegor frowns and replies, "If this is some kind of an attempt at changing my mind, it won't work. I'm committed to this, and when a lazy person like me is committed to something, there is nothing that will stop me."

Phoenix takes a deep breath and pulls out his bible, his demeanor grows serious and he even looks a little annoyed.

He once again leans over and says, "Since you won't voluntarily do what I ask, I guess there is no choice but to use something that will make it impossible for you to resist."

He opens the bible and puts it a couple inches away from Belphegor's face.

Belphegor suddenly feels himself tighten up and he cannot control his own body, confusion rips through his head when Phoenix begins to glow gold.

"May the power of Christ compel you."

Belphegor's eyes start to burn red and he writhes in pain. "Is this some kind of exorcism!? I'm not such a piece of garbage that a mere human can exorcise me back to Hell!"

Phoenix smiles and roughly pushes his bible into Belphegor's forehead. This kind of thing should be impossible, the bible should never be able to make direct contact with one of the Seven Demons of Hell.


He keeps screaming in agony while he feels that his soul is being ripped from his body as a red light glows around him and separates. The light floats off and plants itself into the center of the crater, it grows larger and larger until it looks like a ten foot high and ten foot wide cube.

Belphegor starts to fade away when his body is engulfed in purple flames, this is extremely painful and through the back of his throat he groans, "Who are you...?"

Phoenix opens his bible and reveals a conniving smile. "I am a man of this book. If you read it closely, you'll find me there."

Belphegor's body is quickly disappearing as he is spirited away, the last part of him that can still be seen is his head.

(Wait a second, those eyes of his... I've seen them before.) Belphegor thinks to himself, his eyes start to grow large when an epiphany reaches his conscience.

With the last bit of strength he has left he says, "No way... It's you! You are--------"

Before he can finish that sentence, Phoenix abruptly shuts his book, making a loud thud.

His mouth fades into transparency and his eyes look as if they are seeing a ghost, they too fade, and just like that, the evil Demon Belphegor is no longer a threat.

Phoenix chuckles and says, "Thank you for accepting my request... had you stayed, you just might have ruined my plans."

"Alright... that means that Phoenix got away somehow, so there's nothing we can do but go on ahead with what we need to do." said Rage as he holds his hand on the door knob.

"Okay, let's go." says Cyrus.

Rage opens the door quickly and they all rush out in a wave of adrenaline.


Rage is confused when he sees that they are in the same crater that they were in before they were sent away.

Aria has her eyes shut when she runs out so she doesn't see that Rage has stopped so she ends up running into his back and is propelled to the ground.

"Owww..." she groans as she looks up to find a scene that is far from what she was expecting. "Eh? We're back??"

They had all come rushing out of the cube of red light that came from Belphegor's body, and once they exited it quickly dispersed into the sky. "Glad to have you back! I was getting worried." said Phoenix with a pleased smile.

Rage turns to him suspiciously and asks, "What happened?"

Phoenix rubs his head and replies, "It would seem that he was really weakened by your attack, Rage. He fled shortly after all of you disappeared." They all take a collective sigh of relief upon hearing that.

"That guy was a real monster, huh Sora?" asked Aria as she nudges Sora's shoulder.

Sora doesn't reply but she definitely agrees, what they had all just experienced was one of the most evil beings in all of Hell, it's without a doubt that the reality of their situation has finally struck them.

Rage is still skeptical of everything, he turns to Phoenix and asks, "How did you avoid being dragged in with us?"

Phoenix shrugs his shoulders and replies, "I guess I'm lucky."

Still suspicious, he fights his urge to query any further and says, "Well then, if that's the case there is no point in us hanging around here. Let's get going."


This tiny little voice comes from Niera, who is standing above on the surface and looking down at them.

"Oh you're awake Niera! Boy have we got some stories to tell you, you're lucky you got to sleep through it all." Aria said with a bright smile, obviously relieved to find Niera unscathed.

Phoenix is looking up at her with a troubled face and it makes Niera a little nervous. (What was it that I just saw?) she thinks.

She is racking her brain about what Phoenix had just done to that man. She had thought that he was a normal priest until that moment, at that point in time he didn't look like anything good, and she assumes that it is something that he doesn't want any of them to know.

(Oh? Did she see that?) Phoenix wonders, he chuckles and turns back to the others, "Now that we're all here, we should leave now in case he decides to come back."

Though Rage prefers to be the one handing out orders, he agrees and they all head north once again and exit the doomed village.

Belphegor sits on a large velvet chair, he is breathing hard and his wounds from the earlier battle are still apparent.

"Damn that priest... to think that he’s actually----"

"I never woulda thought that one of the Seven Demons of Hell would get whooped so badly."

The voice comes from the darkness behind the large chair that he sits on, he doesn't turn but he replies angrily, "Like you would've done any better, you'd be in the same spot as me if you were there in my place."

"Oho? Now why do I not believe that?"

"Because you're a piece of shit... and I won't allow you to talk down on me, know your place."

Abaddon laughs and then a door opens from one of the walls of this dark room and in comes Damien.

Damien is wearing that same confident smile as always as he says, "He does know his place, the one with superiority here is Abaddon."

Belphegor coughs and blood comes out of his mouth, he leans back in his chair and replies, "You think that I'll just let that happen?"

"No I don't actually... I don't give handouts, he has to show me his worth."

"And how is he going to do that?"

Abaddon leans down over Belphegor’s shoulder, and with a menacing whisper says,

"I just gotta kill ya."

Belphegor frowns and does his best to ignore Abaddon's presence, keeping his glare solely on Damien, he asks, "Did you get the approval from your old man?"

"It wouldn’t matter if I did or not."

"I won't do anything unless I know for sure that he’s agreed to it."

Damien smiles and replies sternly, "You don't have a choice."

He snaps his fingers and in an instant they are in an endless white room with a checkered white and black marble floor that stretches so far around them that it’s disorientating.

Damien spreads his arms and declares, "This is a part of Purgatory, so you both know the rules that apply with that." He then raises his index finger and states his final words, "Only one of you can leave this place."

As soon as he finishes that sentence, he disappears and leaves the two men to their ways, he intends for the two to fight to the death for the right of power.

Belphegor gingerly stands up off of his chair and blood falls from his stomach onto the marble floor. He stretches his arms and cracks his neck before saying, "Man what an awful day, this has truly been a day of excess effort."

Abaddon puts his hand in his red cloak and pulls out a bag of marbles, he grabs a few of them and starts tossing them up in the air. "Ya know how long I've been waitin' for this day to come? It's finally my time to take your seat and begin my rise up the Hierarchy."

A blue light shines around Belphegor's hands and his eyes start to glow, he looks very angered and this is an emotion that he hasn't shown thus far, even when he was critically wounded. This overwhelming hate he holds towards the former Angel of God makes him feel as if all of his strength has returned to him despite his grievous wound.

But the anger clouds his condition, it’s obvious that this is going to be a one sided affair.

With one final sigh, Belphegor says, "Don't look so cocky just cause I'm injured, I have some important information about a certain priest to give the big boss, so I won't lose."

Abaddon holds a marble in a flicking position and smiles pleasurably. "Whatever that info is, it isn't near as important as this!" He flicks the marble at Belphegor's face.

While looking and the approaching projectile Belphegor frowns and says, "This info is far more important than either of our lives."

It has been two days since the incident at the rock village, and other than that set back, they have been proceeding as planned. There have been no problems with visits from the enemy or anything else for that matter, it is midday and they are walking up a large hill that leads to a dry mountain range.

"Hey, it's been a while since we left. We got to be getting close, what does the map say?" asked Cyrus. He knows that they are ahead of schedule and that they ought to be within striking distance now.

Rage reaches into his long over coat and pulls out the piece of paper that holds the etchings of the map, after scanning it for a moment his eyes widen. "It says we're right on top of it!"

Cyrus jolts in shock, "Really?"

He excitedly runs down the hill to inform the rest of the group that is lagging behind.

The reason why they are so far ahead of the rest of the group is that Rage is always leading the group from afar. He is very antisocial and he walks very fast because he doesn't seem to get fatigued, so there is usually just one person who struggles to keep up with him every once in a while and at this moment of time it happened to be Cyrus.

Rage double takes on the map and finds that they are only a mile away from the first Gate, he starts to feel a little nervous as to what to expect upon reaching it. (We did get here quite quickly. I wonder where Ubica and the others are?) he thinks this as he turns to the rest of the group who are now rushing to him in a celebratory fashion.

He sees that Phoenix is jogging up the hill effortlessly and wonders what this mysterious priest is coming to say.

"I would like to join you for this walk to the Gate Rage." Phoenix said as he jogged past.

Rage follows him and asks, "What's the rush?"

Phoenix turns and smiles, "I want to be the first to see it."

"That kind of desire doesn't suit your personality."

"I have come to find that my personality has completely changed since arriving in this place."

Rage blows air out of his nose and asks, "Good or Bad?"

Phoenix starts running and begins to laugh, "That would depend on how you would want to perceive it."

Rage wants to investigate further into it but Phoenix is still gaining speed and leaves him behind.

"Hmm? Fog?" Phoenix comments to himself on the environment atop of this large hill as he proceeds to walk through the thick fog.

This place is odd because there aren't many trees around but the ground in which he walks is covered with fallen leaves and twigs, with each footstep he makes, an incredibly eerie noise crunches under his feet and breaks the silent serenity of the fog he's found himself in.

Rage catches up and joins him in the fog, "We're supposed to be at the Gate... in Achille's diary, the description of this place and what it actually looks like is way off."

Phoenix shrugs his shoulders and replies, "Well this is kind of fitting don't you think?"

"Hmph, I don't know about that."

Out in the distance, the fog seems to weaken and some beams of sunlight are protruding through the denseness.

"It looks like the Gate is just yards away." Phoenix says with a smile, he is starting to become excited and rushes out into light.

He stops and basks in the sight that is the Gate, it is just as Achille Gallo said. Connected to the face of a massive cliff, is a Gate. This Gate stands well over fifty meters high and twenty meters wide, the arch is engraved in gold and numerous different colored diamonds. The stone is painted with the design of angels and their cherubs depicting a glorious image of Heaven.

"So this is it huh?" Rage asks not in awe at the sight in the least.

Phoenix begins to walk toward the white light in the middle of the Gate, causing Rage to become concerned.

"Wait! It's dangerous if you get too close!"

Phoenix keeps moving forward and nonchalantly waves his hand back at him, brushing off his warning.

Rage clicks his tongue in anger, he wonders if Phoenix has been entranced by the light of the Gate just as Achille did. He readies his scythe and runs forward, fully expecting yet another battle.

Phoenix is just steps in front of this Gate, with a frown he scours the area.

"Are you looking for me?"

This unfamiliar voice comes from a man who is standing atop of the fifty meter high Gate, he spreads his arms and floats downwards. Phoenix backs away and lets him land softly, the man has short brown hair and only the white of his sclera can be seen in his eyes, he has intricately designed red armor on and a white cloak flows down his shoulders and back that drags to the ground.

"Phoenix! Get away from him!" Rage shouts as he makes his way to him.

Phoenix shrugs his shoulders and takes a few steps back.

Rage looks surprised upon seeing the man in the white cloak and says, "Is that?---"

"Pontius Pilate." Phoenix swiftly interrupts.

"What is he doing in a place like this? Didn't he kill himself?" asks Rage.

Phoenix starts to laugh, "No, the history books were wrong, this man was far too proud of his work to end his life."

The man named Pontius spreads his arms and ignores them, in a business like fashion he asks, "Do you wish to pass the Gate?"

Rage pulls out his scythe and swiftly answers, "Yes we do."

Pontius raises his arms to the air and says, "Very well then."

All across the length of the cliff appear thousands of crosses, and nailed upon them are people, some still alive, some dead, some are rotting and some are all bones, they have all been crucified.

Pontius points out his hand and says with authority, "I shall add you to my collection of people who have attempted to pass this Gate."

The smile from Phoenix's face dissolves and is replaced solely by a bitter frown, he walks toward the Gatekeeper and says, "I had heard that because you washed your hands of the deed, you avoided going to Hell for sending Christ to the cross."

Pontius Pilate was a Prefect of the Roman Province of Judea during Jesus' time, and as a result, he was the judge at Jesus' trial and gave the authorization for his crucifixion. But as soon as he made this order, he washed his hands of the deed, claiming that he sent the so-called conspirator against Rome to death out of reluctance.

"That is correct." Pontius replies, no emotion can be seen in his statuesque expression.

Phoenix turns to Rage and asks, "Purgatory... this place is out of the view of Heaven right?"

Rage looks confused and responds warily, "Yeah that's right."

Phoenix starts to laugh rather loudly, "Hahahahahah! This is good!"

He pulls out his bible and points it as Pontius.

"I recognize you. Though you do look slightly different." said Pontius as he walks toward Phoenix.

Rage is completely bewildered as to what is going on, it's like the two of them are moving at their own pace and left him behind in the dust. "That's right…” Pontius says, taking another menacing step forward. “I know exactly who you are."

Pontius holds out his hand, as if he is announcing something to the audience of crucifixion victims surrounding them, he loudly says...


These words send shock-waves down Rage's spine, he now knows the secret that the mysterious Phoenix has been hiding.

"Impossible." he says, stunned as he looks to Phoenix's back.

"Let me handle this one,” Phoenix says, walking towards the Gatekeeper. “my arrival has long since been overdue."

Rage steps back and he is shaken up at this sudden revelation, he watches the two proceed on a collision course with each other and mutters the identity of the priest.

"It's you... The Messiah."

Revelation: (END)

Chapter 26: Trust

(PART 1)

"Wow I can actually do it!" shouted Trojia in excitement.

She had just pointed out her hand and was able to move a rock and throw it more than fifteen feet without even touching it. This was a form of psychokinesis that has been bestowed on her by the power of Messor.

Messor has given the entire group some sort of ability in order for them to defend themselves.

"Very good, that's all I can do for you. The growth of this new ability of yours will be entirely up to your own efforts now." Messor said with a pleasant smile.

Her help is duly appreciated and even Napoleon is quite excited; this has been a very easy transition into strength for them. All Messor had to do was put her index finger on their foreheads and they were instantly able to do inhuman things. What she did was open up a certain portion of their brains that was once inaccessible on Earth. Here in Purgatory, the human body is able to break its natural limits; the laws of physics made those limits physically and mentally inaccessible in their past lives.

Everyone has some kind of ability stored in their brains, it's just a matter of being able to realize it or not. In the case of Strauphius and Aria, once they became 'aware' they immediately obtained such powers, and after honing it for years they became the people they are now. It's similar to how one would learn how to read starting with basic letters in there native tongue, pronunciation of those letters combined into once complicated words eventually becomes natural, and is easily understood within the mind in the split seconds it takes to gloss over the letters. It all starts at a beginning point, and then grows from there depending on the hard work or natural ability of the person deciphering their native alphabet and putting it into spoken word.

"Did you see me Ubica!? Did you see!?"

Ubica smiles and says, "Of course, good job Trojia!"

Upon seeing how well Trojia is doing with her newfound ability, Tsubiri puffs and holds her hands out. From her fingertips comes the blue crackling light of electricity, and it grows to the extent that everyone around her can feel the electrical charge in their chests.

The torrent of electricity swirling around her is enough to shift Ubica’s attention, looking at him with a straight smile of over exuberance she says, "I would like some praise too ya know?"

“Whoah Tsubiri! You’re amazing!"

“Hehe I am aren’t I?”

Trojia, who was just so proud of herself for what she was able to do, folds her arms and furrows her brow when she says, “All of you soldiers have gotten the hang of this so fast, it shouldn’t be a surprise you’re able to put on display like that.”

“Oohoo do a see a princess envious of a lowly bodyguard like me?” Tsubiri teases.

With a flushed face, Trojia lifts her nose and turns away from her.

Feeling triumphant, Tsubiri seeks more praise and tries to show off, but her electrical field suddenly grows so large it forces the others to back away.

“Okay we get it already, You can stop now!” Trojia shouts as her hair begins to stand up on her head.

“Umm.” Tsubiri, with the bashful embarrassment of a child who had just spilt milk on the carpet replies, “I don’t know how to stop.”

“Are you kidding??”

With the forcefield around her growing exponentially, it forces everyone near her to run off to avoid being electrocuted.

Feeling abandoned, Tsubiri shouts, “I’d appreciate some help!”

Ubica, not knowing what he can do to help her, attempts to get close and calm her down. “It’s okay Tsubiri, take some deep breaths and try to relax.”

Following his advice, she is disheartened to find that every breath she takes, the blue electricity just pulsates along with it.

“I have an idea.” Ubica says, holding his hand out to her. “I think all of this energy needs to be released towards something conductible. Focus on my hand and send it my way.”

“Eh? Isn’t that dangerous?” Tsubri protests.

“It’ll be fine, trust me.”

The energy she’s exuding is beginning to be unbearable, so she gives in to his suggestion and points her hand out to him; in a flash, the electricity surrounding her screams to the front of her palm in a loud crackle and forms into an imposing ball of bright blue light.

It shoots forward in a blinding beam and hits Ubica’s hand with such force it slides him back under his feet. Feeling the power of this electricity and not wanting to take the full brunt of it, Ubica swings his arm behind him and sends the beam dancing across the sky and out into the distance until it finds something conductible to land into.

A few hundred yards away there is a pond, and upon reaching the area of sky above the water, the electric beam takes a sharp turn downwards and hits the pond so hard that it sends a plum of whitewash and earth hundreds of feet into the sky in a great explosion.


As the trail of vapor falls back to the ground, remnants of the blue electrical shock can be seen dancing within the cloud created.

“Wow, that was a lot stronger than I thought it’d be!” Ubica said while watching remnants of the blast fade.

He then rushes to Tsubiri to see if she’s okay, and upon seeing that she isn’t even breathing hard, he pats her on the shoulder and says, “You really are amazing, Tsubiri!”

Feeling guilty for causing him and the others such trouble, she doesn’t take his compliment with as much gratitude as she normally would. “T-Thanks.”

“Cheer up,” Ubica said with a smile, “With practice you'll be able to control it in no time.”

Trojia comes walking up to them with her arms still folded in a combative manner when she says, “Even I have to admit, that was very impressive.”

“You think?”

“I have a lot of work to do to catch up.” Trojia said, releasing her arms to her side and sighing in the process. “Don’t think you’ll be ahead of me forever!”

"This is incredible..." Niomyo said after witnessing Tsubiri’s power, she then looks down to her own hands and says, “I never would have imagined we’d have a strength like this hidden inside us.”

Napoleon readily agrees and says, "Yeah, it will definitely help us get out of here."

Niomyo looks over at Ubica, who is sharing a happy conversation with Trojia and Tsubiri and says, "Now that we have these abilities... is it really necessary that we keep Ubica around?"

Napoleon's eyebrow twitches. "What do you mean?"

"I mean we don't have to rely on him anymore. Don't you think that it's more dangerous with him than it would be without him?"

He folds his arms and ponders for a moment, he takes a deep breath and replies, "I can see why you would think that way... but he is far stronger than all of us combined at the moment, and besides, if he left, the unity of the group would be completely shattered."

Niomyo frowns and raises her voice, "Our unity doesn't revolve around the feelings of the two princesses and that guard! Once they realize how dangerous he is they will come around eventually."

Napoleon stays calm and states, "I disagree, no matter how dangerous he may be... he is still my comrade, and I never abandon my comrades."

After saying that, he coldly turns to walk toward the group and leaves her behind. Not someone who shows much emotion, Napoleon's agitation at her suggestion was felt on her forehead like crisp breeze had just blown in from the arctic.

