Fiery Divergence (27.5% Complete) [Book 5]
Only takuya will really be able to understand everything that's going on.
You don't need this chapter. :p
Re: Fiery Divergence (5.4% Complete) [Book 5]
Ready For War
Not needed. :D
Re: Fiery Divergence (8.1% Complete) [Book 5]
Not needed. :D
Re: Fiery Divergence (10% Complete) [Book 5]
The Magic Council and the members of Axenic Amends had arrived at the cave entrance to Hell in Death Valley. When they arrived, Johnny was sitting on the rock to the right of the cave, sharpening the blade of Lucifer with a small rock. Upon arrival, Alatar looked to Johnny and asked, “Where did you get that blade?”
“I found it,” Johnny answered, “While I was journeying through the Rocky Mountains two years ago, it was lying down in the back of a cave. When I noticed what the sword was, I had to take it.”
Morpheous walked up to Johnny and looked at the sword before telling everyone what Johnny already knew, “This is the sword of Lucifer, the demon prince of Pride. This is actually a huge advantage for us. Without this sword, we would have been walking blindly into the trap of the enemy. Now though, we have something over them. Johnny, protect this sword with your life.”
“You don’t have to tell me twice,” Johnny responded, “I had already planned on watching this sword as soon as I realized what it was. These demons probably think they have us right where they want us, but they couldn’t have expected this.”
Yulena looked around at the scene to notice something strange. They were in the right spot and everyone she travelled with was there. However, there was something missing. As soon as she realized what it was, she looked to Johnny and spoke out, “Johnny, where is Ian?”
Johnny looked back to Yulena and made a sigh, “I should have already told you, but when Alatar pointed out the sword I got sidetracked. I told him not to do it, but Ian did it anyways. He said that he couldn’t just sit back and wait for everyone. He said that we have no time to lose and went ahead without us. Ian is already on the first level of Hell.”
“What?” Phillip exclaimed, “Why didn’t you stop him? Ian can’t take on all of Hell by himself. He will get killed. Tell me you’re joking.”
“Sadly, I’m not,” Johnny replied, “I tried to tell him not to go, but he wouldn’t listen to me. Something just came over him. He seems to think that he has a chance to take out Lucifer and all of his demons. I told him he was delusional, but he just rushed off. I was going to chase after him, but I’m smart enough to know that I will need help from all of you to do that.”
Phillip couldn’t take that. He didn’t even take time to respond, he just rushed toward the cave entrance. Just before he reached the entrance though, a stream of fire rushed out in front of him and then turned into Alatar. Alatar held his hand forward to stop him. He took a quick final drink of his last bottle of sake and then said to him, “Don’t rush into this Phillip. Think clearly. You know nothing about Hell. If you did, you would know that the cave is the worst way to enter Hell. You saw the fire at the end right? If you jump in, you’ll just fall into a flaming pit.”
“Alright,” Phillip took a deep breath, “I’m sorry. You have to understand though, Ian is my friend. If that isn’t the entrance though, how do we get inside?”
Alatar gave Phillip a grin and then turned to Yulena, giving her a nod. Yulena nodded back and walked between the two rocks in front of the entrance. She drew the metal pole from her back and stabbed it into the ground. As she did so, two holes opened up in the ground on either side of her between herself and the rocks. The holes were just large enough for each of the rocks to fall inside. With that, Silyn and Morpheous took their places behind either rock and pushed them into the holes. As soon as they fell into the holes, the openings closed themselves back up and the entrance to the cave began to steam. Alatar looked to Phillip and gave him a command, “Stand in the entrance.”
Phillip stepped forward into the cave entrance as the front of the cliff began to descend into the ground. Alatar motioned for everyone else to follow him and they did so. They all stood in the cave entrance as the opening descended underneath the ground. It went down like an elevator until they reached a point three miles underground where they found themselves at the entrance of a spiraling stone tunnel. Alatar looked forward and announced, “Here we go, the true entrance to Hell. Is everyone ready?”
Everyone gave a nod to Alatar aside from Kevin who had a question, “Is there anything we need to know about Hell before we go into it?”
“Just, be careful,” Alatar answered, “This is Hell. There is bound to be more than just battles down here. Remember what Abraham has done up to this point. He may be a fairly fair player, but that doesn’t mean that all of the demons will be or that he won’t try to tempt anyone.”
“Understood,” Kevin replied, “I will be careful.”
Alatar nodded back to everyone and then said to them, “In that case, stay close to me and let’s move on,” before walking forward. Everyone followed Alatar and walked down into the downward spiraling tunnel as they worked their way down. As they got closer and closer to the first level, the smoke in the tunnel would get thicker and thicker. It took a few minutes for them to reach the end, but when they finally did they had reached the first level of Hell. They stepped forward into a very unexpected site. They could see the spiraling stone tunnel behind them in the form of a tower into the roof area of the large opening they found themselves in. The area must have gone on for miles in each direction and every part of it was shrouded by smoke.
They only noticeable place in the area was a tower of fire which could be seen shooting up from the ground much further behind them. It took everything they had to hold back there coughing. Nonetheless, they walked forward into the smoke with only high enough visibility to see about a hundred feet in each direction. After a few minutes of walking, Phillip spoke up, “Is this really Hell?”
As if on cue, at that moment they heard the sound Abraham’s voice all around them, as if over an intercom, “Yes, you are in the right place, this is Hell.”
“Abraham,” Alatar shouted, “Where are you? Show yourself to us.”
“Do you really think I would just show myself?” Abraham laughed, “No, that wouldn’t be fun. Relax everyone! It’s been so long since we’ve seen each other. Haven’t you missed me?”
“Stop playing around,” Alatar yelled.
“You’re really a buzz kill dad,” Abraham sighed, “I still am not going to show myself so easily though. If you really want to see me, you’re going to have to play a game with me.”
“Great, another game, we all know what that means,” Alatar rolled his eyes, “It means that instead of having fun with a game, he wants us to risk our lives to reach him. Explain the game Abraham.”
“Hold on I got to do this right,” Abraham replied before making a coughing sound. He then took a deep breath and spoke like an announcer, “Welcome contestants to the greatest game in the history of The Cosmos. This is Seven Levels In Hell! Not to be confused with seven minutes in Heaven.”
“Seven levels?” Phillip interrupted.
“Hello, I was talking,” Abraham shot back before lowering his tone, “Yes, Phillip, there are seven levels. You are on the first level right now, but more about that later,” Abraham continued before coughing and returning to his announcer voice, “Now to explain the rules of Seven Levels In Hell. As you make your way through my seven levels, you will face many trials. Some of them may be battles and some of them may be actual challenges. The important thing though is that each you will participate in this game and eventually be forced to compete against each other.”
“You can’t make us do that,” Eric shouted, “We won’t oppose each other just because you tell us to.”
“Shut up, I’m still talking,” Abraham responded and then returned to announcing, “You may not think you will compete against each other, but it will happen eventually. Why? Because there will only be one champion! You will not be the only ones participating though. All of the members of Sinister Ambition will be in this game as well. They are scattered across the seven levels, just waiting for you to run into them where you will face their challenges. Now, to explain the seven levels. Where you are at right now is a place known as the Pollutant Plains. It is the first level of Hell; the level of Gluttony. The first level represents man’s sin of overindulging in bad habits. The smoke around you is here because humanity as a whole has ruined nature with its habit of littering and polluting the air. There are four members of Sinister Ambition on this level, waiting to give you their challenge, one of them being the Prince of Gluttony, Beelzebub. Any questions so far?”
“Seems pretty self-explanatory to me,” Morpheous answered as no one else spoke up.
“In that case, let’s move on,” Abraham began, “That is the first level, the Pollutant Plains of Gluttony. If you manage to overcome the trials of gluttony, then you will move on to the second level; the Treasury Mine. On level two, there are also four members of Sinister Ambition, and the boss of them is the demon prince of Greed. He is known as the demon prince Mammon. If you overcome the trials of greed, you can move onto the third level of Hell. The third level is known as the Greenhouse of Seduction. As the name suggests, the third level is the level of Lust, led by the prince of Lust, Asmodeus. Unlike the first two levels, the third level has only three members of Sinister Ambition.”
“Is there going to be a demon prince on every level?” Silyn asked.
“In a way, yes, there will be,” Abraham told him before continuing on with his explanation, “As soon as you reach level four, you have reached the central level. Depending on which way you enter level four, you will reach one of four areas. All of which lead to a different area of level five. Level four is known as the Rivers Four which is made up of the River Styx, River Phlegothon, River Acheron and River Cocytus. The fourth level is the level of Envy, but none of the seven demon princes are on that level. Instead, we have several demons, a few of which are technically demon princes. The leader of these princes is the prince of Risk, the ferryman, Charon. Pay our ferryman or face his challenge. Either way, if you succeed, you can move onto the next level, level five.”
“What kind of challenge will that be?” Phillip replied, “I don’t think anyone brought Underworld currency.”
“You’ll find out if you face him,” Abraham stated flatly and then continued, “If you can successfully cross the four rivers of Hell, you will reach level five. Level five is known as the Factory of Creation. It is the level of Sloth. The fifth level is different than the others before it in that there is only one member of Sinister Ambition to defeat. That one member is the demon prince of Sloth, Belphegor. If you can manage to navigate your way through there, you can reach level six, the level of Pride. The sixth level, where I am at will be where you find me, Abraham, possessor of the spirit of Lucifer, demon prince of Pride. Like level five, level six also only has one challenger. However, even if you defeat Lucifer, you still have to deal with the great demon king, Satan, the king of Hell and the prince of Wrath.”
“So, Satan is on the sixth level,” Alatar said aloud, “In that case, what is the seventh level?”
“The seventh level is unimportant,” Abraham responded as he thought about whether to answer or not. In the end, he decided there was no reason not to though and announced further, “Well, there’s no way you will make it past level six, so I will tell you. Level seven is the home of the great Leviathan. If you make it to level seven you will reach the final level, the Portals of Endless Time. This seventh level of Wrath, hosts the prince of Envy, Leviathan. Like levels five and six, level seven has only one challenger of Sinister Ambition, that being Leviathan himself.”
“From the sounds of it, level four is where things get really serious,” Alatar spoke, “Don’t take levels one through three lightly though. We have faced many of these people before so we know none of these guys are weaklings.”
“Alatar is one hundred percent correct. All of the challenges will be intense,” Abraham confirmed, “None of the challenges are as important as the game itself though. Look at your wrists.”
They all did as Abraham said and looked down at their wrists. What they saw didn’t make any sense to them. On their wrists were digital numbers, all of which said the same thing, ’72:00:00’. Alatar looked at his and exclaimed, “What is the meaning of this?”
“That is a countdown clock,” Abraham explained, “This game has a time limit of seventy two hours. If at the end of the seventy two hours you have not defeated me, I will automatically win. That is not the only point of the wrist clock though. They are also the way you eliminate people from the game. As long as the clock on your wrist is still on, you are still in the game. As soon as it disappears though, you are eliminated. There are four ways to eliminate someone from the game. The first is to forfeit a challenge, the second is succeed at a challenge, the third is to kill an opponent and the final way is to lose consciousness for ten seconds. As soon as you are knocked out, the clock will read it and begin the countdown.”
“We understand,” Morpheous spoke for everyone, “Is there anything else?”
“Only one more thing,” answered Abraham, “Now that you know all the rules, it’s time to announce the people who will be participating in this game. From the Magic Council, we have Bigan Underwood, Kevin Able, Magnus Afilia, Morpheous Starsley, Phillip Pragmer, Silyn Blackrider and Yulena Lang. From Axenic Amends, we also have Phillip, Kevin and Yulena, but we also add in Darla Clover-Fitzgerald, Eric Stautz, Ian Longstran, Johnny MacIntosh, Marie Pollish, Roman Lightley and Troy Underwood. Then there are also the allies of Magic Council and Axenic Amends, Cornelius Love, Jarvis Dickery and Patrick Ursley. On the other side we have Sinister Ambition members which consist of Apophis, Connelly Orstrang, Delilah Regine, Edward Shallowgrove, Keon Underwood, Kiora Pollish, Larx, Malakai Eldrick, Sazar, Shannon Silvia, Sora Whitmayer and lastly me, Abraham Afilia. That is not everyone however, as we have one wildcard. His name is Daniel Able, and he is hidden somewhere in Hell. All in all, that makes a total of 30 players in our game. Are there any questions?”
Alatar looked around to everyone to see the nods of their heads before speaking for all of them, “I think that’s it.”
“Then good luck facing your challenges and overcoming your sins. I have nothing left to say,” Abraham stated, “Now, game on!”
With that, the rules of the game had finally been fully explained. The ultimate finale had begun after several years of struggling. Everything had led up to this moment, from the time eight years ago when The Reaper first appeared and Nyx made himself known, to the time when Shannon handed over the Tablet of Necessity to Troy. All the memories of adventure went rushing through each of their minds; the oath between Phillip and Eric, the many different times of training, Phillip “meeting” his brother, the elaborate plotting in Torragan, the death of Shyann, Eric’s depression, the meeting with the Council, the deaths of friends and family, the betrayal of Eric and Sora, the abuse of Roman from his father, the various battles in the Council Headquarters, the betrayal of Delilah and Keon, the death of Benoit, the loss of the tablet, the invitation to Sinister Isle, Troy’s near death battle with Keon, the battle of Sinister Isle, the deaths of Arien and Docyn, the breaking of the oath’s curse and each of their individual journeys being among them. It was time for the victor to be decided once and for all.
As they each stood there, Alatar looked to them and had only one thing to say, “Remember what I told you. Be careful. There are sure to be traps in here. Do not be deceived by the temptations of your own sins. Remember what level you are on, and don’t trust,” Alatar paused as looked off to his left before he exclaimed, “Sake!”
Alatar ran away from the group over to a large flask of sake hidden in the smoke of the first level. Yulena shouted out to him, telling him not to touch it and that it was a trick. It was too late though. Alatar picked up the sake and began to drink it. As he did so, a clear tube arose around him, trapping him inside as spikes clear spikes appeared on the interior. Alatar’s body was enlarging more and more by the second, as it wouldn’t take long for his body to be skewered by the spikes. The group was about to run up to him when something strange happened. From the ground, demons sprouted, all of which looked pretty rough. Their bodies were either decayed or fully red, and all were representing bad habits. Some of them were fat and some of them were smokers, while others were drinkers or cutters. Silyn looked to everyone and took charge, “Take these bastards out.”
Everyone did as Silyn said and rushed toward each of them. Phillip ran off to the left and flicked a dice at one of the demons, hitting him in the eye. That caused a distraction for the demons nearby. He took advantage of that, by kneeing a demon in the chest and then spun around on his hands, doing a sort of pinwheel kick to the other ones. On the opposite side, Troy rushed forward and pulled out a pen which immediately enlarged to the size of the sword. He stabbed the pen through one of the demons chest and used its blood to write in the sand, “Spikes”. With that, every demon around the stabbed demon was impaled by spikes.
A few feet away from Phillip, Kevin had run forward and flipped his skateboard in the air to hit one of the demons in the face. He then pulled his hands back and rushed forward in a flash, chopping several demons with the side of his hands. On the other side once more, a few feet away from Troy, Johnny had placed his surfboard on the ground and stood on it. He rode along the sand as if they were waves and stabbed his board through a small group of demons. He then hopped on a demon’s head. He then pulled out a giant nunchaku and spun it around, knocking out another group of demons.
Having run right down the middle, Marie and Yulena worked together. Marie pulled out a bow and shot arrows at several of the demons before Yulena pulled out her metal pole and slammed it into the ground at an angle. Marie jumped on the end of the pole and then Yulena used all her strength to life her pole up. The force launched Marie forward as she did a corkscrew spine in mid-air, kicking and chopping several demons on the way. Just behind them, sewing needles attached to strings, flew through the air, stabbing through all the demons they didn’t get. The demons were then slammed together and lifted in the air, flipping them across the battlefield. Darla had taken care of them.
Between the middle group and the group that took the right, Cornelius rushed forward in a stream of light, stabbing several demons in the chest with elongating keys. Afterwards, he spun around, smacking several more demons around with his wings. Just behind him, Bigan leaped his into the air, over Cornelius and pulled out his trench knives. As soon as he landed, he was surrounded by demons, and immediately begun slashing away at them. At one point, a couple demons had snuck up behind him, but he noticed in time and was able to shoot a pair of blades out of the back of his elbows and through the demons.
On the other side, between the middle group and the side that went to the left, Eric and Roman had taken on a few more of the demons. Their strategies were simple. Roman pulled out a five iron golf club and swung it at as many demons as he could while Eric put on his power gloves and started punching the demon’s faces in. At one point, they were close to being surrounded, but Roman pressed his pocket and each of the demons which had gotten close to them had been stopped in their tracks. Eric pulled out a giant circular shuriken disk and spun it around his body like a hoola hoop, taking out the demons that had been stopped in their tracks, while Roman ducked under the attack.
As they all went to town on them, Jarvis jumped over everyone and landed smack in the center of all the demons. The demons all rushed after him, and he simply pointed his palms at them, sending palm thrusts in their direction in rapid succession. The palm thrusts seemed to be shooting forth powerful forces as rows of demons had holes suddenly appear in their chests before falling over. He continued making those palm thrusts as more and more demons fell. Just as he took them out, Patrick fell from the sky, with his sickles at the ready. As he fell toward the ground, his head was down and spun quickly. When he reached the ground, he slashed through several groups of demons all at the same time. After rising back up his feet, he continued to slash through the demons in quick succession. It only took them only about twenty seconds to wipe out the horde of demons.
Once the demons were taking out though, they were met with a rude awakening. Several harpies flew down from the sky, their putrid decaying bodies reeking like sin. Their hair was nappy and greasy. They looked entirely gross as their bodies seemed slimy even around their wings and talons. They wouldn’t reach the ones who had taken out the demons though, as Silyn and Morpheous flew into the swarm; Silyn with his own harpy wings and Morpheous with his vampire wings. Morpheous flapped his wings forward sending bolts of plasma through their bodies and then knocked out all the harpies he missed by pounding them with his fists. Silyn took out the harpies on his side fairly easily as well, shooting forth arrows of poison and then slicing the ones he missed with his sword. After they were taken out, Silyn and Morpheous fell to the ground where the rest of the group was, landing on their feet.
All seemed to be over as they rushed toward the container Alatar was in, ready to set him free. At that moment though, a giant monster appeared behind the container. It looked like a giant fly, aside from the fact that it had no wings. It seemed to be sitting, as its underbelly faced the group. It thing shot forward strings of acid at the ground, but the acid was met by a giant fireball that came from behind them. Vazor was there, and he had shot the fireball at the acid as the fireball hit the fly in the face. Silyn took that time to smash open the container which held Alatar, who had gotten to a point where he was only inches away from the spikes. The container broke and Alatar was free. He then picked up the flask of sake and gulped down the entire thing. The group was about ready to smack themselves in the head until they realized what he was doing.
Alatar grew to a giant size, even larger than the monster fly. He then lifted up his sorcerer’s staff and jabbed it at the beast’s stomach. The end of the staff turned into a blade, as he used the blade to slice up through the beast’s stomach, inevitably killing it. The group had survived the first challenge of Hell; the horde of demons. Immediately after killing the fly, Alatar returned to his normal size as he shrank fairly quickly. He then turned to the group and concluded what he was saying before he got trapped, “Don’t trust anything.”
“Like you have room to talk,” Bigan sighed.
“That was pretty intense,” Phillip commented, “But strangely simple. I guess the first challenge of Hell would be much simpler than what else is to come though.”
“Indubitably,” Silyn replied, “But, we have survived for now and that is good. Alatar, please don’t set off anymore traps.”
“What? Did you not have fun?” Alatar laughed, “I thought it was pretty amusing watching you guys beat up a bunch of demons. It gave me a little time to relax.”
“You could have been injured,” Yulena exclaimed, “Why are you laughing?”
“Do you forget who I am?” Alatar asked, “I am Alatar, leader of the Magic Council. Even if I had hit the spikes, it would have only been temporary as I would have just broken the container by becoming too big for it to contain me even with how hard it was to destroy from the inside. I’m also immortal, so no biggie.”
Morpheous, who had gone behind Alatar, frogged him in the back of the head and said to him, “Alatar, you really like to mess with us don’t you?”
“Yeah, it’s quite fun,” Alatar chuckled, “Thanks you damn bastards.”
“So, what do we do now?” Marie intervened, “Was that the entire challenge?”
“Not even close,” a female voice from within the smoke said as she walked forward toward the group. They knew they had heard that voice before, and Marie had definitely heard it before.
As Marie looked in the direction of the silhouette of the approaching figure, her eyes widened as she said to herself, “I finally get to see her again.”
Moments later, Kiora walked out in front of them to a point where she had become visible. She looked at the group and spoke, “It appears as though you guys are having as much fun as ever.”
“Kiora,” Kevin exclaimed, “What are you doing with Sinister Ambition? You know you don’t want to be with them. You want to be with us. Come back to the Council. Come back to your friends. Come back to me.”
“Those days are over Kevin,” Kiora stated flatly, “I have seen the true light, the light of Sinister Ambition. Shannon has revealed to me the truth about everything and I have no desire to return to your little play group or to you, Kevin.”
“What’s gotten into you?” Marie cried out, “You can’t be serious. The letter I received from you, it said that you loved me. Why are you speaking this way now?”
Kiora walked up to Marie and grabbed her chin as she made Marie look her in the eyes before responding, “Silly little sister, I am speaking the truth. What else could I be speaking? The time I told you I loved you is ancient history. You are just another insignificant weakling. I am not the same Kiora that you used to know. I have changed. I have become my true self. I have become more powerful than you could imagine. What have you become Marie?”
“I haven’t become a heartless bitch for one,” Marie slapped away Kiora’s hand as tears ran down her eyes, “If what you’re saying is true though, then that’s what you have become.”
“How dare you use such a sharp tongue against your big sister,” Kiora shouted as she went to slap Marie. Kevin grabbed her arm though to stop her and then made a nod to tell her not to do it. Kiora pulled her arm away and then walked away from the group before continuing, “Don’t touch me ever again Kevin. This isn’t your fight anymore. You’re not relevant here. The only one I want to speak with is Marie.”
“What do you want me to do?” Marie asked.
“Follow me, by yourself,” Kiora answered, “We’ll settle our differences once and for all. You shall face your own sins.”
Marie looked to the group and gave them a nod, “I’ll do this by myself. Don’t worry about me. You guys keep making your way through Hell. I will definitely break through to my sister.”
Darla walked up to Marie and gave her a hug, “Be careful sis.”
Marie hugged her back and said to her, “I will see you again soon Darla.”
Silyn looked to Marie and tried to convince her that she shouldn’t go alone, “You don’t have to do this by yourself Marie. Kiora is not only strong. She is also your sister. If you go to her alone, she has a psychological advantage. If you bring someone else with you though, we can help you.”
“I’ll be fine,” Marie tried to assure him, “This is a promise between sisters. To go with anyone else is a betrayal. I’ll take care of this.”
Phillip looked to Marie with a smile, “This is why I admire you. You aren’t afraid to do things on your own. I trust you. Go bring Kiora back to us!”
Marie rushed up to Phillip and gave him a kiss on the cheek before whispering in his ear, “I still love you.”
With that, Marie walked away from Phillip and the group as she made her way in the direction of Kiora’s silhouette. Many members of the group had the urge to follow, but they all respected Marie’s wishes and continued on with their own journey. A few minutes later, Kiora had stopped and turned to her sister as the smoke cleared to reveal a dimly lit area of the first level where a lake around half a mile long all around was situated within the sands of the Polluted Plains. Kiora looked to her sister with a grin, “Are you ready for your challenge?”
“Bring it on!” Marie exclaimed confidently.
