Dantega:Volume 8 Chapter 3
"How did you know that there was an ancient sword buried in the ground under the rear of the altar of the church of St. Catherine of Fierbois?"
"I knew the sword was there because my Voices told me so; and I sent to ask that it be given to me to carry in the wars. It seemed to me that it was not very deep in the ground. The clergy of the church caused it to be sought for and dug up; and they polished it, and the rust fell easily off from it."
"Were you wearing it when you were taken in battle at Compiègne?"
"No. But I wore it constantly until I left St. Denis after the attack upon Paris."
This sword, so mysteriously discovered and so long and so constantly victorious, was suspected of being under the protection of enchantment.
"Was that sword blest? What blessing had been invoked upon it?"
"None. I loved it because it was found in the church of St. Catherine, for I loved that church very dearly."
She loved it because it had been built in honor of one of her angels, the angel named Catherine.
"Didn't you lay it upon the altar, to the end that it might be lucky?"
"Didn't you pray that it might be made lucky?"
"Truly it were no harm to wish that my harness might be fortunate."
"Then it was not that sword which you wore in the field of Compiègne? What sword did you wear there?"
"The sword of the Burgundian Franquet d'Arras, whom I took prisoner in the engagement at Lagny. I kept it because it was a good war-sword; good to lay on stout thumps and blows with."
She said that quite simply; and the contrast between her delicate little self and the grim soldier words which she dropped with such easy familiarity from her lips made many spectators smile.
"What is become of the other sword? Where is it now?"
"Is that in the procès verbal?"
The inquisitor named Beaupere stayed silent for a moment and didn’t answer.
"Which do you love best, your banner or your sword?" he asks after clearing his throat, a hint of anger in his grunt that preceded his words.
Her eye lighted gladly at the mention of her banner, and she cried out,
"I love my banner best! Oh, forty times more than the sword! Sometimes I carried it myself when I charged the enemy, to avoid killing any one."
Then she added, naively, and with again that curious contrast between her girlish little personality and her subject,
"I have never killed anyone."
“Why didn’t you use those weapons earlier?” Mammon asks, jumping off one of his orbs and landing onto the ground.
Joan of Arc, standing astutely in front of Napoleon, sticks the butt end of her banner into the ground and replies, “Because there are requirements to its use.”
“My sword needs someone or something to protect in order to activate its powers. Since you evil demons had not wished to pass through the Gate, I was unable to use it against you.”
“That’s retarded. So you’re saying that now that there are people to protect, you’ve all the sudden got a magical weapon that has the power to reflect and destroy attacks?”
“This is true.”
“Okay okay.” Mammon starts to walk towards Joan and continues to speak while doing so. “If that’s the case, some simple trickery along with standard attack patterns should work on a person like you.”
Out of nowhere, a ball of antimatter engulfs him and he disappears into it, only to reappear the next moment directly in Joan’s blind spot.
Joan holds her sword between them to defend herself, fully expecting another gamma ray, but is met with a shock permeating through her wrists all the way up her arms and into her shoulders.
Mammon has swung the black sword he calls Ebuillo and had it clash with her weapon with such strength that Joan’s thin arms couldn’t withstand the shock. Her legendary sword of Fierbous goes twirling into sky before sticking into the ground around 15 meters away.
“It’s not like you aren’t famous lil lady, I know all about you.”
Mammon pivots himself to the left and uses his centrifugal force to spin his body and swing his circle bladed sword in a horizontal motion towards Joan’s torso.
“I know that you’ve never fought in hand to hand combat even once in your life!”
What Mammon says is true, during Joan of Arc’s short life on Earth, she was used more as a morale booster than that of any kind of soldier. The soldiers in the French army fully believed that they were being guided by the divinity of God through that girl’s words, and that in turn made them feel more or less invincible, which also helped them win.
And for the most part, it really was God that guided them to victory through Joan, that banner and that sword are Holy Weapons he had angels personally bestow upon her.