Niomyo clicks her tongue and says to herself, "Since when did a man like you become so soft? I will never allow an existence like him to become close to the Princess."

"Hey, you look kind of annoyed." said Daey.

She is addressing Messor, who has a troubled look on her face while looking at Ubica and the two girls sharing playful laughter together.

"Do I?"

"Yeah, was doing this for us a strain on you?"

Messor looks to her and gently smiles, "Not at all, I'm happy to help."

“I’m glad to hear that, you know, it was really hard being so helpless this entire time. Relying on others to protect you in a situation like this was difficult to handle.”

“I can only imagine.” Messor replied.

Her sympathetic response prompted a grateful smile from the young princess.

“By doing this, you’ve given us a lot of hope. I feel like even I can contribute to our journey back home now.”

“Hope is a great feeling to have… I can relate to your struggle, there was once a time where I was alone and hopeless. I didn’t have the power to escape the situation I was in by myself.” Looking strained, Messor keeps her glare locked on the three when she says, “I’ve vowed to never let myself feel that way again.”

Daey smiles and takes Messor’s hands into her own, “You’re not alone anymore. We’re not much, but I think you can rely on us to be there for you!”

Messor can’t help but puff a little air out of her nose before shifting her gaze to the princess's mauve eyes. “You’re much kinder than I thought you’d be.”

“Eh? W-Well kindness is easily reciprocated wouldn’t you say?”

“I don’t think what I did for you is kind so much as it was necessary.”

“What do you mean?”

Messor gently squeezes Daey’s hand and looks back towards Ubica before saying, “Relying on you and the others... this has brought me a step closer to no longer being alone.”

The group is now in yet another town, and thanks to the money made from the last town they were in, they have plenty of cash to spend on a nice hotel; with the sun setting they make their way to a large multi story accommodation. This town is very similar to the last, be it that there are statues of pagan gods line the city streets here as well. But without the festivities of their last stay, this town lacks energy and almost feels depressing in comparison, people are just strolling about finishing off their daily routines.

They reach a hotel and are ready to check in when Messor grabs Ubica's sleeve and begins dragging him away.

"I'm sorry, but would you all mind if I borrow Ubica for a little?"

She doesn't give them a chance to answer when she takes off running with him in tow.

"Um... where are we going?" Ubica asks, he is being helplessly dragged around and has no clue why.

"We're going out."

"Well yeah I can see that, I want to know where!"

"It's as much of a surprise for me as it is for you, just go along with my impulse will you?"

Messor laughs and continues to pull him along until she finds somewhere interesting to stop.

"How about this place?" she asks.

They have reached a restaurant atop of a hill that has a nice view of a nearby lake. Vines line the pillars of the brick structure and it really gives off a classy feel.

Ubica sighs, without much regard to the building or scenery he answers, "It looks good to me."

So with that they get a window seat and order a bottle of wine to start off the night.

"You don’t have to look so uncomfortable, Ubica. Is there some place else you’d rather be?"

"No it’s not that, I guess I’m just wondering what the occasion is."

Messor takes a sip of her wine and looks out the window. "Why do you think? I just want to spend some time with you... don't you think this view is romantic?"

"Yeah sure, but it depends on who you're with." he says, the smirk on his face accompanying the subtle mock in his tone.

Noticing this, she closes one eye and says, "Oh? So if you were with one of those other girls would it be better?"

Ubica was in the process of drinking his wine when she said that so he jolted in surprise and spilled some on his shirt.

"You’ve grown clumsy now, how unlike you..." Messor says as she leans over the table and wipes his shirt with a napkin. With her face close to his she looks him in the eyes and sternly asks, "It’s funny, being around you.”

Ubica shifts his glare away from her and out the window when he replies, “How so?”

Messor laughs, after wiping his shirt she leans back in her chair. “In a way, you’ve grown so unfamiliar to me. You’re an almost comical version of your former self.”

She gestures to a waiter for another bottle of wine before turning back to face him.

“But I’m still as drawn to you as I ever was, and it appears you have that same effect on the people around you.”

Ubica squints his eyes as he bitterly drinks his wine and says, "If I didn’t know any better, I’d say you’re insulting me."

She smiles and says, "In a way I am, but I’m also insulting myself you know? We are one after all, being the person you are has changed me as well."

The two have been at the restaurant for close to an hour now and the city lights that shine off the lake make the view all the more beautiful.

Ubica has his head rested on the wooden table and Messor sits there with a wide smile on her face.

"I see you can't hold your liquor anymore huh?"

It is quite apparent that Ubica is flushed because the wine went to his head so fast that it felt like an anvil is pressing against the front side of his brain, making it very difficult to keep upright.

"Believe it or not this is the first time I’ve drank anything since I left the pit. I’m feeling nauseous." he says into the table, his voice muffled as it bounced off the wooden canvas.

"It can’t be that bad, we used to drink all the time back in the day. Two bottle of wine is nothing."

"That was over a thousand years agoI" he yells as he tries to lean up, pouting like a child.

Messor shrugs her shoulders and says, "It’s not like shoved it down your throat, you were the one who did the drinking."

Ubica huffs air out of his nose and flops his head back on the table.

With a sigh of resignation he says, "I knowwww."

Messor drinks the last of the wine before saying, "Tell me something... since this is something you haven’t done since you got back to Earth, why did you drink with me in the first place?"

He tilts his head up and uses his chin as a stool to his eyes and says, "I'm not that drunk yet... so don't expect me to spill my guts any time soon."

She leans back in her chair and puts her legs on the table, causing the back legs of her chair to teeter dangerously against the ground.

"I'm not trying to get you to confess anything special to me, I just want to know why."

He shuts his eyes and leans his head to the side, with a guilty tone in his voice he says, "Because... I owe you for time lost."

She immediately sits astute and looks surprised, she has an unusual sloppiness in her composure when she asks, "What does that mean?"

Ubica gives her a genuine, soft smile and answers, "For all of that time I left you alone..." He stands to his feet and walks to her, putting his hand on her shoulder. "I owe you for that, and I want to make it up to you. Sharing a few drinks with you is the least I could do.”

“If that’s the least you can do, just how far are you willing to go for me?”

“Far enough for you to forgive me. I know you told me that you have, but I know when you’re hurting, I can feel it too.”

Messor stands to her feet, clasping his hand into hers tightly.

“Hmph, then you know that just as greedy as ever, it may take a while before I get tired of your affection.”

The two leave the restaurant and are now walking hand and hand down the lighted streets and cross the bridge over the lake. Ubica gestures to her to sit on the bench at the viewpoint in the very center of the lake overlooking the city lights reflecting off the water. She obliges and he walks to the railing and smiles when he feels the cool breeze to flow through his hair.

"Hey... can I tell you something?" Messor asks.

Ubica keeps his back facing her and his eyes stuck on the view when he replies, "Sure."

As soon as he replies he feels her rub up against his back and her arms once again wrap around him, he can feel her trembling and it has really caught him off guard.

Messor squeezes him really tight when she softly says, "I love you."

"They’ve been gone for way too long!" shouted Tsubiri, squeezing at the sheets of her bed in frustration.

The group has booked their rooms in the hotel and the girls and guys have been split like usual, so Tsubiri, Trojia, Daey and Niomyo are all sitting on the two twin size beds they'll be sharing later on in the night.

"I'm sure they are just talking about all the abilities we have now or something, you’re making too big a deal out of it." Daey replies, she is lying comfortably on her back against the soft cushions of the bed next to Tsubiri.

Even Trojia isn't too worried about this, her first impressions of Messor have been nothing but positive, the God of Harvest that has already done so much to help them isn’t threatening to her at all.

Trojia grabs a pillow and tosses it at Tsubiri, hitting her square in the face. "Daey’s right, they’ll be back soon."

Tsubiri grabs the pillow and chucks it back to her. "You too?? How do you guys not find this suspicious!?"

Both Daey and Tsubiri throw another pillow at her and simultaneously shout, "Because it's not!"

Tsubiri puffs her cheeks and walks to the door. "Well I think it is, so I'm gonna go find them!"

She sticks her tongue out at them and makes a funny sounding 'Bleeeeeeeh!' noise, with that she exits the room and loudly shuts the door behind her.

The two princesses sigh and lay back on their beds.

Niomyo, who has been silently watching Tsubiri agonize over Ubica’s absence for the last half hour, has a troubled frown on her face. "I don’t understand you three. How can you all be so infatuated with that boy?"

"Huh? Where has this come from?" asked Daey with her eyebrow raised.

"It comes from common sense, do you not know what he is? That boy is a damn mon--"

"Shut up Niomyo!" Trojia interrupts.

The two are suddenly locked in an intense stare, leaving Daey wondering just what in the world is going on.

"Uh... am I missing something here?" she asks with a nervous smile on her face.

The tension could be cut with a butter knife, but is quickly broken when Trojia smiles, turns to her and shrugs it off. "It's nothing, Niomyo is just overprotective."

"Umm, okay... well then, I'll leave you two to your ways, I'm gonna go get some dinner at the hall."

Feeling awkward in the heavy atmosphere the two had just created, she decided to leave.

"What the hell are you doing!?" Trojia yelled upon Daey’s exit.

Niomyo frowns and tries to prove her point by shouting even louder, "I'm trying to knock some damn sense into you!"

"At what cost!? Tsubiri and Daey don't know about him, you almost blabbed!"

"They should know, it's for their own good that they do know so they back away from him!"

Trojia grits her teeth and smacks Niomyo with the pillow at her side with so much force that the feathers come bursting from the seams.

"Remember who you are talking to!"

Surprised by Trojia’s sudden outburst, Niomyo’s tone softens when she replies, "B-But, I'm only trying to protect you."

"You don’t need to protect me from him. All you’re doing is forcing what you think is best on me, you’re not even considering how I might feel."

Niomyo is left speechless, she has nothing to say, Trojia’s actions have put her back in her rightful place as an expendable bodyguard. She knows that Trojia doesn't think of her that way, but at this moment she certainly feels it. As far as their professional relationship is concerned, it shouldn't matter what her opinion is, her job is to protect whoever it is that she is assigned to protect, and anything other than that should be considered a luxury.

Niomyo bows and says, "I must apologize, I was out of bounds and I deserve to be punished."

Trojia sighs and says. "You know I'll never punish you. I just want you to trust my judgement, since coming here I’ve finally been able to make decisions for myself. This is what I want, and it’s something I’m willing to risk anything for.”

“I understand. It takes a lot of strength to be so resolute in one’s own judgment. Knowing what you’re willing to risk to follow it has really made me realize what must be done.” Niomyo replied, her head still bowed down and her blank gaze sharply fixated on the floor.

“Then let's go join Daey for some dinner and put this behind us?"


Trojia leaves the room but Niyomio lags behind, her fists are clenched and she’s gritting her teeth.

“Your judgement is the reason I must follow mine, Princess. As much strength as it is for you to risk so much for him, I’m willing to risk even more for you.”

"Are you kidding?" Ubica asks, turning to face her while still being held in her arms.

"Do I sound like I'm kidding?" Messor replies bluntly, she squeezes him even harder as to show him she is serious.

"But isn't it im--"

"Impossible." Messor interrupts. "I don’t think it is, even though the two of us like to think it’s something we’re incapable of understanding, I’ve learned that I’ve always felt this way about you.”

“I’m not the same person as back then though.”

“Because you’re not the same, you know the reason why I’m able to feel the way I do.”

A swarm of conflicting emotions are flowing through his head, and he is trying to make sense of it all.

“So this has me wondering something.” Messor says, looking up to him even though he is averting his gaze awkwardly.

“What is it?”

She puts her face close to his, so much so that their noses are touching and he is forced to look at her; with the white gold of her eyes and the light green of his colliding under the lights of the city, she smiles and says,

"This new version of you… must have only recently figured out how to love someone.”

"Ughh of course I’m not going to be able to find them, what in the world was I thinking?" Tsubiri said with a sigh.

She’s walking through the city trying to find Ubica and Messor but she is having no luck, in fact, she is completely lost.

"Damn, everyone is gonna make fun of me for this."

She pouts and decides that if she keeps walking she'll only get more lost, so the nearest rest point she can find will be where she will relax for a few moments to gather her thoughts. Up ahead of her is a bridge crossing a lake splitting one side from the city from the other, knowing that the view from the middle of the bridge would allow her to look for landmarks that might help guide her back, she decides to head over to it.

"I guess I'll hang out there for a little bit and figure this out."

Ubica again awkwardly attempts to turn his head away from her, “I’m pretty sure I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

"You most definitely do. Change like this just doesn’t happen without someone having a hand in it, you just haven’t realized it yet."

“Just when did you have time to think of all this anyways?” he said with a sigh.

“So who is it?”

“Who is what?”

Messor laughs a little and walks to the guard rail, standing shoulder to shoulder, she looks out onto the sparkling lights on the water and says, “The person in the group you’re traveling with that taught you how to love."

After a moment of contemplating he replies, "It’s not just one of them… everyone in our group, they are all very precious to me."

“That’s a lie.”

The tips of Messor's lips softly rise.

"There is one person most special to you, and I want to know it is.”

“You’re really overthinking this. Why is it even important anyways?” Ubica replies, agitation now evident in his tone.

He attempts to avoid answering this question by escaping her grasp and walking away from the viewpoint, but Messor latches onto his arm and stops him in his tracks.

"I'm not letting go until you answer me."

"L-Let go! This is stupid."

"No way, I can tell by your reaction that you have someone in mind."

“I don’t understand why you’re pestering me about something that even I don’t believe is there.”

"Because it's important for me to know."

She lets go of her grasp on his arm and quickly constricts her arms around his waist like an anaconda, so now he is completely stuck.

"So tell me."

By now she is squeezing so hard he finds it difficult to breath, so fearing suffocation he says, "Fine! Now ease up a little!"

Messor loosens the strength of her grip, but doesn't let him go. Trying to ignore the intense glare that he is getting pelted with, he looks away toward the bustling street at the bottom of the arched bridge and pauses for a moment while deep in thought.

"I guess if I had to choose..."

Zoning out into the distance he finds it very difficult to tell her, he had always considered everyone in the group as equally important to him, and being forced to basically choose a favorite has him feeling guilty picking one over the other.

"It would be..."

He is about to say the name of the person when at the base of the bridge he spots the honey gold eyes of a girl looking at him with an expression like she had just stumbled upon a scene of a horrible crime she wasn't supposed to witness.

A cool breeze just happened to blow from the lake and sent her magenta hair flowing in the gale.

Surprised at suddenly locking eyes with her from afar, Ubica says her name,


(PART 2)

"I-I’m sorry to interrupt." Tsubiri said meekly, shuffling her feet and averting her gaze.

The sight of Messor embracing him has given her a throat drying pain in her chest; it was like she had suddenly walked into an invisible wall that forced her to back away in confusion upon impact.

Ubica’s reaction is to try and pry himself out of Messor’s arms as though he was caught red handed doing something criminal.

"Tsubiri! This is..."

Messor looks up at his panicked face and she can read his emotions simply by seeing his her sudden appearance had thrown him into a jumbling mess.

Instead of letting him go she puts her head into his chest and mockingly glances at Tsubiri, "Oh? It looks like we've been caught, Ubica."

Ubica’s shoulders jolt in shock. "Whaaa!?"

Tsubiri's eyes start to water up, as soon as she feels the first tear drop onto her cheeks she turns around and runs away into the crowd.

"Hey wait!" Ubica shouts.

He nudges himself out of Messor’s grasp and asks, “What did you do that for!?”

“I’m just having a little bit of fun.”

With a click of his tongue he turns and runs after Tsubiri.

Messor watches him disappear into the sea of people, she chuckles for a moment and then turns around to lean on the guardrail.

"I didn’t think it’d be her." she says to herself with a frown and a devilish smile. “Now I know who to get rid of.”

Underneath her hands, the railing of the stone bridge begins to rot and decay, pieces of it falling into the lake cause loud noises that catch the bystander's attention.

Messor takes her weight off of the guardrail and exits the crumbling bridge, under the night sky her bright gold eyes shine when she says, "I won’t let her have him."

Like a signal to her declaration, the bridge she once stood on collapses violently into the lake.

Tsubiri is still running as fast as she can through the city with her head down and not caring where her final destination will be; she has completely enveloped herself into the heart of this maze like town. She stops and finds herself in a darkened alley way, and after looking around for a second she gets an uneasy feeling about where she has found herself, so she back tracks back into civilization and the bustling atmosphere of the city streets.

It looks like she is in a town square of some sort since it seems like there are even more people in this area than there are anywhere else. A lot of them are throwing coins into a fountain that rests in the middle of the square. In this fountain sits a large statue of a deity and they are paying their respects to it.

"Uhhhh..." she mumbles, she keeps scoping the place for the way in which she came but she is becoming more and more disheartened, all the streets around here look the same. "Ahhh I’m even more lost now!"

Tsubiri puts her hands on her head in frustration at getting herself into this situation, however, her comical expression quickly fades into dourness when she thinks back on what had just happened that brought her here.

"I'd rather be lost than have to see that ever again."

Her eyes water and she uses the back of her hand to wipe them.

"I shouldn't be so surprised, it's not like I'm owed his affection... but damn this really hurts."

Walking aimlessly among the crowd she feels similarities to the situation she was in when she was abandoned at the castle of La'Juune. Though the circumstances are completely different, the feeling of being stranded and alone in a big place are pretty much the same.

With her weary head hung down and her eyes to the floor, she carelessly bumps into people while thinking to herself, (I wonder if anyone will come looking for me?)

The negativity of these now uncontrollable thoughts are starting to eat away at her and the feeling of being an unwanted nuisance is taking large bites at her heart. In truth, this is something that she had always thought of herself as for as long as she can remember, Xavier and everyone else around her in the castle treated her like a useless employee. So it shouldn't be any different now even though she finally has developed an identity of her own. Her thoughts are betraying the person she is now by connecting her worth to her past life of simply following orders to survive. The feeling of that worthlessness has seeped its way back into her like melting snow slipping through a crack on the surface of her heart.

(This is what I get for allowing myself to get complacent… I was dumb to think that things have changed for me.)

It's getting more difficult to hold back the water in her eyes with her sleeve when all of these inner depressing emotions begin to resurface in a torrent, she is in a miserable state and is feeling dreadfully lonely.

She continues to turn down streets only to become more lost and the panic is officially starting to settle in her subconscious.

(If I don't come back tonight... will they leave me?) she thinks, assuming that they all don't care about her enough to wait for her return. (No that’s a silly thought, Ubica definitely wouldn’t leave me behind.)

As soon as she says his name in her head, the image of him and Messor flashes through her mind.

Tsubiri starts to run in an attempt to break all the negativity in her head by doing something physical, weaving throughout the townsfolk she honestly thinks that she'll never find her way back when she unintentionally yells, "Someone help me!"

This shout grabs the attention of the people passing by, they all wonder if she is being chased by someone or is in danger. But naturally, like most people do they ignore it and go along with their daily lives. Whatever happens to her is none of their concern, they shrug it off like thinking that someone else will help her out sooner or later. This kind of attitude is molded into most people, if helping someone else would more than likely come of no benefit to them, it’s much easier to ignore the person in need and go about their business.

But it would seem her plea has caught the ears of a certain person in the crowd, through the talking and murmuring of the people a voice is faintly heard.


Though it can't be recognized immediately, she understands that it is someone she knows because he knows her name, and the one and only person she can think of who would be looking for her is Ubica.


Surprised, she listens carefully toward the source of the voice and starts to run towards it.

(Ubica!) she thinks to herself, the tears that remained on her cheeks fly behind her in the wind. (He’s not going to leave me behind after all!)

