Dantega:Volume 3 Chapter 6
Belphegor sighs and continues to tend to his wound, he is pretty pale and it would seem as though him sending the group to his soul storage facility has expended a lot of his energy. After getting himself out of the embedded lie he was once in, he falls to the floor and leans on the wall of the crater and relaxes.
"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 in there, not even you Rage."
He sits there and laughs softly to himself until he sees a shadow being cast by something blocking the sun form over his head and to the front of him.
The person who made this shadow floats softly to the ground and lands in front of him. 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. This person 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 with a confident voice, "I was."
"I'd never let myself to be sent somewhere against my will, it's as simple as that."
Belphegor is in a weakened state at the moment and he cannot fight very well if it came down to it, a perfect example of his strength level would be that of a normal human.
Knowing that, Belphegor has to play it out like 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 at this moment? So what is it priest, 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 and doesn't answer his question.
Belphegor thinks nothing of him and keeps speaking, "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?"
Belphegor finds his persistence to be annoying and spits when he answers, "Not gonna happen."
"Where is everybody?" asks Niera when she wakes 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 she starts to explore.
Out in the distance she spots a couple plumes of smoke that rise into the air, she decides to head 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 he 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 downed man 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 heaviness coming from them, a heaviness she feels 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? Doesn't it 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 buddy. I'm stuck on 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 face is serious and he even looks 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 harder 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 and speaks with a frown and a smile.
"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 continues his smile and pushes his bible so close it is touching Belphegor's forehead. This kind of thing should be impossible, the fact that the Book of God is making direct contact with one of the Seven Demons of Hell should be noted down in the history books as one of the most incredible occurrences of all time.
"GRRRAAAGGGCCKKK!!! THIS SHOULD'NT BE POSSIBLE!!"
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 large until it looks like a ten foot high and ten foot wide square.
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 his 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 to a person who is no longer there, "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 as planned." says 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.
"Huh?" 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 and she ends up running into his back and is propelled to the ground.
"Owww..." she groans as she looks up and finds a scene that is far from what she was expecting. "Eh? We're back??"
They had all came rushing out of the box 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, "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?" asks 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 and he asks, "How did you avoid being dragged in with us?"
Phoenix shrugs his shoulders and replies, "I guess I'm lucky."
Rage clicks his tongue and is starting to really doubt who Phoenix truly is as a person because he knows that he's hiding something. He fights his urge to query any further and says, "Well then, if that's the case then 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! Man 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 that?) 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 then, 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? Have I been found out?) 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.
After traveling for the remainder of the day, they finally stop to rest by a river in a group of trees. The three girls all go to the three foot deep river to bathe and wash away the troubles of the day.
"So that all happened while I was asleep huh?" asks Niera when she is told the details of the battle.
Aria starts swimming around in the water merrily and says, "Yeah, you didn't miss anything that you'd have wanted to see."
"I guess that's good... I'm just happy that everyone ended up unharmed." Niera's lips faintly rise and she lays back on a rock in the crystal clear water.
Sora breaks the mood and said something far from the content of the current conversation.
She has her arms crossed around her chest making her breasts look larger than they already are, it is obvious that she is cold because of the water but Aria and Niera become insecure at this sight.
They look down at their chests with diminutive eyes and feel self pity at their bust size, though Niera's are very small and Aria's are average, they both pail in comparison to Sora's.
"Just because you're cold doesn't mean you have to show off!" Aria shouts.
Sora tilts her head and asks, "... What..?"
Niera grabs her chest and looks weary when she shyly says, "At least mine are around the same size as Daey's. But yours and Tsubiri's are just unfair."
It would seem that this has been in the back of her mind for a while, when the entire group was together she noticed that Tsubiri and Sora are around the same size.
Sora is really confused as to what they are talking about, she wants to ask if she had said something wrong when she was complaining that the river water was a tad bit brisk. Little does she know that they are consumed with jealousy at her bust size, it's a shame that she can't convey theses feelings to them because her constant straight face is giving them the impression that she is bragging somehow.
"Um... If you feel too cold you should get out and dry off, you don't want to get sick like Ubica did." said Niera.
This brings back some memories and Aria holds her chin, "Oh yeah! I haven't thought about that guy in a while."
Niera twiddles her fingers and has a red face, "I hope he's alright..."
She never got a chance to talk to him after he woke up back at the scene of the abyss, so she does not know if he has recovered fully yet. Of course this is also the same to the rest of their group's well being also.