Re: Fiery Divergence (12.5% Complete) [Book 5]
Marie stood in front of Kiora on the dimly lit sandy shore of the decently sized lake in the first level of Hell. The reality of her sister on the side of the enemy and not acting like how she remembered greatly bother her. Her sister had always been truly a sister to her. Someone she cared about deeply. It was for that reason that she was determined to not only win whatever challenge she was faced with, but to bring her sister back to her side. She wouldn’t be able to settle for anything less. To have a chance though, she would first have to face adversity the likes of which would she could have never imagined that would change her life forever. Marie looked to her sister and asked, “So, what is the challenge?”
“Based on where you are that should be obvious. Your challenge is to face your imperfections,” Kiora answered.
“My imperfections, what do you mean by that?” Marie replied.
“I would know better than anyone what I mean by that, and you should know too,” Kiora said to her, “I had fallen for your tricks, but Sinister Ambition has reminded me of the true nature of humans. They have reminded me that no one is devoid of sin, including you, the girl who has managed to obtain the powers of virtue. That’s why you failed to perfect your powers. That’s why you haven’t found the true power of virtue.”
“What would you know about that?” Marie exclaimed, “Sure, I have had my problems in the past, but I’ve gotten better. I’m not the same person that I used to be. You no longer are able to understand who I am.”
“No, I understand who you are more than anyone because we are in the same boat,” Kiora argued, “Sins and virtues aren’t as different as you think they are. There’s a difference in the way you use them. A person can sin in a way that is good or bad, and a person can commit virtuous acts for good or bad reasons. What would you say about a person who gives money to charity so that they will be looked at more highly than other people?”
“Perhaps it’s not the most noble of reasons,” Marie responded, “But it is still beneficial to the world to give to charity.”
“As long as you continue to act like the righteous acts people do are always good or bad without thinking through it critically, you’ll never awaken your true powers,” Kiora told her, “I’m not condemning this hypothetical person either. I am considering their way of thinking. The problem with you is that you don’t. All you consider is the result. That’s why you are only using B rank virtue powers.”
“What do you mean by B rank virtue powers?” Marie asked, “I never heard of this before.”
“That’s because Docyn died before she could move on to the later portion of our lessons,” Kiora explained, “This is something that I have come to know thanks to Shannon. I had always wondered why I could only use the powers of sin, but never could reach the power of true sin. It’s because there are S rank, A rank and B rank powers of virtue and sin. I have learned A rate powers, but I have been unable of reaching and S rate power. You have yet to achieve true virtue. The reason you think you have is because you are in denial. You see yourself as a perfect person regardless of whether you vocalize it or not. If you really want to achieve true virtue, you can have no hint of sin in you. Regardless of whether it comes out of your mouth or just in your mind, that’s the way it is.”
“I’m not in denial,” Marie stated, “Am I?”
“If you can ask yourself that, then you are,” Kiora answered, “You have to come to realize your sins, and there’s only one way to do that. We need to go back to the root of your problems. You need to face what happened before you moved Hel eight years ago. You need to remember what you were like before you went to Hel High and before you met Phillip.”
“I’ve already gotten over that,” Marie insisted though the tone of her frustrated voice and body language said otherwise, “It’s in the past.”
“Is it really?” Kiora asked, “Because I truly think you’re full of shit right now. Get over yourself and face your past sister. If you’re really so confident that you are fine the way you are now, then you should have nothing to worry about.”
“Fine,” Marie exclaimed, “I can’t argue with that logic. I’m telling you that it won’t make a difference though. I have nothing to fear.”
Kiora nodded in response to Marie finally agreed and then lifted her left hand up in front of her body. She pointed the blowhole in her hand upward and channeled energy inside of it. Slowly, what appeared as a bubble blew up larger and larger. After it reached a size about ten times the size of a basketball, it closed and floated into the air. It hovered to an area where it was directly between Marie and Kiora, about ten feet in the air. As it hovered there, an image appeared inside the bubble. The image was of Marie from about nine years, about half a year before she moved to Hel.
She looked a bit different at that point in time. She was around five feet tall with blonde hair. She was wearing a tight short sleeve pink shirt with care bear designed on it along with a pair of blue jeans. Her shows were black and she wore braces on her teeth. Despite having her braces though, kids were still friendly to her. She was sitting a classroom as a teacher lectured. Marie couldn’t listen though. She was too busy staring at a boy three seats in front of her. She placed her book on one side of her head and her arm around the other side, hoping that no one would notice she was looking at him.
The boy she stared at was named Harold Mandela, who was very shy, unless he was speaking in class. He didn’t have many friends, but no one had any problems with him either. He was about five-foot-three and twelve years old at that time. He had short black hair which he wore a backwards grey baseball cap over and had a pair of glasses. His shirt was also grey, and had the words ‘American Eagle’ across the front. His shorts were black as were his shoes and he was playing a Gameboy at the front of the class. The teacher, Mr. James, who was a six foot tall brunette wearing a suit called him out, “So, Harold do you know what the answer is?”
“The answer is approximately 58 and a third percent,” Harold answered.
“That is correct, and how do you know that when all you are doing is playing a game in my classroom?” Mr. James asked.
“It’s simple, I just applied it to my own situation,” Harold explained, “Let’s say I am playing a video game that takes approximately 12 hours to finish. Assuming I don’t pause the game to take a break and I play for 7 hours straight, if I were to go to save it at that point, that is what the screen would say. It would give me a message saying that I was 58%, 58.3% or 59% complete, depending on the way the game functions. Therefore, seven is 58.3% of twelve.”
“Why do I even bother to ask?” Mr. James sighed, “Harold, can you at least pretend to be paying attention instead of staring at your game all day?”
“I don’t really see the point,” Harold replied, “I’m making a 98 in this class, and I’ve aced everything you’ve ever given us. I’ve already made it pretty obvious that I understand the material, and how to do it. To put my game down now seems incredibly unnecessary. I am only twelve years old, and all this work is easy. I haven’t even reached the point of my life where my work is really even that important. Please don’t go thinking that your class is so crazily important to anyone.”
“Harold, I won’t tolerate a smart mouth,” Mr. James exclaimed, “Go to the principal’s office.”
“Was it something I said?” Harold responded.
“Yes, it was something you said,” Mr. James confirmed, “You can’t just go telling your teachers that their classes aren’t important regardless of how good your grades are or how easily you make your grades. This work will be beneficial to you later in your life.”
“Alright alright, calm down,” Harold said to him as he got out of his seat and placed his backpack on his back. He then continued as he walked toward the classroom door, “Beneficial or not, I still have already proven that I know this stuff. So, again I say, I don’t really see the importance of this.”
“Never mind,” Mr. James began before turning to Marie, “So Marie, what is the answer to this one?”
Mr. James had briefly caught a good enough glimpse of Marie to notice that she was staring at Harold and wanted to test her. Harold noticed too as he turned to see her looking toward him. He made a couple motions to her to point at that the teacher had called on her. He then held up a few fingers and pointed at the teacher again. It was then that Marie realized what was going on. She turned her head to the teacher, looked at him and apologized, “Sorry, I was thinking. The answer to this one is 6%.”
“And would you kindly explain to us how you got to that answer?” asked Mr. James.
Marie wasn’t sure at first. She didn’t even notice which of the equations on the board was hers. She looked closely at them until she noticed which on it was and came up with her explanation, “Well, if you multiply three by two, you will get six. That’s important because you are asking what percentage of fifty that six is. Fifty is half of one hundred which is highest percentage you can achieve, so of course three is 6% of fifty.”
“That is correct as well,” Mr. James nodded to her before continuing on with the class. Marie didn’t have any difficulties paying attention for the rest of the class as she had no one to stare at from that point on. As long as she was paying attention in class, she tended to get things easier than most. Two hours later, school was let out, and she began her walk home with a friend of hers. They met outside, right in front of the school as they walked out the gates and down a quiet suburban street.
The girl was about the same height as Marie with short brown hair. She was wearing a tight blue shirt with black jeans and tennis shoes. Both of her ears were pierced and she wore bracelets on her left wrist. She turned to Marie was they walked down the street and spoke, “So, how was your day Marie?”
“It was fine Amber,” Marie replied, “The classes get a bit boring sometimes, but it’s pretty simple stuff so I can’t complain.”
“Yeah, you always have understood things very easily,” Amber chuckled, “That’s not what I’m interested in though. What I mean to ask you is if you’ve finally worked up the courage to talk to Harold yet.”
“No,” Marie sighed, “I tell myself every night before I go to bed that tomorrow will be different. I walk into school thinking that I’ll finally be able to say something the next day. Yet, when the time comes, I can’t make myself say anything. It’s kind of frustrating really.”
“You just have to make yourself do it,” Amber advised her, “You can’t just sit back waiting for a moment to come where you will feel comfortable. You have to stop thinking so much about what could happen and just go for it. After all, what’s the worst that could happen? You did mention to me that he gave you an answer and made you focus your attention in your math class earlier. A guy who does that for you can’t say anything too bad, can he?”
“You’re probably right,” Marie agreed, “If he hated me or something, he would have ignored the fact that I was staring at him and just left. He actually stopped Mr. James from getting onto me though.”
“Exactly, just think about that,” Amber told her, “It at the very least means that he is interested in you enough to say hi to you, and maybe be your friend. Besides, you’re a beautiful girl. Guys love babes with looks.”
“Yeah, they do,” Marie laughed, “You do make a fair point about the looks, but I don’t really see what makes me that beautiful. I mean, I have braces and I’m really not that special.”
“Don’t sell yourself short girl,” Amber tried to comfort her, “The braces look cute on you. Also, if I guy wouldn’t speak to you just because you have braces, he’s really not worth your time. He wouldn’t be worth anyone’s time.”
“Do you really think that I’m beautiful?” Marie smiled.
“You are the fairest maiden in the land my friend,” Amber said to her, “And nobody can change that. You are kind and caring. You are reliable and friendly. Honestly Marie, you do things that make me wish I were more like you.”
“I’m not that perfect,” Marie assured her, “If you only understood why I do the things I do, you wouldn’t think that I was either.”
“How am I supposed to state my impression of you based on things I apparently don’t know?” Amber asked her, “Why don’t you just tell me?”
“I’m afraid of losing my friends,” Marie responded, “I can’t tell you.”
“Are you really that worried about losing me?” Amber exclaimed with a bit of disappointment in her voice, “I have stuck with you through everything, because I like you. You are my best friend Marie and you’re not going to scare me off by revealing some dark secret about yourself.”
“That sort of is my secret,” Marie explained, “The reason I am so nice is because I’m afraid that I will push people away when I speak my mind. I am not happy watching people do many of the things they do. I am not happy hearing people say many of the things that they say. I’m afraid that they’ll leave me, or even worse, resent me forever. I don’t want to lose anyone else.”
“Oh, so this stems back to what happened with your father,” Amber sighed, “I should have known that was what this was about.”
“I just want to be cared about,” Marie confided in her, “If I argue against what people say, they might start to dislike me and I wouldn’t want that to happen. I’d rather live a lie and have people love me for that lie than live the way I want and have people hate me for that. The pain of losing someone who you care about is just too hard to bare.”
“Look Marie, I am going to be your friend forever, so you don’t have to worry about that with me,” Amber told her, “Even if you are worried though, you can’t keep blaming yourself for what happened to your father.”
“But it was my fault,” Marie yelled, “I was the reason he died.”
“No, you were not,” Amber responded, “You didn’t do anything wrong. Were you the one who pulled the trigger? No, you were not. You were just a girl who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Your father was around and asshole and that’s why things turned out the way they did.”
Marie sighed as the scene changed to that of a small gas station. Marie was around seven years old in the seen and about four foot tall. She was there with her father who was pumping gas into a white Chevy Lumina. He was around six-foot-eight with short brown hair. He was wearing a short sleeve white shirt with a pair of blue jeans and black shoes. As the man pumped his gas, the little blonde Marie danced around and accidently bumped into scruffy looking man with shoulder length dark brown hair. The man had on a green tank top and blue jeans with no shoes. He was carrying a twenty-four pack of beer and smelled horrible. He turned to Mr. Pollish and spoke in an annoyed town, “You’d best keep an eye on your daughter.”
“Sorry about that,” Mr. Pollish replied fairly calmly as he grabbed Marie’s hand and said to her, “Hold daddy’s hand, we don’t want to bother anyone.”
Marie wasn’t just going to do that though. She turned to the rude man and shouted at him, “No, you should watch where you’re going.”
The man placed his beers on the trunk of his car and turned back to them and yelled out, “Is this the way you’re raised your spoiled brat of a daughter? It’s people like you who are ruining this country. You let your children do whatever the hell they want.”
“Like you’re any better Mr. Hairy Man,” Marie shot back.
“Marie, just calm down, it’s okay,” Mr. Pollish assured her, “Let’s just let the man go about his day. We’ll go into the store after I’m done pumping the gas and I’ll get you a treat. I’ll get you whatever you want. You can get an Icee, a candy bar, whatever you want my little princess.”
“See, this is exactly what I mean,” the scruffy man interrupted, “Instead of punished her like you should, you just give her whatever she wants. You don’t deserve to be a father. Your daughter will grow up to be just like you, a no good piece of shit.”
“Don’t talk to my daddy like that,” Marie exclaimed as she thrusted her palm toward the man and knocked him into the gas pumps, “Now, shut up and go.”
The man fell on his ass in front of the pumps and was furious. He jumped back up to his feet as Marie’s father pulled her back and said to her silently, “Marie, you can’t be using your powers like that. Always remember that,” he then turned to the man and shouted, “Don’t you ever call my daughter such a vulgar name ever again jackass.”
The scruffy man got back up to his feet and pulled out a handgun. He lifted it up and pointed at Mr. Pollish. Mr. Pollish looked down to his daughter and told her that he loved her, as the man pulled the trigger and the bullet went right through his brain. Mr. Pollish fell instantly to the ground as blood splattered on the gas pumps, his car and Marie. Marie’s eyes shivered from the trauma and she began to cry. She looked at her dad and then looked at the man as she became furious. She started to walk forward, but after a couple steps, the scruffy man pointed his gun at her and walked forward as he told her, “Don’t move a muscle or I’ll shoot.”
Marie couldn’t move after that. She wanted to defend her father, but she was just a little girl. She didn’t want to die, nor could she use her powers without moving. So, she felt she had not choice as she sighed, “I won’t move.”
The scruffy man walked up to her and grabbed her arm as he kept the gun beside her head and started walking her to his car. He looked to her and said, “You’re going to come home with me now, won’t that be fun? I’ll lock you up in a room and you’ll never be allowed to come out. Isn’t that every little girl’s dream?”
“Yes,” was the only answer Marie could give him, “I couldn’t think of anything more wonderful.”
“Excellent,” the man grinned, “And we’ll only give you small meals every day and you’ll be beaten any time you don’t do whatever I say. Do we have a deal on that too?”
“Yes, I’ll do whatever you say,” replied Marie.
“You’re becoming a better girl already,” the man complimented, “And as long as you keep doing what I tell you to, I will let you have more fun. Yes, I think we are both going to enjoy getting to know each other.”
As he finished that sentence, something happened. A sound of a gunshot was heard quickly followed by the man dropped his gun and falling to the ground. Marie turned to look where it came from as she saw a cop jogging toward her. She knew what a cop was, so she wasn’t worried about this strange guy jogging up to her. He was about six-foot-tall and slightly overweight, but nothing unhealthy. He wore a normal cop outfit and had a bald head. When he reached Marie, he placed her hand on her shoulder. He looked into her eyes and got down on one knee as he asked her, “Are you okay?”
“Yes,” Marie nodded, “But my daddy isn’t.”
The cop looked back to see the man lying down on the ground then looked back to Marie and apologized, “I’m sorry I didn’t get here in time to save your daddy. I’m going to have to ask you to let me give you a ride home.”
“Yes,” Marie said to him, “I’ll ride with you.”
At that moment, another cop ran up to them. He was a couple inches taller than the first cop and was an African American. He had short black hair under his cap and was skinny, but other than a small nose he didn’t have any defining features. As he reached them, he spoke, “What happened Deputy Stevens?”
“The gunshot we heard was from this man,” Deputy Stevens told him as he paused before finishing the story, “He shot this girl’s father.”
The cop didn’t know what to say. He was disheartened, but he couldn’t think of anything more than telling the girl he was sorry. So, instead he just gave her a face which said he was sorry and walked over to the body of the scruffy man as he pulled out his wallet and looked at his driver’s license. When he looked at the license he announced, “Gregory Adams, age 43. I know of him, he just got out of jail. He has been faced with two charges of battery, six DUIs, vehicular manslaughter and one account of child molestation. That’s just what he’s been proven guilty of though. There are a few other outstanding cases, three of which are other probable child molestation charges within the past week.”
“Thank God we got to this girl first,” Deputy Stevens exclaimed, “This girl would have wound out being another statistic in his long line of felonies. Does he have any family we need to inform Hawking?”
“None that don’t resent him,” Hawking answered, “The family has pretty much disowned him because of all the horrible things that he’s done. He has no regard for human life at all and all attempts of therapy have proven ineffective.”
“Understood,” Deputy Stevens nodded as he looked back to Marie and assured her, “You’ll be alright.”
Amber snapped her fingers in Marie’s face, “Snap out of it.”
“Sorry,” Marie apologized, “I was just thinking about what happened again.”
“You need to look past that,” Amber sighed, “You’re never going to get happier if you keep dwelling on the past.”
It was then that they heard the sound of guys yelling somewhere nearby. They ran down the suburban street toward the sound as they noticed it was coming from an alleyway between a pair of abandoned stores. When they reached the scene, they both gasped. In front of them, Harold was being held by a boy from their school as another boy punched him in the chest. The one holding Harold back was about Harold’s size but with more muscles as he wore a green shirt with blue jeans and black shoes. The one punching him was a few inches taller and not as muscular, but still strong. He was wearing a red shirt with black jeans and black shoes. He punched Harold in the chest repeatedly, but Marie couldn’t handle it. She couldn’t hold herself back anymore as she stepped forward and shouted, “What do you bastards think you’re doing?”
The three guys turned around to see Marie was the one that yelled at them. The two bullies began laughing as the one who was throwing the punches walked toward Marie. As he did so, he gave her an answer, “We’re teaching Harold here a little lesson. What business is it of yours?”
“Oh, is this what you consider teaching him a lesson?” Marie exclaimed, “I hate people who resort to violence, especially with unjust reasoning.”
“Ah, so you don’t think we have a reason?” the bully replied, “I’ll have you know that this man has committed a sin against us and that that is why he is receiving his punishment.”
“So, since when is it your place to judge him?” Marie shot back, “What could Harold possibly have done for you to even think that he deserved this?”
The bully who was walking toward Marie stopped and looked at the bully who still held onto Harold, giving him a nod and calling him by the name Josh. With that, Josh explained, “You see, Harold here broke up with my sister and made her cry. I told him from the beginning that if he hurt her, he would be sorry. He didn’t heed my warning though.”
“Suck it up,” Marie said to him, “So they broke up, big deal. That happens sometimes. You don’t have to get violent about it. Your sister isn’t going to be some special exception to that rule.”
“It doesn’t matter, he still did what he did and now he’s trying to lie about her,” Josh refuted, “You can’t simply be warned about things and then whine when you do it anyways and receive the consequences.”
“What is this horrible lie he told?” Marie asked with genuine curiosity.
“He said that my sister was kissing another boy and that he caught him,” Josh told her, “My sister wouldn’t do that.”
“I’m not lying,” Harold assured him, “I saw it with my own eyes.”
“No offense Josh, but I know your sister, and she is not this perfect angel you seem to think she is,” Amber intervened, “I have seen her kiss a couple of guys since she started dating Harold.”
“Don’t talk bad about my sister,” Josh exclaimed, “What reason do I have to believe you? You’re just two of Harold’s friends.”
“Whatever, your brotherly instincts are clouding your sense of judgment,” Amber said to him, “Let Harold go and get back to your lives. You’ve done enough damage already. Quinton, you can’t really think your friend’s sister is perfect can you?”
The bully who had been walking toward Marie, known as Quinton, stopped and turned back around to walk back to Harold and Josh. As he approached them, he responded to Amber, “Josh is my best friend, and I will defend him every step of the way. You can’t tell us when we’ve judged someone too much, because by doing that you are judging us too. Therefore, by telling us what you are telling us, you are being a hypocrite by doing the very thing that you tell us not to do. We’ll decide when the punishment has been enough.”
With those words, Marie ran toward them as her face cringed with anger. Quinton turned around and faced her as he cracked his knuckles ready to punch her. When Marie got within an appropriate distance, he went to punch her, but Marie evaded the attack by moving to the side faster than any normal human should have been able to. She then punched at Qunton’s chest. Before actually hitting him though, Quinton flew backwards, slammed into the stone wall of one of the abandoned stores. Josh then pushed Harold to the ground and pulled back his own fist as Marie approached him.
He attempted to punch Marie, but again, Marie evaded to the side quicker than a person should have been able to. She then spun her leg around, kicking Josh square in the chest and sending him flying backwards. Once more though, her kick never actually hit him. It was just a force that knocked him backwards. The both of them had slammed into one of the abandoned shops at a speed and height that should not have been even close to possible for a human girl Marie’s size. The two of them were knocked unconscious as they fell to the ground and bled on the sidewalk. Marie stretched her hand out for Harold, attempting to assist him. Harold smacked her hand away though and backed up from her. Marie’s heart dropped as she asked, “What’s wrong?”
“You’re what’s wrong,” Amber exclaimed, “What are you?”
“What do you mean?” Marie replied, “I am just a girl who goes to High School. I am the same as you.”
“No you’re not,” Harold said to her, “What was that just now? What you did was not human. No one should be able to move that quickly and no one should be able to hit as hard as you just did. Your strikes didn’t even touch them.”
Marie had such an adrenaline rush that she didn’t even realize what she had done. She had not done magic since the day her father died and had vowed to never do magic again. However, her anger got the better of her and her magic overtook her. She had no way to explain it. Tears just begin to fall from her eyes as she spoke to herself, “No, not again.”
“Don’t even bother talking to me anymore Marie,” Amber told her as she walked away, “If you can’t tell me who you are, then you don’t deserve to have me as a friend.”
Marie’s heart fell as she cried harder and looked down at Harold who was in fear of her. When she was saw him, she was finally able to confess, but out of desperation, “Harold, I like you. I’ve always liked you.”
“Yes, well I never want to see you again,” Harold replied as he stood up to his feet and walked past her back toward the suburban road. Marie would see him and Amber again, but after the word passed around the school about what they had seen, no one would speak to her in that town ever again.
The scene in the bubble ended there as the bubble floated back down inside the blowhole in Kiora’s hand. Having watched the scene, Marie had begun to expel tears from the sad memories. When Kiora saw that, she smirked, “Marie, if you really have gotten over it, then why are you crying?”
“I’m not crying because it still haunts me,” Marie tried to assure her, though she was trying to assure herself even more, “I’m crying because they were my friends at one point and reliving the events reminds me of friends I used to have.”
“You can’t deny your sadness Marie, you still do exactly what you were doing back then,” Kiora proclaimed, “You still don’t speak your mind when you want to. You’re still afraid of losing your friends.”
“No, I’m past that,” Marie shouted, “I have met wonderful people.”
“Stop fooling yourself sister,” Kiora exclaimed, “Have you ever been true to your feelings?”
“Of course,” Marie answered, “I truly do care about them.”
“That’s not enough Marie,” Kiora told her, “There is still something holding you back. The fact that you can’t use the true seven virtues is proof of that. Your powers are pure, but they are plagued by your selfish desires.”
“Stop it,” Marie yelled.
“No, you admit it,” Kiora stated flatly, “You aren’t being true to yourself. Even if you are, you are still holding yourself back because you know you started off by living a lie. You are afraid to tell people the truth of why you talked to them in the first place. You just didn’t want to be alone anymore, and as you got to know them you didn’t want to do anything that might possibly steer them away from you. Why do you think I flirted with Phillip so hard when I first met him? Yes, I am a tease, but the reason I was a tease is because I didn’t want him to get sucked into your web of lies and get his heart broken. I was hoping that he would shift his heart away from you or that you would decide you couldn’t do it anymore. I was surprised when Phillip broke up with you. I thought he was really into you. I stopped feeling sorry for him when I realized he didn’t love you enough to stay with you in troubled times.”
