Dantega:Volume 4 Chapter 6
“Damn, we've been separated.” Cyrus quietly voices his displeasure whilst hiding in a bush in the middle of the jungle alongside Aria.
Due to their docked ship being attacked, the seven of them were forced to run off in three different directions.
“What should we do?” asks Aria.
Cyrus ponders for a couple moments and answers, “We should look for them, we have no clue where we are going otherwise.”
“This is bad, it’s so dark here that we could get lost pretty easily.”
Cyrus knows that is the case but they really don't have a choice; he can hear the voices of the other pirates and their footsteps seem to get closer to their position. If they stay much longer there is a high chance of a confrontation, so in order to avoid that they begin to move in a random direction.
Shuffling through the darkness, Aria twitches her eyebrow as if something has come to her mind.
“Hey I got an idea!”
“What is it?”
Aria grabs a melon like fruit from a tree and holds it in her hand, she walks until she finds an opening in the tree line and tosses it up.
The fruit explodes in a bright red light and shines much like a flare would.
“This should get their attention, they'll know it's us if they see it.”
Cyrus looks at her dejectedly and thinks that this is a terrible plan, there is a slim chance that Rage and the others were able to see it above the treeline. To make matters worse, it would more than likely bring unwanted attention to them, in his heart he really wishes that the pirates aren't foolish enough to move towards an explosion.
And sure enough, they are.
A silhouette of a group of six people are seen running towards them through the jungle.
Hissing at his predicament, Cyrus pulls out his thin long-sword and awaits the attack.
Once the pirates get there, they don't even say a word before they start attacking.
Two men with sabers rush at him and he ducks under one attack and blocks the other with his sword.
“Aria! You need to do something about the others, I can't handle all of them!”
She picks up a couple sticks off the ground and holds them out; the other four pirates stare at her quizzically and then burst into laughter. Their reaction is due to the fact that they all have guns, late 18th century handguns to be exact, they point it at her and simultaneously pull the trigger.
The three iron balls zoom towards her face, she drops the stick and as it falls it blows up directly towards the four men and sends both the bullets and their bodies flying violently through the jungle.
“I knew it! I can control it now!!” Aria says excitedly.
She can now maneuver the size and angle of her explosions, with an ability like this she is virtually unstoppable.
The two men who are clashing with Cyrus stare at her in shock, and in that moment of distraction they are cut down by the sword of the Eiyalazonian guard.
“I think it's best we get moving, we either have to hope we bump into them or we need to find somewhere safe to stay for the night.”
“Ahhh man fine, let's just hope we don't run into more of these guys on the way. It's a killing spree out here.”
“Just like them, we need to do whatever it takes to survive and reach the Gate.”
“Wow Phoenix you're amazing!” Xavier exclaims in awe.
He has been watching Phoenix easily defeat a countless number of gun bearing pirates.
To Xavier, Phoenix is just his religious adviser and a normal priest, the fact that he can do all of these incredible things still hasn't hit home with him yet.
“No need for flattery.”
“But really, how long have you been able to do these things?”
Phoenix slightly laughs and puts his hand on his chin in wonder, “Hmmm, it's been a while.”
“Oh come on, be more specific.” the young Prince urges.
Answering with complete honesty, Phoenix replies, “Over a thousand years.”
The young Prince is gravely disappointed, and one can see it on his face. “I’m being serious, I’d really like to know.”
Phoenix can only laugh at this, he has just told the truth.
He has been able to fight with the weight of his words since the Apocalypse a thousand years earlier, his ability to control flame has come during that time frame as well when he was given the power by a certain Angel.
Xavier has no idea who Phoenix really is.
“Well then, we ought to get going so more people don't come.” Phoenix changes the subject while walking away from the scene of his triumph.
“Where are we going?”
“To the Gate, obviously.”
“But doesn't Rage have the map? How can we get there if we don't know where it is?”
Phoenix keeps walking. “Don't worry about that, I know exactly where it is.”
Surprised, Xavier wants to ask how but Phoenix answers his question before he could finish.
“The person guarding it is someone I know very well. So I'd like to meet him before everyone else. In a way, he’s guiding me to him.”