"Oh? That sounded like you have a little crush on him." Aria grabs her around her shoulders and begins to mess with her hair.
Niera flails her arms in the water and nervously retorts, "N-No that's not it! I just... I just."
Aria stops her assault and teasingly smiles, "Think he's cute?"
Niera is flushed and she looks away, a quiet nimble voice comes from her mouth, "Y-Yeah..."
"Hahaha you don't need to be so shy about it, I thought the same thing too. I never talked to the guy once though."
"H-He's really kind."
Aria giggles and sighs, "It's a bummer that he didn't end up in our group huh?"
Niera looks a little sad when she reveals a strained smile. "Yeah, but there are others that definitely feel much more strongly about that than I do."
"You mean your sister?"
"Yes, and Trojia too... Even if he were here I could never get in the way of my sister and my best friend."
Aria looks at her in a way that shows sympathy, she shoves her and says, "So Trojia's your best friend eh? What does that make me!?"
"Uaahhh, N-No you're really important to me too!"
They wrestle around a little and Aria starts to laugh, eventually she realizes that they have left Sora out of the conversation. "So what do you think about all this Sora? Do you think that guy's cute too?"
Sora just stares at her, she is still completely confused as to why her saying that she was cold is molding into something so off topic.
She folds her arms over her chest even tighter than before making it look much bigger, it would seem that she is angry and she gets up out of the river and says, "...Cold..."
She grabs her towel and walks away. She remembers why she hates to talk, the one time she tries to strike up a conversation it ends up like this.
Aria is still clasping to Niera and she considers what had just happened and when she thinks about it, she comes to the conclusion that there is no way Sora would be interested in such a thing.
She shrugs her shoulders and blows it off when she says, "That was a dumb question."
Belphegor sits on a large velvet chair, he is breathing hard and his wounds from the earlier battle are still apparent.
"Damn that priest... Who would've thought that he is----"
"I never woulda thought that one of the Seven Demons of Hell would get whooped so bad."
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 you're 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, it is you who does not Belphegor. 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 the back rest of his chair and answers Belphegor's question with a menacing whisper,
"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?"
"I don't think it'd matter if I did or not."
"I won't do anything unless I know for sure that he agreed to it."
Damien smiles and replies sternly, "You don't have a choice."
He snaps his finger and in an instant they are in an endless room with a checkered white and black marble floor, the windows of this eternal place are all leading to something so black it seems that someone had put a drape over all of them.
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 finished 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. But that feeling is to the contrary of his actual condition, this would seem to be a one sided fight that is similar to kicking a man while he's down.
With one final sigh, Belphegor states something that gives him just a little more motivation to win this fight at all costs. "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 a 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 mid day 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?" asks Cyrus. He knows that they are ahead of schedule and that they were close a week ago so it has to mean that they are 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 celebrating in a way.
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 says as he jogs past.
Rage follows him and asks, "What's the rush?"
Phoenix turns and smiles while he starts to jog faster. "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 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 cracks 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 one hundred meters wide, the arch is engraved in gold and numerous different colored diamonds. The stone is painted with the design of angels and their children depicting a glorious image of Heaven.
"So this is it huh?" Rage asks in a manner that is opposite of awe, it almost seems that he is completely disinterested.
Phoenix starts to walk toward the white light that sits 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 as if saying, 'Whatever.'
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, he looks around anxiously and is wearing a serious face.
"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 the 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.
From behind him comes Rage who is running on the stone pathway that leads to the Gate.
"Phoenix! Get away from him!"
Phoenix shrugs his shoulders and takes a few steps back, Rage makes it to him and looks at the man who had just appeared.
Rage looks surprised and says, "Is that?---"
He is swiftly interrupted by Phoenix who is frowning and smiling and the same time causing him to look cynical. "Pontius Pilate."
"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 to do something as cowardly as that."
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 the length of the cliff appears 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 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, it is very difficult to tell his emotional state because of his eyes, it looks more like his expression belongs in a statue.
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 in their own pace and left him behind in the dust.
"That's right... I know exactly who you are."
Pontius holds out his hand, as if he is announcing something to the audience of crucifixion victims, he says rather loudly...
"BEHOLD THE MAN."
These words send shock-waves down Rage's spine, he now knows the secret that the mysterious Phoenix has been hiding.
"Impossible." he says, he is stunned as he looks to Phoenix's back.
Phoenix walks to Pontius but speaks to Rage, "Let me handle this one, 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 says to himself and mutters the identity of the priest.
"I-It's you... The Messiah."
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