“That was a lie,” Marie admitted
“What was a lie?” Kiora asked.
“Phillip wasn’t the one that broke up with me we just agreed to say it was,” Marie answered, “He was willing to take all the blame because he didn’t want me to be the one facing the heat. He wanted me to be the one being comforted because he legitimately cared about how things would go for me.”
“And you just let him,” Kiora sighed, “This is all the proof I need. You didn’t even put up a fight. You let him take on all the hurtful comments while you shined. You were afraid of what others would think of you. So by being assured that Phillip would care about you either way, you were happy. This explains why you have truly fallen in love with him. You know he will sacrifice himself for you and that makes you happy. You know that you want that kind of love because you don’t want to face conflict yourself.”
“You’re right,” Marie cried, “I was afraid, I was always afraid, from the moment I first spoke to him. I asked him out so quickly not because I felt that we were destined for each other, but because I was afraid of losing him. After having lost everyone else, I didn’t want to lose someone else. I dated him because he liked me, not because I liked him. I lied to him. I told him that I was into him, when I really wasn’t. Our whole relationship was a lie because I just conceded on anything I didn’t agree with him on. Not that he tried to argue with me either. I did care about him, and that’s why I broke up with him. I didn’t know if I loved him or not. As soon as I realized how much he cared about me though, I also realized how much he meant to me. I fell in love with him because he was willing to take on the ridicule that I should have gotten.”
“You’ve finally admitted it,” Kiora said to her, “This is why your powers are so weak. This is why you continue to fail over and over again. Your virtues are real, but you use them for selfish reasons. You use them because you want people to like you but not because you are true to yourself on whether you actually like them. You lack courage. You lack prudence. You lack a sense of justice. You lack faith, hope and love.”
“What do you expect?” Marie exclaimed, “Why should I trust anyone when I have been made to feel horrible every time I’ve tried.”
“I can’t give you that answer Marie,” Kiora told her, “I’m not true to myself either. I can’t tell you anymore because I haven’t succeeded myself. That’s what this challenge is about. If you want to continue you on, you’ll have to face me and your demons. Do you accept?”
Marie was hesitant to answer. She felt in her mind that Kiora had the upper hand. She was right with everything. She didn’t have faith in her friends. She didn’t know if she really loved them. She had long before lost hope that she could ever be truly herself and truly happy. She had no sense of justice, because she felt she had no right to make decisions. She had no prudence, because she couldn’t justify what about herself was worth staying true to. Not even her temperance was true, as her sense of restraint was too excessive. Most of all, she lacked the courage to speak her mind. She lived in constant fear because she was stuck in the past. It was with those thoughts though that she was realized she couldn’t abandon her friends. She was ready to fight for someone else instead of wanting others to fight for her. She took a deep breath and spoke, “I’m ready.”
Re: Fiery Divergence (15% Complete) [Book 5]
In another area of the Pollutant Plains, the rest of the group was walking together through the sand as the ground began to turn into more of a wasteland. The ground was hard and cracked, while they could see large structures made of rock which appeared as things like towers or mountains. There was still smoke in the air, but it was much thinner the further thy got away from the pillar of fire that continuously shot from the ground far behind them. As they walked through the wasteland, the air appeared less toxic and more cave-like. Though the walls were still miles away and the roof was still way above their heads. They eventually found themselves in what appeared to be a small old town where all the buildings were burnt, but still standing. Alatar turned to them and said to them, “Stay behind me.”
The group did as he said and followed Alatar around the towns. He looked through several of the buildings to see that they looked like normal houses. After checking through about eight different buildings, he found a building he was interested in. He had everyone follow him inside to see that they were in a bar-like area. It appeared burnt when they walked in, but after they walked in, the building seemed to magically reform. The walls were solid with various tables set up and high chairs at the bar. Everything was wooden, but it was still nice. Morpheous commented, “Well that’s not something you see every day.”
“This is Perception Town,” Alatar explained, “I’ve never been here, but I do know of it. According to the book I read, the town looks different from the outside than it does when you actually walk in the buildings. It used to be a hub for demons, but over the years, demons came here less and less until eventually they didn’t meet up at all. Everyone find a seat. We’ll take a break here.”
They all gave him a nod in sat in various seats around the room. Silyn, Morpheous and Cornelius decided to take the seats at the bar. Alatar went behind the bar to check the bottles on the shelves of the wall. As he looked at them he asked, “So who here wants some wine?”
“I’d prefer water,” Jarvis answered.
“I can make that happen,” Alatar told him as he looked back to the group. He asked if anyone else wanted water which had Darla, Johnny and Yulena raise their hands. Alatar started off by pouring them glasses of water. To do so, he placed his hand atop the glasses and they magically filled with water. As he found out what everyone else wanted, he made them their glasses too before finally making a glass of sake or himself. He stayed behind the counter as he looked to Silyn, Morpheous and Cornelius, “So, how are your drinks?”
“They are fine,” Cornelius told him.
“That’s good,” Alatar responded before taking a drink of his sake and continuing, “So, I’m going to take it that you three didn’t just take these seats because you wanted to sit at the bar.”
“I know that I came here for a different reason,” Cornelius admitted.
“I figured so,” Alatar replied, “What’s on your mind Cornelius?”
Cornelius sat there trying to think of how to say what he was thinking for a few seconds before finally being able to speak, “I am bothered by this first level. We’ve only had Kiora here so far, but there’s supposedly three other enemies here. Why are they taking so long to show themselves? It’s like they are just waiting for us to come to them.”
“Seems like a fair assessment,” Morpheous agreed, “I don’t see what the big deal is though. When we run into them, we run into them. What’s really on your mind?”
“It’s that pillar of fire that we’ve seen since we first arrived here,” Cornelius began, “Why is there just a random pillar of fire? I don’t trust it.”
“So what do you want to do about it?” Silyn asked, “We’ve already travelled so far away from it.”
“I want to leave the group,” Cornelius told him, “There’s something there and I think it would be stupid to ignore it. If we just keep going to the lower levels of Hell without taking out all the enemies, what’s going to happen when we reach the bottom level? We’ll just wind out having all our enemies in one place. What if we miss the princes and have to face them all at the same time?”
“Don’t you think you’re looking into this too much?” Silyn exclaimed, “I mean if we did miss all the challenges, we’d outnumber them on the bottom level. So, missing a few of them could actually be good for us in the end.”
“No, Cornelius is right,” Alatar intervened, “Trust me when I say that. When we finally reach Abraham, we don’t want too many other enemies around. Abraham is much more powerful than you guys understand. We’ll need to focus all of our power on here. Silyn, you fought him five years ago, you should understand well just how powerful he is.”
Silyn sat there taking in Alatar’s words for a few moments as he thought about his battle with Abraham. After he did, he gave Alatar a nod, “Yes, Morpheous and I have both fought Abraham at some point. We both struggled when fighting him and I know I almost died. He was able to regenerate his body, it was impossible to kill him.”
“You’re right,” Morpheous sighed, “He also had the sword of Lucifer when I fought him at Sinister Isle. He doesn’t have it anymore since Johnny managed to find it. Even without his sword though, he will still be a formidable enemy. Abraham has lived for over ten thousand years and he knows magic better than any of us, except Alatar. Facing him with anyone else on his side is a huge mistake.”
“So you understand why I have to do this,” Cornelius spoke before taking the last sip of his drink and standing up to his feet. He walked to the door of the bar and announced to everyone, “I will be back. Stay careful my friends.”
“Wait,” Bigan exclaimed as he jumped up from his seat. He ran up to Cornelius and placed something in his hand, “If you’re going off by yourself, you’ll need that.”
“Thank you,” Cornelius said to him as he opened his fist to see that Bigan had given him a small marble, “What is this for though?”
“It’s a navigation marble,” Bigan told him, “I have it connected to my DNA. That way, when you finish up with whatever you’re doing, you can come find me.”
“I will be sure to come see you then,” Cornelius assured him before looking back at everyone, “You all take care.”
The group said their goodbyes and Cornelius walked out the bar back into the streets of Perception Town. He walked away from the town and headed in the direction of the pillar of fire. When Bigan sat down, Phillip only had one thing on his mind, “Why didn’t we give one of those items to Marie?”
“Don’t worry, Marie will be able find us,” Bigan stated confidently, “She knows how to.”
Back at the bar, Alatar continued to speak to Silyn and Morpheous, “Are you sure neither of you want to go help him out?”
“We don’t really have time to have too many people backtracking,” Morpheous reminded him, “After all we only have three days to finish this up. We are already a few hours into this and still on the first level. We haven’t even found our second enemy.”
“I agree with Morpheous,” Silyn nodded, “Plus, I have someone in particular that I’m looking for and I know exactly where he is.”
“How do you know that?” Alatar asked.
“Because I have this,” Silyn answered as he pulled a marble out of his pocket, “I have my own navigation marble that I made five years ago. When I defeated Oposo five years ago, I expected him to have died. It turned out that he managed to survive though. He is the one that I want here and I know he is not the one by that pillar of fire.”
“And I just have no interest in the pillar of fire,” Morpheous commented, “I have specific people I am looking for myself. If we run into them, I’ll see about dealing with them myself. I have one person in particular that I want to defeat though, and I won’t get any closer to defeating him by rushing off.”
“You guys are a bit preoccupied,” Alatar sighed, “No matter, I can’t say that I am not looking for someone myself. The more time we spend here, the more time we’re wasting. Speaking of which, I think this break has been long enough.”
“Yes, we should get moving,” Silyn agreed.
“Alright guys, it’s time to get going,” Alatar announced, “Finish up what little drinks you have left and meet us out in the streets as soon as you finish.”
The group gave him a nod as Alatar, Morpheous and Silyn walked toward the door. They exited first, and within the next couple minutes, everyone else had left the bar and reached the center of the street. It was then though that a crazy thing happened. Every building in Perception town was destroyed as if blades had flown through them all at the same time. They collapsed and became mere rubble on the ground. Silyn looked around and exclaimed, “Who’s there?”
At that moment, sand spiraled around them and they covered their mouths inside of it. The sounds of gunshots were heard and several of them were shot. When the sand stopped spiraling, only six of them were still standing. There was Roman, Silyn, Bigan, Morpheous, Yulena and Alatar. No one had been knocked unconscious, but they couldn’t exactly get up either, as their limbs were being held to the ground by iron sand shackles. Morpheous looked around and shouted, “Show yourself, you coward.”
Morpheous’ words didn’t change anything. Sand bullets shot at them from several different areas, but since they could see that time, they were able to avoid the attacks. Moments afterwards though, sand harpoons shot down at them from angles in the air. The six of them, hopped and maneuvered around each of the harpoons with relative ease, but they did almost ram into each other as they did so. Afterwards, a body size rocket of sand shot forward at them, attempting to smash into them. Alatar put his hand up and slowed the sand rocket to a halt before the sand fell harmlessly to the ground.
With that done, they were attacked from behind by a man with six arms. He wielded six swords and swung one at each of them. Silyn drew his sword to block the sword that was aimed at him. Yulena did the same to block her attack, but instead used her metal pole. Alatar simply caught the sword aimed at him with his bare hand, while Morpheous did the same, rusting the one he touched. Bigan pulled out his trench knives and caught the attack between them. Roman had nothing to do but rolled out of the way as the one aimed for him simply struck the ground. When Bigan looked at the figure, he gasped, “I know who this man is.”
Bigan was right too, the man that was attacking them was named Strangel. He was originally Sora, their friend, but after being revived as a zombie, he joined Sinister Ambition. Strangel let go of each of his swords and pulled out six guns, holding them in each hand. He shot them at the six in front of him, but each bullet was stopped as Alatar held his hand forward. He then thrust his palm forward sending them back at Strangel. Strangel backflipped away however as his shadow detached itself from the ground to block each attack. Alatar’s eyes twitched as he spoke, “What the hell was that?”
Strangel didn’t give him an answer. Instead, he stood back as his shadow ran toward the six of them. It started off by throwing a punch at Alatar, but Alatar simply caught the punch. He wasn’t able to stop the next five punches though, as they all came suddenly from random hands that emerged from the shadows, hitting him in the chest. Alatar didn’t budge however. The fists had hit him, but appeared as if he didn’t even feel them. Morpheous took that opportunity to jump at Strangel, attempting to punch him in the face. Strangel ducked under the attack, causing Morpheous to accidently hit Silyn, who had tried the same thing as Morpheous. The two of them hit each other and fell to the ground.
He didn’t even notice Bigan though, as he slashed his trench knives through Strangel’s back. The attacks hit, but instead of cutting Strangel, Strangel simply turned to sand which fell to the ground. Yulena then realized what had happened, “That was just a mirage.”
“That was a mirage?” Roman said with surprise, “Damn, if that was just the mirage, I wonder how tough the real one is.”
Bigan helped Silyn and Morpheous up to their feet. As they got up, Silyn asked, “If that was a mirage, then why it have a shadow?”
“That is Strangel’s power,” Alatar answered, “He uses powers which allow him to attack from the shadows. He used his sand to take most of us out of the picture. He uses his mirages to keep his body safe while also doing damage. Bigan told me that he has the ability to use fog. Now he has shadows. Strangel’s powers are both deadly and elusive. It’s a very effective combination.”
“Um, guys,” Yulena interrupted, “I don’t mean to mess up your conversation, but we have a bit of a problem here.”
While everyone else was speaking, Yulena noticed something crazier had happened. A group of about twenty different Strangels had circled around the, all with shadows and all of them holding either six swords or six guns. The ones with their guns, held them up, pointing them towards the six of them while the ones with the swords rushed forward. Alatar, Silyn, Morpheous and Yulena were attacked by two each while Roman and Bigan were attacked by only one of them. They all jumped away from each other to avoid the attacks from the swords, but as they did, the other Strangels shot at them. Luckily, they were able to avoid the attacks as the bullets continued toward the Strangels using swords. Those Strangels were protected those as a shell of shadows erected around them.
“This is a serious problem,” Bigan stated, “Not only can we not be sure which of these ones can actually hurt us. We also can’t even tell which one is real when they all have shadows. What are we supposed to do?”
“I have an idea,” Yulena said to him, “Can you guys cover me?”
They all gave Yulena a nod and rushed toward her. They stood around her, keeping their bodies facing the Strangels. Yulena placed her hand on the ground, as the sword wielding Strangels attacked. Roman used his magnetization powers to make the swords of the two that attacked him, all clang together. He then lifted his hand upward, as lightning shot from it and struck the swords, taking them out. Bigan took out the two that came at him by holding his palm forward. As he did so, their bodies began to vibrate, as they lost their balance, and wound out losing grip on their swords, which fell into the ground as they did. Bigan then kicked them both in the face, knocking them on their backs.
Silyn pointed his fingers from both hands forward, as he shot poison from the tips. The poison melted through the blades of the Strangels that approached him, as the both of them dropped their swords. Silyn took that opportunity to pull out his own sword and slashed through the both of them. The two who attacked Morpheous, jabbed their swords toward him. Morpheous slammed the sides of their blades together, crushing each and every one of them as the top halves broke off and the bottom halves rust. The Strangels put up shadows in front of themselves, but Morpheous pointed his fist forward and they seeped back into the ground. Morpheous then opened his fist as he pointed his palm at the Strangels as lava shot at them and melted them away. With the two that came after Alatar, they didn’t even reach him. Their swords bent backwards, and stabbed through their bodies, taking them both out.
At that moment, Yulena found exactly what she was looking for. She had made her vision travel through the ground until she was able to observe the entire battlefield. As she did, she took a picture of all of the Strangels and announced, “None of these are real.”
“What?” Roman shouted, “How can that be?”
“Strangel has to be controlling them from somewhere,” Yulena told him, “We need to find his real body so we can actually defeat him.”
The ten Strangels around them, shot their bullets forward, but instead of shooting forward, they just exploded inside the guns, taking the rest of them out. Alatar smirked, “These guys really have no idea what my powers can do yet, do they?”
Just as he finished asking that question though, something unexpected happened. A whip made of sand shot up from the ground and grabbed Roman’s neck, pulling him beneath the sand. They all saw it and looked around in confusion as they couldn’t see how it happened. They were panicking as they searched around, looking for the attacker and Roman. By the time they had seen the attacker though, it was too late. They noticed a horse riding Strangel emerge from the ground off in the distance, as he pulled Roman across the ground behind himself. Alatar tried to use his powers on him, but his powers didn’t work. Apparently the Strangels had figured out a way past his powers. Alatar sighed, “It appears that Strangel has nothing I can manipulate on himself.”
“So what do we do about Roman?” Yulena exclaimed.
“We can’t do anything,” Alatar claimed, “We can only hope that he is able to get away from Strangel with his life intact.”
As Alatar spoke to Yulena about that, Morpheous, Silyn and Bigan were breaking the shackles that had held the others to the ground. Phillip jumped up to his feet immediately and made his suggestion, “Couldn’t Yulena use her vision powers to find them?”
“No I won’t allow that,” said the voice of a newcomer.
About a quarter of a mile away, the horseback riding Strangel rode across the wasteland, dragging Roman on the ground behind him. Roman was getting pretty banged up and had no idea where he was going at the time. He was lucky to remain conscious; otherwise he would have been eliminated from the game. After about another half mile, Roman arrived at his destination after being dragged ledges of a cliff. The horse riding Strangel disappeared, leaving Roman lying on the ground inside a canyon. Standing in the middle of the canyon, was the real Strangel, who looked down at Roman. As soon as Roman saw him, he jumped to his feet and shouted, “What the hell do you want Sora?”
“Calm down bro,” Strangel responded, “Don’t be so abrasive. I simply brought you here so that we could have a chat.”
“I don’t want to speak with you,” Roman shot back, “If you really want to talk that badly though, I’ll let you talk to my fists.”
Strangel threw a soda can to Roman and sat down on the ground. He took the bandana off of his face before drinking his own. After finishing the first sip, he commented, “It sure is much lovelier than you would think it would be isn’t it? Hell isn’t all fire and brimstone like what you learn on the surface.”
“What are you playing at?” Roman asked, “You went and joined the enemy, yet you sit here acting so casual. What’s up with that?”
“Oh come on Roman, just chat with me,” Strangel demanded, “When you left the members of Sinister Ambition, did anyone refuse to talk to you? Hell, did they refuse to talk to you even before then?”
Roman thought about that question for a second before opening his soda. He sat down on the ground and had a drink with Sora as he gave his answer, “I guess they didn’t, and I have to admit, this particular area is quite beautiful and Perception Town was fascinated me greatly.”
“Exactly, so you understand,” Strangel said to him, “It’s not all bad like you’ve been told. So, how have things been for you Roman?”
“I guess things have been worse,” Roman replied, “I’ve managed to make real friends and have become a much better person than I used to be.”
“That’s good for you,” Strangel responded, “I can say that things have been fairly well for me too. Sometimes I miss talking to my old friends, but then I remember what it is that I’m fighting for and realize that it’s something that has to be done.”
Roman heard those words and wasn’t sure how to respond. So, instead he simply said to him, “What do you mean by that.”
“I mean that the world needs a true savior, someone noble like Abraham,” Strangel explained, “You have to admit the place is pretty messed up. You should know just as well as everyone because of the way your father treated you.”
“Yeah, he was a pretty bad man, but they aren’t all like that Sora,” Roman proclaimed, “I have met some pretty great people since becoming friends with Phillip.”
“Have you really?” Strangel asked, “What makes a great friend? Think about what has happened with all of them. You have heard their stories and I know their stories too. Every one of them has a past with revolting people. Marie’s father was killed by a lunatic. Phillip himself was a bully. Eric betrayed all of you a while back. Kevin suffered a traumatic mental disorder because of his father. Troy’s brother is out to kill him and who knows what else is going on with Troy! Alatar has been cursed to live forever.”
“Yeah, those things are true,” Roman acknowledged, “But what does that have do with them as people? They’ve all overcome those difficulties?”
“Have they really overcome them or are they holding back the temptation to become mad themselves?” Strangel replied.
“I’m sure they have their problems, but they have all realized our bond and cherish it,” Roman told him.
“That’s not true,” Strangel argued, “It may seem that way to you, but they all have their own selfish desires. I can guarantee that because they are humans. You don’t want to be associated with them.”
“Alright, let’s say that is true. What makes Sinister Ambition any better?” Roman refuted.
“We are true to who we are, unlike your friends,” Strangel told him, “We may disagree with each other a lot, but we know what we all want. It’s totally unlike the way things are with you guys. You put on fake smiles and keep your true intentions hidden. You concede to each other instead of speaking your mind.”
“No offense, but Sinister Ambition is a hot mess,” Roman exclaimed, “I’m all cool with honesty. Regardless of how honest my friends are all the time though, they do really care about everyone and you have no right to argue against that.”
“Not living your life true to who you are is a waste of life,” Strangel sighed, “If you don’t speak honestly then you are an abomination just like them. That is what Sinister Ambition wants to get rid of. We want to create a world of peace where people can get along but still be themselves. We don’t these rubbish battles anymore and the only way to do that is to destroy humanity and take the world in our hands.”
“Your logic is flawed,” Roman responded, “You say you want a world without violence. You say you want peace, but you want to force your ideas of perfection on others. What good is finding peace if all you did was use force to achieve it?”
“Am I attacking you right now?” Strangel asked.
“No, you’re sitting down and actually having a debate with me,” Roman answered, “But you hide your true intentions and the nature of Sinister Ambition in your messages. Sinister Ambition doesn’t care about peace. You just have people who want to rule. If your guys are really all that great, then why does everyone hate Connelly?”
“Because Connelly is a jackass,” Strangel stated flatly, “He always has been. We hate him because of that. Malakai is the only person who likes him and it’s understandable why. He sickens us.”
“But he’s just being true to himself,” Roman argued, “In that case you should like him more than anyone. He doesn’t lie to anyone because he is a jackass. He doesn’t give a crap what anyone thinks about him.”
“Your words make it sound like you admire him,” Strangel said to him, “How could you of all people defend Connelly? Connelly came close to killing you and he manipulated Shannon, who care strongly about. You can’t deny that you have a grudge against him for that.”
“I’m just arguing with your words,” Roman pointed out, “I don’t like Connelly, you’re right. I’m not being a hypocrite though by saying that I want people to be themselves and then not accepting someone who does that more than anyone as a person though. Let’s skip all this casual chit chat. You’re not going to convince with the holes in your logic. Why did you want to bring me out here?”
“Well, I was hoping you would come back to Sinister Ambition, but you’re impossible to reason with,” Strangel sighed, “But, I’m kind of glad you didn’t listen. I’ve been looking forward to see you again for quite some time.”
Strangel stood up to his feet and crushed his soda can in his hands before throwing it on the ground. Roman sat his can on the ground and then stood up beside Strangel before he responded, “Why do you want to see me so bad?”
“I wanted to thank you and tell you that I hate you with a passion,” Strangel spoke bluntly, “If it wasn’t for you, I would have never joined Sinister Ambition.”
“So, how does that make you hate me but still want to thank me?” Roman asked.
“It’s simple. I want to thank you because since made Phillip fixated on saving you, you made me realize how little everyone cared about me. You also allowed me to be introduced to Sinister Ambition, the wisest organization in history. I hate you though because sometimes when I think about it, I feel that ignorance may have been bliss. If I hadn’t gotten involved, life could have been easier. You are the reason my life has been hard.”
“Don’t go putting the blame on me,” Roman exclaimed, “You can’t honestly think that I’m the reason you’ve become who you are today. If you weren’t so susceptible to temptation, you could have remained ignorant and blissful. Look at me, I have seen both sides, I know what both of them stand for. The difference is that I don’t fall for Sinister Ambition’s lies.”