The way he explains this makes it sound like he was expecting this situation to unfold right from the beginning. But this feeling flies over the head of Xavier, who just agrees with him and readily follows the Priest into the darkness of the jungle.
Rage is carrying an injured Sora while walking alongside a distraught Niera.
The three walk in silence and only the shoddy breathing of the injured guard is heard. Each breath causes Niera's anxiety to rise tenfold, she feels that this is all her fault because she didn't predict this outcome.
The amount of guilt she is putting on herself is causing her to melt down mentally.
“I've managed to slow down the bleeding a little, but you're still not out of the clearing yet. We need to get to Phoenix, I know he can't heal the way he used to but there is certainly something he could do.”
Rage said that and quickly realizes he is more than likely talking to himself, Sora wouldn't respond with more than one word even if she could and Niera is so deep in her own thoughts that she can't speak.
He doesn't need them to respond really, he just wanted to tell them what the plan was.
Whether it puts them at ease or on edge is up to their perspective, in this situation the chances are it's the latter of the two. Finding Phoenix in the dark of this large jungle island is like finding a needle in a haystack, adding to the low odds is the fact that they are on a strict time limit due to Sora's health.
Rage tut tuts and continues walking through the jungle until he hears the horrified screams of what seems to be hundreds of men. This sound catches him off guard cause he wasn't expecting it one bit, other than the occasional battle cry followed by a gunshot there hasn't been anything sounding quite like this. This is the kind of sound only a demon could create, and he immediately gets a sickening feeling in his stomach.
“What in the world is going on over there?”
The screams continue and Rage is overcome with curiosity, he lets Sora to the ground and leans her up against the tree.
He then turns to Niera and says, “You two need to stay here for a moment, keep an eye on Sora while I'm gone.”
Niera doesn't respond but he knows she had heard him so he leaves the two behind.
Walking toward the source of the gurgled screams he becomes a little nervous. He doesn't know why, he knows that some of these pirates should have abilities because they are 'aware', it's just that he knows none of them would be strong enough that they would emit such an overbearing sensation of death.
He reaches a clearing in the jungle and sees a sight straight out of Hell, body parts scatter the grassy clearing, so much so that he can't distinguish just how many people they belong to.
In the middle of this carnage is a beast, it is a massive black dog with three heads, and it is covered with the blood of humans as it sloppily tears apart its victims and eats them as though they were a snack.
Rage knows exactly who this monster is, its name is Cerberus and for thousands of years it has been the guardian of the 4th Gate of Hell. This is a ferocious beast that will not hesitate to devour anything in its path, and this beast turns one of its heads toward Rage and looks him square in the eye.
This is the perfect signal to flee.
Rage quickly turns around to run and Cerberus gives chase without a moment's hesitation.
Rage reaches Sora and picks her up over his shoulder, he holds his scythe out and it stands on its own.
He then grabs Niera's arm and shouts, “Hang on to me with all you have!!!”
Without an explanation, Niera is confused as to why he is doing this but seeing the urgency in his face she obliges without question.
A black cloud rises from under Rage's scythe and it spreads to below his feet, they begin to float in the air and once at a certain height, he feels that this is about all the time he has before he has to flee before it’s too late.
Turns out that this gut feeling is spot on because behind him the sound of trees falling violently moves closer and closer, and then out of the brush comes Cerberus with its mouths wide open for attack.
The cloud they are standing on narrowly avoids a fatal bite and zooms through the jungle at a ridiculous speed.
If Niera of Sora were standing on the cloud with their own feet there is no doubt they'd be thrown off and seriously injured. Thanks to Rage's body being one with the cloud he can stay balanced atop such an object and hold on to them to keep them safe.
Even moving at such a speed, they are barely avoiding being devoured by Cerberus who is crashing through trees and overhanging branches as if they were twigs. This monster that looks so clumsy and big is moving with such agility it's frightening, just one miscalculation in the trees for Rage on his cloud and the three will be doomed.
This chase is as loud and hectic as can be and the pirates who happen to be walking by are caught in their path and trampled by Cerberus or crushed by the trees and debris it sends flying with each step.
The speeds in which the two are moving cause the sight of Rage on his cloud to feel like a blur, and Cerberus following it is like a giant black ball rolling downhill.
“What is that thing!?” Niera asks while looking back at this fast moving beast giving chase to them.
