Dantega:Volume 6 Chapter 7
Chapter 59: The Death of One Beast and the Birth of Another
Messor has just finished her conversation with Damien and puts the locket back in the front pocket of her tight jean shorts.
She sighs and has a genuine expression of worry when she quietly says to herself, “...How could I have let this happen?”
She looks towards the Gate and stands in its light while thinking.
Above the bright white shine of the door is a multicolored church style window pane with the image of Lilith on it. She’s standing in a garden and a figure of Adam is on his knees groveling to her; and next to him is a little ball of light at her feet that is supposed to represent the form of God.
This piece of art truly signifies what Lilith believed to be her triumph over man and the world of God. It’s too bad that she has just been so easily taken out by a person that holds no biblical significance.
With the circumstances of the model cast aside, the beauty of the piece really is quite amazing. The way the setting desert sun above shines through the massive stained glass window gives the dark floor of this very large room a extravagant glow. It’s almost mesmerizing to stand under the multicolored light just before the entrance to the Gate.
But Messor stands here without much regard to the beautiful colors, she's in a state of deep thought with her mind racing a million miles a second. She simply doesn't know what to do next, she can't just believe Damien that easily, but the thought that what he said is true, is steadily giving rise to a terrible squeezing in her chest.
Stuck in a zoned out state, her racing mind takes a sharp turn in a different direction and crashes into a brick wall when a man's voice comes from the darkness away from the light of the window behind her saying,
“Well well, was that a scheme with the enemy I just happened to overhear?”
Messor quickly turns around and sees that the voice came from a certain priest named Phoenix.
“You?? Where are the others?”
“Let’s not worry about them... What I want to know is what you have planned with Damien, something about the 4th Gate was it?”
Messory frowns and replies through her teeth, “Like I’m going to give you any kind of explanation, I’d be better off just killing you to keep your mouth shut.”
“No need to get violent. Though I would expect nothing less from the False Prophet.”
“You look surprised, but you see, I’ve known your secret for a while now.”
Messor immediately gets defensive and guards herself with about a dozen black butterflies. If Phoenix tries anything funny, he’ll be blown to pieces before she enters the 4th level.
“Who are you?” she asks suspiciously.
“I guess we’ve never really talked before, but it still amazes me that both you and Ubica have yet to recognize me. Especially after everything the two of you have done to my people.”
“Just answer the damn question!”
Phoenix takes a couple steps forward and points at his face with his index finger. “Imagine me with a full beard and black hair... I want you to really think about it.”
Messor’s shoulders jolt and a revealing flashback zooms over his figure and registers itself in the back of her memory. Looking at him closely, she remembers him in the suite of a large building.
At that time, Phoenix was the one who declared war on her and Ubica under the name of God. This man standing in front of her is Jesus Christ. She’s amazed that she hasn’t realized it before now, all sorts of questions roll through her head as to why and how he’s here and what his motives are.
“Good, you seem to remember.” Phoenix says with a slight smile, “So once again, I humbly ask you what it is you’re planning with Damien?”
“Tch, did you think that if you just miraculously reveal yourself that I’d open my mouth to you? Think again, I have an even bigger reason not to tell you now.”
Phoenix’s smile disappears and he sighs loudly, drooping his shoulders in the process. “I should have known that you’d be difficult with me.” He then holds out his hand and firmly finishes, “May the Power of Christ Compel You.”
Messor’s heart takes a loud beat and then halts. Her body stops moving but her mouth slowly opens.
“Damien plans to make Ubica fully awaken Dantega at the 4th Gate. With it vulnerable and out of control, he’s going to use the aid of his allies in the Hierarchy to seal it once more before taking it into his vessel.”
(What!? Why did I say that!?) Messor thinks to herself after revealing her secrets to the last person she’d want to hear.
Before he was given Michael’s flames, Phoenix's main weapon was the weight of his words. Back during the Apocalypse he had killed off unimaginable numbers of Demons by simply telling them to die, so manipulating someone into telling the truth is as easy as asking a question.