“They aren’t lies,” Strangel shouted, “Don’t talk down about people that you don’t know. Don’t forget Shannon is with us.”
“Shannon isn’t like the rest of you,” Roman refuted, “She has seen both sides and she actually cares about people. I’m sure she cares about you guys too, regardless of how much of a connection she has made with us. She knows what it’s like to be hurt, and the way she does things is just because assholes have made her insecure.”
“You really are into her,” Strangel laughed, “Then would it shock to learn that she isn’t as bonded with you guys as you seem to think she is? Do you remember that Tablet of Necessity that was so important to you guys? She destroyed it so that you wouldn’t be able to find Abraham’s weakness. She chose us over you.”
“Is that what really happened?” Roman smirked, “Apparently I know more about this than you do?”
“What are you trying to say?” Strangel asked, “Are you trying to say that she didn’t do something that she did? Your words can’t fool me that easily.”
“I know exactly what she did with the tablet of necessity and that’s what makes it so funny,” Roman chuckled, “In fact, I’m going to make you a deal. If you can defeat me in this battle, you can go back and tell Abraham what happened. Of course, that doesn’t mean you’ll be able to reach him when we have such a strong force roaming through Hell at this very moment.”
“Very well then, I’ll accept the deal,” Strangel told him, “Regardless of whether I am able to reach Abraham or not, I know where the others members of Sinister Ambition and can pass along the message. We also all know the secret passages through Hell, so we can find ways to avoid you.”
“Assuming you even get out of this alive,” Roman pointed out, “But, I’m not the pushover you think I am and you still can’t get to Abraham that easily.”
“Just get to the point,” Strangel urged, “What did Shannon do with the tablet?”
“She gave it to Troy,” Roman replied, “She told Troy everything he needed to know to find Abraham’s weakness and Troy found it. Troy has the item which can turn Abraham mortal, the Cursebreaker’s Quill.”
“What the hell?” Strangel exclaimed, “Shannon really did tell you about Abraham’s weakness. Delilah was right. We shouldn’t have trusted Shannon.”
“Yes, and now you will suffer knowing that you know the truth but that you can’t get the message to Abraham in time,” Roman smirked.
Strangel stuck his hand inside of his pocket and pulled out a small marble. He looked at it and when he saw what was on it, he laughed. He then looked to Roman and proclaimed, “Or perhaps I could just run away from this battle and find him first.”
“Don’t get cocky,” Roman said to him, “You can’t get to level six without being stopped. I’ll catch you and you’ll never succeed.”
“Right,” Strangel grinned as he held up his marble and showed it to Roman, “There is one severe hole in that plan though and I hold the answer right here. Abraham isn’t on level six. He is in Perception Town.”
“What?” Roman shouted, “That’s not possible.”
“I’ll see you later,” Strangel cackled as he ran off toward a ledge leading up to the top of the canyon. Before he could reach the ledge though, he was stopped by an unseen force, as black metal began to close over the canyon. Strangel looked at it and spoke, “What is this?”
He looked back at Roman to see that he was holding a game controller in his hands. Roman looked at Strangel and gave him his answer, “As soon as that metal roof closes, we will be transported to the world of games. I don’t know if they can beat him, but I can at least keep this crucial information between the two of us. I’m sorry, but I won’t let you reach him. You’re facing my challenge now Sora. Game on!”
Re: Fiery Divergence (15% Complete) [Book 5]
Battle For The Lucifer Blade
On the main street of Perception Town, The Council and some of the members of Axenic Amends stood in the middle of the street. As they did, they saw the image of a new figure standing in the street. The person in front of them was heavily armored all over and held a giant sword on his back. The armor made him appear about eight feet tall and three feet wide. There were many spikes coming out of the armor which made this person looked massive, powerful and intimidating. This was a person that a few of them had seen before. It was Grarbaun, though everyone knew him as Abraham. When Alatar saw him, he exclaimed, “Abraham, you’re the last person I expected to see on this level.”
“Don’t go thinking too much into this,” Grarbaun said to him, “I am only here because of special circumstances that require me to be here.”
“What exactly could be so important that you would show your face, by yourself, to thirteen people who would like nothing more than to kick your ass?” Morpheous asked.
“You have something of mine,” Grarbaun answered. He then pointed his finger toward Johnny, “More specifically, you have something that belongs to me. I’m here to take it back.”
“How did you find out about that?” Silyn replied, “Do you have cameras hidden around here or something?”
“Did you honestly think that I lost my sword on accident?” Grarbaun responded, “Something that important isn’t something that I would just let myself lose so easily. I wanted you to find it, so that I could show you what my true power is. That and we’ve caught a friend of yours and interrogated it out of him to confirm that you actually did have it.”
“Ian,” Yulena gasped, “Have you captured Ian?”
“Yeah, he was so foolish to come here by himself,” Grarbaun laughed, “He thought he would be able to get through all seven levels with no one else. He was stopped on the first level though and taken captive by Beelzebub. Where is Cornelius anyways?”
“He made his way to the large pillar of fire,” Silyn told him.
“Excellent,” Grarbaun spoke with a sinister tone, “I’ll have you all know that your dear friend Cornelius is headed right to the big boss of this level. This should be interesting. He will have the chance to save Ian because Beelzebub is the one at the pillar of fire.”
“I already expected that,” Alatar sighed, “It only made since to me to have one of the princes at the most noticeable area of this entire level. I have faith in Cornelius though and I’ll tell you one thing. Cornelius will defeat Beelzebub and Ian will be saved. Cornelius is a powerful foe.”
“Yes, indeed, that explains why Edward was able to defeat him so easily back in 2007,” Grarbaun stated sarcastically, “That makes tons of sense. You see, because when I think of someone as being a powerful, I think of them being defeated with relative ease. Listen to me, Cornelius isn’t a weakling, but he isn’t powerful enough to stand up to a demon prince, even if he has required powers that are exclusively for angels these days. Don’t underestimate Beelzebub. I’d know better than anyone because I’ve known him since I was a child.”
“Yes, I remember son,” Alatar said to him, “That was when you changed. If only I had known back then who that person was.”
“Then I could have lived in blissful ignorance and neither one of us would still be alive,” Grarbaun pointed out, “That’s not how things worked out though and it’s a good thing it did. I got to see the truth. Now, are you going to hand over my sword or am I going to have to take it away from you?”
“Oh, are you saying you want this?” Johnny asked as he drew the sword from his back and pointed it forward, “Well, unfortunately for you, I don’t plan on giving this up. If you really want it, you’re going to have to take it from me.”
“I think you might want to reconsider your words Johnny,” Grarbaun suggested to him, “After all, it’s not like you are able defend yourself against me. So, why don’t you just bring that sword over to me and I’ll leave you all alone until later?”
“I understand how strong you are,” Johnny told him, “By comparison, you are several times more powerful than me. Under normal conditions, you would destroy me. These aren’t normal conditions though are they? We are all here, and we can all fight against you. You can’t defeat all of us.”
“That’s where you’ve made a miscalculation Johnny,” Grarbaun exclaimed as pointed his palm forward at Johnny. Within moments, Johnny felt his body floating forward toward Grarbaun, as he hover quickly over the ground and was dropped down right in front of him. The rest of the group rushed forward at Grarbaun, but were all stopped an invisible force field. Grarbaun continued, “Now what are you going to do? All of your friends have blocked off. There’s no one who can save you, it’s just you and me.”
Johnny instantly went in fear when everyone was separated from him. Looking up at Grarbaun, he was intimidated by the feeling of helpless. Regardless of whether Grarbaun had his great sword or not, he was still much too powerful to face one on one. That’s when Johnny realized something though. He was wielding the great sword of Lucifer. As soon as he thought about what that meant fully, he became more confident. He stood up to his feet and stared back at Grarbaun as he smirked, “You know what Grarbaun, what do I have to be afraid of? If I die, I die. It wouldn’t change anything if you got this sword by me dying or me giving it to you. That said though, I have the sword right now. So I am the one who gets to use its power. This won’t be easy for you either.”
“You’re so amusing,” Grarbaun laughed, “If there’s one thing I can admit, it’s that your personality truly fits that sword. Your confidence is outstanding and your pride is unparalleled if you are standing up to me. You forget one thing though. That is my sword. Not only do I know how to use it. I also know how to defeat it. So, if you think you can defeat me, I’ll give you the honor of being proven wrong by fighting you fair.”
“I will accept this battle,” Johnny proclaimed, “I will fight for what I believe in, and that is that protecting the world is worth dying for.”
“I respect that,” Grarbaun responded as he drew his giant sword off of his back and swung it down at Johnny. Johnny lifted the Lucifer Blade upward and used it to block Grarbaun’s attack. The two of them attempted to push the other away, but neither was getting the upper hand. Grarbaun went to knee Johnny in the chest, but just as he was going to, Johnny jumped backward, causing Grarbaun to miss him entirely. Grarbaun thought it was unnatural for him to be able to do that, so he exclaimed, “What was that?”
“You mind is an open book,” Johnny told him, “I can hear all of your thoughts. I have the ability to penetrate the mind and read it. I know all of your moves before you can make them.”
Grarbaun wasn’t going to be intimidated. He pulled his sword back once more, and slashed at Johnny’s side. Johnny jumped above the slash at just the right moment and landed on the blade. He stood atop it as it swung around and then jumped off and toward Grarbaun. He jabbed the sword toward Grarbaun’s head, but Grarbaun swung his sword up at Johnny before Johnny could reach him. Johnny pushed himself forward with a stream of wing, stabbing his sword through Grarbaun’s helmet. As he caught hold of the helmet, he pulled it off and landed on the ground on the other side of Grarbaun. Grarbaun’s blade wound out swinging around and cutting his head down the middle before he was able to pull it back.
It didn’t last but a few seconds though, as he had reattached itself. They never saw his face though, as Grarbaun was wearing a black executioner’s mask beneath the helmet. Grarbaun looked to Johnny and complimented him, “It seems you have acquired some interesting powers. It’s not going to be good enough to beat me though.”
Johnny pulled his surfboard out and placed it on the sand. He jumped on the board, and rushed toward Grarbaun, surfing across the sand. As he reached Grarbaun, he swung his Lucifer Blade at Grarbaun’s neck. Grarbaun ducked under the attack however and kicked at Johnny’s side. Johnny shot himself upward with a pillar of water to avoid the attack, as Grarbaun harmlessly kicked into the water instead.
Johnny surfed off the water and down toward Grarbaun. He held the point of his sword in front of himself, as he aimed to stab Grarbaun through the head. Grarbaun noticed that, and jumped out of the way of his attack. He then swung his sword around at Johnny and Johnny responded, by flipped his board around and managed to block the attack. That surprised Grarbaun because he couldn’t understand how a surfboard could block his massive sword. Johnny placed his hand on the ground which changed after he did so. The ground became a mushy swamp around the area Grarbaun was in, making it ever more difficult for Grarbaun to move.
From beneath the sand around the same time, a giant scorpion emerged as Johnny jumped as far away from Grarbaun as he could. He then clapped his hands together, and took control of the scorpion’s body. As the scorpion, he walked forward toward Grarbaun and slammed the stinger of his tail down at him. Grarbaun blocked the stinger with his sword, but was then cut in half at the waste, as the scorpion closed his left pinch around his body. Grarbaun’s top part of his body fell to the ground and the scorpion’s tail stung into his bottom half, releasing poison into his body. Grarbaun screamed in pain as the scorpion smashed his tail at Grarbaun’s top half. Before it could reach though, Grarbaun’s top half disintegrated and reappeared, growing out of his bottom half.
Grarbaun had slowed down even more though with the poison flowing through his body. He took a step forward, but wound out stepping on the surfboard that Johnny left in the swamp. Grarbaun fell backwards as the surfboard flipped upward and smacked him in the head, dropping him down into the swamp. The scorpion lifted its tail back up and slammed his stinger down into Grarbaun’s body again. Even more poison seeped into his body, causing Grarbaun even more pain. The scorpion then opened his mouth and shot forward a ball of green liquid as he pulled his tail backward. Grarbaun saw the attack and quickly slashed through it with his sword.
As the sword touched the liquid though, it melted away. The liquid splashed onto his mask, and melted it away along with part of his face. Grarbaun rolled to the side as quick as he could as the scorpion continued to swing his tail down. Grarbaun avoided each of the attacks by rolling around, until he reached his helmet. When he reached the helmet, he grabbed it and placed it back on his head. Grarbaun pushed himself up to his feet and realized what he had to do. The scorpion swung his tail back down, but Grarbaun didn’t worry about that. He threw a dagger at Johnny’s real body.
Johnny released himself from the scorpion and took back control of his body as he rolled to the left. The scorpion was about to stab its stinger into Grarbaun’s head, but Grarbaun, held his palm out in front of the scorpion’s tail. Ice quickly began to surround its tail as it rushed forward until the scorpion was completely encased in ice. Grarbaun then created a sword in his hands and sliced through the scorpion’s tail. He infused his slash with a powerful wind, which allowed him to slice the scorpion’s entire body right down the middle. The two sides of the scorpion’s body fell down to the ground. Johnny placed his hand back down on the ground, which caused the entire town to be turned into a swamp, sinking the scorpion carcass beneath the swamp.
Johnny then pushed himself into the air with a stream of wind as Grarbaun did the same thing. They swung their swords at each other as they reached each other, clashing in mid-air. They wound out hovering in the air where they were. They continuously swung their swords back and forth at each other, clashing repeatedly. For a while, neither of them were able to hit the other. After about thirty seconds though, Grarbaun swung his sword at Johnny’s chest, but Johnny blocked his sword with his own sword. He then swung around the sword and kicked Grarbaun in the head. Grarbaun spiraled downward, slamming into the swamp. Johnny then lifted up his sword up and created a circle of twenty ice arrows around himself.
Johnny swung his sword downward afterwards, making all of the ice arrows fly down at Grarbaun, attempting to skewer him. Grarbaun got back up to his feet as quickly as he could and pointed his palm forward, creating a disk of darkness which spun like a saw in front of himself as a shield. As the ice arrows touched the disk of darkness they disappeared into nothingness. Grarbaun released the darkness disk, and as soon as he did, Johnny slammed into him, kicking him in the chest. The kick sent Grarbaun flying backwards and slid him across the ground through the swamp. Johnny then stabbed the Lucifer Blade into the swamp. At that moment, thorny vines shot up from beneath the swamp, stabbing through Grarbaun’s body and lifting him into the air.
When the vines stopped growing, Grarbaun was about half way up the vines, with them stabbed through his chest. Grarbaun was in pain and couldn’t seem to get an attack to work on Johnny no matter how hard he tried. Johnny’s mind reading powers were too strong for him. That’s when Grarbaun realized that there was only one thing that he could do to win, but first he would have to be able to get down. So he conjured another sword in his hands and used it to slash the vine both above and below his body. The top half of the vines fell off, as Grarbaun also fell downward, with the vines stuck in his chest. Since he hadn’t gotten rid of the poison fully at that time though, it decayed the vines.
After doing that, he destroyed the poison in his body with the powers, and fixed the holes in his chest, returning to his original full form. He continued falling downward and punched his fist toward the ground. Johnny jumped upward as soon as he did though, so the tremors wouldn’t affect him at all. Johnny landed back on the ground in the swamp as the tremors stopped and Grarbaun lifted his sword back up. He swung his sword around, slicing the top of his head off and dropping the sword. Johnny jumped forward with his Lucifer Blade and stabbed it at Grarbaun’s chest. As the blade stuck into his body, Grarbaun’s body caught fire, burning his body. But, it wouldn’t stop him from doing what happened next. Grarbaun punched Johnny in the chest and then punched him in the face with his other fist.
Johnny fell to the ground on his chest and spoke to himself, “What the heck, why can’t I read his mind anymore?”
Grarbaun rushed forward, kicking Johnny in the chest, which sent him flying in the air across the swamp. Johnny slammed down onto the ground as his body was growing weaker. The force of being hit hard by a guy in armor was causing him quite a bit of pain. He then felt his body fly back toward Grarbaun and created a spear of ice in his hand. He swung his body around as he got closer to Grarbaun and stabbed the spear through Grarbaun’s lungs. Grarbaun had pulled the Lucifer Blade out of his chest though, and so he stabbed it through Johnny’s chest, causing Johnny to fall on his knees on the ground as the swamp turned back into a wasteland Grarbaun’s head returned to normal.
“How did I lose the upper hand,” Johnny asked himself.
“It’s because I didn’t have a mind for you to read,” Grarbaun answered, “I cut off my brain so that you would no longer be able to read my attack. Now that my brain is back, you will be able to read my attacks, but since I’ve slowed you down so much, you won’t be able to simply avoid my attacks anymore. If you think you can, get back up on your feet and show me that you can.”
Johnny took that as a challenge and got back up to his feet slowly, but his confidence had depleted greatly. He had lost the Lucifer Blade and he had no idea how he could fight against Grarbaun anymore. He then realized he still had one shot as he spoke his plan, “If I can’t defeat you, I’ll just have to take control of your body and defeat myself. You won’t be able to regenerate in my body because you won’t have the Lucifer Blade. Then I can take control of your body and you won’t be able to return.”
Johnny looked Grarbaun in the face, and realized the flaw in his plan. To take control of the body of a person, he needed to be able to look in their eyes, but Grarbaun’s eyes were hidden. Johnny began to sweat as he body shivered in fear. He used a force of wind to send his surfboard flying at Grarbaun, but Grarbaun ducked and the surfboard almost struck Johnny through the chest. Johnny got out of the way just in the nick of time however and fell to his knees. His powers had been overused and so he only had one more chance to win. He created a saw blade of acid which hovered above his hand and tossed it at Grarbaun. Grarbaun sidestepped the attacked and then stabbed at Johnny’s chest with the Lucifer Blade.
Johnny dropped to the ground to avoid the attack and then kicked at Grarbaun’s knees. He infused his kick with the force of wind, allowing himself to trip Grarbaun. Grarbaun fell flat on the ground and dropped the Lucifer Blade. Johnny crawled over to the blade and grabbed it, allowing him heal his wounds, but it was too late, Grarbaun had grabbed hold of his ankle with one of his hands. Johnny tried to stab Grarbaun with the blade, but Grarbaun just grabbed the blade with his hands. He pulled the blade out of Johnny’s hands and swung it around so that he was holding the handle. Grarbaun stabbed the sword into Johnny’s chest several times, making many holes in his body as Johnny began to puke up blood. Grarbaun then rose to his feet and pointed the blade downward at Johnny, telling him to get up. Johnny did as Grarbaun said and stumbled to his feet. Immediately after he got to his feet, Grarbaun stabbed the Lucifer Blade through his heart and Johnny’s body was set aflame. Johnny grabbed the sword blade as quick as he could.
For a few moments, it stopped his body from decaying, but then Grarbaun kicked Johnny away, causing him to fall to the ground. Johnny’s body burned and within ten seconds, he had died, eliminated him from contention in the game. Grarbaun looked down at Johnny with a grin and announced, “The first person eliminated from the competition is Johnny MacIntosh.”
“Johnny,” Phillip shouted as he saw his friend fall to the ground. Grarbaun let down the force field, so that the rest of them could enter, and Phillip was the first. He rushed forward at Grarbaun, attempting to stab through his body by throwing playing cards at him. Grarbaun avoided the attacked and waited for Phillip to get close to him. As Phillip reached him, he swung his fist forward, attempting to hit Grarbaun. Instead however, Grarbaun created a large ball of darkness between himself and Phillip, which swallowed Phillip, causing him to disappear.
“Phillip,” Eric exclaimed, as he had rushed forward right after Phillip. He pulled out his pair of power gloves, placed them on his hands and punched the ground. He used the resulting tremors in an attempt to trip Grarbaun, but Grarbaun hovered above the ground for the duration of the tremors and then fell back to his feet. Eric then pulled out his giant circular shuriken disk and threw it at Grarbaun, but Grarbaun made another giant ball of darkness, which swallowed the disk and caused it to disappear. Eric continued forward and created a spear of fire, attempting to stab it through Grarbaun’s body. Grarbaun created another ball of darkness and used it to stop Eric’s attack, as Eric was sucked in and also disappeared.
One by one, the members of the group continued to rush forward. Yulena came next as she attempted to knock Grarbaun back with a force of wind. Grarbaun simply blocked the attack by crossing his arms in front of his chest. Yulena continued running forward and stabbed her metal pole at Grarbaun, but again Grarbaun made a ball of darkness which sucked Yulena in and made her disappear as well. At the same time, Kevin had attacked Grarbaun from behind, kicking his skateboard into his back and then jumping forward and kicking him the back of the head. Grarbaun fell to a knee but the grabbed Kevin by the leg and threw him into the air. Kevin flew upward where another ball of darkness appeared and disappeared from sight.
At that point they had decided that it was best not to get close to Grarbaun, but still continued trying to hit him with attacks. Bigan pointed his fist forward, creating a circle of five blades around his fist and then shot them toward Grarbaun. Grarbaun jumped quickly away from the blades, avoiding them with ease. At the same time, he was also avoided attack from Patrick as spikes shot up from the ground attempted to skewer him. He avoided the attacks with inhuman grace and quickly closed in on Bigan and Patrick, who stood beside each other. He created two balls of darkness in front of his hands. He slammed the balls forward as Bigan disappeared into one and Patrick disappeared into the other.
Jarvis jumped high into the air and shot forward several different colored small rubber balls at Grarbaun. The ball hit Grarbaun pretty hard, and slammed him into the ground. Jarvis then hovered in mid-air as he created a large boulder in front of himself and dropped it down at Grarbaun. Grarbaun raised his palm, and made the boulder fly upwards as it slammed into Jarvis, knocking him out of the air and toward the ground. The boulder continued flying onward and far off into the distance. As Jarvis fell toward the ground, Grarbaun created a ball of darkness between him and the ground, which caught Jarvis and made him disappear.
The moment Jarvis disappeared Grarbaun was struck through the back of his armor in many places by small sewing needles. Darla swung her arms upward, swinging Grarbaun backward through the air and back toward Troy. Troy pulled out a pen and wrote in his book as plants began to grow from Grarbaun’s body and tied his arms behind his back. Troy then wrote more in his book as a giant falcon emerged from beneath the ground and lifted him into the air. Troy pulled out another pen which increased to the size of a sword and jabbed it at Grarbaun. Grarbaun managed to break out of the vines at that moment however and pointed his palm forward, creating a ball of darkness which sucked Troy inside of it.
Seconds later though, Grarbaun slammed into the ground as Darla then pulled out several action figures from thin air and threw them onto the ground. The action figures grew life size and resembled soldiers carrying bayonets. The soldiers marched forward, and attempted to stab through Grarbaun’s body. Grarbaun punched his fist forward though, as spears of ice shot forward, stabbing through each of the action figures and continued on to try to strike Darla. Darla pulled an umbrella offer her back and held it out in front of her as the top part faced Grarbaun. She opened the umbrella and spun it around. As the ice spears hit the umbrella, the shattered, falling to the ground. As she pulled her umbrella back though, Grarbaun rushed into close range. He pointed his palm forward, creating a ball of darkness behind her which sucked her in like a vacuum.
Morpheous rushed forward as quickly as he could and pulled his fist backward, as he made it appear as though he was planning to attack Grarbaun head on. Grarbaun created another ball of darkness between himself and Morpheous, but that ball was quickly dealt with, as Silyn shot forth a stream of poison at the ball. The ball absorbed the attack, but by the time Morpheous reached the ball, the poison and the darkness were no longer there. Morpheous reached Grarbaun, and punched him in the chest. Morpheous pulled back his other fist, and punched Grarbaun in the face. Grarbaun spun to the side then Morpheous kicked him in the chest. Grarbaun fell down to his knees as his armor began to rust from the power of the flesh that touched him from Morpheous’ punches.