“Its name is Cerberus, it's a demon from Hell.” Rage calmly replies as if this anomalous monster is a normal occurrence.
“Then what is it doing here!?”
“I don't know, I haven't seen that thing for years. And I've never seen it outside of Hell before.”
Niera shuts her eyes in fear and throws her head into his shoulder; Sora is just glaring at it giving chase with no expression change as usual. However, it's not as though she isn't afraid, she is absolutely terrified about being eaten alive by such a beast, she can't help but think that all hope is lost for her.
Especially when she hears one of the voices of Cerberus speak excitedly, “The woman on Rage's shoulder! It's you! The delicious smelling blood from earlier is coming from you!”
“Shit!” Rage hisses.
Cerberus is blinded by the thirst for Sora's blood, which means it has lost control of itself and will stop at nothing to eat her.
“Is that thing targeting Sora!?” Niera asks as if Sora wasn't right there to hear such a frightening possibility.
“It looks like it, once that monster finds a target it wants it loses all control of itself.”
Niera keeps pounding Rage with questions, but each one is progressively more panicked.
“So how do we make it stop!?”
He hates to say this but he answers truthfully, “We can't... there is no way it will change its mindset on Sora.”
The two stay in silence and Sora's feeling of uneasiness grows, she has become a burden and there is nothing she can do about it. But these thoughts are quickly interrupted by an unknown voice speaking from up ahead.
“That is, unless I do something about it.”
Sora is unable to turn around due to her position on Rage's shoulder which is causing her to look straight into the teeth of Cerberus.
For an odd reason this person's voice was spoken with such confidence that it actually gave her some kind of hope, but she finds that feeling is all for naught when Rage says the voice's name in shock,
The red haired man standing in front of them has a swirling vortex of distortion in front of him and Rage is about to make a head on collision with it. He quickly halts his cloud but it is too late, the momentum in which they were moving makes stopping before making contact with this distortion impossible. So as a last ditch effort he spreads his black cloud in front of them so it is that which makes contact first, and as a result the cloud distorts and explodes sending the three of them flying off in three different directions.
Rage lands into a pile of closely grown trees and tears them apart upon impact because he was the one who took the brunt of the initial attack.
Coughing up a little blood he grits his teeth while scouring the area to find that Niera and Sora aren't anywhere near him; he immediately gets the feeling that one of them will die unless he reaches them soon.
He uses his scythe to help himself stand to his feet and begins to run, that is until he is hit from behind by a swirling vortex of distortion and is sent flying in a twirling motion face first into a thick tree.
“Where do you think you're going? It’s been a long time since we last had a chat, how about we catch up?”
Rage wipes the dripping blood falling from his forehead and over his eyes before glaring at the demon in front of him.
Amon, the 4h ranked Demon of the Hierarchy and the one who represents the sin of 'Wrath' is walking towards him.
Rage understands how bad of a situation he and the others are in, so much so that barring a miracle, he feels there is no way all of them will survive this battle.
Niera happened to land in a creek and has no apparent injuries, she has completely lucked out, especially when she looks to the left and right of her and sees jagged rocks and sharp poisonous looking plants she could have landed on instead. Once out of the water she looks around for any sign of Rage and Sora, and when she doesn't see them anywhere she starts to think that they are seriously injured or may have even been killed.
This makes her increasingly nervous so she starts to shout their names.
She gets no reply.
She keeps calling and calling and still no answer, she begins to panic before remembering that she could perhaps just predict where they are. Having been filled with hope, she attempts to use her new found ability and shuts her eyes to await a vision.
At first she is very confident that this will work, but when nothing happens for a few seconds, her heart starts to beat wildly in angst. Then, to her worst fears, before she even got an image in her head the voices of a few men are heard coming closer.
“This way! I heard a woman’s voice over here I swear!”
“There really wouldn't be a woman alone on this island would there??”
“Shouldn't be, but I swear I heard it. If there is, just think about how great that'd be on a lawless island like this, she'd be fair game.”
Niera's shoulders jump, and she shoddily backs into a tree in a stiff shock.
Perhaps the worst possible outcome has fallen upon her, she is powerless and alone in a dark forest with blood thirsty pirates closing in on her position. She puts her hands over her ears and drops to a squatting position, begging to herself,
“S-Somebody... please help.”