“Okay... But where does that leave you? If he’s planning on taking Dantega along with the strength of the Hierarchy, I don’t see why he’d need you for anything.”
With her body still stiff, she replies, “Ubica and I are one, as creations from the same evil, I hold a large piece of his power. This means that Ubica can’t fully awaken all of Dantega’s power without me rejoining him.”
“In essence, you’d be sacrificing yourself to bring that wretched power back to its full capacity.”
“No, it won’t be a sacrifice... I'd simply be returning what he's given me, my vessel included. Though my physical body would no longer be able to grasp his touch, we’d be forever linked together in a way that transcends the boundaries of the physical realm.” Messor pauses for a moment and slightly smiles when she says, “Our souls would be connected as one, I’ll always be apart of him.”
Phoenix shrugs his shoulders and asks, “But that won’t be the case if Damien steals Dantega from him would it?”
“Ubica won’t let that happen...”
“How can you be so sure?”
“Because he’d need to accept me back into his soul in order for me to join him. There’s a reason why I was created, it was to counterbalance the enormity of Dantega and distribute it to keep it from destroying everything in sight, I was needed to take in some of that pressure and then give part of it back to him when he needed it. That was my role as the False Prophet." Messor again pauses, but this time she wears a reluctant face as though she doesn't want to finish. "There's also a reason why he left me behind in the pit, and a reason why he refuses my touch even now... I still hold that large amount of Dantega, and by him no longer using me to take some of it back is making it easier for him to keep away from succumbing to evil. If he gave in to my temptations then he’d be right back to where he was when he was the Anti-Christ. Damien had every intention to exploit that, and if Ubica didn’t accept it, he has another way to force me back into Dantega.”
“And what might that be?”
“Damien will take the throne of his father in order to manipulate Dantega.”
“With the title and the power of the Devil, he will have the strength to move Ubica’s power to wherever destination he wishes.”
“That’s ridiculous.” Phoenix says, her words spiked an intriguing anger deep within his subconscious. “Satan can’t control Ubica because he isn’t strong enough. What makes Damien think that by taking his father’s throne it would magically give him the power to change that fact?”
“Satan’s power of manipulation is rivaled by no one, and it is that ability that'd give Damien that extra edge... Damien is already far beyond his father, the title of the Devil will send him to a whole other level. He and I are in the same boat, I’m needed to awaken Dantega, and Satan is needed to control it.”
Phoenix frowns, he’s deep in thought about something and whatever that thought is is making increasingly angry.
“Let me get this straight... At the 4th Gate, Damien is going to kill Satan, awaken Dantega, and take it for himself?”
“And you’re going to help him do that?”
“I won’t do anything that doesn’t benefit Ubica... Damien can think what he wants, but if he honestly thinks that I’ll help him steal Dantega away he’s out of his damn mind. What I’ll be doing is bringing Ubica back to the man he was when no one could lay a finger on him. As long as he and I are together there is nothing that can stop us.”
“Hmmm, you are quite the conniving girl Messor. Playing all of these different angles only to help out your master in the end...” Phoenix said, walking up to Messor and patting her head with his hand. He looks her in the eye and finishes, “But from my understanding... You won’t be able to do anything about it if Damien defeats his father first, right?”
Messor sneers in reply, answering his question perfectly.
A new light shines in Phoenix’s eyes when he asks,
“Then how about I do something about that?”
Ubica and Tsubiri are on a zeppelin heading towards Lilith’s castle and the 3rd Gate. They were lucky that the next town over had a service still running after the panic that ensued upon the massive explosion caused by Damien just a few hours earlier. The two of them chose not to waste any time in attempting to get through this level, partly because what had just happened and also because they’ve spent too much time here anyways.
The sun is setting over the desert horizon and the dust floating about in the air is making different kinds of hot colors visible. Purple, yellow, orange, red, they all shine off of their eyes as they stand there in silence.
