Dantega:Volume 3 Chapter 10
Chapter 29: The Ransom
"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.
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."
"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,
|Back to Trust (Part 3)||Return to Main Page||Forward to (Part 2)|