Morpheous then clapped his hands together, shooting forward bolts of plasma at Grarbaun. The bolts hit Grarbaun’s armor, causing it to continue to weaken as it began to melt. Morpheous stamped his foot downward at Grarbaun, but Grarbaun rolled out of the way to avoid the attack. He then pushed himself up to his feet. At that moment, Silyn shot forth another stream of poison at Grarbaun. The poison hit Grarbaun’s armor, causing it to melt away entirely, showing that Grarbaun was wearing a full body black chainmail suit. Morpheous jumped forward to punch Grarbaun, but Grarbaun once again created a big ball of darkness. Morpheous wound out punching the darkness instead and disappeared as soon as he touched it.
Silyn rushed forward and slashed his sword at Grarbaun. Grarbaun didn’t have time to make more darkness, so he instead blocked Silyn’s attack with the Lucifer Blade. Silyn kicked his foot forward and slammed them in the chest, knocking him backwards. As he slid backwards, chains shot out from behind him and grabbed his body, pulling him down to the ground. The chains had shot forth from Alatar’s hands. Alatar released some of his powers into the chains as the energy rushed through the chains until it reached the end of the chain. When it reached the end of the chain, spikes shot out of the chains and cut into Grarbaun’s body.
Silyn walked forward and lifted his sword up in the air as he got closer to Grarbaun. When he reached Grarbaun, he continued on with his attack. He stabbed his sword down at Grarbaun. Grarbaun lifted his hands up in the air, breaking the chains that were around him and watched as the sword came downward. Before the sword hit him though, he was able to stop it. It came close to stabbing him in the chest, but Grarbaun caught the sword between his hands and then kicked him in the chest, knocking him away from him. As Silyn slid backwards, Grarbaun created a ball of darkness behind him. The attack caused Silyn to lose his balance as he tripped and fell into the ball, disappearing from sight.
The only one left was Alatar, who looked forward at Grarbaun and asked him, “What did you do Abraham?”
“Don’t worry about it,” Grarbaun told him, “They are still alive. I just sent them to another area in Hell on the second level. If they live through the trials of the lower levels, you’ll be able to see them again.”
“You better not be lying to me about that,” Alatar said to him.
“This isn’t something I’d lie to you about,” Grarbaun assured him, “I just wanted to make things more interesting. Why else do you think I would purposely let Johnny boy steal my sword?”
“Fair enough, you’ve never been much of a liar. If anything, you just manipulate people by making the truth seem more negative than it actually is,” Alatar agreed.
“Then you understand, but there’s still one problem here,” Grarbaun responded, “You’re still here, which means that I’m not done yet. I have somewhere to send you too.”
“Well, then I guess it’s time to get serious,” Alatar replied before he put his thumb and index finger up to his mouth. He used those two fingers to create a whistle sound. A few moments later, the sand began to roll near him. From the rolling sand, Vazor emerged to the surface and ran up to Alatar. Alatar petted Vazor and then gave him a wink, which made Vazor make a growling sound. Alatar jumped on Vazor’s back and then told him to run forward. Vazor did as Alatar asked and rushed in the direction of Grarbaun. As they rushed forward, Vazor shot forth balls of fire from his mouth.
As the balls of fire rushed forward at him, Grarbaun created several balls of darkness and threw them at the balls of fire. As the balls hit each other, the dark balls absorbed the balls of fire and then disappeared from sight. Grarbaun lifted up his Lucifer Blade and swung it downward repeatedly, sending streams of fire at Alatar. Vazor maneuvered him around each of the streams of fire with ease as Alatar pulled out his sorcerer’s staff. He pointed the staff head at Grarbaun and caused the Lucifer Blade to fall out of Grarbaun’s hands. The blade flew into the air and then back down, attempting to stab Grarbaun through the heart. Grarbaun sidestepped the attack though and the blade stabbed into the ground beside him.
He grabbed the handle of the sword and then pulled it out of the ground as Vazor closed in on Grarbaun. Grarbaun created a large ball of darkness in front of himself as Vazor and Alatar got closer, but Alatar pointed his staff at the ball, causing it to be frozen solid. The ball of ice fell, to the ground, both shattering the ice and destroying the darkness. Moments afterwards, Vazor jumped forward at Grarbaun and attempted to tackle him. At that moment however, Grarbaun stabbed the Lucifer Blade at Vazor. Vazor was prepared for something like that to happen though as he disappeared from sight. About a second later, he reappeared behind Grarbaun and kicked his him in the back before landing back on his feet. The kick sent Grarbaun flying into the air across the battlefield until he finally slammed into the ground.
Alatar jumped off of Vazor and ran toward Grarbaun as he pointed his staff forward. When he got close to Grarbaun, Grarbaun pushed himself back up to his feet. Alatar created small spikes around the orb of his staff and jabbed it at Grarbaun. Grarbaun sidestepped the attack and swung the Lucifer Blade at Alatar’s head. Alatar ducked under the attack however and then kicked Grarbaun in the chest, causing him to fall into a bending motion and drop his sword. Alatar then placed his hands together and slammed his elbows into Grarbaun’s back, making him fall to the ground once more.
Alatar then took another step toward Grarbaun and held his staff out in front of himself, pointing the spiked orb at Grarbaun’s body. He looked to Grarbaun and spoke, “Give it up, you can’t beat me.”
Grarbaun wasn’t going to just listen to that though. He was immortal, so he knew it wasn’t going to be a big deal if he took a couple hits. Of course, he also knew the same could be said for Alatar and that there was only one way to get rid of Alatar for the time being. He swung his leg around at Alatar’s legs, attempting to trip him, but Alatar jumped up as soon as he did. Grarbaun used that opportunity to roll toward his blade and pick it up. He pushed himself up to his feet and ran forward at Alatar, swinging his sword at him when he got close. Alatar blocked the attack however as he pulled his staff backward and allowed Grarbaun’s blade to only hit the orb of the staff.
Vazor had made his way behind Grarbaun and started rushing forward at him. Alatar lifted up his staff and shot chains from all around him which wrapped around Grarbaun’s body to hold him in place. He then pointed his staff back forward at Grarbaun and gave him a quick jab in the chest. Grarbaun fell into a bowing motion and then Alatar kneed him in the face knocking him down to the ground. About a second after hitting the ground, Grarbaun broke out of the chains and turned to the direction opposite of Alatar. Vazor had jumped into the air, attempted to stab his claws through Grarbaun’s body, but Grarbaun created a ball of darkness in front of himself. Vazor disappeared and reappeared beside Grarbaun, but that happened to be where he created a second ball of darkness which sucked Vazor in and caused him to disappear.
“Vazor,” Alatar cried out as he truly became the last one standing, “I won’t let you get away with this Abraham.”
“You already have let me get away with it father,” Grarbaun pointed out, “After all, if you were not going to let me get away with it, then it wouldn’t have happened right?”
Alatar didn’t feel like talking anymore. He pointed his staff in the air, creating several stars around his staff. After about thirty appeared, they all shot downward at Grarbaun. Grarbaun quickly used his acrobatic skills to maneuver out of the way of each of them. It was a good thing that he was able to do that to as when the stars hit the ground they burnt straight through the ground leaving star shaped holes. Grarbaun ran toward Alatar and swung his sword at him. Alatar blocked the strike by holding up his staff in front of his body. The two pushed back and forth on each other, trying to create and upper hand. Alatar was the one to finally break through as he kicked Grarbaun in the chest, causing him to slide backward on his feet across the ground.
Grarbaun almost lost his balance, but quickly gained his composure. Alatar jumped forward in an attempted to jab his staff through Grarbaun’s skull, but Grarbaun ducked under the attack. He then stabbed his blade forward at Alatar, but his sword flew out of his hands and into the air as it flipped in the air. Alatar pointed his staff forward, holding the orb at Grarbaun’s neck as the Lucifer Blade struck the ground behind him. Alatar threatened him, “Tell me where they are or I’ll destroy you repeatedly until you do.”
“I don’t think that’s going to happen,” Grarbaun said as he folded one of his arms behind his back.
“Why is that?” Alatar asked.
Grarbaun opened his palm behind his back, dropping a small ball to the ground which turned out to be a smoke bomb. The smoke trapped the two of them inside to where they shouldn’t have been able to see. Grarbaun however didn’t have any problems, as he had long before had his eyes adapted to be able to see in the darkness. He grabbed Alatar’s staff and pulled Alatar toward him, kneeing him in the chest, which sent Alatar flying out of the smoke cloud and slamming into the ground. Grarbaun walked out of the smoke cloud with Alatar’s staff and threw it down beside him. He then created a ball of darkness above him which sucked Alatar and his staff inside. After Alatar had disappeared, Grarbaun answered, “That’s why.”
They had all faced Grarbaun at the same time, but they had failed to defeat him. They confrontation reminded them of how serious this task was. Abraham was no pushover, and they knew that battle was just a practice round. Their confidence had dwindled a bit, but they still would continue onward. Several challenges would await them and they would take on all of them with open arms. Though their friend Johnny had departed, they knew it was not the time to cry. They would have to stand up and fight. Grarbaun walked away with his sword in hand laughing along the way as he had transported all of them to second level of Hell. The game had barely even begun.
Re: Fiery Divergence (20% Complete) [Book 5]
With their defeat, the group had been separated from each other, for the most part. The dark balls they were sucked into were portals sending them to various locations in the second level of Hell; the level of Greed, headed by the prince Mammon. A few of them were sent to locations where they were on their own, but most of them were sent to areas where they formed pairs. The first two, Silyn and Patrick fell from balls of darkness onto a rock ledge. Patrick had arrived about a minute before Silyn, but he had decided to sit on the ledge to think to himself. When he saw Silyn fall flat onto the ledge he exclaimed in surprise, “Silyn, wow, even you couldn’t beat him?”
Silyn pushed off the ground to stand up to his feet and then brushed the dust off of his clothes. He then looked to Patrick and answered, “That man is much stronger than I thought he would be. The only one left when I was defeated was Alatar.”
“Even Morpheous was beaten? That’s hard to believe. It seems like we really have a lot to think about. If we continue the way we’ve been going, we won’t stand a chance.”
Silyn nodded and looked around at the environment, “Well this is quite the massive place, isn’t it?”
Patrick hadn’t really taken the time to check out the scenery until that point. When he saw his surroundings though he was in awe, “It’s enormous.”
Enormous may have been an understatement too. They stood alongside a five foot wide rock ledge which ran alongside a rock wall, which seemed to go up in about an eighty degree angle. Though with certain areas of rock that erected, it was completely eighty degrees. Looking to their left and right, they could see openings in the rock wall which seemed to lead into mines. There were wooden posts running along the inside of the openings.
The openings were probably around ten feet in height and five feet in width. Looking down, they could see that the rock wall continued down making them feel as though they were on a mountain. All throughout the area though, there were more ledges and openings which led into more mines. Across the way, they could see that the other side looked mainly the same. There were a few different angles on the walls and the ledges and openings weren’t in the same spots exactly, but it took the same appearance either way. Between the two enormous mountain-like structures there was an abyss which they could not see the bottom of.
They could see the roof of the area though which was rocky and had dripping stalactites hanging from it. Across the abyss there were several wooden bridges connecting mines from either side to each other. None were near them however. All in all, the area encompassed an area of around ten miles in height while the abyss was around half a mile across. At that point, they had no idea how much more there was within the mines of the seven level of Hell, known as the Treasury Mines.
Patrick looked to Silyn after admiring the scenery. Silyn was still observing the area when Patrick looked toward him. He seemed to be looking closely at every little detail, trying to see if there was something important somewhere. After a few more moments though, he was done looking and turned to Patrick. As he did, he noticed Patrick staring at him and spoke, “Why are you staring at me?”
“Sorry, I was just wondering what you were looking at.”
“Oh, it’s nothing. I thought there might be something around here for us to notice. I didn’t see anything however. We should get a move on.”
Patrick gave Silyn a nod and then followed him as they walked toward the opening to their left.
Elsewhere in the mines, Yulena had fallen out of a sphere of darkness into a cave. The cave was simply rounded with tunnels leading to various areas, four in total. She fell right beside Phillip who was still getting up to his feet as she did.
When Phillip saw her, he made a somewhat sarcastic comment, “So, I see you had a fun ride too.”
“If you want to call it that, sure. It was a bit of a rough ride too though. Man, my chest hurts.”
“Did that bastard drop you on your breasts? If he messed those babies up I’ll kick his ass.”
“Phillip, did you land on your head?”
“Oh, no I didn’t. My apologies, I guess I may have grown to have a desire to flirt after not really being around many girls these past five years.”
She sighed. “Well, I guess I’m okay with it then, but keep your hands to yourself. I already told you back then that we’ll never happen and my decision is still the same.”
“Whoa whoa! Don’t worry I got the message. Anyways, where are we?”
“Well, this may be a bit of stretch, but I would say we are in a cave and that those four paths lead to four different areas.”
“Geeze, I see you’ve become a bit of a smartass since we last spoke.”
“And you haven’t become a bit more of a pervert?”
“Touché Yulena, touché.”
She laughed. “I have to admit you still make me laugh just as much as you used to. At least that part about you has remained the same. You aren’t a total deviant.”
“Hmm, well I can agree with you that I’ve stayed the same there, but you may be a bit mistaken still. I am a bit of a deviant.”
“Phillip, you really are a bit of a show off aren’t you?”
“I guess you could say that. I like the attention.”
“I can see that.”
He nodded. “So anyways, now that we’ve caught up a bit, I think it’s time to continue on. We only have so much time to find our way around here after all.”
“True. Well, which direction should we go?”
Phillip looked around at each of the tunnels and tried to think of the best way to decide. There was nothing special about any of them though. After a few moments of deliberation and a few more to learn that Yulena didn’t have a preference, he gave a shrug. The two of them walked toward the tunnel closest to them and went on.
In another level of Hell, level five to be exact, there was a man who stood in a room shrouded primarily by darkness. There was what seemed to be a spotlight shooting down at an organ which the man was walking toward. As he walked, he seemed to be in a state of boredom.
The man stood around six-foot-six inches in height with massive muscles. His eyes, which had been red a few years before had turned gold since he changed the color of his contacts. He was wearing a white vest along which had a golden cross design on the left side. He wore a golden earing in his left ear and his head was completely bald over which he wore a golden fedora. Over his legs, he wore a pair of white leather pants with black stripes down the side along with a pair of golden dress shoes. On his left wrist he also wore a golden watch. Across his back, he wielded a large golden cross with a clock in the middle. He was the man known as Daniel Able.
As Daniel walked up to the piano, he talked to himself, “Why have I been stuck in here? I wanted so badly to be venturing through Hell right now. I wanted to be searching for enemies from both sides so that I could eliminate them. I have become God’s chosen prophet. It is my job to make sure the world turns out right.”
Daniel gave a sigh as he took a seat at the organ in the center of the room. He opened the covering which had been covering the keys and began to play. His skills on the organ were magnificent. The melody he played was lovely and when he sang it only became lovelier.
Dear God my master, I thank you for your love.
Though I’m not worry, I seek the land above.
I’ll venture this wasteland singing your name.
Delivering your most holy message, I’ll end this game.
My heart which was once black as night has found the light.
Thanks to your holy grace which shines so bright.
I’ll sing this hymn and hope that you hear.
For my heart belongs to you, I feel you are near.
Though many challenges I’ve yet to face, I know who I am.
I am your chosen one and if I’m not, may I be damned.
For I’ll sacrifice my life to pass on your spirit.
With this I testify, lend me the strength to properly fit.
My task is to accomplish the wish of your soul.
Allow me Lord, to fill this role.
Daniel would continue his singing for some time as he sat solitarily in that room.
Back up on the second level, Darla fell out of another sphere of darkness onto mostly enclosed cave area. The area only had tracks for a mine cart off to the side, running along a wall. The tracks seemed to come down from above like a roller coaster. They continued across the other side where the tunnel was lit by fire further down the track. As Darla landed on her feet, Bigan looked to her, leaning as he sat in a thinking position.
Bigan greeted her, “Well, it’s nice to see that the sphere was kind of to throw you down on your feet. I wish I could say that it did the same for me. It would be asking too much I guess to not be thrown on my ass.”
Darla couldn’t help but laugh. “Sorry Bigan, if it makes you feel any better I wasn’t the one who decided how you would land.”
“Yeah yeah, I know. It’s just a bother to fall like that, you know?”
“No, I can’t say that I do. As you just saw, I didn’t land on my ass.”
“Are we seriously having a conversation about the way we landed?”
She sighed. “You were the one who brought it up. I’m not exactly thrilled that the subject of asses came up myself.”
“Fair enough. So, what happened after I was beaten?”
“I didn’t last too much longer than you, but the others were meeting the same fate as us left and right. It was really quite insane. No matter what moves we tried to use on Abraham, he just continued to find ways around us.”
He sighed. “I see, well that is certainly uncomforting.”
“You can say that again. I thought that the last five years were supposed to give us a better chance against. We seem just as hopeless as ever though.”
“Actually, we aren’t quite as hopeless as you think we are. I happen to know for a fact that my son has something planned for the next time we meet Abraham.”
“Right now I’m just hoping that we get the chance to meet Abraham again. Don’t forget we still have other people to deal with. There’s no guarantee that your son will even make it to the final level alive.”
“Don’t say anything like that,” Bigan exclaimed, “My son knows what he’s doing. He understands how important his task is and that’s why he will make it to the end to see Abraham. Yes, Troy will definitely break the curse.”
“Well, I sure hope so. I know without breaking that curse, we’re pretty helpless. If he does succeed though, that will definitely help things out.”
“He will. So, what do you think is at the end of the tracks?”
“No idea. It just looks like light from a fire to me. Maybe there are goblins. We are in mines after all.”
With those words, a mine cart rolled down from above on the tracks in front of them. At that moment they felt like they were at a subway station as the cart stopped in front of them.
“Well, that’s convenient,” Darla commented.
“Let’s try it out.”
Darla gave him a nod and they both squeezed into the cart. After they took their seats, the mine cart rushed along the track toward the light.
On another ledge alongside the rock mountain, Morpheous fell out of another sphere of darkness, landing on his back. After he landed, he slowly pushed himself up to his feet and looked around to see the same sight that Patrick and Silyn saw. Though, with a large rock formation to his right, he couldn’t see them, nor could they see him.
“Great. This is just how I wanted to spend my day, stuck in some giant mines with no one in sight. Yeah right! Where’s the action Abraham? You’re a bit of a pansy to just get rid of us like that. I’m disappointed.”
Morpheous stood there for a few minutes, leaning on the rock wall, as he looked over the area closely. He didn’t see anything, so he just sighed in boredom as he walked forward and sat down on the edge of the ledge. After taking his seat, he pressed the top of the plasma filled globe on his chest. As he pressed it, a compartment opened up just about his left hip from his armor. Morpheous stuck his hand in and pulled out a pair of marbles.
“Let’s see what other people are up to.”
Morpheous looked at two marbles which had red dots on them. They both pointed upward, behind him and to the right. For some reason, that gave him a bit of a grin, though his words wouldn’t suggest he was especially happy.
“Man, why does everyone else get to have the fun? I want to fight someone already too. Yet, Cornelius gets to face that boss Beelzebub and he must be surprised on who that boss actually is. Gosh! I’m so bored. Though, maybe I should take this time to plan out how I’m going to do this.”
Morpheous sat there for a few more minutes as he continued to stare at the marbles. He didn’t look like he was actually interesting in though. It looked more like he was just staring in their direction while his mind was off in space.
“Alright, I know what I’ll do. I’ll just sit back and wait for them to finish. I can work on attacking my enemies when they are weak for now. Though I guess I can’t pass up the opportunity if I run into any of them either.”
Morpheous pulled out about ten more marbles and looked into them. They were all pointing in various directions. A few of them pointed to different areas on the second level, while another pointed upward. There were also a few which pointed downward.
“Well, I guess that settles it. I could go looking for people here, but I don’t feel like looking through a maze to find someone. I’ll just let them come to me.”
After speaking those words, Morpheous stuck the marbles back in his compartment which closed behind them. He then jumped downward into the abyss, falling quickly. He spread his arms out to feel the breeze as he fell. As he approached a bridge, he sprouted black wings and flew around the bridge before continuing downward.
Further down, on level four of Hell, Shannon walked through a large black gate designed as a gargoyle. She walked out of an opening which led down a slope behind her. As she walked away from it, she passed between glowing black rocks on either side. The area was lit by torches which hung beside the gate she had entered from. Aside from that, there was mostly just darkness in front of her, though the sounds of water could be heard. As she approached closer, she could see the ripples of the waves more clearly.
She was approaching a river which seemed to slalom randomly around the area for miles. The river itself was around forty feet in width, which was only about a third of the size of the platform she stood on. The water was covered by steam, though she could still see the most unusual feature of the river. There was nothing along the sides of the river, so it simply flowed downward into the abyss on the sides.
Shannon stepped on the water with her right leg and continued walking forward as ghostly figures began to emerge from the waves. They made haunting sounds as they spoke things like, “Kill”, “Eat” and “Bang”.
“Shut up souls,” Shannon said to them, “Go back to swimming.”
The souls heard her, but instead of doing as she said, they emerged further from the water to walk upon it as well.
One of them spoke to her, “No, we eat you now.”
“Man, you guys are annoying. I don’t understand how Charon can put up with you.”
As if on cue, another figure emerged from the ground. It was what appeared to be a hunch back man with a cane who was wearing a black trench coat. He was bent in such a way that Shannon couldn’t see his face, though she knew who he was.
“Charon, will you please tell your little prisoners here to leave me alone.”
“What are you doing on my level Shannon? I didn’t send you an invitation to come here today.”
“I didn’t send you an invitation to come here today,” she mocked him, “Honestly Charon, you should know by now that I do what I want to do when I want to do it.”
“Yes, I am aware of that. What are you doing here though? Didn’t Abraham ask you to stay on the fifth level?”
“Yeah, but that’s so lame. I’d have much more fun going out and finding my prey for myself.”
He sighed. “Very well then, go on ahead. Don’t come crying to me when you start getting attacked by the damned though.”
“Please, those poor bastards can’t even touch me.”
“Well, then have fun.”
Charon sunk into the water as Shannon continued forward. A few of the souls attacked her, but they simply were cut to ribbons by an unseen force before they could reach her. Shannon placed her hand on her forehead in disappointment, “As if I would have trouble with these weaklings.”
On the second level once more, Alatar fell on a wooden bridge beside Eric. The bridge rocked back and forth, knocking Eric over the ropes. Eric grabbed onto the ropes before he could fall though. Alatar got to his feet quickly and grabbed Eric’s hands, pulling him back onto the bridge.
“Sorry about that,” Alatar apologized.
“It’s fine. There’s no way you could have meant for that to happen. Wait, what are you doing here?”
“It would seem as though I was trapped in one of Abraham’s portals of darkness and sent here to the same area you were.”
“Wait, Abraham got you too? Holy shit, what the hell! I mean, I could have expected other people to have been beaten. How did he manage to beat you though? That’s insane.”
“Well, he didn’t beat me by the strictest definition of the word ‘beat’. Nah, instead he sent me to you. Though, that is obvious by now.”
Eric laughed softly. “Yeah, I guess it is.”
“Yes, it appears as though he has given us a shortcut to the second level. I guess there was nothing else for us to see on the first level.”
“Either that or he didn’t want us to keep our hands on the Lucifer Blade.”
“Yeah, that actually sounds more likely now that you mention it. Eric, you’re a pretty smart guy. I wonder if anyone ever tells you that.”
“Sometimes sure, but it means a lot more coming from the leader of the Magic Council of course.”
“Yes, indeed it does. My words hold much more meaning than anyone else’s.”
“Alright now Alatar, don’t go getting cocky on me now.”
“Cocky? What do you mean cocky? There’s a big difference between me and cocky people. The difference is that I actually am better than everyone else. Enough of that though. Please tell me you have some sake.”
“No, I can’t say that I do.”
“I have sake,” another figure spoke, handing Alatar a bottle of sake.
Alatar took the bottle, “Thank you small green midget man with club.”
“Not a problem. Now if you would kindly pay the fee for the sake and for crossing the bridge you can be on your way.”