She runs through a few more people when she hears her name being called once more, she squeezes herself between another couple until the source of the voice can be seen.


To her shock she comes upon the familiar face of Strauphius.

"Where did she run off to!?" Ubica yells, he is following what he believes to be the direction in which Tsubiri went.

Having no luck he clicks his tongue and decides it might be better to check from above, he jumps up atop the three story buildings and hops over the alleyways they cast over from one structure to another. From a higher view he can see that this city is shaped like a labyrinth; if one is not careful it would be very easy to become disorientated.

"Knowing her, she's probably lost." he said with his eyes glued to the ground, "But she couldn’t have gotten too far away."

Scouring through the crowds of people from above, he’s suddenly stricken with the heaviness of anxiety. It’s an inexplicable dread that arrived so fast he had almost lost track of where he was jumping and fallen off the roof of a building.

"Someone’s here… I need to get to her quickly."

"What are you doing here Strauphius?" Tsubiri asks as she tries to wipe what's left of the tears off her face.

Even if he isn't the person she wanted to see at this moment, she is still relieved that someone at least came for her.

"I got worried when all of you didn't return so I came out to find you."

"O-Oh... thank you.."

"Are you crying?"

"Ah no it’s nothing."

She turns her back to him and hurriedly rubs her face.

Strauphius begins to have an unusual, serious aura about him when he asks, "What's wrong?"

"It’s really nothing, I was just panicking because I was lost."

He walks up to her and puts his hand on her shoulders to turn her around.

"Wasn’t it actually him?” he asked sternly, his expression deadpan and intense.

This makes her uncomfortable, she doesn't like being touched and being so close to him adds to the edge. But, as of this moment Strauphius is the only one who bothered to look for her so all of these feelings are washed away when she remembers why she is so distraught.

"W-Well kind of...."

"What did he do?"

"I just let my wishful thinking cloud my judgement. But I'd rather not talk about it to be honest with you."

"It’s better to talk about it instead of holding it in, I’m here to listen so you can unload your emotions onto me.”

Growing more and more uncomfortable, Tsubiri averts her gaze and stammers; she doesn’t know how to react to his attempt to cheer her up.

“It’s really, just, well… um, you see…”

“If he treated you bad then forget about him!"

With his shout he begins to shake her shoulders, causing her eyes to grow large with surprise.

"Eh? Forget about him? But--"

"But nothing! If he has the nerve to hurt you then you should go for me! I'll never take you for granted!"

Having him confess to her so abruptly is causing her head to spin. There hasn’t been anything in their interactions since they have met that would warrant such a thing, and as he looks at her with eyes so full of sincerity she can’t help but wonder just what she has done to make him feel this way.

She bites her lip and takes a moment to conjure up her reply, she looks him in the eyes and says, “I’m flattered, but I’m sor---"

"Get your hands off her!"


Strauphius is suddenly sent flying violently into one of the street side buildings. Upon the impact, he lands onto the ground in a heap. Still conscious, Strauphius shakily tries to stand to his feet and looks up at his assailant with his mouth bleeding and shoulder hanging dislocated at his side.

Tsubiri is even more shocked about this than she was at the sudden confession. Turning her head to where Strauphius once was, she sees the sight that she has wanted all along.


Niomyo is walking along the city streets with a sour look on her face, she has been sent by Trojia to go and find everyone else since they've been gone so long. It would seem that those remaining at the hotel were now starting to think something was up as well.

"Right after the Princess says that she'll never punish me, she sends me out to do this stupid job as a punishment for my outburst... What a contradiction this is!"

Her talking to herself in such a manner causes passersby to stare but she ignores them, all she wants to do is find them quickly and get back to the hotel so she can sleep. These long days of travel really wears on her, if it wasn't for the horse drawn carts acquired in the last town she doubts she’d have any energy left for anything.

She sighs and is becoming more and more agitated when she starts to get a little confused as to where she is going; it's always hard to find someone in a big place when the searcher has no clue where the target could possibly be. The elongated sigh turns into an angered grunt and she bitterly takes a random turn down an alleyway.

After passing through it she is in another area that looks almost exactly the same as the last, she clicks her tongue and sends a curse towards someone she’s imagining in her head. "I'd love to meet the architect of this stupid city so I can punch him in the face."

She is about to turn around to go back through the alleyway when she notices there is some kind of commotion just ahead, a few dozen people are crowding around a fairly small space so she decides to investigate out of curiosity. Once there she swivels her way in between the crowd until she reaches the center. She jolts back in surprise, knocking into someone when she sees Ubica, combatively standing in front of Tsubiri while looking down on a grounded Strauphius.

"Strauphius? I could've sworn he was at the hotel when I left... what in the world is going on?"

Instead of jumping in and getting involved, she hides a few rows into the crowd and watches silently.

Realizing what had just happened, Tsubiri shouts into the back of Ubica, "Why did you go and do that for!?"

"Do you know how to get back to the hotel?" he asks tensely, shunning her question.

"Haah? Of course I don't! This place is a freakin' death trap!"

"Damn it."

"What do you mean damn it!?" She starts to punch his back with the sides of her hands as she shouts, "And also, do you mind telling me just what the hell you were doing with that Messor girl!?"

Ubica turns, grabs her hand, and pulls her head under his arm. While gritting his teeth with a frustrated smile he begins to give her a brutal noogie. "Now's not the time for that, airhead."

"Owowowowow let go of my head you jerk!!!!"

"Not until you've calmed down!"

"I am calm! I am calm!!!"

He releases her and she rubs her head excessively, with a child-like face she says, "I don't get it, I don't get what's happening here."

"I promise... I'll explain everything to you later." Turning back toward Strauphius he says, "The only thing I can say now is that all of this is not what you think it is."

Strauphius gets to his feet, he looks so hurt that it is almost sickening seeing his arm droop down like that, he spits blood out of his mouth before the tips of his lips widen into a cynical smile. He raises his dislocated arm and with his left he pulls in towards his shoulder blade, reconnecting the joint, the sound it makes made all the onlookers a little nauseous.

Out of his awful looking smile comes a small laugh that rises in tone to a hysterically pitch. "Kukukuku.... Huuaahaha.... HAHAHAHAHAH!!!"

Everyone, including Tsubiri and Niomyo find this beyond odd; the last twenty seconds were extremely disturbing, all the way from the injury to his whacked out reaction to it.

Once done laughing Strauphius points at Ubica and says in an unfamiliar tone of voice, "I knew I'd find you old pal!!!"

Tsubiri backs away in shock. "Strauphius?"

Ubica reasserts his position in front of her and says, "That's not Strauphius."

"Oh! Well shit since my cover was blown I might as well get rid of this disguise."

Strauphius takes his index finger and taps it on his forehead, with that, an ugly gray light shines around him, causing him to be engulfed. Once gone, a different form is revealed.

He has bright orange hair and eyes of an amber shade, he stands rather short and when the light fully fades it becomes obvious that he is a kid who looks around the age of eleven or twelve. This appearance contradicts his deep manly voice.

He throws his arms open, causing his dark blue robe to flail back and says, "What's the matter Ubica? You aren’t happy to see me?"

Ubica is forcing a smile back as he stares at the kid with wide eyes. "At first I didn’t even recognize you. You’re a child now?"

A vein surfaces on the boy's head. "I’ll admit that I’m disappointed that you don’t even recognize your own handywork.”

"That’s funny, I don’t remember shrinking you.”

"What you did to me is no laughing matter, taking away my collection of souls and forcing me to start over… I’ve been waiting for a thousand years to get my revenge on you for that."

Ubica is finding it hard not to laugh, “If it took you a thousand years just to grow into a pint sized version of yourself, don’t you think you’re being a little too ambitious?”

The kid has a giant frown on his face and he bites his lip when out of a light surrounding his hand comes a blade that has a large circle shape at its tip. "I don't wanna hear any kind of shit from you old pal. At least I wasn't sent to rot in a pit for all that time."

Once the kid said that, Ubica's demeanor turns serious and he pulls out his sword as well. "So what is it that you intend to do here?"

The kid points his sword out and has a sick smile when he answers, "Kill all your friends and capture you."

The pressure emitting from the two makes it hard for Tsubiri to stand, she takes a step back and says, "Who is this guy Ubica?"

Before Ubica can answer, her question is quickly answered by the kid.

"The name's Mammon."

Ubica nudges her away and says, "This guy is really dangerous, I want you to run as far away as you can."

"I already told you, I have no clue how to get back!"

"That doesn't matter, wherever you run off to or how lost you get, I’ll always find you."

She blushes at his words and begins to back track subconsciously, she is moving slow and this makes him very impatient.

"Now go!"

With this, Tsubiri takes off running.

Mammon raises his circled sword and says, "Like I'll let that happen."

Within an instant, the entirety of thirty blocks of building, streets and people, is covered by a massive and ugly gray churning circle; the stars up above disappear and all of what's above their heads looks to be the moonless night sky.

"Everyone in this radius is fucked. I recommend that all of you people start to scat! Perhaps you might be able to prolong your lives for a short while!" Mammon shouts.

The onlookers are confused, but perhaps because of his appearance they don't immediately take his threat seriously he spots this and grows angered at their belittling glares, so in order to show them how dire their situation is, he points out his sword into the crowd and says,

"Ebuillo, prove em' to be foolish."

Out of his sword comes a bubble of some sort that is a similar color to the massive circled ball that they are surrounded by, it floats gently towards them and weaves throughout the people until it stops. All of them stare at it like it's harmless, a child even comes up and pokes at it so he can make it pop. But as soon as he touches it the sphere expands and engulfs a group of fifteen or so, some of them completely enveloped and some of them have only half of their bodies in.

"Get out of there!" Ubica shouts.

But it is too late.

In the blink of an eye the bubble retracts and implodes, when it does it makes a soft little 'pop' but the innocent sound does not depict the carnage seen by the aftermath.

The perfectly decapitated bodies are left standing as they were when they were once whole, the imploding bubble literally took what it surrounded inwards along with it. Some of the fifteen people were all gone except for the bloody stubs of their feet and some were missing the area that should be above their waists. They all fall to the ground simultaneously and the sounds they made were more of a squishing noise than a thud. The people all scream in horror upon seeing this, and panic ensues when they all run away as fast as possible. Increasing their anxiety and fright is the sound of Mammon laughing and hurling more of those death bubbles into the crowds of people scurrying away from danger.


A couple people fell and were quickly trampled close to death by the others, not one person stopped to help.

"Look at how selfish all of you are!! The true nature of humanity always shines brightest when confronted by an existential threat!!!"

He keeps laughing hysterically as he hurls even bigger bubbles into buildings, whether human or not, once the bubble implodes it takes perfectly circled chunks out of whatever it touches.

Seeing how bad things have gotten, Ubica rushes him with his red diamond katana ready to strike; he swings his sword in an upwards motion but Mammon blocks it.

There was so much force in Ubica's swing that it knocked Mammon twenty feet upwards into the air, he did a little flip and then landed on one of his spheres.

He chuckles and looks down on Ubica as he floats gently in the air. "Awwh, it looks like your little girlfriend didn't make it very far."

Ubica turns pale when he said that because the first thought that went through his mind was that she was hit by one of his attacks when she was running away.

He turns quickly and shouts, "Tsubiri!!"

But to his relief he finds her very near to him on the ground holding her knee.

"Are you okay!?" he asks.

Tsubiri looks up at him with a sour face and a tear in her eye as she says softly, "I-I tripped."

"Well that’s a relief" He scratches his head in frustration and says. "And here I thought you were a good runner."

"It's not my fault that there was a pothole in the road you jerk!!"

"An important part of running is watching where you’re going!"

The two hurl playful insults at each other as if the last couple of minutes never happened, more than a few veins start to show all around Mammon's face when he feels like he is being completely ignored.

“You two can shut the fuck up now!

The two stop their bickering and look at his little red angered face; their initial reaction upon seeing what looks to be a kid throwing a temper tantrum, is to laugh, and it's obvious to him that they're forcing themselves not to do it, which makes him even more mad.

Mammon hurls a large bubble out of his sword towards them but Ubica quickly regains his composure and hits it with his sword, sending it flying off in another direction.

"All jokes aside, just who is this kid exactly?" Tsubiri asks again.

Mammon grits his teeth and shouts, "You should remember the name of someone who is killing off people like flies, you stupid bitch! I am the Demon of Greed Mammon!”

“How did you find us?" Ubica asks.

To which and demon replies, “I dwell in the avarice of others, and your little rag tag group is chalk full of it."

Mammon is one of the Seven Demons of Hell, his role in the Hierarchy is to represent, and tempt people into 'Greed', also known as 'Avarice', or 'Covetousness'. He is very similar to Beelzebub, who represents 'Gluttony', both of them are a sin of excess, and the two are also similar in that their existence isn’t completely tied to their actions.

Greed is applied to a very excessive or rapacious desire and pursuit of wealth, status, and power. Avarice is more of a blanket term that can describe many other examples of greedy behavior. These include disloyalty, deliberate betrayal for personal gain. The list is large, included are also the scavenging and hoarding of materials or objects, violent theft and robbery, trickery, or manipulation of authority are all actions that may be inspired by greed.

Because he dwells in these types of emotions that reside naturally within humans, he is able to take on their form and know exactly what their thoughts and desires are. Mammon used some of these tactics when he took the form of Strauphius in order to tempt Tsubiri into his arms to take her hostage.

"That shouldn't be enough to pick out our location within a vast amount of people with the same sins."

Mammon smiles and shrugs his shoulders. "That would normally be true, but the souls of your humans have recently gone through a transformation right?"

Ubica's breathing sharpens as he continues.

"Not many people in Purgatory are 'aware', so when six people who have such souls are all in one group I figured it had to be you." He floats down atop his bubble and finishes, "What's good about your little group is that they are all greedy, so much so that this, along with their growth made it beyond easy to spot."

"So what you're saying is that you were able to find us because of their new abilities?"

Mammon chuckles and replies, "No, what I'm trying to say is that I was able to find you specifically because of The False Prophet."

Ubica jumps back in surprise, his throat becomes dry and asks, "W-What do you mean?"

"We all know that she is with you, and I know that the powers that come along with being 'aware' are not easy to obtain overnight. By that I could tell that someone definitely helped them, which really helped me out a great bit because I've been stuck in this shitty world searching for you for weeks."

A heavy feeling surfaces in Ubica's body, he clenches the handle of his sword extremely hard and thinks, (She couldn’t have known this would happen… would she?)

Ubica’s focus trails off into confusion and suspicion, and in the brief moment of distraction the demon makes his move. Mammon sinks into his bubble and the bubble implodes, in a split second the bubble reappears right behind Ubica. It grows from the size of a baseball to a sphere about ten feet in diameter, and out of it comes Mammon with a huge smile on his face.

"Ubica look out!!" Tsubiri yells.

But her words don't reach him in time to break him out of his distracted state.

Mammon swings his blade and slices right into Ubica's back, his knees buckle at the shock and he falls to the ground in what feels like slow motion.


While falling in a trance, Ubica thinks to himself, (Messor… this can't be true, can it?)

Once this thoughts trail off into a dark oblivion, he falls face first on the ground and slips away into unconsciousness.

(PART 3)

"Shit, this is insane!" shouts Niomyo as she desperately tries to avoid the numerous floating spheres that can so easily destroy anything in its path.

By now she has run so far away from Ubica and the rest that they are completely out of sight. In fact, she was most likely the first to run away; judging the way that Mammon made his appearance she knew he had to be someone dangerous, so in order not to be a victim of any kind of collateral damage, she hastily fled.

Not wanting to miss the action however, she decides to try and get up on top of one of the three story housing complexes to give herself a safe view point. The problem is that there are more than a dozen bubbles floating in front of the front door of the building.

"Damn it." she mumbles, but then makes a break for it and runs in between them all until she kicks open the door of a house.

After running through the living room, she proceeds past the kitchen and starts climbing up a twirling staircase that leads up to the second floor, once there she makes a break down the hallway that leads to another staircase when in her peripheral vision she spots a family cowering in fear in a room on the right.

As a natural reaction she stops and goes into said room; she instinctively wants to help, but when the time comes to do so she can't find the next best course of action in her head, and instead stares at them in a confused silence. She can't even tell them to run away, because it most certainly isn't safe outside, and she can't tell them to hide somewhere else because the chances are, the event of a bubble hitting either of those places are the same.

All she does is stare at the pitiful scene in front of her, a husband, wife, daughter, and son, all huddled up together in fear.

A typical family that just moments ago were likely getting ready for bed.

(That is...) she thinks to herself, (If it were not for him.)

She grits her teeth and readies to leave them when from right behind her comes the ugly gray of a very large sphere ominously floating towards her. The bubble hasn't imploded yet but it has already engulfed at least one third of the second story of this him, and like a bubble caught in a breeze it comes upon her quickly. A cold sweat runs down her temple and she flops onto the ground and tries to stay as flat as possible while the bubble floats just inches above her face. Fear rips through her body as the warm sensation it emanates is felt radiating on her skin.

It narrowly passes her by and enters the room where the huddled family is; the bubble is so big that it takes up the mass of 3/4 of the area. The family bundled together in one of the three quarters of the room that's surrounded have no chance of escaping, and they begin to scream in panic upon realizing that they’re trapped.

Niomyo's face goes numb when she shouts the only thing that comes to mind.

"STOP IT!!!"

But the bubble keeps moving until it is completely encircled over half of all their bodies, as if having a mind of its own, the bubble stops, and then comes the innocent sound of the 'pop'.

Just like before, only the upper halves of the family's bodies are seen, cut perfectly in the shape in which it surrounded them.

Niomyo's eyes are wide open and glued to this horrific scene, the walls behind the family, and the entire room for that matter are completely gone; the sphere took it all along with the lives of the helpless family.

She sits there speechless rubbing her head upon seeing such a traumatic sight, her mind starts racing on the topic occupying it a few moments ago.

(All of it, this tragedy is all his fault... If he wasn't here, none of this would have happened!)

Her instinct compels her to stand back to her feet, and understanding that sitting here isn't safe, she runs up the second staircase. The third floor is an attic, lots of different trinkets and old furniture, plus some random old family photos are laying around. This adds to the horrid pain she feels after watching them all die so miserably. All of the memories that are held in the photos and items here have lost their meaning, no one in this family is left alive to cherish them; making her way through their belongings in this attic adds even more bitterness to the already chalky taste of this trauma.

She climbs up a ladder and opens the hatch door to the roof, she makes it to the top and quickly rushes to the edge to see the battle, but what first catches her eye is the utter destruction of the encircled town. Screams can be heard, fires can be seen, and houses that have taken on the shape of Swiss cheese stand helpless as the sight of hundreds of those bubbles float into and through them like a ghost would float through walls.

"Oh no... all those people."

Chances are, each popped bubbled resulted in someone’s death, it has become obvious to her that they don’t pop unless they make contact with a living person, and by how many more spheres there are left, it is expected that there will be many more deaths to come. Niomyo sits there zoning out until she hears the voice of Tsubiri pierce through the rest of the screams below her.


She looks down and there she sees Ubica, face first on the ground and covered in blood.

"What?" Messor asks herself when she sees the giant sphere that looks like a barrier of some sort.

She reaches out her hand and touches the outside of the barrier, but it's as though he had just made contact with the smooth impenetrable surface of a giant diamond, there's no way she can get in.

"Is this... Mammon?" She grits her teeth and clicks her tongue. "Shit, I shouldn’t have let Ubica chase after that girl, now he’s in danger and I can't do anything about it!"

She slams her fist into the barrier.

Angered and alone, all she can do is stand there and hope that Ubica will somehow make it out safe.