Landing extremely hard on the ground, Sora's wound reopens and she again begins to bleed profusely, still trying to catch air in her lungs she slowly opens her fuzzy eyes.
She finds herself in an open field tattered with rocks, when she attempts to get to her feet she is stunned with a pain in her stomach so bad she drops straight back to the ground.
Moving her head from side to side she tries to see if Rage or Niera are around, the royal guard finds that there is no one in sight and this makes her wonder just how far she flew away from her original position.
While thinking things like this, she feels a warm breeze of air flow over her head from behind her; she finds this odd and doesn't think much of it until she feels it again, this time accompanied by a deep sounding grunt.
This sound causes her face to turn blue because she recognizes the tone of this grunt, looking back as far as she can from her body's position on the ground, she sees what she feels to be her certain death staring at her square in the face.
Cerberus is standing over her chomping at the bit for the taste of her blood.
Sora is completely defenseless.
Barring the miracle that Rage was reluctantly wishing for, she will be devoured in mere moments.
“Jeez this is getting really repetitive, every few minutes we run into pirates and have to fight them. We're seriously not making any progress towards finding the others.” said an annoyed Aria.
“I don't want to say this is hopeless, but this is definitely close to impossible.” Cyrus replied.
“When you say it like that, it sounds like you’re saying it’s hopeless!”
“Well I'm not much of an optimist.”
“Doesn't mean you have to be so negative, we'll find them. It's just a matter of time.”
“I sure hope so...”
The way Cyrus said that signified just how worried he actually is, he is separated from the one person he is supposed to be protecting and has no clue whether she is safe or not. All he can do is walk blindly in the jungle and hope they stumble onto the others.
After walking for a few minutes the hope they were so desperately clasping to become non-existent and they really feel like this is completely pointless, frustration begins to take root deep within their chests as each step feels more useless than the last.
That is until they spot a few pirates running past them saying, “We're almost there!”
Cyrus and Aria hide behind a tree and watch them run rather fast down a small hill and disappear into the jungle.
“Where do you think they're going? It looks like it's pretty urgent.” Aria asks while thinking to herself.
The two of them ponder this for a moment and then they both jump to the same conclusion and simultaneously say,
Thinking about it, everyone on this island is searching for the Gate so it's only logical that they'd assume that these certain pirates rushing to a specific location would have found it.
“Let's follow them!” Cyrus shouts as he takes off down the hill in pursuit.
The two chase after them, but quickly lose sight of the three men in the dense jungle.
Feeling as though they had lost them for good, they are relieved to once again get a grasp on their position when they clearly hear the pirate’s voices just out in the distance.
“Hey hey well look what we have here, I knew this is what we'd find.”
“Hahaha damn how lucky are we?”
Aria and Cyrus sneak around toward the voices without making much of a noise at all, from what the pirates are talking about they truly think that they have stumbled upon the second Gate.
Once they get closer they find that not to be the case, the three men are crowded around someone who is leaning against a tree.
“Why don't you come with us for a bit?”
One of the men asked while pulling out his gun and pointing it at the person.
Cyrus and Aria can't see who they are crowded around because the men’s bodies are blocking their view. Not knowing and not really caring what goes on between pirates, the two prepare to leave when the voice of the person surrounded is heard saying,
“I-I don't want to...”
They instantly recognize this girl's voice and it causes their hearts to skip a beat.
“Niera!?” The two shout loudly
This gets the pirates attention.
The three men move away to look and the view of Niera crouched up against a tree can be seen, her face is full of fear and this throws Cyrus into a rage. Seeing the person his job is to protect looking so frightened has gotten his blood boiling, he knows exactly what those pirates were going to do to her if he hadn't been there at that exact moment.
He rushes the men and they look at him like he's crazy, they have pistols and rifles and he has a mere sword. Knowing that Cyrus is at a distinct disadvantage, Aria decides to do something.
She picks up a rock off the ground and shouts, “Cyrus close your eyes!”
Not needing an explanation, Cyrus continues his run and shuts his eyes; right after he does, a flash bomb explodes and makes vision for the three men impossible.