‘Deflect’ and ‘Destroy’
Naturally, her weapons are much more powerful here on Purgatory, but on Earth they did enough ‘Repel’ the English from invading Paris, and ‘Destroying’ them at Orleans.
Her banner and sword promptly shattered the resolve of the English soldiers in which she fought. On over 30 different occasions the English surrendered without so much as a fight because they feared her so. But in reality, that intimidation was brought upon by the divine power of the Banner, and the Sword of Fierbous clasped in her right hand.
Unfortunately for Joan, that intimidation isn’t felt by the 5th ranked Demon of Hell, and it would seem that relying on that had cost the girl her life.
A thick, horrid sound beats in her head as her eyes are naturally slammed shut.
After a moment, she opens them to find that Mammon’s sword is only a couple inches away from her, but its movement is at a complete standstill.
That’s when she follows that path of the arms holding that circle shaped sword and finds the orange haired Demon pressed firmly in between two snake like forms of solid earth protruding from the ground.
“Kkkkaaah!?” Mammon spits through his compressed throat.
He’s utterly stuck, and can feel the pressure of the two pillars of solid earth squishing him, rise after each breath.
“…Wha?” Joan asks.
Napoleon grabs the black sword off the ground and hands it to the dumbfounded Joan.
Without so much as a hint of emotion, his battle hardened tone exits his mouth monotonously when he says, “I don’t know who you are, and I do appreciate your help… But this is ‘my’ fight.”
“No you’re wrong.” Aria says, seemingly regaining her strength as her lips rise. “This is ‘our’ fight.”
Xavier and Strauphius walk to her side and smile confidently along with her.
The three of them shouldn’t be anywhere near a fight like this, yet here they are, standing tall and glaring fearlessly in the face of a grim death.
Napoleon can’t help but feel a certain pride in this, it’s like he’s back on the battlefield with his men once more.
“You people…” Joan says softly. “Do you have any idea what you’re getting into?”
“We know exactly what we’re getting into. But before, we always relied on someone else to protect us, and we’re done doing that now. I’m going to defeat this guy - no…. ‘We’ are going to defeat this guy.”
Joan smiles and bows to him. “You are an admirable man. You’d have been a good soldier in my army.”
“Is that so?”
Napoleon decided to brush that off as well, the two of them have no clue who each other are and have no idea the scale of each one's accomplishments.
“I’m sure you were a great leader too.” Napoleon says, this time shifting his attention back to Mammon. “But I urge you to assist one of the others, once we’re done with this demon, we’ll come and help you.”
“To be perfectly honest, I don’t know who to help. From what I can see, there’s no one that seems to need my help. I chose you guys specifically because you look like regular humans.”
“I’ll try not to take offense to that.” Napoleon sighs. He then points to a little black ball that is encircled by the ring of blood and says, “Over there, our comrade Michael is trapped in that orb with one of the demons. I don’t know what’s going on because they haven’t come out yet, but I assume that the Angel is at a severe disadvantage. If you can do something to free him, he’s plenty strong enough to really turn things in our favor.”
Joan looks to the black hole out in the distance and gets an odd feeling coursing through her body, it’s as though that black hole intimidates her to her core. However, that feeling is instantly shattered when she realizes something.
“Wait a second, did you say the man trapped in there is an Angel named Michael?”
“That’s right, supposedly he’s the strongest one too.”
“You’re telling me that the Archangel is here!?”
Joan’s sudden surge of emotion catches him off guard. “...Yeah that’s him.”
Joan’s face lights up in excitement.
Michael is one of the three angels that spoke to her when she was living on Earth and fighting in the French army, the other two were Margeret and Catherine. She’s never met any of them face to face, and the fact that one of them is so close that they can finally meet is something she’s only dreamed about since she was a little girl.
Joan lived her entire life solely by the words of those three angels, to her, someone like Michael means everything.
She bows again and shouts, “Thank you!”
Immediately after showing her gratitude, she rushes to the black hole, leaving Napoleon and the others behind.
“You people…” Mammon hisses through his compressed chest. “You people are taking me way too lightly!”