"Hahahaha what the fuck was that?" Mammon shouts, letting out a laugh from deep within his chest, "I guess the rumors were true, he really is a hundred times weaker now!"

Tsubiri huddles over him; ignoring the presence of the demon next to her, she rips a big piece of her clothing off, revealing her navel all the way up to the beginning of her chest and starts to put pressure on his wound. She becomes blue when the bleeding doesn't stop, she shouts his name a couple more times before checking to see if he’s still breathing.

To her relief he’s still alive, but she doesn’t know what to do now or how she can possibly help him.

Mammon chuckles and walks to the front of them so he is facing them both and when he says, "Come on little lady, that isn't going to work... so back off of him for a second so I can end this mess."

Tsubiri frowns and looks at him with eyes full of fury. "I won't let you kill him."

"I'm not going to kill him, as much as I really want to, I can't. So I'm just going to turn him into a vegetable so he can't be such a pain in the ass anymore."

She grits her teeth and points her hands at the demon. "I won't even let you touch him!!"

Mammon spreads his arms out and smiles, "Quite a big threat coming from you, just what do you think you’d be able to do to me?"

Out of Tsubiri's hands come blue lightning bolts that swirl and fly towards Mammon at an incredible speed, so much so that he literally has no time to react to it. The lightning bolt hits him in the chest and his whole body is put in a heart stopping shock as he is jolted off of his feet and propelled all the way into the nearest building to him.

He was flung with so much force that once he hit the stone house it caused his body to crash through the walls and sent rubble out onto the street in a loud thud.

Tsubiri breathes hard after she used her new ability in action for the first time, using this attack really drained her strength and it leaves her wondering how she'll be able to keep this kind of activity up in the near future without completely exhausting herself.

Her attention quickly goes from Mammon to the downed Ubica, she turns him onto his side and slaps his face a little to wake him up. When once again her efforts go fruitless, that hopeless feeling of not being able to do anything for him hits her; but that's when she realizes something.

(Maybe I can jolt him awake?)

She puts her hand on his chest and says, "I hope this works... please let this work."

With what remaining strength she has, little blue lightning bolts come from her fingertips and courses into his body. He jolts his body upward and takes a deep breath, then he falls back down.

"D-Did it work?" she asks.

And when she does, she sees Ubica open his eyes slowly.

She smiles and then excitedly slaps his face again. "Are you okay! Are you okay!"

His eyes are now completely open and he tries to answer her when his face is slapped again, "I'm oka---gggbbhh!?"


"Hey I said I'm fin----bbbggaahh!?"


She is so happy that she is subconsciously hitting him repeatedly, and rather hard at that.

Ubica's face is starting to get red and in order to not get slapped anymore he grabs both of her hands and shouts, "Alright already!"

She smiles and starts to tear up. "Y-You really are okay..."

Ubica's frown turns soft when he sees her like this, “As much as getting electrocuted awake was a little jarring, I don’t know how long I would’ve been out for if not for that. Thanks, Tsubiri.”

He stands to his feet, still feeling the fuzzy sensation in his chest from the electricity, the pain from the cut in his back begins to subside as his body starts to heal. Despite the severity of his injury and his body’s subsequent shock that knocked him unconscious upon receiving such a wound, he seems to be completely energized and relatively unaffected by it.

Taking Tsubiri’s hand and lifting her to her feet, he glances at her ripped shirt and says, "Nice belly button."

Her relieved smile quickly fades and is replaced by a wince.


She looks down to her belly button and starts to laugh, “Is that really the first thing you notice after waking up?”

“Well, I’ve never seen it before so it’s noticeable to me.”

Tsubiri wipes the tears from her eyes and says, “You can see it as much as you want after we’re done here if you’d like.”

Ubica smiles, slings his fallen sword back into his hand and looks towards dusty rubble where Mammon is buried before saying, “I just may take you up on that offer.”

"Oh wow, I think that attack of yours stopped my heart for a moment there girly." said Mammon, who is slowly making his way out of the rubble he was pressed into.

“You should really try and get away this time Tsubiri.” Ubica said with his bloody back facing her.

"No." she calmly replies, putting her hand on his shoulder, she walks to his side and says, "I'm going to help you."

Ubica takes a deep breath and blows an air of resignation out of his nose. "I was worried you'd say that..."

"Well now I know what I'm capable of, there's no way I'm leaving you behind now. What kind of soldier would that make me?"

"Hmph, alright comrade, let's win this fight then."


"Aww how touching, you are way too soft Ubica, I definitely like the old you better." Mammon said as he cracked his neck.

Ubica lifts his sword and points it at him. "You aren't the first person to tell me that."

He runs at him at full speed and jumps up when Mammon gets back on a bubble and floats into the air. Once he gets close, Mammon smiles and again sinks into his sphere and it disappears; Ubica, still in the air, is left having no choice but to land on top of one of the buildings and wait for his return.

Literally out of nowhere Mammon's voice can be heard loud and clear saying, "Hahaha, you're looking a little nervous there old pal."

Ubica clicks his tongue and looks around the area vigorously.

Mammon's voice once again rings. "You know what all of my bubbles actually are right?"

"Why would I know? You weren’t able to do this the last time I saw you." Ubica responds bitterly.

"Don't be so tense, if you hadn’t forced me to start over I wouldn’t even have this ability y'know? So I should thank you for my Antimatter."


"That's right, it isn't just a scientific anomaly ungraspable in a physical sense."

Ubica frowns in impatience and says, "Get to the point."

"How could something so powerful that it literally shapes the physical world, remain untouchable and unseen?"

Ubica twitches his eyebrow as his eyes switch from all of the numerous spheres around him to get any kind of hint as to where Mammon is hiding.

"Wouldn't that kind of thing be under God's realm of work?" Ubica asks.

"Exactly! Have you ever heard that Heaven was once infiltrated by Greed? Well when that happened, I was small enough to go unnoticed, and not noticeable enough to steal a little something to take back with me."

From behind Ubica comes a sphere the size of a small ball, he turns around and quickly postures his guard while it grows from its small form all the way to its regular size. Out of the bubble steps the little Mammon wearing a big smile on his face.

Dv03-chp09 img002.jpg

Sitting comfortably on top of the ball, he hits it with the hilt of his sword and says, “Antimatter is the extension of the concept of the antiparticle to Matter. You see, everything in the observable universe is made up of regular Matter, so there are other separate places made entirely of Antimatter. Places created by God and unseen to everyone else, I’ve taken one for my own and have cultivated it for a thousand years."

The sphere he's sitting on becomes transparent and what can be seen are a dozen people, all scrunched in close to each other with scared looks on their faces. Their screams can't be heard but it is obvious that they have their voices in a fever pitch in panic.

Tapping his circled sword against his forearm, he jumps off the sphere and shoots Ubica a menacing glare.

"Isn't that the ultimate form of greed? For God to have control of an unseen universe like that, isn’t one more than enough? But he has many, he’s a greedy piece of shit that laughs at the inhabitants of his world, and now I’m just like him, I decide who lives and dies in my very own universe!"

The bubble behind him begins to slowly shrink and the people become more and more pressed together; within a few seconds their bones start to break and they are being pressed together as though they were trash in a garbage disposal.

"But I prefer my universe to be full of souls that won't complain, they won't protest to better their pathetic lives, they won't succumb to their natural greed. Is a world full of the dead not the perfect world? You were born of the same sins as I, you should know the answer to that!"

"Don't do it!" Ubica shouts.

But the bubble keeps getting smaller and smaller, and with Mammon's grotesque laugh they are compressed into the size of a golf ball.

"Are you proud of yourself for proving your point like that?" Ubica says through gritted teeth and a scowl.

"Oh come on Antichrist, don't go acting holier than thou, it's enough to make me sick. It's not something you wouldn't have enjoyed in the past. And besides, it's not like these people are worth a damn anyway, in the end the majority of them have rotten souls that end up in Hell."

"It’s still not your right to decide what to do with their lives."

Mammon laughs loudly as he puts his foot on the small sphere, slowly applying pressure on it he says, "This saintly attitude of yours is the worst! The person you are now is just as useless as these pathetic humans being crushed under my foot."

He violently stomps on the sphere and it explodes with blood that sprays so far that it comes flowing like a waterfall off of all four corners of the building they are standing on.

"It never ceases to amaze me just how much blood is packed into a human body!"

As soon as he says that, Ubica rushes him and sends a vicious kick square in his face, Mammon is sent flying until he crashes into a building. As relentless as the kick, Ubica keeps his attack pressing forward at such blinding speed that he is right on top of top of the demon immediately after impact; he swings his sword down at Mammon's chest but it is quickly wrapped up by the circled sword.

Mammon swings it away and shoots out a little bubble that hits Ubica's stomach and explodes, creating a lengthy gap between the two. Ubica flies into the air, leaving a smoke trail in his wake.

"Tch!" Ubica hisses in pain as he holds his gut.

While the pain distracts Ubica, Mammon appears out of a sphere behind his back just like before; but this time he doesn't go for a slash, instead he hurls another bubble that hits Ubica on the wound from earlier and explodes again.

"Hahaha you're like a damn ping-pong ball!!"

Ubica is sent hurling to the ground and he lands extremely hard. Once on the ground, he coughs up a little blood and squints his eyes, the reverberation of the impact stabbing at his body like a million needles.

Seeing him struggle to get up, Mammon decides that this is the time to secure his victory by using an exceptionally powerful attack. He lifts his sword and a building sized sphere forms atop of it.

"You are a thousand years too weak to even dream of defeating me now, Ubica! Allow my sword Ebuillo to end your miserable existence once and for all!"

Mammon readies to swing down when he is suddenly electrocuted, lightning bolts speed through his body, stealing all forms of control in his own movements.

Like he is some kind of magnet being pulled, he is flung to the ground and lands far worse than Ubica did, so hard in fact that he created a three foot deep crater in the stone street.

Once the electrocution stops, he finds himself feeling very nauseous and his body is still tingling all over. Shifting his eyes to his left he sees Tsubiri standing there with the palms of her hands pointing at him, she is breathing hard and the blue lightning fades away.

"Y-You..." Mammon's normal cheerful face turns sour and he has eyes full of blood lust. "You fucking bitch... that's twice.." He stands to his feet and gingerly holds his shaky posture, "I swear to all that I am... I'm gonna fucking kill you."

Tsubiri's knees are trembling, she used all of her strength in that last attack and now she is a sitting duck. She looks over to Ubica, who is bloodied and desperately trying to stand, his expression of dread he has as he looks at her makes her even more nervous. This situation she's found herself in is dire, she knows that all chances of victory have been destroyed, but she won't give up without a fight.

She shows him a strained smile that tells him that she's ready to do the unthinkable. "As long as you're okay... this is okay, right?"

She takes a deep breath and turns to the angered Mammon, putting out her hands once again, a thunderstorm worth of blue lightning surrounds her.

"None of your electricity is going to touch me again."

Mammon spreads his arms and an ugly gray light churns around his body until it forms a perfect sphere, he takes a step and the ground he walks on breaks off and orbits around him like little satellites caught in orbit.

Tsubiri sees this and becomes more frightened, this along with the wear on her body from the attack is making her vision blur and she is starting to lose consciousness.

(Damn it... not now,) she yells in her mind, her heart's desire filling her with a determined fervor. (I have to win!)

She wants to look in Ubica's direction but she is distracted by the sound of all of the structures that surround the area breaking and orbiting around Mammon. With all her might, she uses what little energy she has left and sends a massive lightning bolt hurling towards her enemy, but to her dismay, it collides with his sphere and joins all of the rest of the debris that orbits him. The gravity of this sphere along with the new energy source of electricity causes the orbit to heat to such a level it begins melting the rock on the ground around it, buildings close enough to be caught in the orbit’s sphere of influence combust into flame as well.

Mammon's face stays stern when he explains, "This is an ultimate defense. Greed is like the sun, it tempts people into its warmth but turns them to ashes if they get too close. And from what I can see, you and I are getting awfully close to each other."

He keeps walking closer to her and the heat is already starting to feel overwhelming on her skin; in a last ditch effort, she sends her biggest bolt yet in hopes it can break through and hit him. Knowing full well that her efforts will be in vain, she looks over to where Ubica is, hoping to see his face one last time.

When she turns to him, she finds something that surprises her, he is gone, the only thing there is the puddle of blood he once was lying in.

(W-Where is he?)

She scopes the rest of the area trying her best to at least get a glance at him before her impending doom when she senses a horrible presence just a couple feet in front of her.

(Damn it... I was hoping I wouldn't have to regret never telling him.)

She turns to face what she thinks is her death when she catches the sight of the one person she wanted to see, Ubica is standing between the two forces of electricity and gravity.

He grabs Tsubiri's electricity with his hand and tosses it like nothing into the sky, Tsubiri falls to her knees and watches in amazement as he walks toward Mammon's sphere as if there were no danger to it.

"Oho!? Just what the fuck is this?" Mammon asks with a frown and a smile, "What do you think you’re gonna do? Give me a break, like I said, you are way too weak now."

Ubica has his head leaned downwards and his silver hair is cascading over half of his face; just by looking at the line of his bloodied mouth one can tell how serious he is.

The two are walking toward each other, and when he sees that Ubica is not going to stop, Mammon's mouth turns wide with a devious grin. He knows that even Ubica will die if he gets any closer.

"Keep coming towards me then! There's no way you ca---"

Mammon is interrupted by Ubica's hand gripping the entirety of his little kid-like face.

(Impossible!!!) he immediately thinks to himself.

Not only did Ubica break through such an impenetrable barrier, but he is completely unscathed. Just by looking, one can see that if someone were to somehow get through, there is no doubt that he'd be torn and shredded by all the debris or melted by the intense heat the sphere is creating.

Ubica lifts his head and shows a face that shakes Mammon to his core, the sclera of his eyes are as black as the darkest of skies, and two black lines start to fall from them and slowly reach all the way down to the edge of his jaw.

Ubica frowns and says, "I’ve heard enough out of you."

A green light glows around his arms and like a cannon being fired it shoots out his hand and screams into Mammon's face. The beam shoots into the sphere, instantly destroying it and exits out into the surrounding buildings, it blasts through those buildings, and never stops until it reaches the edge of the massive sphere they are entrapped in.

Once the beam vanishes and the smoke dissolves, Ubica mercilessly drops Mammon to the floor.

From behind him, the cracked voice of Tsubiri is heard saying, "U-Ubica..."

He doesn't turn around nor say a word, instead he steps on Mammon's charred head and presses his weight down rather hard.

“Now you are as useless as the humans you killed. It’s your turn to be crushed under my foot.”

But before he can deliver the final blow, a sharp and excruciating pain rips through his neck and rises into his head.


He screams while gripping at his skull as if trying to relieve the horrible pressure. He steps away from the downed demon and writhes in pain, this feeling is brought to him by the little tattoo of the fly from Beelzebub. The poison from it is affecting the evil that Ubica has allowed himself to be swallowed by, and with each pulsation on his neck, his entire body is sent into a wretched agony.

Waking from his temporary coma, Mammon opens his eyes to the sight and the sound of Ubica in a terrible state. "You weren’t even supposed to be able to use Dantega again..." He stands up and cracks his neck, he opens one eye and smiles, "Damn that Beelzebub, his poison took a while to set in, I almost got my head taken off there."

With widened eyes full of rage, Ubica glares at Mammon, he can’t even talk or move in the state he’s in.

"Hahaha, awwh how sad, such a shame that you can’t even go back to your true self without going through this torture."

Ubica’s eyes are filled with so much hate that it even surprises Mammon, but he gets a pleasure in this and taunts him even more.

"With you like this, there’s no fun in attacking you personally, nothing I can do to you would make you feel more physical pain than you already do right now.”

He menacingly turns to Tsubiri and walks toward her.

“But your friend here, killing her in front of you should be enough to crush the soul of that little bit of humanity you’re clinging to.”

Tsubiri can't move, she's pretty much completely paralyzed, every last drop of energy has exited her body, so much so that any normal person would have passed out by now. But despite the approaching danger, she is more worried about the state Ubica is in, she has never seen him in so much pain and she most certainly has never seen his eyes look like that.

"Are you okay Ubica?" Tsubiri shakily asks.

"If I were you, I wouldn't pay him any mind, you're in deep shit girly."

Mammon takes another step in her direction when Ubica's voice rings through his ears, "You will not take another step."

"Oho? You aren't in any shape to make demands. This girl is going to die, and you are going to watch!"

Mammon swings his sword at her, she flinches and shuts her eyes, only to find that after a second or so, nothing happened.

She opens them and sees the sword he calls Ebuillo being held firmly within Ubica’s grasp.

"I told you not to move."

Ubica knees Mammon in the gut and sends him into the sky.


Flying through the air, to Mammon it is painfully apparent who is the stronger one here, even in a state of excruciating agony caused by Beelzebub’s poison, Ubica is far superior than he is. He can’t believe that it’s possible, the poison was supposed to completely incapacitate Ubica if he ever were to use his true powers.

Shocked, confused, and now desperate, he looks down on Ubica casually holding his round tipped sword.

Without so much as a second thought, Ubica snaps it against his knee, breaking it right in half.

The devastation in Mammon's face can be seen as plain as day, he clenches his fist so hard that his fingernails dig into his palms. "I'll kill you for that."

He raises his hands and every bubble he released earlier, all gather and form into one giant black sphere below his feet. He lands on it and floats a hundred yards above Ubica and Tsubiri, peering down on them in rage.

"Mixing Matter and Antimatter will cause the two to annihilate each other..." he says.

With his free hand, he points at a street that holds a cluster of houses and other shops, they all crumble and collide together, and begin to take the shape of a huge ball. And that massive ball makes its way to him and picks up more and more mass as it gets closer to him.

For an odd reason, Ubica is letting this slow process of Mammon's attack go by without any hindrance, if he wanted to, he could easily attack, but he isn't attempting to stop the demon.

Instead, he turns to Tsubiri and looks at her with the green glow of his pupils flowing through his black eyes and asks, "Seeing me like this… does it scare you?"

She doesn’t know why, but his presence in this state is causing her to have a terrible migraine, and just like it was for Trojia during the battle with Nero, her consciousness begins slipping away.

Struggling to keep her eyes open, she replies, "Of course I’m not afraid..."

"Why not?"

She smiles at him and softly says, "Because it’s you..."

She grabs his sleeve and shuts her eyes, she leans her head on his shoulder and with a voice gradually weakening with each word she says,

"I told you didn’t I?... What you think you are… is good enough for me."

She passes out and slides down his arm, before she hits the floor Ubica catches her and gently lays her backside on the ground.

The tips of his lips faintly rise before he turns away from her and looks up to the demon floating in the sky above him. He shows his adversary a wide confident smile, one that shows Mammon that there is no way he’s going to lose.

"Come then, let’s see the results of a thousand years of hate."

"Hahaha finally! This is the Ubica I'm familiar with, I’m going to wipe that smile off your face!!"

The two massive spheres mix with each other and an incredible light show can be seen as it brightens everything around into an almost blinding white light.

"When these two form into one, high energy photons rise to an unsustainable level, and when that happens it creates a little thing called a Gamma Ray!!! Even for you, this is unstoppable!!"

A huge yellow light zings toward Ubica and Tsubiri, it is obvious how strong this beam is, it is obliterating everything it passes and the heat from this light turns even stone to flames.

He looks back to Tsubiri and says to himself, "Even for me huh? This me is different... this me has people to protect."

He raises his arms toward the beam and takes a huge breath, using all of his strength, he sends a green and black light to clash with the Gamma Ray. The two collide and the light show increases, now the upper hand goes to no one and the two powers are stuck in the middle of the two men, pushing at each other violently.