Ubica is covered bandages, one is wrapped around his head, a gauze pad on his cheek, and under his new shirt he’s wrapped tightly. A half a day hasn’t passed since they were attacked, they’ve only had time to clean up and buy a change of clothes before heading off to their next battle so they are very fatigued.
When stress builds up and reaches an uncontrollable level before crashing all over the top of their heads, the aftermath of such an event can be enough to make the knees weak of even the strongest of men. Ubica and Tsubiri are no different.
Ubica is leaning against the door of the cabin and looking out to the sunset with tired eyes. And wrapped in his arms is Tsubiri doing the exact same. The cool wind of the evening air blows through their hair as they share a moment of solitude.
No one else in on the deck, and they are actually the only passengers on the zeppelin other than the crew. Unbeknownst to them, the reason for that is because of the death of the Gatekeeper Lilith, once she was killed the temptation to head to the Gate has fully been destroyed. If not for the coordinates already set in the zeppelin's travel logs, it is likely that the men would have absolutely no clue where the Gate is.
“It’s pretty... The sunset.” Tsubiri says, slightly dozing off to the soothing light.
"Well, this was some kind of birthday huh?" she said sarcastically.
Tsubiri is obviously trying to lighten up the mood, Ubica hasn't said much of anything since they boarded.
"Ahh, don't be, I was only kidding. Believe or not there were still a lot of good parts of today. Not to mention we're still alive, that's a huge bonus!"
Ubica can't see, but she's wearing a very bright and almost stupid smile, overly optimistic about such an awful chain of events.
Ubica squeezes her just a little tighter and really brings her spirits back down when in a melancholic tone he says, “I can’t believe how close I was to losing you today.”
For the most part, he’s still half way in shock over everything that conspired. Tsubiri could have been killed and there was nothing he could have done about it. If not for Damien’s whim, she’d most certainly be dead. That has steadily been eating at Ubica, his enemy has made the decision on whether she lived or died, and that implies that he can do the same in the near future.
“You shouldn’t worry about that; I’m here now aren’t I? And besides it’s the same for me too, I could say the same thing about you.”
That just makes it sting even more. Are they really that vulnerable? Ubica feels that at any moment, everything can be taken away from him. Including his own life. If Damien and the others just wanted to kill him, how many times would he have died since coming to Purgatory?
“What am I supposed to do?” he asks, knowing full well that Tsubiri has no way of answering that question.
With her hands she squeezes his forearms and watches the sun disappear over the horizon when she answers, “Just hold me tighter next time, I’m sure we’ll be just fine.”
“How can you be so carefree about this? You almost died because of me.”
“Like I said before, it’s the same way on my end too. You almost died because of me, if you weren’t always trying to protect me, you’d be able to fight with no restrictions and defend yourself better. So since both of us saying the same thing, there’s really no one to blame it on right?”
She’s just trying to make him feel better and he knows it.
“But nothing... What it comes down to is whether or not I’m willing to risk my life to be with you or not.” She turns in his arms and looks up to him. “And I’m willing to do that... Are you?”
He sighs loudly but can’t help but smile. He can try to put whatever amount of blame he wants on himself, but she’ll always talk him out of that. Ubica cannot win against her, no matter how bad he feels about putting her in danger, she will accept that. How can he not commit himself to a person like her?
“Of course I am.”
The two give each other a kiss and share a smile. It would seem that nothing can break the long awaited good mood until the pilot’s voice is heard through the intercom at the top of the door they’re leaning against.
“We’re beginning our decent, so we ask that the passengers please gather their carry-ons and be ready for departure immediately upon landing.”
Ubica and Tsubiri didn’t bring anything that can’t be carried along with them so they instead just head out to the front of the deck and look down. What they see is the ridiculously large black castle painting itself across miles of dessert sand.
“Is that really where the Gate is??” Tsubiri asks in awe.
Ubica scours the entrance area and sees the pieces of the Colossals scattered about on the ground, for no reason whatsoever he becomes sure that this place is where they need to be, and also that someone has already forcefully entered.