Not having a clue what is going on the three men randomly fire their weapons, one of the bullets grazes Cyrus' shoulder but that doesn't stop him. He opens his eyes and can see just fine.
His targets are still stunned and are only a couple feet away from him, with a simple slash of his sword the three of them are slain and Niera is safe.
“Are you okay Princess!?”
Trying to hold her tears back, Niera faintly smiles and replies, “You guys found me... thank goodness.”
Aria comes rushing up to her, she is very happy that her friend is okay but there are still others she is worried about.
So instead of beating around the bush she asks, “Where is everyone else?? Is Sora okay?”
The tears Niera was holding back come streaming out of her eyes, her voice cracks when she tries to explain, “Sora is... Sora is hurt... she really needs help.”
“What!? Where is she?”
“I-I don't know...”
Aria frowns and shouts, “Damn it!”
She then picks Niera up to her feet and yells,
“We shouldn't be waiting around here then! Let's go find her!”
Xavier and Phoenix Navara are walking through the jungle without much action at all, in fact, there hasn't been a single encounter with anyone thus far. The gunshots and screams that were heard earlier are now so distant it's as though there is no danger at all in this walk.
They enter a clearing and reach an environment that looks completely different from what they have been experiencing this whole time. It is a sheer limestone cliff about 50 meters high, and coming from the top of that cliff is a beautiful plunge waterfall that falls all the way to a large waking pond. In the middle of this small lake there are stone steps that lead all the way into the middle of the waterfall, and looking closely one can see that there are two large pillars that are made up of diamonds.
“What is this place Phoenix?”
Phoenix walks up to the lake, turns around and replies, “It's the Second Purgatory Gate.”
“Eh?? This is really it!?”
“Incredible, what do we do now? We're going to wait for the others right?”
“I don't know about that, I'm sure they'll find their way here eventually... It's just a matter of whether we cross and end up somewhere random or not. If it's a set spot then there is no point in waiting.”
“But don't you think that's a little unfair? I mean, we all went through the same troubles to get here, leaving them behind just feels... off.”
Phoenix ignores the prince and walks onto the water towards the steps, reaching the first step he senses that something is odd about this Gate.
He walks on the first step and realizes something,
“He's not here...”
Before Xavier could ask what he means, Phoenix says,
“The Gatekeeper is not here, we have a free ticket to pass through this Gate.”
Seeing the disappointed look on Phoenix's face, Xavier can't help but ask, “Then why don't you look happy about it?”
Phoenix sighs and answers, “The Gatekeeper... I could feel him from the moment we stepped foot on this island, he's a friend of mine who I haven't seen for many years. And I was really hoping to see him.”
“Man you are really out of shape, Rage, I don't remember you being so weak.” said Amon mockingly as he stands over a downed Rage.
Rage is coughing up blood and looks really beat up, he is breathing hard as he attempts to stand.
“You know I am not defeated just yet.”
“What makes you think I know that? Are you holding back on me for some reason? Come on now that's just being stupid, if you're worried about collateral damage I recommend you forget it.”
Amon is dead on in this assessment, Rage is worried about dragging Niera and Sora into one of his attacks. He doesn't know how close they are or even if they are safe for that matter but he thinks it'll be too risky to lay out a full scale attack with that possibility still out there.
Amon laughs a little and points his index finger up. “I'm sure they are both dead by now, with a hungry Cerberus searching for them there is nowhere to run. It's impossible to escape that monster's nose.”
Rage grits his teeth and shoddily stands to his feet, what Amon says is true, and now that he thinks about it Cerberus was in a frenzy trying to eat Sora. There is no doubt that she is its first target; all he can do is hope for the best and try to end this battle as soon as possible. Even though he says this to himself, he truly doesn't feel that there is any way to reach a successful outcome.
Amon is not an enemy that can just be blown over, and Cerberus is a beast that no regular human has a fighting chance against.
Rage scowls at this disposition and decides to try to attack with all his might anyhow, the black cloud surrounds his scythe and he points it at Amon. With that, he rushes towards his enemy to start this full fledged battle to the death.
Cerberus is breathing impatiently over Sora, it's like the beast is deciding which head it wants to chew her with.
Sora is looking up at it and is waiting for the moment where she is taken away by one of its mouths, this anxiety is truly heart wrenching and if she could she'd be crying right about now.