Ubica frowns and shouts words that boost his attack's intensity, "Because of those people... I will never lose again!!"

With that, the green and black swirling light rampages through the Gamma Ray at an immense speed.

Knowing that his time is drawing near, desperation starts to show in Mammon's face. "No!! This isn’t going to end the same way!!!"

He screams at the top of his lungs trying to find some more strength but it is too late, Ubica's light hits him and he instantly starts to disintegrate.

With his body literally melting in the light, he shouts,

"This little life you've come to enjoy isn't going to last old pal! Your friends are all going to die!! If we don’t kill them, you will!"

Mammon dissolves like sugar in water and Ubica's beam hits the overhanging sphere and shatters it like glass until it fades away.

The battle ends as abruptly as it started, but just because the fight is over, doesn't mean that the pain that Ubica feels is gone. He is desperately trying to bring himself back to his normal state but it isn't working, every time he tries the pain gets worse, and it gets to the point where he starts to panic.

Fearing that he'll be stuck like this forever, and fearing that he will lose the will to fight it, he drops to his knees and stares at Tsubiri.

His vision becomes blurred as he crawls to her, he gently touches her shoulder and smiles, and upon making contact with her his black eyes start to go back to its regular color and the black lines fade from his cheeks.

He lays down, slowly slipping into a deep sleep and says, "No Mammon, that’s not going to happen… because the who is person good enough for her… will not ever lose."

Ubica passes out and the two lie next to one another in peace, as if it were meant to be that way this entire time.

Someone doesn't find their sleeping faces peaceful at all, looking around at the utter destruction and death, this nightmarish landscape could only be caused by pure evil.

The person thinking this walks out of a dark alleyway and stands over the two, she is wearing a face full of hate and disgust.

"All of this tragedy…” Niomyo says, clenching the handle of her sword. “It all could have been avoided if you weren't here."

The royal guard pulls out her standard issued Trojian sword and points it at Ubica's neck.

"Everything bad that has been happening is all because of you… we were brought here because of you, we’re being hunted by these monsters because of you, that family was killed… and so many others keep dying because of you."

She then lifts her sword, her brown eyes gleaming in intensity under the night sky as she peers down on him.

"For the families of the future you will destroy, for the sake of my friends at home, and especially for the sake of Princess Trojia’s life, I will kill you myself!"

"What are you doing?"

This girl's voice interrupts Niomyo's action, she looks at the source and sees Messor standing there underneath the last flickering street light.

Without any hesitation in her voice she replies, "I'm going to kill him."

"Oh? Why would you do that?"

"Because without him, the world can finally be at peace. There won’t have to be any more nights like tonight."

Messor's eyes glow and she smiles when she says, "He doesn't look too dangerous to me, sleeping so helplessly like that."

Niomyo frowns and shouts, "Well you haven't seen what I've seen!! If you knew what he is, you’d understand why he has to die!!!"

"So you think you know who he is, huh?"

"I do, he is the---"


“Then you have to be able to see why this must be done!"

Messor takes slow soft steps towards Niomyo, she almost seems to be floating towards her when she says, "The Antichrist isn't all that he is, he’s more than just that.”

“What are you talking about?”

“I’m talking about the person he shares his power with. The person who was by his side since the beginning, the person who is as much a part of him as the very power that makes him so strong. Do you not know who that is?”

Niomyo is confused as to why she’s bringing this up and remains silent.

"This person helped him turn the world to ashes, battled alongside him against Heaven, and she willingly allowed herself to be devoured by eternal flame to avoid being separated from him."

"What does that have to do with this now?”

Messor takes a step closer to her, "Did you honestly think that the False Prophet wouldn’t be here to protect him when his life is in danger?"


Messor takes a sharp breath and exhales as if sighing, she spreads her arms and starts to chuckle, "I've had a hard time keeping myself from killing those of you who have corrupted his heart… they have made him kind and weak, and in turn you have all made me weak as well, so I haven’t acted upon my better judgement just yet.”

By now, Niomyo is starting to see this person as a new threat in front of her, and her face is beginning to turn blue. The girl steadily getting closer to her has a presence so strong it far surpasses Mammon, and she doesn’t know what to do about it.

“But no matter how much weaker I am due to all of your affections for him, I haven’t grown near as kind."

Trying to remain resolute in her convictions, she scowls and shoots her a look like she isn't phased one bit when she demands, "Stay back!"

Messor stops in her tracks and glares at Niomyo pressing her blade onto Ubica’s neck.

“This is far enough anyways.” Messor holds her hand out towards Niomyo and says, "As the False Prophet, I'm condemning you to death."

Niomyo's heart skips a beat and almost cripples her already frayed senses, as she stumbles back and away from Ubica, she feels a violent thrusting from within her chest as her heart beats faster and faster. Holding her chest and gasping for air, she now realizes who the person in front of her is, and the fear upon understanding what she’s up against hits her.

"It can’t be… he never told us about you!"

"And that’s a weak part of him, to keep my identity hidden in fear of losing the acceptance of all of you, even I struggle not to find it pathetic."

In a frightened state, Niomyo shifts the blade of her sword from Ubica to Messor.

With that action, the False Prophet can feel an immense pressure weighing down on her shoulders when the royal guard starts to charge her. Literally, the air is so heavy that it could break someone's neck if their head was leaning to the side.

This is Niomyo's new ability.

"If you’re as weak as you say, I'll use the power you gave me to crush the both of you!" Niomyo says as she moves closer.

Her ability focuses on the gravitational force surrounding an item or person, she can make it so the air around them can grow heavy and weigh an incredible amount or she can make it so light that it would be an impossibility to breathe. In a way she’s not too dissimilar to Mammon, but as a human her grasp on such a formidable power is extremely limited.

Understanding this, Messor smiles.

Even though the weight of the gravity around her shouldn't allow her to even lift the corners of her lips, she defies its laws and then raises her hand. She presses her fingers together and flicks, a simple 'snap' sound leaves her finger tips and in that instant the pressure is gone, and along with it, all of Niomyo's strength.

Niomyo falls to the ground and reveals an expression of shock; with eyes full of terror she watches a passing gust of wind blow through the silky white hair of the girl in front of her.

"You are no different from them, the humans of the past. I'd perform a simple miracle for them and they would soon grovel upon my feet. When they got used to my miracles, they became greedy and spoiled. Not long after they would complain that it wasn't enough and that they'd demand more and more until eventually they'd come to despise us, just like you... venture to guess what I'd do to the ungrateful ones?"

Messor snaps her finger once more, and with that simple action, Niomyo's heart jolts in a body cringing pain. She drops her sword and writhes on the ground, clasping at her chest as she shrieks through her dry throat.

Messor walks a few steps closer, her eyes glowing in a more intense white gold than ever before.

"I took everything away from them."

Now lying in a fetal position, Niomyo is looking at Ubica through the tunnel vision of her bloodshot eyes, with each agonizing second she’s becoming more afraid. Death is coming and it's coming fast, she is fading away and all her hopes of protecting Trojia are slipping down into oblivion along with her.

Her voice is shot and raspy when she mutters, "P-Princess."

She reaches out her hand toward Ubica in desperation, even in this dreadful state her instincts are calling for her to attack him, but final attempt at reaching him comes to a screeching halt with the vicious stomp of Messor's boot.

"Not even a finger..."

Messor said as she twisted her heel and crushed a few bones in Niomyo's hand.

She presses even harder, the disturbing cracking noise under her foot mixing with the malevolent tone in her voice, "Not you... and most certainly not your little Princess."

Niomyo tries to scream but her voice is gone, and this time her voice will never return.

With the visions of memories with Trojia and the rest of the royal family racing through the last working portion of her brain, her heart explodes and blood comes spraying out of the mouth that was trying so desperately to speak.

She turns limp and lies there on the ground lifelessly.

Messor mercilessly kicks her hand away and walks to Ubica.

She leans down and strokes his fringe with a gentle smile. "I'm so sorry I wasn't here sooner..."

She stands back up and the gentle smile turns frigid when she looks down at Tsubiri. Glancing at the dead Niomyo and then back, her eyes glow once more when through her gritted teeth she says,

"As much as I hate you for what you’ve done to him, I’m still far too kind to kill you now. But not for long... not for long."

Trust: (END)

Chapter 29: The Ransom

(PART 1)

"How did you… why are you here?" Rage asks in confusion.

Phoenix huffs air out of his nose and shrugs his shoulders. "It's a long story, but I’ll make it short.” His gaze lands on the hand being held out to him by Pontius when he says, “I was sent to Earth to die once again."

Retracting his hand back to his side, Pontius statuesquely asks, "Then how did you end up here?"

Phoenix smiles, "That's an even longer story, and I don't care to explain."

"Very well then, I won't press on any further. Despite who you are, I will be forced to kill you again if you intend to pass the Gate,."

"Oh my how cold of you to say 'again', I bet you enjoy this job a lot more than your last one." Phoenix points his bible at him and finishes, "I'm happy that you're here though… this has given me a chance to fulfill a desire I had never thought possible."

"So be it."

Pontius jumps up atop a big rock and lifts his arms, out of the ground comes dozens of pale zombie like Roman soldiers all clad in their red tunics and golden hued armor. Pontius then points his index finger at the two and the soldiers all charge at them.

Rage is about to attack but he is halted by Phoenix's hand. "I told you to let me handle this didn't I?"

Rage frowns and asks, "You expect me to just sit here and watch?"

"No, I'm not expecting anything, I'm demanding it."

Rage clicks his tongue and takes a step back, displeasure painted all over his face.

Phoenix chuckles a bit and walks towards the charging soldiers, he shoots them a sharp glare and says, "Vanish."

The soldiers immediately dissolve and their ashes float into the sky.


"You look surprised Pilate... did you still take me for a meek man?”

"Is this something you could have done back then?"

"I could, but of course I wouldn’t have done it in the past. I wasn’t allowed to be violent until Armageddon."

Pontius tilts his head and mumbles something to himself.

Phoenix mockingly says, "Oh that’s right, you must have been here for an awful long time to have missed out on the events back on Earth."

"All I need to care about is protecting the passageway of this Gate... matters of the Earth and what lies above and below it are not of my concern." Pontius methodically replies.

“Who have you been protecting this Gate from? Have you killed everyone who has ever tried to get through?"

"I only let the ones I deem worthy of such an honor pass to the other side."

"Is that so… then who gave you the authority to make such judgements?”

Pontius points his index finger to the sky and smoothly answers, "God."

Phoenix scowls and grits his teeth, he throws his bible and once it hits the ground it bursts into flames.

"How nice of him." the priest says bitterly. "So many of us do his bidding and are gifted with a pleasant ending."

He continues to walk when he takes his priest’s sash off his shoulders and holds it out.

"I would say that you got yourself a nice gift, you’ve been able to more or less remain the same person as you were in life. For killing me, you were rewarded.”

The scarf grows extremely large and turns into a winding cloth of multicolored flames, a very unholy looking weapon to say the least. He swings it toward Pontius, but he dodges, the flame cloth hits the rock he was sitting on and completely obliterates it, the power in this weapon can still be felt burning the air.

Pontius lands atop a cross that holds a crucified corpse on it, looking down with his white eyes he says, "That was certainly no benevolence in that attack."

"Who says I have to fight like an Angel?"

The two glare at each other and leave Rage wondering just what in the world is happening, he still hasn't completely coped with the revelation of the Messiah. And just why is he willingly attempting to kill someone with his own hands?

It would seem that Phoenix senses this so with his back turned to him he says, "Let's just say that I'm doing this because of a long story."

All he can do is imagine why, and what exactly happened throughout the times to make him act so different from the past.

The truth is, the answer can be found by looking back at the story of Phoenix, and also, the story of Ubica.

To understand why Ubica is involved, we'd need to go a thousand years into the past and take a closer look at the happenings of the Apocalypse...

During the reign of Ubica The Antichrist over a thousand years earlier...

"I’ve been waiting for you to do this." said Ubica.

He is sitting on a throne and is wearing a wooden mask with three pointed horns on it over one of his maddening black eyes.

Phoenix is addressing him, his appearance is a little different however, his hair is black and falls to his shoulders, along with a full beard he’s almost unrecognizable.

"Waiting for my declaration of war?”

Ubica smiles and looks to Messor who is standing right beside him and then back, "It was prophesied in that book after all."

With a straight face Phoenix replies, "Then you know of the word of God, it isn’t too late for you to stop what’s to come and repent."

Ubica laughs, "That’s funny, and also dreadfully naive."

He stands to his feet, revealing his outfit of a long black robe that drags across the dark red carpet that stretches like a pathway on the marble floor.

He steps off the mantle of his throne and walks to his counterpart.

Now face to face and looking each other in the eyes, Ubica asks, "Do you really believe everything he says?"

"Of course, his word is absolute."

"The almighty, absolute God, creator of all things… couldn’t he easily end all this himself? Better yet, he could have made it so none of this would've ever happened in the first place."

"He’s given all of his children a choice, a free will to follow our own paths forward. Ending something or keeping something from happening goes against his very reason for creating us."

"It sounds more to me like God is too weak to end this and has been too weak to keep things from happening all along. You see, I am born of God’s weakness after all.”

"You’re insulting someone with more power than any of us can even imagine."

"If that were the case, if he were so powerful, then what are you for?"

Phoenix remains calm and answers, "I exist to exercise his will."

"Oh? So all of his children have a free will but you… how sad."

Phoenix's eyebrow twitches at that.

Ubica presses on and adds, "God should be able to impose his own will, not use you as a puppet for it. You shouldn’t even have to exist.”

Phoenix's eyebrows twitch yet again, it would seem that this has given him a slight spike in emotion. “If you believe that about God and I, then you’re no different than a tool for Satan.”

He starts walking back towards his throne when he replies, "A tool for Satan? How so?"

Phoenix's composure stiffens for a split second.

"Well, he is your creator is he not?"

Ubica halts his walk to his throne and instead walks back towards Phoenix. "And who told you that?"

"God has explained it all to me."

"What if I told you that God was lying when he said such a thing?"

Phoenix stays silent and tries to remain composed.

Ubica sees this and starts to get amused, "You see, I was created by the evil of man, my birth comes from the combined sins of every single person in the history of your father's creation. Like I told you, I was created from God’s weakness. Those sins that you died like a dog for had to go somewhere.”

Phoenix's face begins to contort and lose its firm shape, it is becoming obvious that Ubica's words are starting to affect him negatively.

Ubica feeds off such energy and keeps pressing, "The day you died was the day I was born. What a secret to be kept from you for so many years as I grew into the opposite that will come to destroy you.”

"You expect me to believe your word over his?"

"No, I don’t.” Ubica says, “But I suspect you will be forced to contemplate it.”


"You’re going to lose this fight, Jesus. And when you do, you’re going to change, you’re going to see the truth."

"You’re wrong, we are not going to lose, it’s impossible to lose to such evil. It has been---"

“Prophesied.” Ubica interrupts, “You know the word of God, it’s not too late for you to stop what’s to come and reject him.”

Clicking his tongue in anger, Phoenix replies, “In the upcoming moons, your worshipers will be judged, just like the prophecy has said, they will be punished for following you.” He turns and walks towards the exit. “And in seven days time, the battle will commence in the valley of Harmagiddo where the holy power of the light will finally destroy the evil of the darkness, and rid God's world of it for all time."

Ubica chuckles and sits back down on his throne, resting his head on his hand he says. "So much talk of prophecy, I would like to make one of my own now.”

Phoenix stops in the doorway and listens to Ubica’s declaration.

“In seven days time, I will rest on a feathered bed of every last one of your Angel's severed wings."

Phoenix doesn't reply and keeps his back turned to Ubica and Messor, without so much as a reaction, he leaves the room in silence.

In seven days, the two will find out just whose truth will prevail.

Back at the first Gate of Purgatory, the present Phoenix continues his battle with Pontius Pilate.

With the flame cloth swinging and destroying everything in its path; Pontius is jumping all over the place, displaying a mastery of escape considering that one hit from this cloth would most definitely pulverize him.

"A limber man you've become Pilate, did God give you such a power as well?" Phoenix asks while attacking.

"I have taken part in God's will, whether this power is a punishment or a reward, it is my obligation to accept."

Looking at this job as a Gatekeeper closely, the pros and the cons can be seen clearly.

On one side, he is stuck in such a place, forced to stare at the same scenery for all eternity, and fight in endless battles against people who have attained similar abilities by becoming 'aware'.

On the other, he had always loved his old job as a judge, being a Gatekeeper now means he continues to hold other’s fates in his hands. Without any fear of consequence, all of his actions are attributed to God’s will.

To Phoenix, Pontius’s position here is a grossly undeserved gift.

Phoenix bundles up his cloth so it wraps around his entire arm when he says, "Then you’re in luck, you’ll no longer have an obligation to accept anything after this."

The cloth whips forward at an incredible speed, thinking that he's out of range, Pontius stays calm. But to his surprise the cloth never stops so in a last ditch effort to avoid any crucial damage he pulls out his Roman sword and deflects it.

This action comes at a terrible cost.

During his defense his forearm was badly burnt, so burnt in fact that it reached all the way to the bone. The muscle and the tendons are all crisped away and the burnt flesh is spreading fast, so in order to halt any further damage he takes his sword and cuts his own arm off just below the elbow.

“You deserve to be burned.” Phoenix said, preparing for another vicious flame attack.

Pontius still holds on to his statue-like face despite his grievous injury, he keeps his stone gaze at phoenix and says, "Being here for so long... I had thought that nothing would surprise me anymore. But this, this malevolent power coming from you is shocking. "

"These flames, malevolent? I’ll have you know that they were given to me by the Archangel himself."

“No.” Pontius contends. “It’s not the flames, it’s you.”

Phoenix devilishly smiles and swings his cloth over his head like a lasso and a huge circle of odd colored flames float above him, the circle drops and then stops so it's waist high to his body and twirls much like a hula hoop would. With the flames now swirling around him, cloth wraps back around his arm and he proceeds to give chase to Pontius on foot.

The two play cat and mouse for a while until Phoenix rests his palm on the hoop and throws his hand forward, this results in smaller circles of flame giving chase to Pontius as well.

Narrowly avoiding a hit by one of the discs, Pontius jumps along the top of the crosses, much to his shock he hears a thunderous noise crash from behind him. The disc is following him and is mercilessly ripping through the wood of the crosses and the bones of the bodies that are nailed to them.

Trying to move faster doesn't work and he comes to the conclusion that this is some sort of attack that seeks its target and won't stop until it hits what it was intended to hit.

"These are the same eternal flames from the bottomless pit of fire that the Antichrist was cast in, these flames will never stop burning until the evil of its target is destroyed." explains Phoenix as he maneuvers the throw of three more of these lethal discs.

Rage is standing a safe distance away all by his lonesome with his mind racing trying to make sense of what he is seeing before him. He remembers back to the battle of Armageddon in an attempt to find a clue as to what made Phoenix change so much. But nothing that he personally witnessed at the time can explain it.

Only Phoenix and Ubica know the answer to that, and it all started during the Apocalypse...

A thousand years earlier...

After revealing his trump card of 144,000 Angels atop Mount Zion, and long past the point where they all battled the Army of Demons.

Phoenix finds himself in disarray and despair when he looks at the world in which he stands; millions upon millions of people are dead and mangled across the horizon and as far as the eye can see.

Millions more continue to battle with all of their might in a blinded rage atop the corpses of their comrades. As if adding even more mayhem to the battle, falling out of the reddened sky above them are an abundance of hailstones that weigh hundreds of pounds.

This is the seventh bowl of God's anger.