“Fee? What fee?” Eric asked.
“For walking across the bridge, it’ll cost you fifty Hell coins. For the sake it will cost you 100 more Hell coins.”
“What does that come out to in dollars?”
“What are dollars?”
“Never mind him,” Alatar said to the green goblin as he finished his sake.
“Fine, you were the one who drunk the sake anyways. Hand over the coin.”
“Okay, now let’s say hypothetically that we don’t actually have coin to give you. What do we do then?”
“You can spend twelve hours with us in the mines, mining for jewels to give to our master.”
Alatar nodded and Eric exclaimed, “You aren’t actually thinking of accepting are you Alatar?”
“Eric, he gave me sake. You can’t put a price on sake.”
Eric sighed. “I swear sometimes you make me wonder if you’re actually sane.”
“Lead us to the mines!”
“Follow me,” the green goblin demanded as he walked across the bridge toward a cave opening. As soon as he turned his back, Eric rushed forward and pushed him over the rope. The goblin fell into the abyss as he screamed, “Curse you humans!”
With the sound of the scream, a group of goblins rushed through the cave entrance, angry, with their clubs held high. They ran forward at Eric and Alatar.
Eric asked, “So, what’s the plan Alatar?”
“We shall correct this misunderstanding and help them with their mining!”
“The one where you accidently tripped on the bridge and fell into the nice goblin that was with us.”
“That wasn’t a misunderstanding, I did that on purpose.”
“Riiiiight, sure you did.”
Eric sighed. “Just run.”
Eric ran away from the goblins across the bridge as Alatar rushed after him, “Come back Eric. We can’t steal from them.”
Eric didn’t stop though, he just kept running as Alatar chased behind him and the goblins chased Alatar. After Eric and Alatar rushed into the cave at the end of the bridge, a large man with black wings, smashed through the end of the bridge closest to Alatar and Eric. The bridge snapped and fell downwards, as the goblins fell into the abyss. Morpheous laughed as he continued flying down.
Back on level five, a man in a black chainmail suit walked through the rocky tunnels with the Lucifer Blade in his hand. He continuously walked up to areas where he was given pathways to choose from. Though, having been a resident of Hell for a long time, he knew his way around. As he reached an opening where he could see several pathways all around, he stabbed the sword in the ground and took off the chainmail mask. It wasn’t Abraham though; the person who had carried the Lucifer Blade was Edward.
Edward stroked the blade, “It’s been a while since we’ve seen you now hasn’t it? You must have gotten upset so many times being with that small fry Johnny.”
The blade caught fire on its hilt as if to give Edward a response. Edward gave a grin when he saw it.
“You know, I was thinking of taking you to Abraham, but now I’m not so sure that I want to. I mean, imagine me with the strongest sword in existence. It’s obvious that anyone can use you, so perhaps it would be more fun to keep you to myself.”
Again, the blade caught fire. Edward watched the blade closely and laughed.
“Yes, it’s nice to hear that you’re onboard. Well then, why don’t we continue on to my chamber? I really want to change out of this chainmail. I seriously hate the way it feels.”
The sword caught fire on the hilt once more, giving Edward its response. Edward grinned as he waited for the sword to set out its fire. After it did, Edward grabbed the blade and walked down a path immediately in front of him and to his left. As he walked down the path, he cut into the wall of the tunnel on his right side. In doing so, the wall caught fire and the hole opened up revealing an area behind the wall covered in ankle high in water. Edward stepped through the hole and into the room.
Once again on level two, another person fell out of a sphere of darkness. He fell into a pile of gold in cave with several tunnels around, all of which had wooden posts lining their openings. It was Jarvis. The sound of the gold being hit, attracted the attention of someone as Jarvis heard a voice say, “Hey what was that?”
Jarvis buried himself beneath the gold as best he could, hoping that whoever was around wouldn’t see him. Moments later, a group of figures with torches rushed into the area looking around. They appeared as upright standing salamanders, in total they were around twenty. Another one of them spoke, “I know I heard something in here. Check the gold.”
Jarvis tensed up with those words as he knew there was nowhere for him to run. So, instead of running he jumped out of the gold and ran toward the creatures. He jumped forward, attempting to punch one of them in the face. The humanoid salamander just leaned backwards to avoid the attack, landing his palms on the ground as he did.
He then used his hands to flip himself around and kick at the back of Jarvis’ head. Jarvis jumped out of the way just in time though. With that though, the salamander flipped his body around again, landing his palms on the ground and then pushing off, attempting to kick Jarvis once again. Jarvis rolled to the side of the attack to avoid it as even more salamander men rushed into the area with torches.
The salamanders all threw their torches into their mouths and swallowed them. When they did so, their bodies began to glow orange and Jarvis’ eyes went wide. The salamanders all puffed up and then blew fire out of their mouths at Jarvis. Jarvis rolled underneath the majority of the attacks, but the attacks caught the back of his lab coat on fire. Jarvis pulled out a small bottle and poured some sort of chemical on the fire which put out the fire instantly.
Jarvis then punched upward, hitting one of the salamanders in the stomach, causing the salamander to lose control of his fire. His body swelled up and he caught fire. The salamanders became angry at that point and all began to flip around wildly. One after another they used their acrobatics skills, attempting to land kicks and punched on Jarvis. Jarvis held up as long as he could, holding off the attacks.
He would avoid the attacks very well at the start, and even managed to hit a few of them, causing them to combust. However, in the end, the numbers were just too many. As soon as one salamander kicked him the face, the rest of them landed their attacked as well. After being knocked around for about twenty seconds, the salamanders stopped. Two of the salamanders grabbed Jarvis’ arms and wrapped them around their shoulders. Jarvis looked forward out of breath, “Please let me go.”
“No, we’re taking you to our master Mammon.”
The salamander man punched Jarvis in the face, knocking him out. They then carried Jarvis out of the cave and through the mines on their way to Mammon’s lair.
Clear across the second level, Kevin would meet another member of the group as he walked down a mine cart track. Out of a sphere of darkness, Vazor fell to the ground in front of him. Kevin rushed up to him, and patted his head, “Are you okay buddy?”
Vazor licked Kevin’s hand and stood up to his feet before rubbing his head against Kevin’s face.
Kevin laughed, “I guess you are alright then. That’s good. If you’re here though, what happened to Alatar?”
Vazor made a frown with his face and nodded his head side to side to show that he either didn’t know or that Alatar was in trouble. Kevin took both possibilities into consideration and sighed.
“Don’t worry Vazor, Alatar will be fine. He’s the strongest mage I’ve ever met and he can’t die. So, you’ll definitely see him again.”
Vazor made a smile and licked Kevin’s cheek.
“Geeze, you sure are being friendly today Vazor.”
Vazor nodded his head up and down before he looked down the path that Kevin had been walking toward. There was nothing special about it. They were just in a tunnel, and a little ways in front of them, it curved to the right.
“I don’t know where it goes either. I figured I would just follow it and see where it takes me. Since we’re both here now though, why don’t we both check it out? We don’t really have much of a choice.”
Vazor nodded his head and began walking down the path as Kevin walked behind him.
“Vazor, I haven’t told you this before today, but you’re a really awesome pet. You’re so loyal to your master and you are badass as all hell. Alatar is really lucky to have been able to tame a veloci raptor. I will definitely return you to Alatar.”
Vazor looked back with a happy expression and continued walking down the path as Kevin followed closely behind.
Finally, in another area of level two, Troy fell out of his sphere of darkness into a somewhat open area. As he pushed himself up to his feet he could see to his left that there was a long wall leading to a roof at least two hundred feet above. He looked down the wall to see that there were tunnels at the end of either side. The strange part of the area was to his right though. Looking up, he could see that there was a crevasse in the ceiling. From the crevasse, lava flowed down from above into a stream below. The stream ran through the walls and off to an area that Troy could see.
There was a six foot wide area of the crevasse where no lava fell through though which intrigued Troy greatly. He walked through the area across a small bridge of rock that led across the stream of lava.
After doing so, he could see that the area led to a large opening surrounded by rock. Well off in front of himself, Troy could see a rock ledge that extended from the floor. The ledge was straight and extended over another large opening. The opening was circular in size, as was the shape of the rock as the end of the ledge.
Troy walked forward and onto the ledge as he looked around. All he could see at first was the rock walls all around. After he looked down though, he realized that the ledge extended over a lake of lava which had lava flowing into it from what appeared to be sewage pipes. He stared in awe, but he wouldn’t be admiring it very long.
Seconds after he noticed the lake of lava below him, something made a clean cut right through the rock behind him. It cut off the circular area of the ledge dropping both the ledge and himself downward. Troy fell to his knee and began to write as the circular platform of rock fell into the lava forty feet below. Troy finished his sentence though he did fall onto the platform face first as he landed. Luckily for him, the lava didn’t splash.
“It seems that you’ve gotten better with your powers since the last time we saw each other,” a familiar voice said to him.
Troy stood up to his feet as he noticed the area better after doing so. He was standing on a platform of rock as he floated down the lake of lava. All around, there were other platforms of rock which flowed with the lava as well. They seemed to be coming through an opening in the bottom of the wall behind him where some lava was flowing into the lake. The area wasn’t circular though which Troy found odd since that was the shape of the area he fell from.
He then realized why though. The lava lake was larger than the area he fell from, as he noticed not far in front of himself the ceiling was fairly low. It was only about ten feet above the lava and there were stalactites in parts which seemed to poke down to between three and five feet over the lava.
“Hello, did you hear me?” the voice asked.
At that moment, Troy noticed the voice and cringed. Standing about twenty feet in front of him flowing down the lava lake on a platform of rock was a man whom he had known his entire life, literally.
Re: Fiery Divergence (22.5% Complete) [Book 5]
Marie was ready to begin her challenge. After having thought long and hard about her own sins, she realized that she was ready to atone for them. To do that though, she would have to face her sister in one on one combat. However, unless she could fully harness her powers of virtue, there was no guarantee that she would even survive. Kiora pointed her left hand forward shooting forth a flurry of nails at her sister.
Marie stepped backwards and kicked her foot forward. When she did, a gust of wind rushed forward beneath the nails before arching upwards and knocking the nails into the sky. Kiora kicked off the ground, rushing toward Marie with her wooden staff in hand. When she reached Marie, she swung the staff at Marie. Marie bent back under the attack and punched Kiora in the chest with her left hand.
Kiora flew into the air as Marie pushed off the ground, flying into the air at Kiora. She conjured up a whip of what appeared to be made of small particles. She swung the whip at Kiora, but Kiora noticed quickly and lifted her staff up to guard her body. When the supposed particles came within a few feet of her, they simply blew back down toward the ground. Marie dropped the end of the whip.
She continued flying upward toward Kiora however as she pulled her leg backward and kicked at Kiora’s chest. Kiora flipped forward in a somersault motion in midair to avoid the attack. As Marie flew by Kiora, Kiora swung her staff at her. Marie grabbed hold of the staff as quickly as she could. As she grabbed hold, the center of the staff eroded as if it were being eaten by termites.
Kiora tried to pull her staff away, but wasn’t quick enough. The other half of her staff began to fall toward the grab. Before it could fall too far though, Marie grabbed it. She swung the broken staff piece at Kiora, but Kiora blocked it with her own. Kiora then pointed her left palm at Marie, shooting forth ribbons at her. The ribbons grabbed around Marie’s body and Kiora swung her around before slamming her on the ground below.
Kiora then fell to the ground, pointing the broken end of her staff at the ground. She attempted to stab it through Marie’s body. Marie rolled to the side at the last second and quickly jumped up to her feet. After she got to her feet, she chopped through the ribbons with her hand and pulled her bow off of her back. One after another, she shot arrows at Kiora. Kiora flipped around to avoid them as best she could. She was able to avoid the first eleven, but the twelfth grazed her shoulder.
That didn’t matter though, because Kiora landed on her feet at the moment Marie stopped shooting. Kiora placed her hand on the ground, which caused the sand in front of her to lump up and form a boulder. Then pointed her free palm at the boulder and sent it rushing toward Marie. Marie jumped into the air and became parallel with the ground as her body pointed upward. She kicked the center of the sand boulder, sending it back at Kiora.
Kiora rolled away from the boulder along the ground as the boulder simply flew over her and into the nearby lake. Marie stood back and pulled out another three arrows, shooting them all at Kiora simultaneously. Kiora pushed off the ground and flew around ten feet into the air. The arrows landed in the sand below her as Kiora flipped in midair and pointed her left palm at Marie. She shot around fifteen nails at Marie in quick succession.
In response to her attack, Marie chopped her hand upward in front of herself. The chop created a wall of particles in front of her which rusted and ate through the nails in a matter of nanoseconds. Kiora landed on her feet and took the time while Marie was blocking her attack to shove the broken staff piece she had into the blowhole of her left palm. As it entered, her arm made sounds like a wood chipper.
A few seconds later, Kiora’s arm began to open up showing that her left arm was actually mechanical. Her arm turned from being an arm into being a metal club with wooden spikes erecting from it. From the wooden spikes, were several nails which poked out. It seemed to be attached to her arm, but that soon turned out to only sort of be the case. The club shot out of her arm and at Marie connected to the other half of her arm with black ribbons.
As the club flew forward, her arm closed back up, while the blowhole closed around the ribbons. Marie placed around twenty arrows on her bow at the same time and suddenly the entire form of the bow and arrows turned to metal. As the metal bow and arrows connected together, she pointed the arrowheads at the incoming club while holding on to the string portion. The club smashed into the new weapon, but Marie held on tight.
The arrows lodged into the club and managed to stop it. Kiora tried to pull back the club with her arm, but the arrows were lodged in the club pretty deeply. Marie slid back a couple inches, but kept her balance. She grabbed the area of the metal string on either side of the metal nocks. She quickly swung the weapon to the left pulling the club with it. With that, she slammed Kiora to the ground and dislodged the strange weapon from the club.
Kiora pushed herself up to her knees and spoke, “What the hell is that thing?”
“It’s something I can create with one of my new powers. After I learned how to control parasites, I decided to take my magical training a step further. Now I can alter the state of inanimate objects on a molecular level. With the power, I can change metal to wood, water to gas or cloth to blades.”
“Impressive, that must have taken quite a bit of training.”
“It did. You didn’t think I would just fail in my ultimate mission without finding something to use from the experience did you?”
“I should have known better than that. You’re still nothing without learning how to use those virtues though.”
“That’s why I’m going to learn how to use them in this battle. Then, I will take you away from Sinister Ambition for good.”
Kiora laughed. “You’re funny sis. Do you honestly still think you can ‘save’ me?”
“Well, it’s either I’m going to save you or I’m going to die by your hands. I can’t live without my sister.”
Marie could have sworn she saw a tear drop from one of Kiora’s eyes. When she looked again though, it appeared as though Kiora’s eyes were still dry. Upon hearing those words, Kiora thought to herself, She’s starting to unlock the powers of true virtue. Excellent. Now let’s see if she can use them and truly mean them.
“Marie, do you know how my arm turned out this way?”
“No, you’ve never told me the story.”
“I figured I hadn’t. Well, let me give you a brief explanation. About twelve years ago I was hired to go on a mission as an assassin by an unknown person. I later found out that the person who hired me was Morpheous Starsley. My job was to travel to the city of Glemhein, which is the Licharian version of Seattle. The task was simple. I was to eliminate a man known as Silyn Blackrider and the rest of his family.
“Yes, I know it’s hard to believe, but it’s the same Silyn Blackrider that is here in Hell today. When I arrived there, I was cut off by Arien Istar. She boldly asked me step off of her property because I wasn’t welcome there. I had something to do though. I wasn’t going to just let my prey get away from me, so we had a confrontation. Take a look at this.”
Another bubble fell down from the sky and floated between her and Marie. Marie looked curiously at the screen as she saw the image of what seemed to be a dirt road. On either side of the dirt road were woods. A younger Kiora stood in front of Arien Istar, who looked the same as she did the last time Marie had seen her. Kiora however was around half a foot shorter and had short brown hair. At the time, she had no blowhole in her hand.
Young Kiora was wearing a white shirt that was two sizes too big. It hung off the side of her left shoulder but managed to hang on. It revealed her red bra strap. She also wore a pair of blue jeans with black tennis shoes. In her right hand, she held her wooden staff. Over the left side of her hair, she held back part of her hair with a pink butterfly hair clip. She ran forward at Arien and swung her wooden staff at her.
Arien disappeared in a bolt of lightning and reappeared behind Kiora. She grabbed Kiora by the shoulder and squeezed. Kiora fell to her knees as she cringed in pain. Arien looked down at her and said to her, “If you promise to leave now I will let go.”
Kiora swung her wooden staff around, attempting to hit Arien in the side. Instead of avoiding the attack, Arien simply grabbed it with her free hand and squeezed Kiora’s shoulder harder.
“Please don’t try anything funny again. I have no desire to hurt you.”
“As if you could!”
Kiora kicked Arien in the shin, which caused Arien to lose her grip on both the staff and her shoulder. Kiora quickly jumped to her feet and jabbed her staff at Arien’s chest. Arien grabbed the staff with both of her hands before it could hit her. She then pulled the staff away from Kiora and smacked Kiora in the face with it. Kiora fell down to the ground as Arien walked up to her slowly.
Kiora wouldn’t give Arien a chance to talk again though. She punched the ground hard, causing the ground around Arien to shoot up around her. The ground enclosed around her, blocking her vision. Only Arien’s right arm hung out of the rock cone structure, holding Kiora’s staff. Kiora spun her hands around in a circular motion in front of herself and then jabbed them forward.
A force of wind shot toward the rock cone, crushing it completely. Kiora walked to the pile of rubble to where she could see the arm hanging out motionlessly. The staff rolled out of the hand as it opened up. Kiora went to grab the staff when she realized something disturbing. The arm wasn’t attached to a body. Moments later, Arien suddenly appeared behind her in a bolt of lightning and grabbed Kiora’s right arm.
“I warned you to go away.”
With those words, Arien released a bolt of lightning into Kiora’s left arm, causing it to go limp. Kiora screamed out in pain as the lighting burnt her skin. Arien looked at Kiora and sighed. She then began to walk away, leaving Kiora to fend for herself. She had done enough. She had no desire to hurt Kiora any further.
Kiora looked back at Arien and cried, “What did you do to me?”
“I told you to leave me alone and you didn’t listen. This is what happens when you do that. You have no one to blame but yourself.”
“I only did this because I was paid to do it though. You didn’t have to burn my arm.”
“You’re lucky that’s all I did. If you had met anyone else, they wouldn’t have been so merciful. Just be thankful you’re still alive.”
“Who’ll love me now? No one will care about me with this hideous arm.”
Arien sighed. “Take this as a life lesson girl. If a guy won’t like you for something stupid like the way you look, he’s not worth your time. If your friends are going to judge over something so stupid, I suggest you find new ones.”
“They only want me to look pretty because they care about me.”
“They couldn’t give two shits about you girl. I should know. I was in the same place you were for a while. Though, I didn’t realize for some time that there was a guy that admired me for who I was.”
Arien thought to herself, That’s not entirely true of course. Silyn and I were into each other the whole time, but maybe it’ll help this girl out.
“Just go away,” Kiora shouted, “I don’t want to see you ever again. Just go!”
“I shall. Just think about what I said. You may not realize it right now, but it’s the truth. I won’t tell my husband about this incident and if I ever see you again, it’ll be like it never happened. I’ll never bring it up to you again. If you forgive me at that time, you can show me that you do by never bringing up again too. I’m not proud of myself for hurting you.”
Kiora didn’t have another response. She simply turned her head away from Arien and got up to her feet. She wasn’t even going to think about chasing down Arien again though. Instead she simply walked away from her and down the dirt road.
I wonder who could have hired that innocent girl to kill us. We haven’t caused anyone any problems, Arien wondered.
With that, the bubble floated back into the air away from Kiora and Marie. Marie had one question for Kiora, “So, what happened to your arm after that?”
“Later that day, I ran into a woman by the name of Delilah Regine. She wasn’t yet a full-fledged member of the Council at the time, but Arien had told her about me. I didn’t find that out until recently, but she helped me. She had been working on an experiment to create a cyborg human. Since my arm was already useless, she asked if she could use me as a test subject. Naturally, I said yes.
“She knocked me out with anesthesia and amputated my arm. When I woke up three days later, I was amazed at how lovely my arm looked. It was as if it hadn’t been burnt at all. Delilah’s experiment was a success. It took me a while to fully get the hang of it, but it was nice to know that guys wouldn’t look at me with a face of disgust.”
“When did any guy ever look at you with a face of disgust though Kiora? As far as I’ve seen, every guy who’s seen you has fallen in love with your looks.”
Kiora laughed. “You’re right, but it took some time for me to understand that. Then once I started to understand, I started questioning what guys actually liked about me. Did they like the fact that I was beautiful or that I was Kiora? It became evident that they just liked my beauty. As I told guy after guy that I would not have sex with them, they all started go away one by one.”
“Truly a problem of these times; on both sides really. What about Kevin though? Didn’t he prove to you that he was different?”
“He did! He just got to me too late. I have already indulged in my sins and Kevin just isn’t enough motivation for me.”
“It turns out that my greatest sin is not with lust. It’s with gluttony. Who would have thought that after seeing how flirtatious I was? It turns out that I have become so obsessed with being a tease but not actually getting involved with anyone that I can’t have a normal relationship anymore.”
“You don’t have to give up that easily. Just come back with us and we can work to help you fight against your sin.”
“You can’t help me Marie!” Kiora shouted, “You have your own things to deal with right now, don’t you? I’m not worth your time anymore.”
“No buts,” Kiora interrupted, “Enough chatting, we were in the middle of something.”
Kiora grabbed the ribbon of her weapon with her right hand and swung it around at Marie. Marie ducked under the club. When she stood back up to her feet, she saw that Kiora was no longer in sight. Her pants, shoes and panties were lying on the ground. They were next to her mechanical arm with the club that was connected to it with the ribbons. Marie walked forward, looking around, waiting for Kiora to jump out from anywhere.
Well, Kiora jumped out, but not exactly from where Marie was expecting. Kiora, with one arm, in her bandage strapless bikini top jumped out of the water. Her lower body had turned into that of a large blue-green fin. She had become a mermaid. She floated just above the water and looked to her sister.
“Jump in Marie, the water’s fine.”
“Are you asking me to fight a mermaid in the water?”
“Yes, that’s exactly what I’m asking.”
Marie took a deep breath and thought to herself. She knew that jumping in the water was suicide, but she had decided that wasn’t important to her. She didn’t care about winning. She just wanted to prove to her sister that Kiora didn’t belong with Sinister Ambition. And so, with that though, Marie walked up to the edge of the lake and dove in.
As she swum downward, she noticed that the size of the lake was massive. It had to be about two hundred feet deep. It had coral reef growing from the walls in a few areas, but was fairly barren other than that. She treaded underneath the water and looked forward to see that Kiora was swimming at her fast. Marie at that moment realized that she didn’t remember to bring her weapon with her.
Kiora slammed into Marie’s chest, sending her flying through the water. Marie slammed into the wall of one of the sides of the lake. Luckily, the wall wasn’t hard. It was mostly just mud, so it was even fairly soft. It still hurt a bit considering how hard she was hit though. Kiora swam quickly toward Marie again. With Marie actually having more than a second to thing that time, she was able to think of a counter.
She touched the wall behind her, turning a portion of it into a hard boulder. She pulled the boulder out of the wall and threw it at Kiora quickly. Kiora dove down just as the boulder was about to hit her. With her speed, she was able to avoid it as the rock harmlessly fell to the floor of the lake. It helped that they were underwater. Otherwise the boulder would have moved much quicker.
Marie was losing her breath, and losing it quickly. She hadn’t yet even awakened her spirit form, so she had no idea if it would even be helpful. She could only fall helplessly toward the ocean floor as her life flashed before her eyes. She could feel her life slipping away and was about to let the lake take her when she heard a voice. It spoke to her, telling her to forgive herself. Marie didn’t know how she could listen to that though.