While waiting for such a moment, in a perfect cliché, her life flashes before her eyes.
She remembers everything that has made a lasting impression on her...
It all started on her seventh birthday when her parents sent her off to a school that specifically trains children to become military men and women. Which is somewhat odd because her parents weren't involved with the military in any way, her father was an architect and her mom a school teacher. It's not as though Sora should have been considered a problem child, her only fault was that she had a lot of energy and was always hyper, so normal schooling never suited her.
Even her mother couldn't quite get a handle on her.
So with two other children needed to be raised, Sora's parents sent her off to the academy in hopes she'd come back a mature and prestigious person prepared for a lucrative career within La’Juune’s militarized society.
When Sora entered the academy she had no friends, that is until she was moved into the barracks and met a roommate who slept on the upper bunk above her. She was a black girl and her name was Olga Avandale.
They immediately hit it off because they both had a loud and energetic type of personality.
Throughout the two years of knowing each other their bonds grew deeper, and eventually, Sora was introduced to another friend, his name was Haas Avandale and he was the older brother of Olga.
The three of them were inseparable, until another two years later on the day the capital city of La'Juune was invaded by Troy and Eiyalazo.
The three were no older than twelve when this happened, but due to the dire situation, everyone in the military schools no matter what age were called to arms.
Sora, Haas, and Olga, were ordered to fight head on with hardened military men.
Every child aged from seven to fourteen was fighting for their lives and their country in a battle that would go down in modern history as the biggest and most crucial of all time.
Naturally, most of these students were easily killed and did little to no damage to the opposing armies, but some thrived and showed skills that even they didn't know they had.
Three of those amazing children were best friends, they were better than half of the veteran La'Juutian soldiers on the front line. They were able to deal far more damage to the invading forces because they were so small they could fly under the radar and take out opposing soldiers from behind enemy lines.
The battle raged on like this until the La'Juutian army was pushed back into the city, once there the remaining soldiers along with the three friends prepared to defend the city walls with all they had. That is when the news of their Commanding General's death reached them, panic ensued throughout the final line of defense, and dismay began spreading like wildfire.
The young Olga joins in this panic as she says, “Now we have no chance to win! I-I got to go find my parents!”
Sora is also worried about her parents but she feels that the best way to protect them is to keep the armies of Troy and Eiyalazo from entering the city. She bites her lip and tries to remain resolute when she replies, “We need to stay here, our parents will be fine.”
Olga looks at her dejectedly and turns to Haas. “What about you Haas!? Aren't you worried? We are just kids, I don't want to die here before I get a chance to live my life!”
Haas shows the same reaction as Sora and pretty much says the same thing, “Mom and Dad would want us to fight for La'Juune, that's why they sent us to the academy in the first place... I can't disgrace them by leaving now.”
Olga frowns and vehemently disagrees with them, in a situation like this her instincts take over and her legs move themselves.
This time they are not moving along with her two best friends, but rather, they are moving away from them and the front line.
The two prepare to talk her into staying but they are interrupted by the sound of hundreds of men shouting,
Haas and Sora turn around and look up to the sky to see thousands of arrows falling toward them.
The first wave of the attack starts with taking out as many soldiers as possible with an aerial strike. It is a textbook invasion process that is followed by catapult mortar strikes to weaken the wall, and then a full frontal rush at the damaged wall to break through and enter the city.
A couple La'Juutian soldiers push Haas and Sora to the ground and cover them with large shields, these shields are normally only enough to cover one person, but since their size they were easily protected.
The sound of the arrows hitting the shields and the stone of the walls hurt their ears, but the fear of this situation is directed toward the area in which Olga went running.
She had no chance of escaping the arrows and within an instant there are three arrows protruding from her neck, stomach and leg.
Sora is forced to watch the blood of her best friend spill and Haas is forced to watch his only little sister die a horrible death.
Soon after this, Napoleon takes control of the La'Juutian army and reorganizes strategic defensive positions, and the Capital city, along with the entire country is saved from destruction.
The two live through the battle but at a terrible cost, not only did Haas lose his sister, his parents died fighting as volunteers on the front-line. Sora lost one of her brothers and her father lost an arm.