“This is it.” He says, “And something tells me the others have already been here.”
Strauphius opens his eyes and looks through blurry vision. He’s lying face first on the ground in the very dark room that he last remembered being dragged into, and the first thing he notices is that he’s surrounded by the same suits of armor that attacked him and the others. This time however, there are a couple more, so the total is now six.
He shakily stands to his feet and puts himself on guard while looking for the others. When no sign of them comes and he sees that he’s all alone, he realizes how bad his situation really is. He clicks his tongue and reaches into his sleeves where he normally keeps his weapons and is disheartened to find that they aren’t there. They have been taken away and placed out of reach behind the barrier of armored suits.
Not knowing what to do next, he begins to panic.
That’s when a deep voice is heard echoing through the dark room stating, “If you wish to save your comrades and enter through the next door to the Gate, you must complete a test.”
“Who are you!?” he shouts, convinced that the voice of the man is the one he must defeat in order to get out of this.
But that thought is thrown away when the voice speaks again, this time sounding like it has been pre-recorded.
“In front of you are six suits of armor. Inside of three of them are your comrades. If you wish to free them and move on, you must choose three suits to be destroyed. Whichever suits containing your friends will be opened and you will be set free.”
“What if my comrades are in the suits that I choose!?”
The voice pauses for a moment, and then replies mechanically, not answering his question directly. “If you choose not to select three suits, you will be killed by them. You have ten seconds to make your decision.”
The voice starts counting down.
Straughius tries to think of a way out of this while the voice continues to count down and the arms of the suits raise up and point their weapons at him. He’s seen how fast they move, so running away is not an option when he has no clue just where to run to.
“5, 4, 3...”
Straupius shakily raises his hand and points to a suit of armor that looks as lifeless as possible. He didn’t even have to verbally declare that his first choice was this suit when...
A massive hammer like object flings out of the darkness and utterly demolishes the metal suit. Pieces of iron fly all about and echo across the room. Though he can’t see very well, he judges the hollow noise and feels safe to assume that Cyrus, Niera, or Sora were not in there.
Now he knows for sure that running away is not an option, as far as he knows, one false step and he can end up like that armor. None the less, he’s still relieved at the fact that no one was in there when it was smashed.
However, his feeling of relief is short-lived, because almost immediately after his choice, the voice again starts to countdown.
“10, 9, 8...”
Strauphius takes another deep breath and prepares himself mentally to gamble with the lives of his friends.
He reluctantly points to the suit closest to the wall to his left and in a flash...
A spear of some sort skewers the head piece of the suit and the body from under it falls onto the ground. Revealing another great guess by Strauphius.
He can’t help but smile, there’s only one guess left.
The only problem is that out of the 4 suits, 3 of them are filled with living people. The odds of all of them getting out of this alive is only 25%. Unfortunately, when the countdown continues once more, he’s forced into taking those odds head on in fear of all of them dying instead. He’s been forced into playing a game of roulette with the lives of his friends.
With a shot in the dark, he points at the suit of armor to his front right and the ground below it begins to raise up like a pillar towards the roof and will eventually crush it. The other suits fall forward and bits and pieces fall off of them, revealing the insides.
“Oww, what in the world..?” said Sora as she rubs her head in shock. She had just awaken in an unfamiliar place cascaded in a strange metal suit, anyone would be surprised.
It’s not only her who’s experiencing this, breaking out of the suit of armor to her right is Cyrus. He also feels a twinge in his head as if he’s just been drugged, but his instincts take over and he tries his best to get onto his own two feet.
So far so good.
Strauphius looks over to the last suit of armor that clanked on the ground.
His face instantly drops. The suit is completely empty.
He quickly looks up towards the roof and sees that Niera is inside the one he chose and that particular suit is being crushed up against the wall. The metal being pressed is making an awful noise and screws and other pieces of the armor fling off and land on the ground around him.
It’s too late to help. Even if he could get up there, he wouldn’t be able to pry her loose from the platform and the wall.