Forgive myself? she laughed in her mind, I’ve already done that. I decided that I was over that when this battle started, she then stopped laughing at herself when she realized something, If I don’t find a way out of this, how will I ever apologize to them though? Nah, that’s selfish thinking. I’m doing this to get my sister back. Will she be able to see reason if I let the waters take me though? I trust my friends, I want to make sure that this happens.
At that moment, the water stopped affecting Marie. She didn’t understand completely what happened until she felt her neck. She had grown gills on her neck. Kiora noticed what had happened and seemed to have had a smile for a second.
“You’ve learned to use an S Rank Virtue,” Kiora said to her.
“Prudent Gils, how do I know the name of this technique?”
“It’s imprinted in your souls Marie. This is proof that you have the ability to use the virtues selflessly. I guess I should stop playing around now. It’s time to show you A Rank sins; Greedy Wave!”
As Kiora shouted that out, she absorbed water into her body, causing her muscles to grow fairly large. Not quite to the extent of a bodybuilder, but still definitely large. She swam forward at Marie and attempted to punch her in the chest. Marie went to take the punch, but when the punch landed, it had no effect. The water was sent flying upward in waves all around them, so she knew she hit Marie. She was confused.
Marie’s body had taken on light cyan color. She was no longer wearing a top, but although her breasts could be seen, she had no nipples.
“The Body of Courage!”
Kiora repeatedly punched Marie in the chest, causing tumultuous waves. It wasn’t having any effect on Marie though. After about twenty punches, Marie caught Kiora’s hand in her hand which had turned into light cyan colored webbed hands. Not just her hands had turned the light cyan color though, so had her arms. Kiora’s body lost all of the muscle it gained as she returned to her previous form.
“Webbed Hands of Restraint!”
Kiora pulled away from Marie and didn’t know what to do. If she was fighting anyone else, she would be able to use her sins with no problems. She didn’t feel those sins with her sister though. There was only two more that she could manage to use, and when she figured out which ones, she used the first one; Eyes of Pride.
Marie looked into Kiora’s eyes to see that they had started glowing red. The bright light that shone out caused her to cover her eyes. In that brief moment, Kiora smacked Marie in the legs with her tail. At that moment though, Marie’s legs also turned the same light cyan color as she also grew webbed feet. Like what happened when her body changed, she no longer wore the clothes she was wearing over her legs. Her form was exposed, but still nothing was revealed.
“Webbed Feet of Justice!”
“What? How can you be using justice at a time like this?”
“I’ve accepted the fact that you have the right to hit me because neither one of us is any better than the other.”
Kiora’s eyes turned back to their original color as she no longer was able to feel better than her sister. She still couldn’t accept what was happening though. She only had one more option. If it didn’t work there was nothing she could do. Before she could use her last ability though, Marie’s head turned to a light cyan color. Her entire body had become extremely beautiful. Of course, she was already beautiful before, but her new look was a different form of beautiful.
Her entire body was a light blue cyan color from head to toe. Her hands and feet were webbed while her physical form was exposed without being revealing. Not only that though, but her hair was amazing. She had flowing light blue hair which flowed with the water. Her hair was so thin that it looked like it was blowing backwards with wind. She had finally awakened her spirit form.
“You’re a water nymph?” Kiora exclaimed.
Marie’s voice stayed the same, but in her new form it sounded like she had two voices; one of which voiced every word she did half a second later, “Wow, after all that time of trying to unlock my powers, this is a huge accomplishment. It was definitely worth the wait.”
“No! I can’t let you do this! Marie, remember who I am. I am your sister. I have always been around for you. Don’t tell me you’ve forgotten about that! I know why you’re doing this. You want to save me. You aren’t going to be able to do that. I’ve already left.”
She’s right. Marie thought to herself, Until recently, she had always been there for me. Can I really use this power on her? Is it really possible for me to save her anymore? Aren’t I just selfish to think that I could, but no one else?
Marie was sucked into her mind. She found herself standing in an area of nearly infinite darkness. The only exception was in the area she was standing the area was lit as if she stood in a spotlight. She looked before her to see a girl that looked exactly like her, at least in the face. As for the hair, while Marie had her long brown hair, this other girl had long black hair. Also, instead of wearing a light blue tank top with blue jeans, this other girl was dressed darker.
She had black painted nails and wore a black tank top with designs of splattering blood on it. Over her legs, she wore a pair of black jeans which were held down by a black belt with skull and crossbones. She also wore a pair of silver buckled boots which ran up to her knees. When Marie saw her, she asked, “Who are you?”
“I’m you Marie,” the Dark Marie answered, “Who did you think I was?”
Light Marie sighed. “I guess somewhere in my mind, I knew you were me.”
“Yes, I am the you that you abandoned before you moved to Hel. Remember what it was like back then? It was just you and me. Don’t you remember what happened with Amber and that boy you liked?”
“Yeah, whatever, that doesn’t matter. They proved to you long ago that you can’t trust anyone. You’ve gone soft on me though. You’re letting people into our heart and you’re only going to get hurt again. Your sister is no different. You can’t save her now. She’s already shown you evidence that she’s not who she used to be.”
“Is that any reason to give up on her?”
“It’s no reason for you to be willing to risk your life for them! The fact that I’m still here just proves that you are questioning yourself. You’re a mess girl, don’t you realize that?”
“So what if I’m a mess? At least I care about someone other than me.”
“You’re refutations are laughable. They lack any sense of reason or logic. You’re just babbling out random words that you don’t fully mean. You’re admitting you’re a mess, but then you’re blatantly changing the subject to a personal attack on me.”
“Well, what else am I supposed to do? It’s not like I really have any other choice. I just want my sister to be saved.”
“Yes, of course you do, but look at you right now. Are you really in the condition to do that? You thought you had forgiven yourself, but I’m still here. You haven’t forgiven yourself. All you’ve done is fool yourself. You think that you’ve accomplished this feet of turning into a nymph, but where are your stripes? You may have awakened five of the seven true virtues, but there’s still two that you can’t grasp.”
“I don’t know what to do,” Light Marie cried, “I just don’t know.”
“You can start by admitting that I am right like you know I am. I know who we are better than you. Your idiotic values are going to get you killed. You tried to accomplish the task of obtaining the virtues, which no one has ever done before. You do understand why they haven’t right? Because we are human, and as humans we cannot be devoid of sin, just like humans cannot be devoid of virtue.
“Even some of the most ruthless figures in history have done what they did because they actually cared about their people. Perhaps they had every sin in the book, but they couldn’t be truly sinful because they weren’t completely selfless. This is what your sister has been trying to tell you Marie. You can’t just do that. Just admit to her that she’s right and admit to me that I’m right. The challenge here isn’t to beat Kiora, it’s to prove you are virtuous or join Sinister Ambition. It’s time that you make that choice.”
Light Marie sighed. “Maybe you’re right. Maybe in the end everything I’ve tried to do is all for nothing. Maybe I’m just not cut out to be who I want to be. It would be so much easier to join Sinister Ambition and give up on the quest of becoming virtuous. Perhaps Abraham was right. Maybe humans should have never been created.”
“Yes, it’s nice to hear that you’re finally listening to reason.”
“Psych,” Light Marie stuck her tongue out, “There’s no way I would ever join Sinister Ambition. His ideas are completely against mine. I have grown to understand him more, but I can’t agree with what he does. If I were to join him, it would be against every fiber of my being. You know who we are better than I do, so you should understand that.”
“Marie, don’t do it! You could lose your life if you continue down the road your on now. Don’t you realize that?”
“I do, but that’s fine. I know what I have to do now. There’s only one thing I can do. I’m sorry, but I’m going my own way.”
“Fine, do you what you want! If we die though, it’s on you. I won’t let you come blaming me. Just go risk both of our lives.”
Light Marie gave Dark Marie a smile. “Thanks for the talk.”
Dark Marie sighed as Light Marie disappeared. Dark Marie punched the ground.
Marie found herself back in her water nymph form as she gained another distinct feature to her form. She had gained black stripe son various areas of her body. She had one on each cheek, which would have formed a heart if they touched. She also had a stripe which curved down from her shoulders to her waist and then curved back up to her belly button. She had a stripe on either arm, which curved around her arm at the top but then slalomed back and forth on the bottom of her arm. Finally, she had two stripes on each leg which curved around and down her entire leg.
“Sorry about that,” Marie said, “But, I had something to take care of. Bear witness now to the Face of Love and the Stripes of Hope!”
Kiora smiled as she swum backwards away from Marie before stopping in the water and commenting, “Shannon was right.”
“What do you mean by that?”
“Marie, I am so glad that I have the honor of being your big sister. Not many people could say that their little sister has the power to become a true nymph.”
“Wait! Explain what you were saying about Shannon.”
Kiora laughed. “This was part of her plan. I was unsure it would work, but you’ve proven me wrong and I am grateful for that. I thought you wouldn’t be able to defend against my last sin the Persuasion of Gluttony, but you did it.”
“Shannon had a plan?”
“Dude, Shannon is screwing with Abraham’s mind bad. He thinks he’s so safe in his little throne, but he has no idea what’s going on. Thanks to her, Troy was able to find the one artifact you need to have a chance against Abraham. And now, thanks to her, you have begun to understand your role in this game.”
“I have a role?”
“It’s a role that only you can play. The only reason I joined Shannon is because of her plan. For these past five years, I’ve hoped for this moment to happen. I had such a hard time leaving all you; especially you and Kevin. When Shannon told me what I could do to help though, I realized that I could finally contribute. You weren’t having much luck gaining your powers of virtue by conventional means.
“Shannon had a theory. If it was me, you could do it. She knows how close we are. My task has been to join Sinister Ambition and treat all of you like shit these past five years. Only then could you realize that you are truly capable of becoming the first person to use all seven true virtues simultaneously. You knew I was a good person at heart, and that gave you the hope you needed to earn your stripes.”
“What if it hadn’t worked though?”
“I would have killed myself knowing that I could no longer live in a world like this.”
“Wow, that’s a lot of pressure you put on me!”
“What else could I do sis? Trust me, you learning this is just as essential to winning this game as Troy’s Cursebreaker’s Quill.”
“I trust you.”
Kiora gave her a smile and then they swum up and out of the lake. They landed on the shore of the lake and returned to their human forms, clothed as they were before they jumped into the lake.
Marie looked to her sister and asked, “So, what do we now?”
Kiora leaned to Marie and whisper in Marie’s ear. After a few seconds, Marie had a smile on her face. Kiora then shouted out, “Abraham! I forfeit!”
“Let’s do this!”
On the sixth level of Hell, Abraham sat in the throne of Lucifer having heard the announcement. After hearing Kiora’s forfeit, he pressed a button on the right arm of his throne. A flat screen television emerged from the ground before him and floated there. He took a look at the screen to see that Kiora and Marie were walking through the Pollutant Plains laughing.
He grew an angry look on his face. He calmed himself down for a moment though before pressing a button on the left arm of his throne. An intercom sounded throughout Hell, as he announced the new, “Kiora Pollish has been eliminated from the game.”
Abraham took his hand off the button and then pressed another button on the left arm of his throne.
In a circular room of beauty, there maroon walls with wide yellow curving lines and flower designs on them. There was various paintings on the wall, including the Mona Lisa by Leonardo Da Vinci and the Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli. In the fairly small room, there was also a red velvet couch and rug, which had more yellow designs on it.
There was also a small table with a vase of roses on it. On either side of the room, there were windows which were covered by red curtains, one of which was next to a staircase that spiraled downward out of the room. At the other curtain, Connelly pushed away the curtains as he looked out the window while drinking a glass of red wine. At that moment, he heard Abraham’s voice over the intercom.
“Connelly, I need you to find a way to get Kiora alone so you can kill her for me.”
“Sorry Abraham, I don’t think I can do that right now.”
“What? Why can’t you?”
“Because I’m being stared down by an enemy right now.”
Re: Fiery Divergence (25% Complete) [Book 5]
World of Games
Through the air in the Pollutant Plains, ashes flew through the sky; the ashes of Johnny MacIntosh. That wasn’t the only thing flying around though. There was some kind of green liquid mixing together with Johnny’s ashes. A bottle rolled across the ground beneath the ashes, keeping up. As the ashes merged with the liquid, body parts began to reform. It started off with a simple arm.
Within a few minutes though, the body had completely reformed. Johnny was brought back to life somehow. He no longer had numbers on his wrists, which meant he could no longer participate. As he landed on the ground, he looked around with a grin on his face, “Don’t assume that a person is dead just because you see them die. Very nicely done Edward.”
High in the air, Johnny could see a floating platform of rock moving through the air. When he looked he tilted his head, “What in the world is that?”
In another area of the Pollutant Plains, Roman and Strangel stood in the midst of a canyon. Roman had used his controller to make a metal roof close over the canyon. Strangel looked toward Roman as it closed and spoke, “Big mistake Roman. You’ve trapped yourself inside a cage with a bear.”
Roman smirked. “Do you really think so? Sora let me let you in a little secret. I know everything about your powers. I was filled in on what you could do by Bigan. You may have gained a few new powers over the past five years, but I expected that. You have no idea what I’m capable of.”
“Then let’s see which one of has prepared himself more. I’ll put your capabilities to the test right here and now.”
Strangel rushed forward at Roman with two swords held high. He went to slash his swords at Roman, but the canyon beside Roman, along with the ground itself seemed to move. The rock cliff of the canyon appeared between Roman and Strangel as Strangel simply hit the cliff with his swords. As he slashed the cliff though, several rocks broke off of it and flew backwards at where Roman was.
As they flew back though, the rocks, the canyon and the ground moved again. They moved back to their original position, as the rocks simply flew well off to the side, away from Roman. Roman stood on the ground of the canyon, motionless for a few moments. He then dropped a golf ball toward the ground. The entire area moved again, toward Strangel that time. The golf ball flew at Strangel at high speeds.
Strangel didn’t have enough time to defend himself. The golf ball struck him in the chest and sent him flying backwards. Once more, the area moved toward Strangel. The cliff that was behind Strangel moved toward him as he flew toward it. Before Strangel could hit the cliff though, he found the cliff moving away. He was still flying through the air and actually getting close to the ground, just the cliff was moving away.
On the ground, Roman ran toward him with a golf club in his hands. When he reached a distance close to Strangel, he jumped in in the air. He pulled his golf club back to swing. At that moment though, Strangel swung two of his swords at Roman. The cliff stopped moving away however, as Strangel slammed into the cliff. Strangel dropped his swords, and seconds afterwards, he was hit in the chest with a golf club.
The golf club hit Strangel hard in the chest, and made a huge hole in the cliff. The hole revealed what was outside. Roman and Strangel were floating high above the Pollutant Plains inside the canyon as rocks fell toward the ground. Strangel fell to the ground beside the wall of the cliff as Roman landed in front of him. Roman looked down with his golf club pointed at Strangel, “Give it up Sora. My powers are too much for you.”
“What the hell did you do over the past five years? These powers are uncanny. You are cutting out the entire canyon and making it fly through the air. This level of Earth magic is like none I’ve ever seen.”
“What makes you think that I’m using Earth magic? It seems that you don’t understand my powers yet.”
“How else can you explain your powers aside from calling it ultimate level Earth magic? There’s no other power that would allow you to do this.”
“Let’s just continue this for now. When you find out the actual reason why my powers are possible, you will realize just how screwed you really are.”
Strangel pulled two guns out of his jacket with a quick draw and shot them at Roman. Again, the battlefield moved, away from Roman, and the bullets flew away into the distance. Roman smacked Strangel in the face with his golf club, which caused Strangel’s hat to fly off and his bandana to unfasten. The bandana fell onto his chest, as Roman could see his face.
Strangel was definitely Sora, as Roman could see his facial features. His face had been beaten up pretty bad though. His left ear was gone and the right side of his face had scars all up and down it. His left eye was lower than his right eye, as it seemed to almost be melting into his face. His hair was also strange, as it was short, but patchy, as if there were areas where hair would no longer grow. The hit from the club caused Sora to cough up blood.
Roman was surprised by Sora’s look. So much that he left a brief opening. Sora had been hit so hard that he didn’t get a chance to take advantage of it though. Roman swung his golf club at Sora’s face, but Sora grabbed the golf club before it could hit him. Roman let go of the club as Sora kicked at his chest. The area moved again as the canyon slammed into Sora’s back. Sora lost his grip on the club as it flew back and smacked him in the face.
Roman had barely managed to get away from the attack, but he was still feeling good about his chances. That would all change though in a matter of seconds as two bullets struck him in the back and made him fall to his knees. The floating rock fell to the ground of the Pollutant Plains, making the area crack, but not break as tremors went all throughout the level.
Sora grinned. “Sure, you can use these powers to do some crazy things, but you still have to know what to defend yourself from. You can’t simply just block bullets coming in at you from your backside, and I took advantage of that. Have you already forgotten that my bullets are made out of rubber? It was a long shot, but I figured that I had a chance to hit you by just shooting bullets somewhere.”
”Not bad,” Roman complimented as he stumbled up to his feet and his eyes widened, “No, this can’t happen.”
Sora kicked Roman in the chest and Roman fell backward onto the ground. “What’s wrong Roman? Did you run out of power?”
“I can’t use that power anymore because I don’t have enough energy to separate the slab of rock from the rest of the ground. I didn’t think that the one real weakness of this power would be exposed.”
“I know your power Roman. You have the ability to move the world around you.”
“Well scouted. Though, the technical term for my powers is Dark Matter Manipulation. When Morpheous and I travelled together, we find these small black balls. Morpheous wasn’t interested in them, so I took them for myself. What I discovered about the black balls was that they were sources for which to use dark matter to your advantage. I had been training with these powers since then, but I’m still not strong enough to use it for extended periods of time.”
“Still, the fact that you were able to use it as long as you did was pretty impressive. Unfortunately, you’ve bitten off more than you can chew.”
Sora picked his swords up off the ground and swung them down at Roman who had been lying on the ground. Roman flipped his body backward and jumped up to his feet. Sora pulled out two more swords and placed them in two arms which grew from his body. Roman flipped around to avoid the attacks as he stuck his hand inside of his pocket. After a few more swings from the sword, the scene paused. Sora held his swords up in a way that showed he was swinging at Roman while Roman floated parallel to the ground with a controller in his hands.
“That was close,” Roman said, “A few more seconds, and you might have gotten me.”
“How many items do you have that allow you stall being hit?”
“I don’t know what you mean by stall. This is my game controller. It is my prize possession. It saved me from losing my mind when I was a child. Well, not this specific controller, but a controller saved my life nonetheless. When you grow up in a household like mine, you need something to allow you to escape from reality sometimes.”
“So, are you just planning to keep us paused here for the rest of the game?”
“No, that would be insane. Games aren’t meant to be paused that long. The scene would overheat and we would spontaneously combust. Why do you think games shut down after you keep them on too long?”
“So, what are you planning to prove with this stall tactic then?”
“I just wanted some time to have a conversation with you Sora. It’s been so long since we really got to hang out. Now that we are getting to hang out, you’ve been really jumpy and like ‘Rah rah, you die now’. It’s really not a nice way to treat your friends Sora.”
“What friends? My so-called friends all forgot about me after they started trying to save you. I even stood behind Phillip when I told him to save you. He forgot all about me though. You all did.”
Roman shouted. “And you think the people of Sinister Ambition are better friends?”
“No, but at least they aren’t leading me on. They don’t look at me as being all powerful or anything. They placed on the first level for crying out loud. They don’t believe in me, but they don’t lie and say that they do. They just give me the medication I need to stay a zombie and give me a chance to prove myself. That’s much more than I can say for Phillip and the rest of you. What about you? You hated them for a long time, why did you suddenly join them?”
“You should understand why I did. You were there to hear what was going on at the time. Obviously I joined up with them because they proved that they understood me. I was pleasantly surprised. After all the shit I did to Phil, there was no reason for him to care that much.”
Sora sighed. “Well, at least one of us here gets the recognition. You guys probably don’t even speak about me when you are hanging out anymore. I doubt you even think about the unneeded Sora Whitmayer.”
“You’re obsessed with the idea that you unnecessary. That is why you are on level one.”
“Right, as if you aren’t on this level for a special reason.”
“I don’t have time to listen to you anymore Sora. It’s obvious that you’ve lost all ability to listen to reason. It’s such a damn shame too because you used to actually be a kind of cool guy. I’m tired of talking to you. You’re just bringing me down.”
Roman pressed buttons on his controller as the area around them changed. It started off with Roman being pushed far away from Sora. Next, bleachers arose from the ground all around them, forming a stadium filled with crowds of people. The ground itself in the stadium would then change, as Sora found himself inside some kind of black net cage on a large platform of stone. The platform was surrounded by shark infested waters.
At the end of the platform, was a tunnel made of black nets, which ran over the water to another stone platform. Beyond that platform, there were four more stone platforms, none of which were connected to the others. The shark infested waters surrounded each platform. The bleachers had a high wall so that none of the sharks could jump up into the crowd. At the other side of the arena sat Roman.
There were a set of blue stairs which went up to about two hundred feet in the air. Roman sat at the top in a large red chair with gold outlines, arms and legs. Around him, he had four guards in knight outfits. Roman held a scepter in his right hand and his attire had changed to make him look like a king. He wore a fancy red suit underneath his large red cloak with white fur around the edges. The cloak covered the front of his body, including his golden shoes.
The crowd cheered loud as Roman stood up to his feet. Roman motioned his hands down to tell the crowd to quiet down as he made an announcement, “Welcome one and all to an exciting event here today. Welcome today’s challenger, Sora Whitmayer. Sora here will be taking on the Grand Challenge for the World Obstacle Championship. If he managed to make it through all the obstacles on the way to me, he will have the chance to challenge me for the championship.”
The crowd cheered louder before Roman continued his announcement, “Sora Whitmayer is an extremely skilled mage, so we should have fun here today. The first challenge of the day will be Ultimate Netball. With our five best players as challengers, Sora will try to score the most points, by being the person to put the most balls through the holes in the arena. And if he loses, he’ll be…”
“Eaten by sharks,” the crowd cheered.
“Alright then, with that we are ready to begin the Ultimate Obstacle Challenge. Begin the match.”
A buzzer sounded as five men fell from the top of the black net and landed on the stone platform around Sora. Each of them was either large and muscular or small and fast. Seconds after they landed, several dodge balls fell to the ground as Sora noticed certain holes in the black net grow larger. They started off quickly as each of the six participants grabbed a dodge ball and threw them at a hole.
The five men all made it through a hole, but Sora didn’t. When he threw the ball at the hole, the hole closed up. It then bounced the ball back at him, smacking him in the face. Sora fell to the ground, while the five men continued throwing the balls through the holes, making basket after basket. Three of them already had four points while the other two had three each when Sora got back up to his feet.
Sora jumped back up to his feet and grabbed a ball. He threw it at another hole, but the hole closed again. Sora was able to get out of the way before it could hit him in the face that time however. The other five men weren’t slowing down though. Sora hadn’t even made a single point by the time they had reached twenty because the holes kept closing up. That’s when he realized what was going on. The five men were controlling the holes.
There were only eleven balls left, so he knew he didn’t have a chance to win, but he was going to do what he could and hope that he could escape the sharks. As the five men threw the balls, Sora disappeared from sight. In a flash, he reappeared five times before the balls the five guys threw and kicked them. The balls flew back at the five guys, hitting them each in the face.
The guys were knocked out and Sora threw one of the balls through a hole to finally get a point. At that moment, Roman made another announcement, “Thirty seconds left. Every goal counts for two points now.”
Sora had a chance. He just needed to get all ten remaining balls through holes within thirty seconds. He grabbed the nearest ball and threw it through another hole. He continued that until he realized a problem. The final five balls were too far away and he only had ten seconds remaining. He had one choice. Sora extended his shadow and split it into four. The shadows cut away from him as they rushed toward a ball.