Before the hail, the entirety of the world was ravaged with thunderous lightning and the biggest earthquake the likes of man has ever seen. This has left the terrain of the planet in absolute devastation.

But this isn't what has gotten Phoenix so shaken, a seemingly infinite amount of white, light brown, and gold feathers float in the wind in an odd discrepancy with the chaos surrounding them.

Phoenix walks amidst the dead bodies of demons, humans, and heavenly beings in a trance, his white robes covered in blood. Looking among the faces of the dead people, his temples begin to beat when he starts to recognize them; he starts breathing sharply and his ears begin to pulsate with pain when the sound of a loud laugh can be heard.

Phoenix's eyes roll off the dead and follow the feathered trail which leads to the base of what seems like a mountain of bloodied wings.

Atop of it sits the laughing man. The man who is enjoying himself to the fullest while holding an injured Angel hostage is Ubica the Antichrist.

Ubica grabs the back of the Angel's wings and puts his foot on her back, he begins to push with his foot and pulls with his hands.

The Angel screams in agony as the tendons and bone connecting the wings to her back are beginning to shred.

Through a cracked voice Phoenix shouts, "Let her go!!"

Ubica halts his attack and turns to him with a smile, "But if I did that, the prophecy wouldn’t be fulfilled."

He pulls on the Angel's wings once more and the tearing sound begins to crack like a rope snapping.

"Stop it!!"

Ubica once again starts to laugh.

Phoenix is standing there helpless, in a last ditch effort he decides to run to her aid but he is stopped by the voice of the Angel pleading,

"...Please don't come near."


"This is what he wants... it's a trap to destroy your faith... you mustn't let anything he says or does affect you."

"To think you know my intentions so well. “ Ubica says and he leans in towards her ear. “But I’ve already succeeded."

He effortlessly rips her wings off and tosses them into the air.

Phoenix's shoulders jolt as her blood sprays under the light of the moon.


As the Angel falls, she smiles at the sound of him shouting her name, and once she lands on the severed wings of her comrades she looks at him and softly says, "Don’t give in, don’t lose your faith."

She shows him one last smile and then...


Ubica slams his foot into her face; the crushing blow causes the mountain of feathers to rustle up and fly all about.

The Angel named Angelene has been ruthlessly killed, her head literally flattened by the weight of Ubica's vicious stomp.

Phoenix drops to his knees and sits there together with the corpses of his dead allies. Every last Angel is someone he considered a friend, throughout time he has grown an unbreakable bond with them, so seeing all of them brutally massacred like this has devastated him.

Ubica chuckles and moves his fingers as if counting, after a few moments he says, "That was Angel number 143,999... the one named Micheal escaped like a spineless coward..."

Phoenix puts his hands over his face in panic, this was absolutely not supposed to happen. Satan's Army is dominating the forces of good and even he, the son of God has been defeated by Ubica.

"Tell me." Ubica says, walking towards Phoenix, “What are you feeling right now? Are you sad? Angry? Or are you feeling betrayed?”

Phoenix looks at him through his fingers and speaks into his hand in denial, "T-This is all a part of his plan."

"Perhaps it is, but it’s such a shame that you always have to suffer in his plans."


"I want to know how you feel. Tell me what this is like for you."

"How I feel… how I feel!? You tell me how you think I feel!"

The sudden outburst of emotion stops Ubica in his tracks, with a straight face he looks into Phoenix’s eyes and listens silently.

“My friends, they’re all dead, my army is being destroyed, my people are succumbing to darkness… Yet here I am facing all of it alone! How do you think I feel!? This wasn’t supposed to happen, you weren’t supposed to be so strong!”

Phoenix begins punching the sides of his fists into the ground, ruffling up the bloodied feathers of his comrades in the process, his voice grows louder to a fever pitch when he shouts, “I feel forsaken!!”

Ubica disappears in a green flash and reappears right in front of Phoenix, he then takes Phoenix's hands and moves them off his face so the two can look each other square in the eyes.

"Remember this feeling."

Phoenix glares at him and can't find the words to reply.

"This feeling is the true word of God, but even now there’s still time for you to reject it."

"...Are you asking me to join you?"

"Not at all. We were born as enemies, and we’ll die as enemies."

"Then what are you trying to do..?"

"I'm going to offer something to you."

"An offer?"

"That’s right."

"I don’t understand..."

Ubica smiles and jumps backwards all the way back to the top of the mountain of severed Angel wings.

He spreads his arms and through the silhouette of the moon he firmly declares,

"I offer you nothing."

Looking up at the darkened silhouette of the Antichrist, he can only stare on in confusion.

"I don't get it..."

“One day you will. Today is not your time to die, you haven’t even lived yet.”

Ubica shows a triumphant smile, until he is interrupted by a piercing pain in his back that exits out of his gut; blood squirts outward but it quickly stops when he puts his hand over his wound.


The attack came from the other side of the mountain of wings, so Phoenix was unable to see what had happened.

Ubica turns around and looks upon the source of the attack before saying, "Well if it isn't the perfidious eyes of Damien and the Seven Demons of Hell.”

He stays silent for a few seconds, and then a green and black glow starts to shine around him, a smile surfaces on his face as he says under his breath,

"An unforeseen detour? Maybe you aren’t so weak after all..."

Back on Purgatory, the scene is hectic as discs of flames chase Pontius and destroy anything in its way.

Rage is ducking for cover and dodging flying debris, while doing this he thinks to himself, (It's a good thing the others aren't here yet.)

But as soon as he thought that, the rest of the group came rushing to him right on que.

The sounds of the battle were an urgent matter to investigate.

"What's going on here!?" shouts Cyrus.

Rage clicks his tongue and gestures him to look for himself.

Niera sees the abilities of Phoenix and says, "I knew that there was something weird about him!"

Rage looks at her wanting an answer.

"That guy who attacked us a couple days ago, Phoenix used his bible and sent him away."

"An exorcism?" Rage asks himself.

"... Just who is he?" Niera asks while tugging on Rage's sleeve.

"He is someone I'm sure you've heard of."

Paying no mind to their conversation, Aria looks upon the scene amazed by all the explosions, ever since she gained her own ability to blow things up she has been infatuated with the looks and sounds they make. Watching the discs hit the crosses and boned corpses, she can't help but notice the bodies down the line of this seemingly endless row.

It looks as though the further the crosses go away from the Gate, the less decomposed the corpses on the crosses are. She is about to look away in disgust until she catches a glimpse of something that makes her heart skip a beat.

She inhales sharply and her legs start to move until she is at a full sprint toward the epicenter of this intense battle.

"Aria!?" Niera shouts when she sees her rush right into danger.

"What do you think you're doing!?" shouts Rage.

He readies to run after her but stops when the sight of Sora bolting past him catches his eye, she runs and avoids the destruction just as narrowly as Aria did.

Aria reaches the crosses and stops running, she holds her breath and slumps her shoulders as she looks up with wide eyes.

Sora catches up with her and she grabs Aria's arm, after turning her around, even Sora finds it hard to keep her usual emotionless face when she sees Aria pale and shocked.

Aria shakily points up at the cross, and Sora looks to where she is pointing and sees an extremely skinny man nailed onto it.

With eyes stuck on the haggard looking man, Aria stutters when she speaks the words she finds extremely difficult to say,

"Th-Th-That's... Papa.."

(PART 2)

"Um... the map says that the Gate is only a day away..." Strauphius awkwardly points out.

He is behaving cautiously due the happenings with Mammon two days ago, the subject has yet to be properly addressed so he has been stepping on eggshells ever since.

He and the group are now resting around a campfire for the night in a seemingly endless hilly grassland.

They are all disheartened by the death of Niomyo; all of them feel bad but Trojia is devastated. Ever since her beloved guard died she has yet to say even a word, she just follows the rest quietly and emotionless, and her grieving has sapped the energy of the rest of the group.

"Good, we'll leave as soon as the sun rises." replied Napoleon.

Taking the loss of his comrade has been hard on him as well, but he has had the unfortunate disposition of losing many comrades in the past, he’s able to compartmentalize it much better than the others. If no one else here can be composed enough to think ahead to the future, he feels that he must take the helm of pushing them forward.

Ubica is sitting next to Trojia and cannot seem to find anything to say to her, every time he tries he stops himself in fear of making her feel worse.

Daey notices this and wonders why he’s struggling so hard to try and help her through this.

She breaks the silence of the group and asks, "Hey Ubica, can I talk to you for a moment?"

Ubica looks to the rest of the group who aren't paying any mind to much of anything at all, he then looks to Trojia, who is zoning out at the fire and glaring aimlessly into the light.

He turns away with a troubled expression and says, "Sure..."

The two leave the camp and head out over a hill on the moonlit grassland, now about a couple hundred yards away and out of earshot they start to speak.

"So what is it you want to talk about?" Ubica asks.

"Is there a reason why you’re not trying to help Trojia cope with Niomyo’s death?"

He walks to a little pond that rests a few feet away and takes a seat on it's bank. "I’m not so sure I know how to do that."

"I don’t think it’s something you need to put a lot of thought into, you were able to help me with my loss after all."

Ubica leans back and rests his head on his hands.

"But this time, I really feel like it’s my fault that this happened."

He feels guilty for attracting the danger that brought upon her death, the more and more he thinks about it the more he agonizes over the fact that his presence with them has them under constant threat of annihilation.

He sighs and looks troubled when he says, "Rudo died because of me as well, I’m struggling to even look you all in the face because of it, what right do I have to try and cheer her up?"

"Don't you dare think like that."

"But it's true, the ghosts of my past won’t stop chasing after me, so long as I’m with you all you’ll never be safe."

Daey leans down and pinches his cheek while saying, "How are they more your enemies than ours? Their goal is to keep us from getting home, so they'd be after us whether you are here or not."

Ubica reveals a strained smile and shifts his gaze away. "I wouldn’t be so sure about that anymore.”

"Listen, Ubica… there's no way that we'd be able to handle this whole situation without you, and there’s no way we’d turn our backs on our friend just for the hope that we may be a little safer. Don’t beat yourself up over things out of your control and realize that we need you here… realize that we want you here, no matter what."

They stare at each other for a moment until Ubica's eyes start to water a little, he smiles and turns on his side, attempting to hide such an embarrassing expression.

"...Thank you."

Daey takes a seat next to him and she looks up to stargaze, the lights of the night sky are truly breathtaking as there are so many different colors that it looks like someone threw luminescent paint on a pure black canvas.

With a gentile smile, she teases, “There there, don’t cry.”

“I-I’m not crying!”

She giggles at how easily flustered he is at times, and then finds herself zoning out on his back.

“Tell me something…” she says softly, “these ghosts of your past, can’t you tell me why they are chasing you?”

Ubica keeps his back to her, and stays silent momentarily, Daey can sense his guard being put up the moment she asked that, but to her surprise his guard breaks and he answers,



“It’s what I truly am, it’s what gives me life, but it’s what will take it away if I’m not careful.”

“I don’t understand.”

“It’s hard to explain, but a long time ago the person I am now didn’t exist, I was simply the living embodiment of the evil power Dantega. Back then I did so many terrible things, I made myself the enemy of the world.”

Ubica seems to struggle to tell her this, but at the same time Daey can feel a sense of relief coming from him, it’s as though a weight is being lifted off of his chest as he talks.

“These enemies of mine couldn’t defeat me, so instead they sealed me in a place where Dantega would slowly get eaten away until nothing was left. But I escaped and returned as the person you see in front of you, no longer consumed by my power I am able to make friends and share moments of happiness alongside you and the others; because of this my enemies think I’m weaker, they want to destroy me while they have the chance before my powers return again.”

Daey is very surprised, not so much about his past but about how he felt comfortable enough to finally reveal himself to her. It has seemed this has always been kept a secret from the group, and by him telling her this it begins to answer a lot of lingering questions.

“I see… does anyone else know about this?”

“The night Niomyo died, Tsubiri had caught a glimpse of it. But i haven’t told anyone yet.”

Daey smiles, “I’m glad you trust me enough to tell me more about yourself.”

“Well, as much as I fear being rejected for what I am, I wouldn’t be a good friend if I kept everything from you… It’s only right that you know why Rudo and Nyomio fell victim to my past trying to hunt me down.”

She puts her hand on his shoulder, prompting him to look up to her. Daey is still smiling, but to him this smile seems more accepting and her delicate touch sends a series of warmth pulsating from within the deepest part of his body.

“We’ll face it together with their memories in our hearts. And we’ll get home because they fought for us, and because you fought against your past. So go on and comfort Trojia, she needs to know that you’ll still be there no matter what.“

“Can I ask you something?” Ubica said, staring up at her with a look of bewilderment.


“As a princess, how did you turn out to be such a good person?? You’re so kind!”

“Eh? No it’s nothing like that! Also, Messor said the same thing last week, just what is it you’re making me out to be??”

“A fairy maybe? A benevolent forest spirit? You’re definitely something magical, if Messor said that about you that’s proof enough!”

Ubica starts rattling off sweet comparisons as though he were naming different types of sugary candy, prompting Daey’s face to flush red in embarrassment.


“An angel! No, you’re actually christ like! Are you a reincarnation!?”

“Stop it already you’re being stupid!”

“But it’s true! You’re just like him!”

"Hahahah I'm getting closer to you Pilate!" Phoenix shouts as he watches the discs chase the limber Pontius.

Not an ounce of panic can be seen on Pilate's face as he dodges the dangers; he avoids one more disc and begins to speak, "Running around doesn't suit me... I think it's time I make my offensive."

Pontius leaps off a rock and lands only a few feet away Phoenix, he looks at him with his statue-like eyes and spreads his arms. Standing there like that makes him a sitting duck, and by the looks of it he is doing so intentionally, the three discs hit him simultaneously and explode.

"...Papa..?" Sora asks while looking up at the scraggly old man.

Aria doesn't answer but instead grabs at Achilles’ legs with her shaking hands.

"W-Wake up... Wake up."

No answer comes and she is left with a sickening feeling in her stomach; she nudges at him roughly but to no avail.

Sora pulls her off him and gestures her to lean down, with her usual straight face she says, "...Boost..."

Aria sniffles her nose and kneels to give Sora a lift up, Sora stands on Aria's knee and is head high to the crucified Achille. She puts her two fingers on his neck to check his pulse, after holding it for a few seconds she jumps off Aria's knees and stares at her.

Because of her unaffected appearance, Aria can't help but be nervous, her face is asking the question her voice can't and Sora sees it.


Aria takes a huge sigh of relief inhales sharply when Sora adds,


It would seem that Achille is on the brink of death, crucifixion is one of the most brutal forms of torture; when the feet are nailed into the wood, the legs of the victim are originally set up to be bent and the knees.

The reason for this is because it puts an immense pressure on the region between the organs of the waist and the organs of the chest, and this results in the pressing of the lungs. The cause and effect of said pressure causes breathing to be near impossible, so the body's natural reaction to asphyxiation is to stand to relieve the lungs, but this turns into a painfully horrible task when the entire weight of the body is put on the nails that are impaling the feet.

Aria squeezes her hand in determination and punches the base of the cross, the wood lightly explodes and like a falling tree it tips over. Both of them grab the falling object before it hits the ground and they let it down softly.

With her index finger, Aria touches each of the nails that connect him to the cross and they all explode upwards into the air like a rocket from a launch pad.

What she did was direct her ability to the bottom tip of the nails, turning the bent part into an explosive allowing the energy emitted from it to propel to the other side and send the whole thing flying.

Now off the cross, Achille's breathing becomes a little more consistent.

"Is there any way we can wake him up?"


"Should I use CPR!?" Aria shouts.

Sora looks down at the raggedy face of Achille and turns back to her.

Fearing being grossed out she answers with a firm, "...No..."

It's also true that it wouldn't help, with the lungs naturally starting to function properly, blowing unnecessary air into them would do more harm than good.

"...Water..." she says, and removes the canteen strapped onto her belt and hands it to Aria.

Aria opens Achille's mouth and drops water into his dried throat; he instinctively swallows and coughs as a result of not having any form of liquid enter his throat for quite some time.

He opens his eyes and through his blurred vision he sees two girls standing over him, the one he immediately recognizes has a big smile on her excited face.

With the first words he's spoken in a long while, he raspily says,


"I think that might have been the worst offensive I've ever seen." Phoenix said with a slight laugh.

Rage walks to his side and addresses him. "Do you understand what you have just done?"

"Of course I do, I killed him."

"That's not what I'm talking about! Do you not realize that you have now corrupted yourself!?"

Phoenix retracts his flames back into his cloth and tosses it over his shoulder, he smiles and says, "Corrupted… I’m long past the point of corruption."

"What are you saying?"

A cold sweat rolls down Rage's temple.

The person in front of him is the Messiah, how could he seek out revenge like a regular person like this?

Before Phoenix can explain any further, they are interrupted by the sight of Pontius standing there unscathed from within the passing smoke and dust.

"How!?" Phoenix queries.

Pontius remains calm when he explains, "You said that your flames burn its target until the evil is no more." He spreads his arm and finishes, "If the target has no evil, then it cannot burn. I believe you have misjudged me Jesus."

Phoenix's eyes are so large that the color of them can hardly be seen, he tries his best to make sense of the situation and shouts, "Then you should be dead!"

"I am a man of honor who has lived only for God's will. Should a man like that be burnt by you? "

"Don’t fuck with me!!!" Phoenix shouts as he slams his foot into the ground. "Your right arm burned did it not!?"

Pontius looks at his amputated arm and says a quote that he has already spoken before.

"Behold the man..."

He points his nub of an arm out toward the two and continues, "This was the only part of me that was evil... it was the arm that presented you to your true executioners afterall. I guess I should thank you for ridding me of it.”

Phoenix frowns and becomes enraged with a feeling that should never be inside the body of a man like him; he folds his arms and he grits his teeth as hard as possible.

From his back comes massive wings of purple, red, orange and yellow flame. The blaze grows so fast that within an instant it has more than a hundred foot wingspan. The wings flap and Phoenix floats into the air like a bird, the heat from the wind of the flames char the ground.

Once in the air his whole body gets surrounded by fire and the heat exuded from his words causes the skin of Pontius to crisp.

Phoenix laughs aloud and frowns with wide grin,

"This unique feeling is brand new to me… I can finally feel true anger."

(PART 3)

Ubica now sits alone by the little pond; Daey has left to head back to join the group. He lets out a nervous sigh as he plops his back onto the soft grass.


A voice comes from above the bank where he is laying, prompting him to sit up quickly and turn around.

"Ah, Trojia" he says as he readies to stand.

“Daey said you wanted to talk to me.”

Trojia puts her hand out as if telling him to be at ease, he sits back down. She takes a seat next to him and now the two are shoulder to shoulder.

“Yeah, I figured it’d be a little tough to talk in front of everyone else.”

As much as he struggles to bring this up, he’s forced to address something that has been intentionally avoided these last couple days.

They’ve all collectively shied away from bringing up Niomyo’s death in an awkward dance of protecting each other’s feelings, and this has resulted in Trojia stewing over it by herself.

“How are you feeling?”

"You mean about what happened to Niomyo?"


She purses her lips in reluctance at first, but then lets out a saddened sigh before answering, "You know... it's my fault that she's gone."

"What do you mean?"

"That night, I sent her to look for you guys because I was angry at her and wanted her to leave me alone... my spoiled attitude ended up costing Niomyo her life."

He can sympathize with her feelings, he’s been blaming himself for what happened from the beginning.

Trojia throws her head into her arms and says, "How am I supposed to live with that?”