The loud crunching of metal being pressed is loud enough to wake Niera out of her unconscious state. As soon as her eyes open she feels the constricting of her body that’s completely stealing away her ability to breath. Any more than this and her bones will begin breaking and she will feel every fiber snap painfully. And any more than that, and she will become one with the wall above her.
Not being able to scream, she can only show a terrified face to her friends below her.
“Princess!!!” Cyrus shouts as he tries to get himself out of the suit and run to her.
He doesn’t get more than a couple steps when he hears a distinct crush and a bright flash envelopes his sight.
The concussion was big enough to make the three on the ground flinch and look away instinctively.
By the time the shock leaves their senses, they look up to see that the pillar extending to the roof that was bound to crush Niera has all but vanished from sight. The bits and pieces left of it are heard crashing into the darkness of the pathway in front of them. And seemingly along with it, Niera is gone as well.
That’s when they see something land softly on the ground in between the three. Safely holding Niera’s half limp body in his arms is a light brown skinned boy with some bandages wrapped around his silver hair.
This person had just come in the nick of time and effortlessly destroyed the pillar, caught a falling Niera and landed gently on to the stone floor. This certain boy had just saved her life and wears an expression that shows he feels he had accomplished nothing special by achieving such a last second feat.
Strauphius, Cyrus, and Sora all simultaneously shout this person's name.
Ubica turns to them and smiles.
“It's been a while... I’m glad I made it in time before anyone got hurt.”
Xavier is carrying an unconscious Aria on his back as he walks through the trap filled hallways that had almost taken their lives a couple hours earlier. The wound on Aria’s head could be something minor, but judging by how long it has been and she has yet to regain consciousness is more than worrying. If there is a serious problem with her and she need drastic medical attention, there will be nothing they can do for her. He and Daey are all alone and completely lost in this massive castle.
“Is she going to be alright?” Xavier asks in a panicked fashion.
Daey is feeling the heat as well, but chooses to stay calm. “I don’t know... If we make it to the Gate we can have Rage take a look at her. But that’s all we can do for now, unfortunately I have no idea how to treat a head wound like that."
Aria is still bleeding, though the rate of blood loss has dropped dramatically since the initial impact, there is still a lot running down the side of her face and on to the back of Xavier’s coat.
“W-What if she dies??”
“Don’t think about something like that! Just keep moving forward and watch your step, we can’t afford to fall into another trap like last last time.”
Daey continues to lead the way, but she’s still very frightened cause if something happens again, she’ll be the first to be blown to bits. And this time, there is no one like Aria that can defend them. Even though she has powers of her own, she's been able to use it once as practice, and just from that she knows that they are nowhere near strong enough to do anything to protect herself.
After a couple more seconds of silence, and odd click is heard below Daey’s feet and a severe wave of anxiety instantly courses through her body, causing her to halt.
She knows she has just stepped in another trap.
(Oh my god...) Is the first thing she thinks of as a cold sweat runs down her temple.
She then turns to Xavier and shouts, “Don’t take another step!”
Zoned out, Xavier doesn’t quite comprehend what she said in time. He keeps walking and walks into her back.
With Aria in tow, his and her weight are plenty enough to knock Daey off balance and send her falling forward.
Knowing that if her foot leaves the square block she’s walked onto would result in triggering an awful trap, she desperately tries to keep whatever weight she can pressed on that point in the ground.
When it becomes evident that she won’t be able to pull that off, she shouts what would be her final frustrations while falling.
“Damn it Xavier you worthless!!---“
That’s all she had time to yell when dozens of lights flash from the walls on both sides of them and make a growing ringing noise that eventually builds to a ferocious explosion. These lights are the same one that was strong enough to take Aria out. Instead of something more primitive like an arrow shoot, the traps simply multiplied to a point where human survival is physically impossible upon detonation.