Using some kind of freak strength, Mammon begins freeing his arms and pushing the forms of solid sediment back with his forearms. If his hands get free, he’ll be able to dissolve Napoleon’s attack with a couple balls of antimatter and begin his rampage again.
Napoleon understands that and chooses to take action before the demon can free himself. The general takes his sword rushes to skewer Mammon while he’s still pinned and defenseless.
“Not a chance!”
Just before Napoleon’s sword can reach, Mammon frees himself and vanishes in a ball of antimatter.
The demon can literally appear anywhere he wants, and this puts him on edge. If Mammon decides to reappear directly behind one of the others, there’s no way he’ll make it there in enough to time to help.
“Everyone scatter!” he shouts.
If the three move off in different directions, it’ll keep Mammon from inflicting maximum damage, all it’d take is one blast to take out all three.
Aria jets to her right, Strauphius dives forward, and Xavier runs to his left.
It’s only natural that one of them will be caught, but Napoleon is ready to intercept whatever attack Mammon throws at them by keeping a steady track on their movements.
Sure enough, Mammon appears just a moment later and positions himself right on top of Strauphius.
Mammon points his hand down and forms a huge ball and prepares to fire it on top of Strauphius’ head.
It screams down, looking to engulf his enemy.
Strauphius used his intense speed to zip away at the last instant.
It would seem that his power’s time limits are shortening the more he uses it, and because of that it saved his life. He quickly rushes to Napoleon’s side and shows him a stupid smile as if asking for a compliment.
Mammon sees this and is more or less shocked, he was still point blank on top of him, he’s never seen anyone other than a demon move that fast.
None the less, he regains his composure and formulates a different battle plan. He clicks his tongue and he begins to drop into the ball when he senses a presence rapidly closing in on him from behind.
She had jumped to his height from the ground without him noticing in that short instance where he was distracted.
Aria’s battle cry rattles his ears as his moment of distraction is abruptly put to an end when his face is met with a steel pole.
Aria used her entire weight to swing the steel pole she found on the ground that was likely once connected to the castle. The cold piece of steel hit him so hard that even the demon’s strong body was damaged to such an extent that pain reverberates through his head.
If that vicious hit wasn’t enough, Aria again uses all of her strength into another attack. This time however, she uses her ability to turn that pole into an explosive so strong it completely engulfs the demon in the blast.
Mammon is sent flying in a plume of smoke.
Aria, who’s able to control the direction of the explosions she makes, is sent flying away in the opposite direction; obviously she didn’t feel even a fraction of that blast.
Banging violently on the ground before tumbling to a stop, Mammon shakily attempts to stand to his feet. The left side of his face is covered in blood and his cloak is shredded and tattered. It’s obvious that he’s barely in a state of coherency, anyone can see that.
So the three prepare to launch an all out attack on him while he’s still dazed.
That is, until they see Xavier rush in from behind Mammon and bear hug him from behind.
“What are you--??”
“Hey guys I got him!” Xavier shouts with a bright smile as though he’d just won a game of tag.
“You idiot! Get away from him!” Aria shouts.
Xavier shakes his head and replies, “No! Now’s your chance to take him out! He can’t create balls without his sword or the use of his arms!”
That would seem to be the case, every time Mammon has made antimatter, it was a direct result of movements of his hands or the movement of his sword Ebuillo. By disabling his arms, Xavier is under the impression that he’s completely defenseless.
Though it may be true, it’s still far too risky for a human with no special abilities or even a relevant weapon to rush in and put his arms on one of the 7 demons of Hell.
Napoleon clicks his tongue and decides that hesitating any longer would be a waste of a golden opportunity to strike.
With a couple hand gestures, he prepares to send a rock form to crush the demon’s skull. But before he can, Mammon is heard chuckling, his smile shining white through the blood sliding down his face.
“Are you kidding me? Do you actually think I’d have such a pathetic weakness?” Mammon asks, mocking the pitiful human’s efforts in the process.
Xavier’s face springs open in shock and blood slides out of his mouth.
