Dantega:Volume 3 Chapter 11
"Um... The map says that the Gate is only a day away..." Strauphius awkwardly points out.
He is a little cautious because it has been two days since the happenings with Mammon, he doesn't know how to act around everyone just yet and 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 there is one person who is much more distraught about the whole thing than the others, and that is Trojia. 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 molded into the rest of them.
"Good, we'll leave as soon as the sun rises." replies Napoleon.
He is a little saddened as well but his military mindset makes him understand that Niomyo is one who's life wasn't as important as the majority of the others. So with this thought in mind he is able to keep his composure and plan ahead easily.
Ubica is sitting next to Trojia and cannot seem to find anything to say to her, every time he tries he stops himself, fearing that he'll make it worse.
Daey notices this and wonders why he isn't attempting to comfort Trojia like he did for herself when Rudo was killed; 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 look 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 they begin to speak.
"So what is it you want to talk about?" Ubica asks.
"Why aren't you helping Trojia?"
He walks to a little pond that rests a few feet away and takes a seat on it's bank. "Because I don't know how to do that..."
"Why? Can't you do the same thing for her as you did for me?"
Ubica leans back and rests his head on his hands. "I can't do that, because it's my fault that this happened... Looking back on it, it's my fault that Rudo died as well."
This is how he truly feels, at the end of the day, his enemies were the ones who killed those two and they both did so while fighting him. That being the case, he thinks that he would have been able to avoid their deaths somehow.
He sighs and looks troubled when he says, "I'm sorry."
"Don't you dare think like that."
"But it's true, if I wasn't around, none of you would have to be hurt by enemies of my past. If not for me you would all be safe."
Daey leans down and pinches his cheek while yelling, "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." She leans forward so their faces are much closer to each other when she adds, "The truth is, we are much safer with you around."
Ubica reveals a strained smile and shifts his gaze away. "I'd like to believe that to be true... But as much as I try to think that I can somehow protect you all, the real truth is that I know I am only good for kil---"
He is interrupted by the feeling of soft lips pressing against his forehead, his eyes grow large with surprise and he glances up to see the bright purple eyes of Daey's pointing right into his.
"If it wasn't for you... There's no way that we'd be able to handle this whole situation, I probably would've gone nuts if you weren't around to keep me level. You have to stop hurting yourself with blame and realize that we need you."
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.
Daey takes a seat next to him and the two continue to stargaze, the lights of the night sky are truly breathtaking as there are so many different colors that it looks someone threw luminescent paint on a pure black canvas. This kind of scenery causes Ubica to nod off, it also doesn't help that he hasn't slept for a couple days and he finds the bank of the little pond pretty comfortable.
Daey has noticed that he doesn't sleep much and can see that he is forcefully trying to keep himself awake so she asks, "Why don't you go to sleep?"
He yawns and replies, "That wouldn't be fair for you if I just passed out."
"No it's fine.." She turns and blushes. "I'd actually enjoy it if you did..."
Ubica raises his eyebrow, "Is this some kind of trap?"
"Wha!? I'm not Tsubiri so you don't have to worry about me doing something to you in your sleep!"
By this she is talking about how Tsubiri ambushed him in his sleep and woke up on top of him. But since Ubica is dense he didn't see that as anything special, only a drunk person who did something out of the normal for no reason in particular.
"Are you saying that she does stuff to me when I sleep!?"
The conversation turns off topic at the fault of Ubica once again, and as usual, Daey tried to make a gesture that shows her feelings towards him and he completely didn't see it and started rambling on about something random.
Daey squeezes his cheeks again but this time a little harder. "Do you have any kind of memory you idiot!? She fell asleep on top of you! And maybe if you'd sleep more I could actually tell you how many times it's happened!"
"Ugh, now I really don't want to go to sleep. I might never go to bed around you guys ever again!"
"Waah, don't do that, I'll make sure to keep her at bay. So promise me you'll try to get a full night's rest more often okay?"
Ubica grabs her hands and moves them off his face and onto his chest, he looks up at her and smiles, "Why are you so persnickety about my habits anyways? Last time it was about me eating, and this time it's about sleep."
"Well... I worry about you." Her face turns red and she looks away. "You don't really eat, and you don't sleep much, it's not healthy you know?"
"What are you, some kind of health nut?"
"Believe it or not I really am, you have no idea how long it took me to jog off that meat bun we had the other day."
"Are you serious??"
"O-Of course I am! I can only imagine how bad it was for me just by how good it tasted! Really good foods are never good for your body!"
"Hahahahahaha! I just pictured you jogging in place like an idiot."
"H-Hey that's mean! I'll have you know that I actually ran circles around my hotel room."
"Huahahahahaha that's even worse!"
"Uuu~" She puffs out her cheeks and pouts. "That's the last time I ever tell you anything."
"Sorry sorry." he says as his laugh slows to a slight chuckle. "But you really shouldn't worry about me, I don't eat or sleep much because it's part of my temperance."
"Yeah, it's where you do the opposite of certain sins."
"I know what it is, but I don't understand why you're doing it."
"I have to, if I don't I'll turn into a person I don't want to be."
She puffs air out of her nose and gently slaps his cheek. "That's stupid, you shouldn't have be bound by a set of rules."
"I used to think that way too... I once tried to tempt a righteous and pure man into a thought process like that, just so it would devalue his life."
The guilt on his face very clear, and he's failing miserably at hiding it.
Daey wants to know all about his past, but she has a game plan in which she tries to ease her way into his life slowly so he can feel comfortable talking to her about it. She thinks it over for a bit and decides to nit pick his statement for now. If she can slowly build on that topic, she might be able to catch him off guard and he'll tell her about it.