Daey hits the ground and shuts her eyes. Fully awaiting certain death, she rolls through past regrets in her memory bank and numerous thoughts flash through her mind as if being played in a theater. From her lifestyle as princess of Eiyalazo, to her unfulfilled romance with Ubica, all of these things add to the desperation of wanting to live.
Once she lands she covers herself, hoping dearly that she can get out of this with at least a couple limbs intact when an odd silence envelopes her. Not the silence after an explosion, but the silence of nothing happening at all.
After a brief moment, she builds up the inner courage to open her eyes.
What she sees is a torrent of electricity sliding jaggedly across the walls all round her. It’s only then that sound reaches one of her senses. All of the lights on the wall that are meant to cause a life ending blast begin to pop helplessly like burnt out light bulbs.
These pops concuss all the way down the hallway as far as the darkness stretches, chased by the blue lightning.
Amazed at this turn of events, she hardly notices that there’s a hand presented in front of her face. Without thinking much about it, she grabs it and is lifted to her feet.
“As much as I hate to say it, I’m still the Prince’s royal guard." said a girl with magenta hair and gold eyes.
“Hey hey! Long time no see eh?” Tsubiri said with a dorky smile.
Although Daey and Tsubiri weren’t the best of friends during their time together, she still can’t fight back the urge to give her a very tight hug. The relief of having her life saved is too much to contain.
“Thank you! I really owe you one!”
“No problem...” Tsubiri replies awkwardly. “So... What’s wrong with that girl? I never thought I’d see someone hitching a ride on Xavier’s back.”
Daey snaps out of her moment of sheer relief and turns to Aria and Xavier, she’s happy to see that the two of them are both safe as well.
“Aria was caught in an earlier trap and injured her head quite badly. She hasn’t woken up since.”
Tsubiri walks over to a shocked Xavier and an unconscious Aria and says, “Give her to me.”
A far cry from the way she used to speak to him, her tone is more powerful and more confident. She’s like an entirely new person.
Xavier doesn’t even know how to respond to this person, the only thing he can do is listen to her. He sets Aria on the ground and takes a step back to give Tsubiri space.
She begins checking the wound in Aria’s head and says, “This wound is not that bad, from the looks of it I’d guess that she was just grazed by some debris.”
“Then why is she still unconscious? That hit had to have done some serious damage right?” Daey asks.
“Not necessarily, I’ve heard of these kind of symptoms before during training for the La’Juutian Royal Guard. You said it was an explosion right? Well I’ve heard of some cases where a person’s body goes into a shut down after being put through a sudden shock.”
“So you’re saying she’s completely fine?”
“I can’t say that for sure, I’m just going off of what I’ve heard. But I have a feeling that this is the case. There’s a lot of different things that go into being put in such a state, her heart-rate could have been through the roof at the moment of the explosion, so much so that her brain’s sudden shut down caused her heart to stop for a little. Once it balances out, her brain would be able to send the body signals that it is okay to move again.”
“How long does that take?” Xavier asks.
Tsubiri doesn’t look his way but answers, “It could take a few minutes or it could take days... There’s no telling what comes next if we were to leave her alone. There’s a possibility she can become brain dead and wake up as a vegetable.”
“Than what do you suggest we do?? If we leave her like this that means her life is in danger!” Daey raises her voice in worry. Taking Tsubiri’s words to heart, she’s genuinely frightened for Aria’s well-being.
However, that worry is broken when Tsubiri smiles.
“I’ve got an idea!”
Tsubiri puts her hand on Aria’s chest and says confidently, “I’ve done this to Ubica before, so I’m sure this’ll work.”
As if being shocked by cardiac defibrillator, Aria’s body jolts up violently and she can be heard taking a very deep inhale. Her eyes instantly open and the sudden surge of adrenaline brings her to her feet extremely fast.
“Uwwaaahhh!!!” she yells as she runs backwards against the wall and puts both her hands on her chest. “W-What in the world just happened!?”
Tsubiri smiles and answers, “I just sped up your heart a little, you were out like a rock.”