This battle changed the two forever and the happiness of the past seemed to fade away, the two graduated from the academy at fourteen and immediately after, they joined the upscale and secretive Dravic branch of the military.
The Dravic branch specializes in creating robotic-like soldiers.
Haas and Sora were no exception, they graduated that phase of their lives at eighteen and their lives as youths were officially over.
The two rarely saw each other again and even when they did, they were physically unable to speak anything significant to one another.
Now, at 21 years of age, Sora is reminiscing about that tragic past as death grows ever closer to her; she finally realizes that she regrets how things went in her life and would do anything now to change it. She regrets how once she got out of the academy all relations with her family were pretty much dropped, and once out of the Dravic branch it was like they were complete strangers.
She wonders what her family is doing now and what they truly think of her.
Are they disappointed in the way she turned out?
She wouldn't have any idea because she hasn't talked to them since she was accepted as a royal guard immediately after completing her training in the Dravic branch.
She hopes that they are all well and wonders if her remaining brother has married the girl he was dating before she left, or if her parents still live in the family home she remembers spending her early years in.
These are things she'll never know and it finally begins to show on her face, her eyebrows move closer together and her nose flares a little. Her eyes start to water and tears fall down her face, she reveals a look that she hasn't shown since Olga died, and she cries and weeps as she looks up at Cerberus.
Cerberus seems to enjoy this and the child's voice speaks to her, “Hahaha your emotions will make you taste better! Cry for me more! Cry!!”
Sora's tears still fall even though Cerberus is cheering it on, all the emotion she has shut away for so long is finally being released and the burden of regret she carried finally breaks through the robotic expression that was implanted into her by years of severe training.
Through her cracked voice she speaks in a tone that doesn't even hint at how much she trained to eliminate her emotions.
“Are you going to beg me for your life!?” the male voice of Cerberus asks in absolute enjoyment.
Sora knows she is about to die, but she wants to show herself she can say that she wants to live with the voice she hid away for so long.
At the top of her lungs she screams,
“I don't want to die!!!!”
Her words are like a signal for Cerberus to attack, and its middle head violently drops to eat her alive.
Sora slams her eyes shut.
She hasn't felt any pain yet and it makes her think that she has died so quickly that the pain never got a chance to settle in.
Something is odd about this though, she doesn't feel any different from before and her mind begins to wonder just what is going on.
She opens her eyes and looks up, only to see the night sky through the canopy of trees.
The area where Cerberus once occupied is empty and it causes her to become very confused.
She looks around but can only see a limited amount around her because of her injury, the pain from her stomach is still there so she knows she is somehow alive.
“What's going on?” she asks herself, fully not expecting an answer.
But sure enough, one came...
“It looked like you were caught in quite the pinch there, I'm glad I could help.”
Sora shifts her eyes towards the source of the voice and sees a man shining in a golden light. He has longish blond hair and teal eyes. This man really gives off a vibe of immense grace, his white outfit looks like an angel's robe.
To her, this man has to be an angel.
And to prove that assumption correct, he walks to Sora and leans down.
He takes one glance at the wound on her stomach and smiles, he then takes his hand and rests it on the wound.
All of the sudden the pain dissipates and the hole in her abdomen heals back into the form of her smooth fair skin.
The energy lost flows back into her and she is able to stand once more, she gets up quickly and looks the man in the eye. She then notices that he isn't looking at her, instead his attention is on something from behind.
She turns as well and sees Cerberus struggling to get up, blood flows from the middle head's mouth and this time one could tell that it isn't the blood of someone else.
The beast reaches its feet and with its six eyes it glares at its attacker.
“You... who the fuck are you!?”
The man smiles and ignores his question by saying, “I knew I sensed a Demon," the man then sighs. "It seems you aren't the only one either.”
The man's face turns serious and he starts to walk toward Cerberus.
Sora is drawn to his aura and can't help but ask the same question the Demon had just asked a moment earlier,
“Who are you..?” The man turns around and smiles in reply, “My name's Michael.”
Cerberus' hair rises up and all three heads gnarl their teeth, the man's voice rises loudly when it inquires,
“The Archangel Michael!?”
The man named Michael frowns at the beast and simply answers,
One Step Behind: (END)
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