Trojia is an only child, unlike the other Princes and Princesses who have siblings of a similar age, she had no one to turn to for advice except for her mother. But when she and Lelaine had their falling out, the only person she could confide in was Niomyo, and whether or not her guard told her what she wanted to hear, Niomyo was always there for her no matter what.

"The last thing I said to her was so cold and mean, even though she was only trying to help me I rejected her efforts and sent her off to die."

Tears start running down her face as she sinks into her arms pressed against her knees.

"You don't have to live with it alone." Ubica answered sternly.

He can't help but reach out to her, he puts his arm over her shoulders and delicately pulls her towards him.

This catches her off guard, now being held so close she tenses up.

Ubica feels this and says, "I’ll shoulder that blame with you, I didn't protect Niomyo from what I was doing, and she was caught up in my fight with Mammon. So we can share the guilt together and get out of here for her sake."

"No, that's not fair on you..." she said, the tenses in her body melted like ice under the sun upon hearing his words.

"You simply being here now isn’t fair on you. Because it’s not fair, the only thing I can do is share in the emotions of your heart. If you’re in pain, I promise I’ll take half, if you’re sad, I’ll take on half of your sadness, and if you find the occasional happiness while here, I want to share that with you and double it.”

Trojia remains silent underneath his arm, as genuine as his declaration was, the silence makes him feel a little embarrassed.

He knows that now isn’t the time to worry about his own feelings, but he can’t help but think those words were a little too sappy even for him.

“Hmph..” Trojia puffs, her head still hidden in her arms. “You’re something else you know that?”

Flustered, Ubica cringes and averts his gaze.

“But…” Trojia lifts her head up and looks to him. “This is who I know you to be. If only Niomyo could’ve seen what I see in you. You’ll have to continue to prove her wrong, that way she can rest in peace.”

Ubica doesn’t know of Niomyo’s animosity toward him before she was killed, so he’s a little confused. But when Trojia smiles at him through her tears, there’s no way he could find it in him to pry. Instead he reciprocates her smile and replies,

“I’ll do whatever it takes.”

"You made it here Aria..." said Achille Gallo in a hoarse voice.

He lies weakly on his back and looks up at Sora and the girl he raised as a daughter.

"That's right... thanks to your map and all that you've taught me."

He faintly smiles with a face full of pride, he scans his eyes around and witnesses the battle and the people involved in it.

He notices the absence of his adopted son and asks, "Where's Stauphius?"

"We got separated, but he'll be here soon!"

Achille coughs a little and tries to raise his upper body, Aria and Sora try to help him but both think that it wouldn’t be wise to put out any excess physical effort.

Once upright, he shoots her a serious glare and says, "It's good he's not here... listen to me Aria, you must get out of here immediately."

"Huh? Why would I do that?"

"Don't ask questions and just go." he answers with a rough cough.

"B-But we've trained all these years so we could get here..."

"I'm sorry Aria, but you must go."

"I don't understand, why are you telling me this now? After all this time!?"

"Because it's pointless to pass the Gate!" Achille shouts, expending almost all the energy his voice box has left. Aria stares at him, surprised by the fervor of his tone as he continues, "There are still four more Gates once you get past this one... think about how long it took me to find this Gate, imagine starting anew four different times before you reach Earth again... It's impossible."

"N-No way... They never told me anything about that."

When she says 'they' she means Rage and the others; when they first met it seemed like they were clueless about how to get out of Purgatory. So for the first few days she thought that they were completely dependent on her and Strauphius, but not too long after it became obvious that Rage was much more knowledgeable about this world.

The group the twins joined knew exactly what it took to get back home but just didn't know the direction; so it's a surprise to her that they never bothered to mention to her that their situation is much more implausible than it already is.

Achille glares at her again and tries to tempt her to leave by giving her one final warning.

"But that's not all... that man, the Gatekeeper... he is unbeatable."

The lights surrounding Phoenix exude the energy of violence, if anger had a natural color it would shine like this as it illuminates so bright that it could be seen as a beacon beaming up towards the heavens as far as the sky can stretch.

The feeling coming from this is not what you'd expect from a man of God, but rather, to Rage, it feels more similar to the feeling that comes from Ubica when he allows himself to become absorbed by his power.

(This power... What has happened to the Messiah!?) Rage thinks to himself as he stares in awe.

His first instinct is to protect the rest of the group, so he raises his scythe and forms a black cloud that surrounds himself and the rest of them like a lantern would a candle.

"What in the world is going on out there!?" shouts Cyrus in confusion.

The truth is, Rage doesn't even know how to address that question, so instead he just clicks his tongue and shuts his eyes.

"How is Phoenix able to do these things!?" asks Xavier, his tone demanding an answer.

They all bombard themselves with unanswerable questions that Rage thinks are directed towards him, he grows increasingly frustrated until the breaking point in which he shouts in anger,

"Shut up!!"

The group instantly stops their babbling and looks at him in shock, he takes a deep breath and calmly says, "That man, is not who you think it is... as to how and why he is doing all this, I do not know. So stop pestering me with questions that I can’t give you the answer to."

His cold glare makes them all jolt back in nervousness; his reaction reminds them of a playful warning from Ubica about how upset Rage gets when asked too many questions.

There is a reason why he is so short when it comes to things like this, throughout time the one thing that is most likely questioned more than any other is one way or another involving 'death'. Along with it comes hate and love, some people fear death immensely and some welcome it with open arms, and some poor souls seek it as salvation from the struggles of living.

These feelings are directly implanted within the soul of Rage, he has been repeatedly questioned for thousands of years about what he really represents and so on.

The hatred for an existence long interrogation from the masses is one of the reasons why he named himself Rage in the first place, whether it be the fault of Heaven or Hell, the result will always be the same.

One person does not tremble in fear at Rage, but instead presses forward and asks yet another question.

"Shouldn't we help him?"

This unusually stern voice comes from Luke.

Rage glares at him and answers, "If you had any kind of eyesight you'd see that the way he is right now, help is the last thing he needs."

"But even so, I can't just sit here and not do anything about it."

Luke stands strong, such a rare performance of conviction coming from the shy Prince has the group more in shock about this than the situation that is occurring just on the other side of the cloud.

"Well you don't have a choice in the matter, you're stuck here."

Luke sighs and looks to the floor, after a moment of silence he clenches his fists and his shoulders tense up, as if struggling to convince himself to speak he mumbles, "L-Let me out."


Rage twitches his eyebrow at the boy's open defiance.

Luke raises his head and reveals a face full of determination. "You know... since I got here I noticed something strange going on with my body... I can do things, incredible things that I never could before."

"Wait... you don't mean--"

Rage is interrupted by the continuation of Luke's declaration, "I have always been a shy kid, maybe that's why I never told anybody about it. But the guilt kept building the more and more I saw everyone get hurt while I stood aside and did nothing... This time is different, I've known Phoenix for all my life, and it would seem like he has been hiding something as well, but he decided to reveal it and fight to protect us. So now, as a friend, I'm gonna fight alongside him!"

Rage huffs air out of his nose and sarcastically smiles, "A touching speech, but that isn't going to make me let you leave."

Luke smiles and turns his back to Rage, he takes a couple steps and says, "I didn't think it would."

He holds his right hand out and touches the wall of black smoke surrounding them, a white light flashes on the five fingertips and within a second a huge gap in the smoke appears and Luke casually walks through.

The gap suddenly closes back up and Rage is completely surprised, this kind of thing has never happened before. It is incomprehensible for even a demon to break through the cloud, much less a regular human.

He once again becomes angered and says under his breath, "Fighting to protect us... Foolish child, that man whom you have known your whole life is fighting only for revenge."

Xavier's jaw is dropping to his collarbone, his brain is exuding a large amount of effort in an attempt to understand what had just occurred. Not only his spiritual adviser has been keeping secrets and powers from him, but his own little brother has been secretly growing into the type of person who would stand up to death and reveal his own amazing ability just to defy him.

Having no clue how to react to all this, he lets his thoughts exit his mouth in a shout,

"Seriously just what the fuck is going on!?!?!?"

"Look at you... I do believe that you have forsaken yourself." states Pontius as he readies himself in a defensive position.

Phoenix holds his hand out at points down at Pontius; the multicolored flame forms into a huge ball and immediately shoots toward the direction in which his hand points.

The ball screams toward the surface at such a speed that there is no way Pontius can avoid it, so instead of attempting to flee he lifts his arm and takes the hit directly.

A huge explosion rips through the hard ground as if it was a large boulder being dropped into a body of water. Rocks and debris are sent flying in all directions and mercilessly crash into the surrounding objects.

Aria and Sora shield Achille the best they could and luckily take on only a little bit of damage.

A dust cloud forms over the area and Phoenix allows himself to gently float to the ground; his face still looks rough when he says, "It was not I who has forsaken myself... now, and just like always... It was 'him'."

"Interesting... this is not something that I can speak with confidence about because you are much closer to the almighty than I'll ever be. But I think that something went terribly wrong, and you were the one who changed for the worse because of it." said Pilate.

His voice came from the dust, and in a flash that dust gets blown away by an intense wind.

Standing on a very small piece of land surrounded by a huge crater, the former judge is unscathed, not even the ground directly below his feet showed any sign of damage.

Phoenix looks shocked but he chooses not to ask how, sensing that Pontius will explain it, he just stands there and glares at him.

"I believe I have already told you this... It's my job to judge who is allowed to pass through the Gate, those who I don't deem fit shall never enter. Do you want to know how I know when someone is fit to pass?"

"Tch." Phoenix hisses, he grinds his teeth as though he knows where this is going.

"It is as simple as whether or not they can physically touch me."

The route in which Phoenix thought the conversation was going has been completely shattered, he was under the impression that Pilate was going to say that it was the will of God or something to that effect.

"Huh?" he mutters in confusion.

Pontius spreads his arms, "My power is very unique, those who wish to pass for any kind of ill intentions can never touch me, I guess you can say that my body is a repellent for people like you..."

He then points out toward the crucified men and finishes, "As you can see, the majority of people who came to me were rotten as well."

Phoenix frowns and rushes Pontius.

Out from his arms comes the form of a flame sword that readies to stab through whatever comes in its way.

Pontius stands calmly and doesn't budge from his position, the sword strikes his chest and a loud popping noise is heard.

Phoenix's flame is instantly extinguished, the fire that once emanated so terrifyingly bright is reduced to nothing more than a candle flicker.

He is now standing defenseless in front of the Gatekeeper with a surprised look on his face.

Pontius continues his statuesque glare when he speaks, "Indeed, something went terribly wrong with you. Your intentions for passing the Gate are driven by vengeance and spite, you are no different from all of those people who lay dead behind me. For that, I shall not allow you to pass."

Pontius grabs his standard issue Roman sword and violently swings for Phoenix's neck.

"You heard what the Gatekeeper said... anyone who wishes to pass that has any kind of selfish thought cannot even touch him." said Achille as he addresses Aria about their hopeless disposition.

"B-But... there's gotta be some way."

"There truly isn't, Aria, his standards are too high. The slightest negative thought in your head will turn you into an easy target."

Aria frowns as she pats some of the dust off her small shirt left over from the most recent explosion, she stands up and pulls the long-sword off her back.

"I learned something about myself last week when we were attacked by a demon... it's something that I must change in order to protect these people who I now consider my friends."

Achille looks at her with eyes pleading against her actions, "You're not actually going to fight are you?"

She glares at him in determination, and that is enough to answer his question perfectly.

Fearing the worst he tries to shout with all his strength. "No! You mustn't do that! He'll use your own motives for being here to kill you!"

Aria frowns and quickly retorts, "I don't believe that for a damn second!"

Her shout makes his shoulders jump, he stays silent as she continues.

"I refuse to believe that everything me and Strauph worked so hard for can be defeated like that. Besides, my motives for passing the Gate are now not only for myself, it's for my friends, and for their friends, for their family, for everyone back on Earth!"

It would seem that Aria has grown from a young thief into a fine young woman. She has caught a glimpse of the bigger picture and now that she realizes how grand the happenings around her actually are.

This past month has shown her what is truly important and what her role has to be in order to protect it.

She smiles at Achille and turns away, this is the new Aria that now has more than just her brother.

This is the new Aria who is willing to risk her life for her friends and for people she has never even met.

This is the new Aria.

The Aria who will fight.

Pilate's blade rips through the air at a blinding speed, Phoenix has no time to avoid it and will most certainly have his head rolling on the ground in mere moments.

This situation is the exact opposite of how he expected it to go.

In terms of strength, it was obvious that Phoenix was so far ahead of Pontius that it felt as though he was a tiger facing off in a fight against a small deer in an enclosed space.

In a matter of fact, what he revealed wasn't even his full strength, yet no matter how much power he fought with it still wouldn't mean a thing.

Pilate's unique ability to negate an attack that has negative feelings behind it means that Phoenix is now the helpless deer.

(Damn it!!)

He shuts his eyes and waits for what will definitely be an interesting sensation when his head is sent flying.

But, that feeling never came and the sound of a huge blast rings through his ears and forces his eyes open.

What he sees is a white light that hit Pontius in the chest and sent him flying away into one of the large pillars of the Gate.

He turns towards the light's source and sees Luke standing there with both hands pointed out.

"Are you okay Phoenix!?" Luke asks..

Phoenix stares at him and softly asks, "Your attack... It worked? How?"

He is amazed that an attack hit Pontius and caused him so much damage, even more so than finding out that Luke has the ability to do such a thing to begin with.

"I don't know how... but since I got here I've had the ability to solidify heat, whether it is a small amount of heat or a lot, I can maneuver it into any form I want." Luke explains.

He's basically saying that if there was a fire, he'd be able to take the heat from that fire and turn it into a white hot beam of energy and send it zooming at a target.

In this case, he used his own body heat to shoot it toward Pilate, saving Phoenix just in the nick of time.

Phoenix chuckles a little and regains his kind composure. "Thanks Luke... you really saved my neck there."

Luke smiles and shows his pleasure in Phoenix's appreciation, but that smile quickly turns stiff when a flash is seen out of the corner of his eye.

A sword is flying through the air at such a speed that it seems more like a bullet, it's a standard Roman issued short blade that's being used as a projectile.

The only thing that can possibly stop the movement of the sword is Luke's face, the two are on an unavoidable collision course and neither Phoenix or Luke can do anything about it.

Luke flinches and slams his eyes shut when all the sudden...


The sound of metal against metal is heard.

He opens his eyes and finds Aria standing in front of him, she had just blocked the short blade's path with her huge long-sword and saved him at the last second.

She turns around to him and says, "Hit the deck, this is gonna be a big one!"

Aria snatches the spinning short blade right out of the air before it could hit the ground, and in one swift motion she chucks the sword right back towards the direction in which it came.

A short moment later...


A massive explosion shakes the ground like a large quake; shards of rocks, stone, wood and marble are sent flying at them.

Seeing that Luke didn't hit the deck at all because the whole incident happened far too fast, Aria dives on him and protects him.

But her efforts ended up being unnecessary, Phoenix used his cloth and turned every last piece of debris into flames; with one simple swing, any kind of projectile was deflected as if someone had swung a flyswatter into a swarm of flies.

"Are you okay?" she asks Luke, who stares up at her with a flushed face.

Her chest is rubbing on his shoulder so it makes his heart beat extraordinarily fast, at a closer look he sees that her small shirt has ridden up towards her neck.

Despite the life threatening situation they’re in, the feeling of her chest and the sight of her bare stomach has actually done the most damage to him.

"Umm-ehh-ahh I'm fine!!" he shyly replies with his eyes fixated on this never before seen sight.

Aria's eyebrow raises as she follows his eyes down to what he's looking at, she immediately covers herself up and yelps.


She instantly stands up off of him, pulling down her shirt at the same time.

"S-Sorry, I didn’t mean to look." Luke said, he looks more embarrassed than she does about it.

Aria huffs air out of her nose and replies, "You should be honored! You’re a lucky bastard!"


She smiles and sticks her tongue out at him, she then turns away and holds up her sword in a battle stance. Assuming that her attack did nothing to Pontius, she knows that the odds are stacked against her as she waits for the smoke to clear.

An unpleasant sweat runs down her temple when she thinks about all the recent times she used her attack on someone and failed to inflict any damage.

The initial attack was on Napoleon, who due to a miscalculation in Aria's placement of a mine had miraculously survived. The second, was when she used it on Rage, only to get it deflected right back at her like a tennis ball. The third was against the great Demon Belphegor, who literally nullified it as if it was nothing.

These memories make her doubt her ability and all the years of effort she put into it, but she shrugs it off when she understands that no matter what, she must do something.

The smoke begins to clear and the silhouette of Pontius can now be seen, she tenses up and waits for him to do something, but his lack of movement makes the seconds go by even longer.

He is simply standing there like a stone, the smoke finally dissipates and what's left standing there shocks Aria.

Pontius is standing statue-like just as she expected, but what is amazing is his appearance.

A huge hole can be seen on the right side of his chest where Luke's light hit him, and the rest of his body is covered in cuts and bruises. A couple of his ribs can be seen through a wound in his side and his face is completely bloodied, his arms and legs have shards of debris sticking into him like leeches.

"I-It worked?" Aria asks, amazed at the fact she finally did some damage to her target.

Pontius takes a step closer and blood falls from seemingly every point of his body.

"Tell me woman, tell me boy... Why do you want to pass through the Gate?"

Pontius already knows the answer to this question the moment they attacked him. Their intentions were rushed into his body. But he still felt compelled to ask as if to confirm it.

Luke stands up and looks determined, he and Aria glare at each other and smile, they turn back to Pontius and simultaneously reply, "To protect our friends!!"

Pilate cracks his lips up ever so slightly and holds out his index finger.

"Very good, you have my approval to pass."



"You are saying that we can go through!?" Aria asks.

She and Luke both smile as though they had just won a great prize in an arcade game.

But their celebration is cut short by Pontius saying, "But... I must ask you, are you willing to leave the rest of them behind?"

Luke and Aria glare at him in confusion as he continues to speak.

"You are approved, but of course they are not. Your approval shall depend on whether you wish to leave them behind or not. So which will you choose?"

They stay silent for a moment and then Luke frowns and shouts, "Fuck that!!!"

Aria looks at this new side of Luke that she has never seen before and smiles, she readily agrees with his statement by explaining to Pontius why they have come to this conclusion.

"Is that a joke? We say we are fighting for our friends and then all the sudden you ask if we will leave them behind?"

She lifts her sword and points it at him.

"I accept the fact that you'll let me pass, but I'm taking all of them with me!!"

"Very well then... all of you shall be crucified for your ill intentions."

Phoenix takes a step back and frowns as if he is thinking of a way that he can kill Pontius himself, but for now he can only hope that Aria and Luke can hold him off until then.

Pontius takes a step forward and begins to walk toward them with no worry.

Aria nudges on Luke's shoulder and says, "After this battle is over, I want you to act tough like this more often..." She turns to him and smiles, "If you are always this cool... I may just end up falling for you.”

Luke's face turns bright red and he mumbles in embarrassment because he has no clue what to say back to that.

After a moment of thinking over what she just said, he shakes off the fuzzy feeling of her words and reveals a confident smile.

"Okay I will... we'll have to win first though."


As though that was a cue for an attack, the two rush toward Pontius with a battle roar.

Luke points his hand out and a white light comes shooting forward.

The beam rushes at Pilate but he easily avoids by jumping up and off to the side, his movements continue to be as limber as ever despite the grievous injuries he suffered.

But Aria is standing right where he is going to land, stuck in the air, he cannot avoid whatever is about to happen.

Aria picks up a rock and throws it up at him.

Pontius understands that she has some kind of ability that causes explosions so he figured it'd be wise to dodge the rock at all costs; he twists his body and the rock flies right past him.