Aria looks around and sees the relieved expressions of Xavier and Daey, then the adrenaline surge goes away and she can feel the pain in her head.
“Owwowoww!” She rubs her temples to ease the pressure releasing painfully through her ears. “We survived that explosion..?”
Xavier presents himself to her and bows, “Thank you for saving my life!”
It would seem that Aria doesn’t really remember what happened, she just knows that there was a blast and now she’s awake.
“You dove in front of the blast to protect me, if not for that there’s no telling what would’ve happened... I really am grateful, and I’m sorry for being a burden.”
“Wow.” Daey mutters as she looks on in amazement.
Tsubiri feels the same way and adds, “I can't believe I just witnessed him thanking someone.”
"Not only that, he apologized too!"
Aria awkwardly smiles and says, “Don’t thank me, thank your brother.”
“Yeah, I promised him that I’d protect you remember?”
“Oh... That’s right.” he replied while shifting his gaze away as though he didn't like the sound of that.
“Anyways!” Tsubiri says to break up the mushiness going on right now. “Let’s get going!”
Tsubiri starts walking, hoping the others will follow.
“Hey be careful!” Daey shouts at her unworried back.
“There’s no need, I just deactivated all of the traps in this entire passageway. I’m super confident in my abilities ya know? All we gotta do is walk and we can meet up with Ubica and the others.”
“Ubica’s here!?” Daey exclaims.
“Well yeah, there’s no way I’d be here without him right?”
Daey smiles brightly and runs up to Tsubiri’s side. She hasn’t seen either her or Ubica in over two months so to say that she’s excited to see him again would be putting it lightly. She’s been worried sick all this time that Ubica was defeated by Michael at the 2nd Gate. After all, when they separated he was very hurt and it looked as though he had no chance of winning.
“Tell me what happened!”
“Ugh, that was a long time ago so I’d rather not.”
Daey grabs her arm and begins pulling on her. With her cheeks puffed out she says, “No way you’re getting out of this one, I’ve been stressing over it for months now so I have to know.”
“Fine fine I’ll tell you. Now stop latching on to me already!!”
Slowly being left behind, Xavier gazes at their backs and says quietly, “Look at those two... As soon as that guy’s name is mentioned it's as if nothing life threatening has just happened. Don’t they realize what kind of situation we’re in?”
“They do.” Aria replies, “But having Ubica around makes them feel safe... I envy them.”
Xavier’s eyebrows steepen and he takes a deep breath before stepping in front of her and holding out his hand. “Then from now on, I’ll be that guy for you.”
“I’m going to change, I’m tired of being the person that always needs to be protected. Because of that I have decided that it’s time for me to return the favor and do the protecting.”
Aria giggles and replies, “Don’t you think you have a long way to go to get to Ubica’s level?”
“You know that I can’t get to his level... But as long as I get to the point where I can protect you is all that matters right?”
She slightly blushes, his personality has taken a complete 180 and it has caught her off guard.
Xavier points holds his hand closer to her and finishes, “This is what Luke wanted wasn’t it?”
Aria smiles, she takes his hand and replies, “Yeah... It is.”
Rage, Napoleon, and Trojia have made their way through the castle and have just reached the 3rd Gate. Standing under the same window pane towering overhead, they are only mere feet from the other side.
“We’re the first ones to arrive?” Napoleon asked dejectedly.
If he and Rage entered the castle after the girls did and they are the first ones to reach the Gate; that must mean that the girls had all run into some serious trouble.
Rage looks around the area and feels as though something is pulling him towards the wall just to the right of the Gate. He doesn’t know why, but he follows it and sure enough there’s a little white piece of paper with some writing on it.
“What is it?” Napoleon asks.
“It’s from Phoenix... It says, ‘I went on ahead of you, there are some things I need to take care of. I’ll meet with you all soon.’”
“Is he crazy!? If anyone finds him he’d have no chance at survival!”
“No...” Rage says as he engulfs the little letter in a black flame. “He’s the one person here who is certain to survive this whole mess.”