"You don't need to treat freedom from rules as a bad thing, the truth is, I haven't been able to enjoy such a luxury until we got to this place. Where I'm from, I'd most likely be disgraced if I was seen with you like this."
"Yeah, in Eiyalazo, the royal family treats anything that's out of their rule book as a disgrace, such rules ruin lives. I've always been as straight as an arrow, especially since I saw those rules hurt my best friend Rain; she didn't deserve the punishment brought upon her. Just like how you don't need to be punished by your rules either."
Ubica starts to think about what she said deeply, the pros and cons of his mindset always eat at him, but he knows that freedom for himself equals being controlled by the evil that he fears. If he ever tries to ease up on his temperance, there is a high chance that he'd be consumed by the darkness without even realizing it until one day he wakes up as the Anti-Christ again.
"So... Who was this man you tried to tempt?"
Daey asked that knowing that she might have jumped the gun on trying to get to know him better, but she couldn't think of a better time to ask. Whatever it is he's feeling so guilty about is obviously weighing on him, there's a good chance he might just want to get it off his chest.
Ubica jolts a little and looks away. "He's someone I've grown to realize how great he is. Someone who I used to despise, but now, I wonder if there is anything I'm doing now would make him proud..."
Daey can sense that the mood has gotten a little heavy and that the reason he didn't mention the man's name is because he doesn't want to.
But that still doesn't keep her from asking,
"So where is this man now?"
Ubica sighs and says replies,
"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 Achille's 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 man are set originally in a bending manner. The reason for this is because when the knees are bent, it puts in 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. 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 allowed the energy emitted from it to propel to other side and send the whole thing flying.
Now off the cross, Achille's breathing becomes a little more consistent.
"Is there anyway 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, one with a big smile upon her excited face.
With the first words he's spoken in a long while, he says the name of the girl he considers to be his daughter.
"I think that might have been the worst offensive I've ever seen." Phoenix says with a slight laugh.
Rage comes in 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, "What 'you' don't understand is that I've been corrupted for a long time now. But it wasn't my own doing, I had the help of two people."
"What are you saying?"
"I'm saying that thanks to Ubica and God, I am no longer a slave to anyone's expectations."
"Ubica!? How does he have anything to do with what you are doing!?" Rage inquires loudly.
Phoenix smiles with his eyes when he says, "He has everything to do with it."
A cold sweat roles down Rage's temple, the Messiah has just committed a sin and he shows no sign of remorse in doing so. He is going to keep pounding him with questions but he is halted by the sight of a man appearing in the corner of his eye; he turns and spots Pontius standing there unscathed through the passing smoke and dust.
Phoenix sees the surprised look on Rage's face and turns to see what he's looking at.
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, "I don't get how that can happen! You should be evil!"
"I must say I am but only a man. A man of honor who has lived only for God's will."
"DON"T FUCK WITH ME!!!" Phoenix shouts as he slams his foot into the ground. "Then why did your right arm burn!?"
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... The reason it was so is because this was the arm that presented you to your true executioners. This was the only part of me that God allowed to become soiled, so in fact, I must thank you for ridding me of such a rotten thing."
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 cause the skin of Pontius to crisp.
Phoenix laughs aloud and frowns with a huge smile, "SO THIS IS WHAT TRUE ANGER FEELS LIKE!!!"
Ubica now sits alone by the little pond; Daey has left to head back in the group upon his request, it's not as though she was bothering him in anyway, it was just his way of keeping his past a secret by being alone.
Looking up at the stars he reminisces on how they made him feel even more motivated to fulfill his goals, the sight of stars is the closest thing to Heaven he can possibly get so just seeing them makes him feel like they are attainable.
But he knows these stars are different, Purgatory's stars are all artificial, unlike Earth where they represent places far away in the Universe, these are only bulbs of different colored light, just like the three moons. If one were to fly upwards and never stop, it would be an eternal ascent, the light of everything in the sky is absolutely unattainable. Other than the sight of them and the feelings they emit on the body they might as well not exist at all because their actual mass is technically not there.
"I wonder how he is doing... My opposite..." he says to himself with the Messiah in mind.
Little does he know, he was with him until only a month ago.
He can't help but wonder if the Messiah is in the process of another mission that would save countless souls. (That is what I want to do.) he thinks as a slight smile surfaces on his face.
But that smile fades when he ponders the unlikely situation that his tempting actually worked on the Anointed One.
This troubled feeling is quickly shrugged off when his smile grows full and he says to himself, "There's no way that would happen."
A voice comes from above the bank where he is laying, he looks up and sees Trojia standing there looking at him with saddened eyes.
"Trojia? What are you doing here? You should really be resting." he says as he readies to stand.
Trojia puts her hand out as if telling him to be at ease, he sits back down and looks at her curiously.
She answers his look by saying, "I am here to rest."
Now that she mentions it, he notices that she is holding a blanket.
"But it's not safe out here away from the rest of the group."
Ubica is under the mindset that she is tired of everyone's presence, just like him he tends to deal with his problems alone, though this can be considered a problem in and of itself.
Trojia glares at him and drops the blanket on the grass, after that she takes off her light cardigan so now all she is wearing is a little tank top, the last thing to go are her pants so she is almost completely in her undergarments. The glow of her white skin and her blond hair shines gracefully under the light of the moons, her perfect body shape can now be seen in almost all its glory.
She takes another step closer to him and softly says, "I want you to sleep with me."
Ubica is already blushing after watching her undress herself, but his whole body jolts when she said that.
His jaw falls and the only thing that comes out of his mouth is,
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