The prince looses his grip on Mammon and takes a few shoddy steps back before looking down at his abdomen and finding a grapefruit sized hole missing.
A little ball of antimatter exits the hole and floats up in front of his face, as though showing him that the part of his body that’s missing will never come back.
The pain hasn’t kicked in yet, the shock is too great.
The hole is so perfectly cut that blood hasn’t even started to fall from his wound yet, so as he lays on his back, the white snow from under his hollow torso gleams through the wound.
“Xavier!” Aria shouts.
The only response she gets comes from Mammon.
“Hahahahahaha what a dumb kid, the easiest enemy to kill is a stupid one. Of course I can create antimatter without my hands or my sword, antimatter is just an extension of my body. Sure it differs in size depending on how I create it, but let’s not take it for granted, either of them can still kill you none the less.”
Mammon grabs the grapefruit sized sphere of antimatter and presses into his palm. He then turns to the others and begins squeezing it.
As if the ball was a wet piece of cloth being strung out, the antimatter secrets a great amount of blood that slides through his fingers and down his arm before landing on the ground.
“Three to go.”
With one last squeeze, the ball exploded in his hand and blood flies all over.
Seeing this sends Aria into a blind rage.
She had just watched her promise with Luke shatter right in front of her. And seeing Mammon smile and mock her with the blood of her own failure destroys any kind of rational thought process.
“Aria, no!!” Strauphius shouts and tries to chase her down.
But to his dismay, he’s moving awfully slow, his ability has chosen a very inconvenient time to shut down on him.
Without so much as a plan, she foolishly rushes him. She hasn’t even gathered anything that can be made into a bomb, she hasn’t even thought about what she’ll do once she gets to him, she hasn’t even thought about what 'he’ll' do once she gets to him.
She just wants to get to him, she just wants to get her hands on him, she just wants to kill him.
Everything else is tossed to the side and was never once considered.
That is, until she actually reaches him, and all the adrenaline and rage are replaced by the distinct feeling of pain.
Her blurry vision only sees the red of her own blood as her legs give out from under her and she is sent tumbling to the ground.
Instead of using any kind of special attack, Mammon chose to simply use his sword to slice the shoulder of the incoming girl and slide the circle shaped blade all the way down to her stomach.
Her brother, forced to watch from afar, screams as though it was he who had just been fatally wounded. It might as well be that way, for someone who’s only had his sister in life, losing her in such a way might as well be the death of him.
Just like Aria, he rushes in as well.
And Mammon smiles and simply opens his arms as if inviting him to try.
But Napoleon isn’t going to let the same mistake happen twice if he can help it, he is standing close enough to Strauphius that he grabs him by the collar.
“Let me go!!! Let me goooo!!!”
Napoleon’s a lot stronger than Strauphius, but the way he’s desperately kicking and struggling is enough to almost make him lose his grip.
“Can’t you see that this is what he wants!?” Napoleon shouts, “He’s coaxing you into throwing away your life! We have to calm down and think our way through this!”
“Fuck that! My sister, my sister is dying over there! Let me go!!!”
“Huahahahahahah ahhh come on, just let em go. These three were just holding you back anyway, if you really want to beat me it’s best to throw away the extra weight slowing you down.”
“Hey hey I’m just trying to help pal.”
Mammon leans down and grabs the barely conscious Aria by her apple red hair and lifts her body up. “To show you how nice of a guy I am, I’m going to take this lil lady’s head to my world. I don’t think you’ll be able to contain that guy after he sees that.”
Strauphius chokes on his own inhale after he said that. The strength in his struggle from Napoleon’s grasp triples as he shouts, “I’ll fucking kill you you bastard!! I’ll fucking kill you!!!”
Napoleon’s trying his best to stay calm, but even he’s losing his composure.
Mammon lifts Aria completely off the ground as though she was a prized buck that had just been hunted and begins to laugh. “Hahahaha that’s what this one said, and you see where that got her.”
A ball forms around Mammon’s hand and grows to a size that it covers Aria’s head. It’ll only be a second until her head is perfectly severed and taken to the opposite world of antimatter.