Rage takes a deep breath and takes a seat on the stairs leading to the bright light of the Gate. With no light shining through the window pane above, he relaxes comfortably in darkness as he says, “Once again we’re going to wait here for the others.”
This sudden change in subject is not enough to deter Napoleon’s curiosity about Phoenix, but if there is one thing he’s learned since coming here, it is to not ask Rage unnecessary questions. If it was important enough to where he needed to know, then Rage would have told him.
With those thoughts in mind, Napoleon drops it and says, “Alright... If they aren’t here soon I will go look for them. Even though our route here was rather painless, there’s no telling what they have been going through.”
He then turns to Trojia and asks, “How are you feeling?”
“I’m fine.” she coldly replies.
She had only just regained consciousness about 10 minutes earlier so it’s a little hard to believe that she’d make a full recovery so quickly.
He sighs at her reaction and starts looking around to pass time. He still finds Lilith’s castle more than astonishing. The sheer size alone is on a scale unimaginable by humans, even the walls of this stadium like room they’re in is circled well over a hundred yards in each direction. It’s obvious that the battle with Lilith was supposed to take place here.
After turning back towards the Gate, he catches sight of something on the wall just above the light of the Gate. It’s definitely writing, but it’s hard to see because of the glare.
“Hey what’s that?” he asks as he points above Rage’s head.
Hesitatingly, Rage gets to his feet and looks as well.
“It’s something writing in Latin.” Rage answers.
Trojia looks at it and her shoulders jump as she begins to read the writing as if it was her home language.
Scratched into the stone, it states: ‘MESSOR’... ‘For Ubica... Due to certain reasons I have gone through the Gate and to the fourth level. I will find you there so don’t look for me. I’ve left you this message to give you a warning... DO NOT TRUST TROJIA.’
Rage begins to read and before he can get to the letters in bold the part of the stone wall holding the message literally implodes into itself.
Without so much as a pebble dropping on the ground, a huge crater around five feet in diameter sinks into the wall as if it was pressed in by a wrecking ball.
“!?” Rage doesn’t quite get to the point of understanding this sudden disappearance.
“What was it?” Trojia asks as if she had nothing to do with it.
“It was from Messor, she wanted to tell Ubica that she was going ahead of us as well... I didn’t get to see the end of it, it must have been some kind of self destructing letter? That doesn’t really make sense though, there’s nothing to hide...”
Little does Rage know, Trojia had used her teleportation power to cut that piece of stone from the wall and transfer it somewhere random in the castle. She hasn’t tried such a thing yet so even she is surprised that she was able to do it so naturally, yet another power she’s learned about herself that can be used against her enemies. She’s curious as to whether she can teleport live people too, if she can she feels that there is no way Messor would be able to defeat her.
“That’s odd.” Trojia says, purposely downplaying her ability to a level unnoticeable by the others. “Well she does work in weird ways, I’m sure she has her reasons.”
“That’s what I’m worried about.” Rage says under his breath.
Before any more inquiries can be put into the strange disappearance of the note on the wall, the sound of footsteps come from one of three doors that enter the large Colosseum like room.
The three shift their attention towards it and are pleased to find one of the other groups they split off from entering unharmed. Walking in is Xavier, Aria, and Daey. But the dynamic of the group has changed by an added face that they haven’t seen in a couple months.
“Tsubiri?” Trojia asks, putting two and two together and realizing that if she’s here, so is Ubica.
The four walk up to the rest of the groups and exchange greetings, everyone but Trojia that is. She simply backs away and glares at them as though she hadn’t had an ounce of worry about their safety, and to be honest, she’s quite bitter about Tsubiri’s arrival. Trojia hasn’t thought ahead to the point where she reunites with Ubica, so she has no clue how to deal with him when he shows up.
At this very instant, she receives a crash course in accomplishing just that. From the furthest door to left comes Ubica along with the others; and the get together of the original group forms once again just like that.
She clicks her tongue and sinks further into the background.
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