Aria smiles and the rock blows up right behind him, causing him to shoot toward the ground, and where he is falling, her huge long-sword awaits to skewer him.

Pontius once again holds out his index finger, and the tip of it collides with the tip of Aria's sword.

Surely his hand will be cut off.

However, this results in his miraculous display of acrobatics.

He is balancing atop the sharp blade with one finger.

While doing so he explains, "Other than my power of 'Judgment', I have no abilities of my own, so in order to make up for such a thing I have undergone thousands of years of physical training. So much so that no one would be able to defeat me in hand to hand combat."

He flips over the sword and kicks her in the back, making her fall face first into the ground.

"Aria!" shouts Luke as he runs to her aid.

He helps her up and makes sure she is okay when Pilate continues to speak.

"Knowing that, what do you think I'm going to do to thwart your efforts?"

He holds his hand out, taking a stance that shows he is prepared to fight using just his body.

"That's right, all I need to do is stay close to you, and your deaths will be imminent."

Luke frowns and sends another light beam at him, Pontius dodges it and does a couple back hand somersaults to get away.

Upon regaining his footing he looks up and finds that they are running away from his range.

He stands and says, "Oh that's right I forgot... I guess I have one more trick up my sleeve."

He holds his hand out as if presenting someone’s arrival and then a bony hand comes from the ground and grabs Luke's ankle.

Not noticing what had just happened, Aria continues to run and unintentionally leaves Luke behind.

"What an idiot right Luke? Why would he be stupid enough to tell us exactly what his plan is on fighting us?"

When no reply comes, Aria laughs a little.

"Oh come on, you actually don't have to act cool all the time Lu---"

She happened to glance over to her side and sees that Luke is not there.


She stops in her tracks and turns around, what she sees is something that makes her face turn blue.

Luke is standing there with two skeletal Roman soldiers holding on to him.

But that is not what has gotten her so frightened, they aren't holding him with their bony hands, but rather their rusty steel swords that are impaling his gut and his chest.

Aria can't help but shout his name in horror,


In the black cloud is Niera, Cyrus and Xavier, all of them are looking confusedly at Rage, who looks as though he was just hit with something hard. It wasn't an attack or anything that got him rattled, but the sight of seeing Luke impaled by the two bone soldiers.

Rage can see outside his cloud whereas to the others it is simply a black wall, he has been watching their battle in great interest while the rest have been forced to use their imagination.

(This is bad!) he thinks to himself.

But he knows that if he goes out to help it would leave the rest of them defenseless against more of those creatures. Not to mention if he were to attack Pontius himself it wouldn't do any good either.

A man such as Rage would never pass the test that would allow him to inflict any damage.

(Damn it! No wonder why none of the 7 Demons of Hell just waited for us here... If they did they would easily be slain by the Gatekeeper.)

This is very true, nothing that belongs to Hell would ever be able to defeat Pontius, this truly makes him one of the most frightening beings to come across.

It would seem that the only ones capable of defeating him are Aria and Luke, two normal humans.

"VANISH!!" Phoenix shouts, and the two bone soldiers instantly turn to dust.

He immediately rushes to Luke, after dropping her sword Aria runs in to help as well.

Luke coughs up blood and falls to the ground.

"S-Shit..." he quietly says to himself as he rolls onto his side.

Aria reaches him and assesses the damage done, she turns pale at the sight. The two wounds are placed perfectly over vital points of his body, one in the lung and the other in his liver.

These two injuries combined make it so there isn't much hope in him surviving.

Frantic and scared, Aria desperately tries to figure out something that she can do but it's no good, she's only good for causing explosions.

Phoenix hisses in anger, there isn't anything he can do either because he no longer has the ability to heal people, it's not like he personally wanted to trade it for the powers he has now, it's just that the ability he had was taken back by God so he can fight with his words during the battle of Armageddon.

Showing no mercy, Pontius leaps forward and kicks Phoenix square in the face, it sends him flying and now the only one left to attack is Aria who's pretty much a sitting duck in her position alongside Luke.

But before Pontius can reach his target, he is once again interrupted by someone, but not just one this time, it's two.

Sora has sliced his side with her blade and Achilles stabs him in the ribs with Aria's dropped long-sword.

Now kept from attacking his original target, he switches his attention to them.

With his right foot he kicks Sora in the stomach and sends her flying as well.

The strength in this standing kick was incredible, it only goes to show how much a few thousand years worth of training can do to the body. It would be a miracle if a couple of Sora's ribs weren't broken.

After shooing the girl away like an insect he pulls out a dagger from his waist and lunges at Achille.

Being old, tattered and weak, Achille used his last bit of strength to plunge the sword into Pilate's body, so avoiding the dagger is an impossible task.

He smiles and then...


The dagger slams into his throat and the tip of the blade protrudes out of the back of his neck.

However, this horrible impact doesn't affect his grip on Aria’s longsword.

In fact, Achille uses his free left hand to grab the left arm of Pontius, this was a trap, and the Gatekeeper fell right into it.

The smile still remains on his face, leaving Pontius to wonder just what in the world he's smiling about when from below him a white light starts shining.

Luke is grabbing his leg, this and the sword does not allow him to take even a step closer to Aria.

"I can tell by the look on your faces that I'm a goner..." Luke said with a strained blood stained smile.

"W-Wait... what are you guys doing?" asks Aria, who's in full on panic mode after seeing the man who raised her just get stabbed in the throat.

In a gargled tone Achille tries to speak, "I now see what I've been lacking all this time... I can now see what's truly important... Make sure to keep an eye on that idiot brother of yours Aria..."

With blood flooding out of the corners of his mouth, he smiles at her in a way only a father can smile to his daughter.

He is able to inflict damage on Pontius because after all this time he finally realizes that he has been going at his dream all wrong. The selfish thoughts he once had of returning to Earth and back to the arms of his widowed wife should never have been there; the important things in life he so selfishly sought were in the form of two little twins he happened to come across one day trying to steal his wallet.

It only took him all of these years to realize that everything he's done should have been solely for their sake, and now, here is his chance to right the wrong he's done to them.

Now is the chance to truly show how much he loves them.

By giving his life for them, he will come to understand the true feeling of love.

This was actually the most important thing in life he wanted to find, and at this very moment, he's finally found it.

She begins to shake and her voice struggles to leave the back of her dried throat, "W-Wait! Wait wait wait! What are you talking about!?"

A faint voice comes from where her feet are, "Speaking of brothers... promise me that you'll take care of Xavier. I know he's brash and immature, but he's going to be the King one day so he must live on."

Luke finds the strength to smile, even as the light fades from his eyes.

“And one more thing, tell him my last words to him are... 'Grow the fuck up'."


The only thing that can come out of her mouth is the word wait.

All of this has happened so fast that it's like she is begging for things to slow down so she can process just what exactly is going on.

Struggling to breath, Luke says, "You need to go Aria."

The light grows larger and the sense of urgency becomes more clear as Pontius begins to really try to get away.

Aria stands stiff as she mutters, "N-No..."

"You have to run, otherwise you'll get caught up in this..."


"Please Aria... don’t keep me from being the cool guy now… let me be the kind of guy you could have fallen for."

Aria starts to cry hysterically as her shaky legs begin to rise into a stand, she takes a slow step back and looks at him with eyes full of sorrow. Luke needs her to get away as fast as she can, so he uses the final bit of air in his punctured lungs to shout,

"RUN, ARIA!!!!"

Aria turns and sprints away, leaving a trail of tears in her wake.

Her mind is blank as she moves so fast that the feeling in her legs is no longer there, she feels more like she’s floating atop the ground as she gets further and further away.

She shuts her eyes and grits her teeth when she shouts from within her heart...


The emotion of it all expands from her chest and then out of her mouth,


A blinding white light begins to glow from behind her and her shadow can be seen in front of her.

Chasing it with all her might like it stole something from her, everything turns an eerie quiet for a split second, and then...


The shock wave from the explosion knocks her to the ground and she slides on the soil until she comes to a grinding halt; she turns on her back to see what happened and finds the most beautiful aftermath of a blast she has ever seen.

The white and gold light has a plume similar to a miniature atomic bomb, a big mushroom shape with a circled ring surrounding its neck. Aria lies there in silence as she watches the light slowly dim until it's no longer there.

As an explosion enthusiast she can honestly say she has never seen anything like it before.

She shifts her eyes toward the spot where Pontius, Luke, and the man she called Papa were once intertwined with each other.

There's nothing.

Only the black and charred ground remain.

It is without a doubt the evidence of the deaths of those three, the blast was so powerful that nothing remains.

In somewhat of an entranced state, Aria raises her hand to the sky and says, "What a grand finale, Luke..."

Tears fall from her eyes and she sniffles through her nose when she finishes.

“You really are so damn cool.”

"Are you okay?" asked Phoenix while covering both himself and Sora with his flame cloth.

"...Yes..." Sora replies as she holds her ribs that are throbbing in pain.

The two of them gander at the damage done and can only widen their eyes in amazement, two humans defeated such a fearsome Gatekeeper. Though, unfortunately, they lost their lives in the process.

Phoenix slams his fist into a nearby stone and frowns.

He is angered at himself for not finding a way to defeat Pontius himself, he is very mad at the fact he wasn't able to exact revenge with his own hands.

But he is even more angered at the fact he let someone he cared about die because of it.

"... Aria..." Sora says as she begins to walk toward her friend.

Aria is standing at the point of the explosion in the charred soil, nothing is left of the three men, not even a memento; that is, until she kicks around the dirt a little and finds a piece of something shiny. She leans over and picks it up, but quickly drops it when the heat of it burns her hand. Looking down on it she sees that it is a little shard of her once huge long-sword.

It is nothing close to a weapon now but it is at least something to remember Achille and Luke by, she picks it up again, not caring about the heat and clenches her fingers around it.

"Heyyyy did you guys win!?" shouts Xavier.

He and the rest are running toward them, excluding Rage, who is slowly walking behind them.

Phoenix clicks his tongue and looks away, "I guess you can say that..."

"That's good right!? Now we can pass through the Gate!" Xavier exclaims.

Phoenix, Aria and Sora all stay silent as Xavier keeps speaking.

"This is great! I feel like I'm one step closer to home! Right Luke!?"

Being used to having his little brother by his side to smile embarrassingly and agree with him, he speaks as if he's been there the whole time. Phoenix and Aria's shoulders jump as they watch Xavier look around the area confusedly once he doesn't hear a reply.

"Where's Luke?"

The priest and the thief look at each other, their eyes asking which one of them wanted to explain what happened when from behind they hear a voice saying,

"He's dead."

Before either of them could say it, the harsh words come from the mouth of a cold Rage as he walks through the group and towards the Gate. Phoenix scowls at him but it doesn't affect Rage one bit as he continues his walk.

"W-Wha?" Xavier mutters.

The questioning voices don't only come from him, Niera and Cyrus have no clue what's going on either.

To ease the sting from the sharp words of Rage that happened to be oh so reminiscent of the time when Damien told the two Princes that their father had died; Phoenix walks to him and puts his hand on his shoulders.

"He died protecting all of us, he is a true hero."

"Huh? What kind of sick joke is this?" he inquires.

Phoenix takes his hand off his shoulder and shifts his eyes away once again as Xavier continues to deny it.

"Come on Phoenix, that wasn't funny at all."

He takes a step back and his eyes start to move from side to side in a frantic motion.

"Lies!! This is a damn lie!"

They still don't say anything and Xavier really begins to feel with certainty that he is telling the truth; the thing is, he just doesn't want to believe it.

"Liar! What kind of a priest would lie to a Prince so blatantly!?!? When we get back I'll have your head for such a thing! I wi---"


Xavier's face is hit hard by the open palm of Aria.

She has tears running from her eyes when she says, "Before he died I made two promises to Luke... And one of them was to tell you his last words to you."

Shocked and stiff, Xavier can't speak so he softly groans.


Aria grabs his collar and shouts point blank in his face, "His last words to you were grow the fuck up!!'"

This may seem cruel to say to someone who had just lost his brother, but that attitude of his is exactly what Luke’s dying wish was to see come to an end; so no matter how rough it is, how rough she has to be with him from now on, Aria is going to make him change no matter what.

Her mind is set. To show Luke her thanks, she will do whatever it takes to fulfill that promise she made to him.

Xavier will become a person Luke would be proud of with her help.

Rage is close to the Gate when he hears a voice come from behind him saying, "Hold on a second! What about the others? Shouldn't we wait for them to arrive?"

The voice comes from Cyrus, who is standing in front of a silent and distraught Niera.

"Absolutely not, we must leave immediately." Rage bluntly replies.

"But! Princess Niera hasn't seen her sister in months, she doesn't even know if she is safe or not! Can't we wait for them to get here so we can all pass to the other side together?"

After finding out that Luke had died, a soft spot in Cyrus' heart has been squeezed, if something were to happen to Daey, Niera would probably break down.

So he wants to make sure that Daey is alright before moving on to the second level of Purgatory.

He assumes that Aria would really want to see Strauphius as well.

But this plea falls on deaf ears when Rage bluntly responds with a resounding,


Cyrus' shoulders drop.

Assuming that he wants an explanation, Rage speaks, "I've come to the realization that the first Gate is the only Gate where all Demons of Hell know the location. Because of the strength of the Gatekeeper they didn't decide to simply wait for our arrival. If they sense that the Gatekeeper has been defeated, they could come here while we wait for the others to arrive. If that happens, then there is no guarantee that another one of you won't die. And I'm not willing to take that risk, so let's go."

Though he can’t be for sure, he’s assumed correctly. The Hierarchy knows the location of this Gate because it is the only one that remains stationary, all of the rest will change periodically in time.

It's not as though they can't find their way to the other Gates, they do have so much power over Purgatory after all, they can commute straight from Hell to any random part of each of the 5 Levels if they wanted to. It's just that the process of finding the other Gates is no different from how someone like Rage would go about it; they can get an idea of where it is but it doesn't mean it's going to be easy, or find it in a time frame that's relatively reasonable.

That being said, they know of this location on the first level already, if they find out that Pontius has been defeated they could literally appear here out of nowhere in a split second.

That's more than enough of a reason to leave the others behind and hope that Damien and the others don't catch on to the Gatekeeper's demise before the rest arrive.

The rest of the group slowly follow and Rage turns away from them, he truly isn't happy at the way things have turned out. This includes both Luke dying, and the true identity of Phoenix.

"Tch..." he hisses, and then says to himself, "Ubica... I can only hope that things have gone smoother for you."

The next day, Ubica and his group are walking up the trail that leads to the Gate, after a few minutes they finally reach their month long destination. A huge sigh of relief can be heard from the group, but a serious aura quickly sucks up the air when they think that they will most likely be fighting the Gatekeeper.

Scoping the area they see all the crucified bodies, some of the crosses are still intact and some are broken and the bones that were once nailed on them are scattered all over the place. There are signs of numerous explosions that happened so it becomes quite obvious that a serious battle has already taken place.

"Do you think it was Rage and the others?" asks Napoleon.

"Yeah..." Ubica answers, "But there is no sign that Rage fought in this one though, I’d be able to sense the remnants of his power otherwise."

"If Rage wasn't the one fighting then who was it?"

"I don't know... I have a funny feeling about this place."

Napoleon's eyebrow twitches. "Is it important?"

Ubica shuts his eyes and rubs his temple. "No not really... it's just this smell, it's very distinct... it smells like---"

"Sulfur." Messor interjects.

Her expression is intense, and she is experiencing the same kind of feeling that Ubica is.

"But it's not like any other kind of sulfur, it's just like the..." Messor takes a gasp of air before finishing her sentence.

Her and Ubica's eyes meet and it looks as though the both of them have just realized something at the same time.

"It can't be..." Ubica grumbles.

"You don't think that it's the same as--"

"Hey look over here!" shouts Tsubiri.

Her voice interrupts their train of thought and they walk to where she is pointing.

"I'm sure we’re just letting our noses fool ourselves..." Ubica says to Messor, his voice full of doubt.

She turns to him and sighs, "...Yeah, you're right. It’s got to be that."

Tsubiri is pointing at some writing that was left in the dirt, it states, 'We have gone on ahead of you.'

"That's good, that means that they made it." Daey said with a relieved sigh.

Scrolling below the large letters are smaller ones that are a little hard to see without leaning over, these spell the names of everyone who is still alive in Rage's group.

Both Strauphius and Daey turn and look away quickly, they are too nervous to read it themselves so they ask Ubica to read it for them. Of course he was wary to learn of the results also, but he obliges.

"These look more like signatures."

"That means it was written by them separately, that's good." Trojia added.

"Um... Starting from the top it says: Cyrus, Aria, Niera, Xavier, Sora, Phoenix... and at the bottom it says Rage but it's written all sloppy."

An even bigger sigh of relief comes from both Strauphius and Daey, both of their siblings are okay, the heavy weight of worry has been lifted off their shoulders by this confirmation.

"Wait, where's Luke?" Trojia queries.

Reading the list again, they find that his name is nowhere to be found.

"That doesn't mean that---"

"He died..." Napoleon interjects, he grits his teeth and flares his nostrils.

"I'm sorry Napoleon." Ubica said with a saddened expression.

Napoleon turns away and starts walking toward the Gate.

"It's not like we're related or anything... It's just that as a General, having a Prince die under my tenure is unforgivable."

The rest leave him alone and simply follow him toward the light under the arches.

Though Tsubiri didn't know Luke all too well, they spent a good enough amount of time around each other that she knew he was a good person. "I kind of see where he's coming from... though I don't like him, I don't know what I'd do if Prince Xavier died. Especially since I'm supposed to be the one protecting him."

Ubica doesn't respond, he doesn't know how to associate himself with the honor code these soldiers follow, but he does know the feeling. When Niomyo was killed he felt like he had failed her, the only thing he can do is vow that he will never let it happen again and never look back.

Trojia comes up to Ubica's side and asks, "What do you think it will be like on the other side of the Gate?"

"Beats me... I just hope it's not cold."

Tsubiri snaps out of her deep thought and shouts, "I think it'd be great if it is cold! Then I can buy you another jacket!"

Ubica pulls on Tsubiri's ear. "If you buy me another one of those jackets I'll smother you with it."

"Owowowowow that's a little violent don't you think!? How can you say that to such a fragile girl!?"

“You are about as fragile as the toughest guy I know!"

Tsubiri flails her arms around like a little child until she grabs a hold of Ubica's thumb and pulls as hard as she can. "Do tough guys fight like this!?"

She opens her mouth and chomps down on three of Ubica's fingers, causing him to scream.

"Ngggyyyaaahh that hurts!!"

Trojia can't sit idly by and watch her attack him so she jumps in and tries to pull Ubica away.

“How is it possible that you live your life perpetually shameless!? Jeez Tsubiri!" she shouts.

Ubica has turned into a rag doll that is being yanked on in every direction, his eyes are spinning as he is being manhandled.

A black aura surrounds Messor as she watches this scene with a forced smile on her face.

Strauphius has a slight tear in his eye and wishes he could get bit by Tsubiri.

Daey laughs at the scene, relieved that a dangerous battle was just avoided and that they’re able to make it through to the next level in such high spirits.

Hearing and sensing all the commotion behind him, Napoleon can't help but smile, he chuckles a little and says to himself, “As hard as this last month has been, with you guys around... I actually look forward to our next adventure."

Napoleon, and the rest of the squabbling group all enter the Gate and disappear into its light.

The next stop is the second level of Purgatory, where a completely new world awaits.

Different people are there to be met, and different battles will be fought.

They have been bonded by a situation none of them could have foreseen, but as a result they have become a group of friends strong enough to get through it together.

The Ransom: (END)