Joan reaches the little black hole surrounded by the circle of blood Abaddon created. In this black hole is the proverbial source of her meaning of life, the Archangel Michael.
She can feel a pressure emitting from the blackhole that seems to pull her in, and upon looking at the snow and stone in the circle of blood, she can see that what she’s feeling is the blackhole’s attempt at sustaining itself by taking in the mass of objects that carry matter.
Although she isn’t a scientist by any means, her instincts are telling her that this is exactly what is going on. This is why she hasn’t blindly rushed in yet, if she did she’d be sucked in and trapped just like Michael is.
(What should I do?) she asks herself, racking her brain for answers to questions even she hasn’t thought of yet.
This leaves her in a clueless state that surely looks to keep her that way. Even to her, the world of angels and demons is such a far away place. She was just a simple girl who prayed in times of weakness and in times of strength. The truth of the matter is, that was her only connection with that far away world.
How can she help save the person who saved her so many times before? What can she, a mere human do to help? Is there even anything?
All she feels she can do is pray, and hope to find the answer through that.
But herein lies the problem, she’s in Purgatory, and has been here for quite some time guarding the Gate. Never once has she been in contact with anyone from Heaven since being appointed this position. She’s prayed countless times and had no answer, and she kept up that lonely ritual for as long as she can remember. But she had stopped when she finally came to the conclusion that Purgatory isn’t connected to the place where her Angels reside, in fact, it is likely the furthest place from it.
In this world, the prayers go unheard.
It took her quite some time to learn that.
(Wait a second…)
Her eyes widened as though a cold wind had gusted through the core of her body.
(No one ever heard my prayers because no one was here to hear them!)
That’s right, not only are the 5 levels of Purgatory separated from each other, each one of them is a completely separate world than the one she was in while she was alive; God and the Angels hearing her was impossible from the start. But if an angel is here, one this specific level, wouldn’t it be possible to transmit her plea to that angel?
Even if that angel is stuck in a blackhole, the existence of that blackhole is made up of mass from Purgatory.
It should be possible...
No... It has to be possible, and she falls to her knees and intertwines her fingers before shutting her eyes.
(My beloved angel Michael, please hear my voice.)
Nothing happens, it’s almost as though she is trying to find a signal in a radio’s static strong enough to communicate with an alien life form.
Upon waiting for a reply for more than a few moments, she begins to feel that it just might have been a far fetched plan that never had any chance of actually working.
That is, until that static fuzz becomes clear and a voice is heard echoing through her mind.
Trapped in the darkness of Abaddon’s blackhole is Michael, he’s literally stuck in position and can’t afford to move in fear of detonating one of Abaddon’s marbles.
If he’s careless, he’ll be blown to bits.
“Hey seriously, this is borin’.” Abaddon voices his displeasure at the action not taking place at the moment.
Michael doesn’t reply, not because he’s so afraid that he can’t articulate the words to reply to Abaddon’s disappointment, but because he’s already conversing with someone.
Someone who’s voice he hasn’t heard for centuries.
Someone from the outside world.
“Joan!?” Michael exclaims in his mind, he’s desperately trying to keep the surprise from from his eyes and away from Abaddon.
“Ah, my dear Angel! Oh how I’ve missed your voice!”
Joan’s voice rings in an echo like fashion in Michael’s head.
“I don’t get it, what are you doing here? How can you speak to me??”
“Please excuse my rudeness, but now is not the time for explanations.” Joan replies, her tone apologetic.
“So then, I wish to help you.”
“I don’t know how you can do that, I’m trapped in here with a demon and there’s no way for me to escape.”
Joan’s transmission pauses for a moment before she asks, “Is there really no way? If the demon has a way out, then you must have a way as well.”
Michael ponders for a few seconds until his mind latches onto something and that look of surprise he has done so well at hiding, reveals itself square on his face.
“Alright enough waiting!”
As if on cue, Micheal is hit by a force so great his body twists dozens of times over in awkward directions before plowing into a mass hidden in the darkness.
“Michael!?” Joan shouts, she heard this painful sounding moan accompanied by the loud crash.
“Ahhhh~ damn it man, where was the boom?” Abaddon said, likely shaking his head in the process.
“Listen, Joan…” Michael said in his mind while coughing through his mouth. “He mentioned that this black hole needed to continuously bring in mass to manifest itself… Do you see that happening out there?”
Joan looks around her, she’s standing just outside of the event horizon made of Cyrus’s blood and notices that snow, rock and even the clouds above are slowly but surely being sucked in the the black hole the the size of a small pond in the ground.
“Yes, I do. What does it mean?”
“Perhaps if we can reverse the process and send mass out of the hole, I can escape this place. I know what we can do to accomplish that!”
Michael smiles and chuckles, and Abaddon certainly notices this.
“What the fuck is so funny?”
“Oh, I’m just thinking about how great it’s going to feel to finally get my hands on you.”
“Really now?” Abaddon spits, “How do ya s’pose you’re gonna do that? You can’t even see me, and you can’t move around freely neither, maybe this darkness is going to your head?”
“You think so?”
A brilliant light pierces the darkness and lands right in front of Michael; it landed as though it were a comet to earth and sounded like it as well.
The noise is joined by an intense gale-like wind and light begins to spread about and reveal what was once hidden by darkness.
“What the fuck is this!?” Abaddon shouts, losing his balance on top of a stone pillar as the entirety of this dimension begins to shake.
It’s then that he catches sight of a banner, standing astute in between he and Michael. It stands on its own in a sea of white light and all that was once around it begins to scream away from it as though it were repelling mass.
It is Joan of Arc’s banner.
Abaddon doesn’t know who she is or what this object is, but he knows that whatever has just invaded his world of darkness from outside, is destroying it with a power the direct opposite of a black hole.
“Hahaha perfect!” Michael shouts, “I knew it’d work, you said it yourself, a black hole needs to constantly bring in mass to sustain itself. But what if we deflected that mass and directed it outwards instead of in?”
“That would be impossible! Nothing can escape once in a black hole!”
That would be the case, if it weren’t for the fact that there is now light present in the black hole with the appearance of the banner.
And light travels, and it travels fast.
From sheer and pure darkness, light has found its way in the center and drastically alters the physical properties of Abaddon’s black hole. In essence, it makes contact with the Higg's field and has formed something out of nothing.
The phenomena is the exact opposite of a black hole.
It’s the Big Bang.
And when the light now combined with particles from the Higg's boson makes contact with dark mass, it continues on forever and ever and never stops expanding.
But this particular blackhole has its limits, it has a wall, it has an exit.
The light engulfs Abaddon, and the mass once brought in is deflected from the hole’s core and outward at a speed so great that all sound eviscerates and time itself seems to halt in a brilliant flash.
Abaddon’s form vanishes into it.
Standing outside of the black hole Joan, a safe distance away from the event horizon made up of Cyrus’s remains. Whatever is in that circumference is being drawn into the hole in the center sinking into nothingness, when all the sudden, the event horizon stops turning, and the mass sucked in towards the middle ceases.
In that moment, a great rumbling noise is heard as though a thousand helicopters are flying overhead.
It steadily grows and grows, louder and louder until…
An explosion of light expands outwards in the form of the most brilliant colors Joan has ever seen. She can feel the heat of the blast, yet she can feel the coolness of it as well; what she’s gazing upon is creation itself, and despite knowing nothing of this, she can sense it.
She can feel it all the way until the light fades and mixes along with the light of the outside world as though this was where it belonged.
Once the steady rumbling of the surface in which she stands ceases and the light mixes into the surrounding environment, she can see the figure of a man standing in the epicenter of that once devastating blast of pure energy.
He is someone she doesn’t recognize, yet seems so familiar.
And when he speaks, her knees almost buckle.
“Hey Joan…” Said Michael the archangel; producing his spear in his right hand from the remnant light still expanding outwards. “Long time no talk.”
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