Sora rushed for the other ball. Within five seconds the shadows had grabbed their balls and pulled back their arms to throw them. As they threw them, Sora tripped before reaching the final ball. The shadows each made their goals. Sora just needed to make the final one, but he only had three seconds. That’s when he saw his chance. Sora jabbed his palm forward at the ball and shot a stream of sand at the ball. The ball flew forward and went through the tunnel to the next platform. Since the tunnel had a hole, it counted and Sora got his points, barely winning with twenty-one points.
Sora jumped to his feet and rushed through the tunnel to the next platform where he was given ten seconds to breathe. While he took that time, Roman announced the next challenge, “This next challenge is a game called Destructor. Roman will be pitted against three other men in a game that requires him to destroy more buildings than his opponents. Skyscrapers are worth 200 points. Large Buildings are worth 100 points. Inns, Hotels and other small buildings are worth 50 points. Any other building is worth 10 points. However, there is a surprise in one of these buildings. Good luck!”
From the top of the arena, three more men fell down. One of them fell directly in front of Sora across the platform while the other two fell down to the right and left, at an equal distance from Sora and the first guy. They formed a diamond shape from above. From there, buildings emerged from the ground all around as the participants found themselves standing in streets. The skyscrapers were about two feet taller than the participants. The larger buildings were about their size.
The buzzer sounded and Sora quickly destroyed a larger building. The four players rampaged through the streets, taking out building after building. Sora went as fast as he could, and was managing to stay on track with the others. As the game came down to its final ten buildings, Sora had 2430 points. That was second to a guy with 2610 points, but more than the other two who had 2190 and 1930 points.
Suddenly, the guys with 2610 points and 2190 points were skewered by rising buildings with steeples. Within a couple more seconds, the dude with 1930 points knocked out three skyscrapers, jumping him out in front of Sora with 2530 points. Sora crushed a large building to tie up the score as it came down to six buildings. Two of them were large, one was a skyscraper and the rest were small buildings.
Sora destroyed the two large buildings quickly while the other guy destroyed a skyscraper and got the secret prize. With a 2730-2730 tie and three buildings remaining, the guy found a giant hammer in the skyscraper. With the three small buildings out of reach, the hammer should have decided who won the contest. The guy swung the hammer down, but Sora slid across the ground and blocked the hammer with two of his swords.
He pushed the hammer back as the guy tried to find a way to break through. Sora got up to his feet and gave the guy a smirk as he crushed the three buildings beneath his feet simultaneously to get the win. He then pulled back his two swords and swung them forward, cutting his challenged in half. A metal bridge extended from the platform to the next platform and Sora rushed across.
The crowd cheered as Roman stepped up to explain the third challenge, “This challenge will give Sora’s body a rest, but it will test his brain. If Sora wants to find the end of the labyrinth, he will need to figure out the answers to the riddles. At each intersection, there will be at least one truth teller and one liar. Sora will have to find a way to get past them and figure out which path is right. He will receive hints and is able to ask questions. The problem is he cannot ask the same question more than once. He has three strikes, and if he loses those he will be…”
“Eaten by sharks,” the crowd cheered again.
Sora was getting annoyed by the happiness in the crowd’s voice when they talked about him getting eaten by sharks, but he continued on. The rock labyrinth rose from the ground as Roman saw that there was only one entrance. As soon as he entered, he met with his first challenge. He would either go right or left. The guy on his right side was wearing a plain yellow shirt while the guy on his left side was wearing a plain red shirt.
The guys were about to speak, but Sora stopped them to ask the guy on his right, “What is the color of your shirt?”
Sora turned to his left, passing the guy on that side and continued down into the labyrinth. After a few turns, he came up to another fork on the path. Both of the guys at that section were wearing all blue. Down the left path, Sora could see that there was another fork in the path in his sight. Down the right path, Sora could see nothing out of the ordinary. He gave the two a chance to speak.
“The one with the right path is the one with the right path,” the one on his right said.
“The one with the wrong path is the one with the right path,” the one on his left said.
“You, on the right,” Roman spoke, “What do you mean when you say ‘right’?”
“Both of my rights mean the same thing. They mean that my path goes to the right.”
“Thank you. You, on the left, is he telling the truth?”
“I don’t know.”
“You’re the liar. You know whether or not he is telling the truth. You just can’t give an answer because either one would give away that the guy on the right is telling the truth. If you said yes, you would both have to be liars or truth tellers. The same would be true if you both said no.”
Sora turned to the right and walked down that path, avoiding the path with seeable fork. Sora continued on with his questioning of the truth tellers and liars as he used his wit to help him get through the labyrinth. Finally, he came up to an area where he had six paths to choose from, and six people to speak to. Each of them was wearing what looked like CIA uniforms.
Guy 1 spoke, “There are an even number of truth tellers and liars.”
Guy 2 continued, “I am not a liar.”
Guy 3 went next, “I am the same as Guy 2.”
Guy 4 added on, “My jacket is black.”
Guy 5 said to him, “My path is the correct path.”
Guy 6 concluded, “Guy 5 is a liar.”
Sora stood there and thought for a few seconds to see if he could come up with something reasonable. Guy 4 was definitely a truth teller, because he was wearing a black jacket. He only had one strike remaining though, so he needed to get this final riddle right. As he thought about each of their answers, he tried to decide if he could determine anyone as telling the truth or telling a lie.
He finally came out to his conclusion of who was telling the truth and who wasn’t, “First off, guy 4 is telling the truth. Next, either guy 5 or guy 6 is a liar. The other is telling the truth. If guy 2 is a liar, then guy 3 is a liar. If guy 2 is a truth teller, then so is guy 3. So, my question is for guy 4. Is guy 1 telling the truth?”
“Then there are not an even number of truth tellers and liars. Which means that guy 1 is eliminated. Guy 4 is still the only truth teller though, so I will ask him another question. Is your path the correct path?”
“Your path is eliminated, but I still have to eliminate some others. Guy 4, in regards to being a truth teller or a liar are you the same as Guy 2?”
“That means that there are only two truth tellers and four liars. Now, to figure out who is the second truth teller. Guy 4, who is telling the truth, guy 5 or guy 6?”
“So, guy 4’s path and guy 5’s path are eliminated. Guy 6, as you are a truth teller, is your path the correct path?”
“You have already asked that question, try another one.”
“Alright, is your path a wrong path?”
“Yes, it is.”
“That means that the correct path belongs to guy 1, 2 or 3. Guy 6 again, what is the name of the guy who has the correct path?”
Sora gave a grin, he knew how to find his answer. He walked over to guy 2 and asked him, “Is your name Joseph?”
“Yes, my name is Joseph.”
“The correct path belongs to either guy 1 or guy 3. Now, guy 4, what is the name of the guy that I stole this pen from?”
“Since I stole this pen from guy 3 that means that guy 3’s name is Michael. The correct path belongs to guy 1, Joseph.”
Sora went down path 1 to find a rock bridge which led him from the third stone platform to the fourth stone platform. When he reached the fourth platform, Roman shouted out, “Unbelievable! Our challenger Sora Whitmayer has made it to the fourth challenge after outwitting the Maze of Truth and Lies. Our fourth challenge is a favorite of our fans. It is called Center Point. The object of this game is to reach the center tile.
“Our four players will step on a corner tile and have two other tiles right next him to choose from. The tiles have arrows on them. The contestants will be telling their tiles which way to go by stepping on the arrows. The tiles will then slide across the grid until they hit a wall or another tile. This is a game used in some form in things like the Legend of Zelda and Phi Brain: Puzzle of God. Remember, the contestant who lands on the center tile wins.”
A grid of red lines appeared on the ground as Sora stepped up on a corner tile. A buzzer sounded telling him to go first. He stepped on the tile to his left and slid across the grid into a tile next to one of his contestants. The game would go on and on as the four players would pull off some nice moves. A game like the tile slider game required a person to not only be aware of how to reach the center, but also how to block his opponents.
In the end, Sora managed to find a way to the center after a tough battle. After landing on the center, a bridge of tiles led from the fourth platform to the fifth platform. He stepped on a tile to his left and pressed the button to send him to the edge of the grid. He stepped off the grid and ran across the bridge of tiles as he reached the fifth platform and waited for the next challenge.
“Our challenger has made it to the final two platforms,” Roman announced, “Things are getting interesting in here. The fifth challenge of the game is for a game that we call Slingshot Madness. In this game, our challenger will be facing ten others in a game where they have to knock out as many targets with our giant slingshots as fast as they can. The closer they get to the center of the target, the more points they get.”
Nine men emerged from the ground next to Sora, four to his left and five to his right. In front of them, twenty wooden posts emerged with ten slings connecting to two each to make slingshots. Large buckets arose next to the slingshots with small boulders in them. Targets would then rise from the ground around the platform as a buzzer sounded. The contestants each ran up to their slingshots.
Sora grabbed a boulder and shot it at a target. His boulder was smashed into by four boulders from either side however. Eight of the guys had decided that they would block Sora from being able to reach the targets while letting guy one take the contest. Sora tried to shoot a second time, but was again blocked the eight guys. There was no way he could win without using his powers, which he was trying to avoid using too much.
Sora made nine shadows emerge from the ground, behind each of the nine guys. For the eight that were shooting at him, he had his shadows snap their necks. With the guy who had taken a 600 point lead, he had his shadow hold him in a full nelson. Sora quickly began placing boulder after boulder in his slingshot, shooting them at the targets. He managed to his five straight targets with a bulls-eye for 500 points, but only managed to get ninety points for his sixth.
At that moment, the other guy broke free of the Sora’s shadow and kicked the shadow into the shark infested waters Sora grabbed a boulder and shot it at another target, but his boulder was knocked into the water by the boulder of the other guy. Sora was tired of dealing with him and he knew his shadow tricks wouldn’t work again. With only thirty seconds, he had to try something drastic.
He ran toward the guy and pulled out a pair of guns. He shot the guns at the guy who was managing to avoid the shots. Once he reached about ten feet from the guy, he dropped his guns to the ground and jumped at the guy. They rolled around on the ground, before Sora kicked him off and into the shark infested waters. He looked up at the clock to see there were only twelve seconds left.
Sora rushed across the platform back to his slingshot. He only had three seconds to shoot and hit a target, so he didn’t have time to aim. He had to shoot and hope and he lucked out. The boulder hit near the edge of one of the targets for twenty points, giving him a ten point victory. He ran to the end of the fifth platform and across a red sling to the final platform for the final game.
“We have made it to the final challenge here today,” Roman said to the fans, “And if our challenger wins this challenge, he will have a chance to earn the World Obstacle Championship. If not, he will be…”
“Eaten by sharks,” the crowd cheered.
“For the final challenge, we have a new game called Tramp-o-Roulette. In this game of trampolines, trap doors and dodge balls, our contestants will have to avoid falling into the spikes under the trap doors under the trampolines. While they are moving from trampoline to trampoline though, they will be shot at by dodge balls. If they fail to land on a trampoline, they will smack into the stone platform and be eliminated.”
A black net arose from the sides of the platform with small cannons between the holes in various spots. Trampolines then emerged from the ground trap doors slightly larger than the size of the trampolines appeared beneath them. Nineteen other men emerged from the ground around the trampolines as they circled the entire platform. In total, there were around twenty-five trampolines.
Each contestant stepped onto the trampoline nearest to them and waited. Moments later, a buzzer rang and they were off. Sora started by jumping toward the middle trampolines to get him more options of trampolines to jump to. The other guys all had the same idea however as one guy jumped on Sora’s trampoline and bounced him high into the air. Sora fell toward the ground as dodge balls began to shoot out from the cannons.
Sora used his feet to kick the dodge balls toward the other players, managing to hit three of them. The three that were hit fell off their trampolines and out of the game. Sora was falling toward a trampoline when his eyes widened. The one he was aimed to land on had a countdown clock showing that the door was about to open. He had no chance to land on the trampoline before it fell, but no way to escape to another trampoline.
Sora came up with an idea though. He took a deep breath and fell into the trap door. He jumped off the trampoline just before it hit the spikes and hopped back up onto a nearby trampoline from beneath the trap door. The trap door would close just behind him, which made him feel very lucky. Another dodge ball shot out of a cannon as he slowed his momentum and stood on the trampoline.
The dodge ball came right after him, so he jumped over it and the dodge ball went to smack into a guy that was standing behind him. The guy flew backwards and into another guy as they both flew backwards into the net and fell to the ground. Sora took a moment to breathe as he hadn’t really gotten many chances to since the tile slider game. He needed those couple seconds.
The match would continue on as more and more guys were knocked off the trampolines and onto the platform and others would fall down trap doors. One guy even tried to do what Roman had done earlier by jumping on a trampoline as it fell into a trap door. It didn’t work for him though, as the trap door closed around him at the chest, cutting his body in half. It was a pretty intense match.
When it came down to the last three people, Sora found himself in a corner where only two trampolines remained, with another contestant. Dodge balls shot at them as the guy jumped at Sora, attempting to kick him. The countdown had appeared under his trampoline at the same time. Sora had one chance. He rolled under the guy and managed to avoid the dodge balls. He then hopped onto the other trampoline.
The guy landed on the trampoline that was about to fall at the last minute as Sora stared at the guy with a grin. The guy jumped at Sora just before the trap door opened. He landed on the rail of the trampoline though and slipped backward into the trap door and down into the spikes. That left only Sora and one other guy. The other guy was in a corner on the other side of the platform.
That guy had not moved the entire time, and any dodge ball that aimed at him was sent off target as if he had a force field around himself. Sora simply stood on his trampoline and shouted out, “Looks like this will come down to whose trampoline falls and whose doesn’t.”
The crowd cheered in suspense as the other guy closed his eyes and smirked. Dodge balls shot out of the cannons as Sora avoided while the other guy just had the dodge balls go off target when getting close to him. Sora then saw the one thing he didn’t want to see. The countdown appeared beneath his trampoline. As it did, Roman shouted out, “Our challenger is about to fall. He will fail right at the end.”
Sora saw the countdown getting lower and with five seconds decided what he wanted to do. He started jumping as high as he could while avoiding dodge balls. Five seconds later, the trampoline dropped. Just as it passed under the trap door, Sora took a big leap forward from the back end of the trampoline and flew toward the other guy. As he flew through the air, dodge balls shot at him.
Sora watched the incoming dodge balls closely as they would come in from all sides. Whenever he noticed a dodge ball, he would create a shadow figure to block the attack. The shadow figure would disappear after being hit, but they would also send the dodge balls off target. When he finally reached the other guy, he attempted to kick him. Sora was sent flying off to the left though from some unseen force.
Sora would have slammed into the net and fell to the ground if not for his shadow powers. He created a shadow figure which grabbed his arms and threw him high into the air toward the black net high above the platform. Sora grabbed onto the net and held on for his life as he saw the countdown appear below the final trampoline. He grew a smile on his face and breathed a sigh of relief.
At the last second though, the final guy shot himself forward as if he had spring feet. The trampoline had already started falling, so it fell into the trap door. That just gave the guy an extra boost as he flew toward Sora at a very high speed. Sora couldn’t defend himself where he was at. The guy struck him in the chest, causing Sora to lose consciousness and fall toward the ground.
The guy closed his eyes as he held onto the net and shut down his force field. At that second, Sora disappeared and reappeared behind the guy. Sora created a sand drill around his arm and slammed it threw the guy’s back, skewering his body in half. Blood splattered across the area the guy fell down toward the shark infested waters below. Sora grabbed onto the net with his free hand.
The other guy was dead, but when his body fell in the water, he was eaten by sharks, which made the crowd to cheer. Sora dropped from the net and fell toward the ground where he was caught by another shadow figure. The shadow figure placed him on his feet as the crowd cheered for Sora. Roman wasn’t pleased however as he got a look of frustration on his face.
Sora looked up at Roman as a blue bridge formed to reach the staircase. Sora ran toward the bridge and up the staircase. As he approached, Roman pointed his finger forward and shouted, “Knights! Take him out!”
Re: Fiery Divergence (27.5% Complete) [Book 5]
Walking across the Pollutant Plains, Marie and Kiora passed by Perception Town. Kiora had gotten her arm reconnected to her body after her battle with Marie. Marie looked to Kiora and asked her, “So, what was it like spending the past five years with Sinister Ambition?”
“It was actually not so bad. Aside from Delilah and Connelly, they aren’t such horrible people. In fact, some of them, like Malakai, I could actually get along with most of the time. I still don’t agree with what they stand for of course. But, I can kind of understand where they’re coming from at least.”
“I don’t really have much experience with the members of Sinister Ambition. From the ones I have met, I can believe that they aren’t so bad though. Darla obviously was never really bad. She even decided to stay with us. Then, with Shannon, I think it’s also become apparent that she really has her own agenda to stop the world from turning to chaos.”
“There’s similar things going on with a few of the. For the most part, the members of Sinister Ambition have just been promised riches or fame. It could have easily happened to a couple of Phillip’s friends too.”
As they walked through the Pollutant Plains, they ran into Johnny. When Johnny saw them, he walked up to them and spoke, “So, I see you were successful in getting Kiora to come back.”
“Yep,” Marie replied, “It turns out she was never on Sinister Ambition’s side really. She was just helping out a friend. So, where is everyone else at?”
“They’ve already gone onto the second level. I stayed here for a battle. When you say Kiora was just helping out a friend, what do you mean?”
“I don’t quite see why that matters,” Kiora answered, “All that really matters is that I was helping out a friend. If our friends are already on level two, then standing around talking seems like the last thing we should be doing.”
“Alright, then you and Marie can go ahead. I’m going to just stay behind and check up on the others who are still up here.”
Marie and Kiora said their goodbyes to Johnny and continued across the Pollutant Plains. They would walk for about ten more minutes before finding the exit that would lead them to the Treasury Mines. Johnny watched them as they walked away, and then walked in the opposite direction, toward where the rock fell from the air.
Back in the Treasury Mines, Alatar and Eric walked through caves, trying to figure out which way to go. They came across several forks in the path, and would typically choose any path that seemed to go down. That worked out for them pretty well, as they were getting closer and closer to the third level. As they walked, Eric sighed, “How much further do we have to go?”
“My guess would be anywhere between not much further at all to a hell of a long way to go,” Alatar answered.
“Yeah, thanks for pointing out the obvious. I kind of gathered that much on my own.”
“Well, you did ask.”
“Yeah yeah. You could have saved some breath by just saying that you didn’t know at all.”
“You’ve gotten a bit mouthy since we got down here Eric. Are you feeling tense? You could maybe take a little rest if you want.”
“No, everything’s fine. I don’t need a rest. I’d much rather just continue looking for the exit so I can get out of this confusing place. If I stay here too much longer, I think my head is going to explode.”
“Very well then, I can’t allow that to happen. Just continue you to follow me. If we just keep going, we’re bound to find a way out of here sooner or later.”
“I hope you’re right about that. This place seems pretty damn big to me. Let’s just hope it’s sooner rather than later, and more importantly that we are able to find our way out of here at all.”
Elsewhere on in the Treasury Mines, Troy and Keon floated on platforms on a lake of lava flowing under a low lying rock roof with stalactites poking down. Troy looked forward toward his brother and exclaimed, “Keon!”
“Hello Troy, it’s been a while hasn’t it? What has it been exactly now, five years? You look much better than you did the last time I saw you. You know, less bloody and all that stuff.”
“You would be the type of person to joke about that. Why are you so focused on me? I understand the whole thing about you wanting to have the status to get rid of rules entirely. I really have no interesting in ever seeing you again though. Just leave me and my friends alone. I could care less what you do aside from that.”
“Aww, but I thought we were siblings. Do you hate your brother so much that you can say that you don’t want to see me ever again with so little emotion? Have you forgotten everything we’ve been through together Troy?”
“We haven’t been through anything together, because you’re not the Keon that I knew growing up. Any memories I have with that Keon don’t exist to me anymore. He’s just somebody that I used to know.”
“Well, that’s pretty harsh. I thought we were having fun.”
“Then you have a very strange idea of what fun actually is. You beat me up so bad that I had to be sent to the hospital. If that’s your idea of fun, I’d hate to see your idea of being a jackass. Now, please, just leave me be. I won’t bother you ever again.”
“No thanks Troy. I don’t want to leave you be. Now that I know we are on bad terms, I would rather work on persuading your idea of fun to more match my idea of fun. So, if you don’t mind. I’m going to have to ask you to stick around for a while.”
“Let me guess, you’re going to want to fight me again.”
“You’re already catching on to my idea of fun. Keep it up brother. You’re proving that you’re growing to understand me a bit more. This could work yet!”
“No, it’s not. I’ll never agree with you Keon.”
Keon sighed. “I thought you might say that. So, in that case, that would mean that I have no chance in making you agree with reason. Put your hands up Troy, if you can’t agree with me, then you’ll have to fight against me.”
With those words, flesh wounded demons with horns arose from the lava lake and stood all around Keon atop the lava. Keon pointed forward and they all rushed Troy as white strings fell from the roof above Keon. Keon pulled one of the strings and a platform to the left of Troy shot up out of the lake and aimed to slam into Troy. Troy pulled off his vest and swung it forward. At that moment, notebooks flew out of the vest and surrounded Troy.
The notebooks all opened to specific pages; some of them closer to the front, others closer to the back and some around the middle. Troy pulled out a pen and pointed it one of the books. As he did, the platform that was coming toward him went off target and smashed into a group of the demons. It didn’t get rid of them all though. To deal with the other ones, Troy pointed his pen at another notebook.
Sheets of paper appeared in front of the notebooks and stabbed through the demon’s bodies, skewering them. Troy pointed his pen at another book and the roof above Keon collapsed, as the rocks fell toward him. Keon jumped off of his platform to another platform, and then jumped a couple more times to avoid both the rocks and the splash. More white strings appeared around him from the roof as he landed.
Troy pulled a string, causing stalactites to break off of the roof and point toward Troy. The stalactites all rushed Troy, attempting to stab through his body. Troy pointed at another notebook however and the stalactites broke to pieces. He then pointed at another notebook and the stalactite pieces found a giant boulder in front of his books. After pointing at one more notebook, the boulder flew toward Keon.
Keon pulled another white string and the roof extended downward in front of him, making a wall. The boulder slammed into the wall, destroying both as rocks fell into the lava. Keon would continue to pull at the white strings while Troy would continue to point at different notebooks. As they would do so, more things would happen. Keon started it off by creating a wave with the lava that rushed toward Troy.
Troy defended himself by creating a blade which emerged from the lava. As the lava hit the blade, it went off target, splitting down the middle and flowed off toward either of his sides. Troy then took the offensive as five sharks appeared in the lava around Keon and jumped at him. Keon ducked down and kicked one of the sharks in the chin. He would proceed to knock on the other sharks with kicks too. He hit one in the cheek, one in the gut, one in the side and one more in the chin.
The fins were cut off the tops of the sharks as Keon grabbed them in his hands. He then tossed the shark fins at his brother as if they were Frisbees. Troy blocked the shark fins by creating a net which shot up from beneath the lava and caught the fins inside before pulling them beneath. The next thing Keon knew, arrows were shooting out of the walls at his body. He pointed his fingers at the arrows and they were cut in half.
“Well, you’ve certainly gotten a lot better,” Keon commented.
“Thanks. After last time, I decided that just using my powers wasn’t good enough. So, I began my search for ways to make myself more powerful. I made myself more adept at fighting in close quarters and in using my reflexes. I also found more pens, knowing that the more I have the more powers I can actually use.”
“To that my brother, I say bravo. You have succeeded greatly. You’re actually fighting on par with me as I am with you. We’ve been fighting together as equals this entire time. However, the battle has only just begun. If you think that there’s nothing new about me, then you’re unfortunately mistaken.”
“I think everyone’s expected that by now. In fact, I imagine everyone who’s been involved in a battle up to this point has said something similar to that at some point in time. So, I feel like you’re just stating the obvious. Of course we’re stronger. The problem for you is that I am better prepared than you are.”
Keon laughed. “Yeah, sure you’re more prepared than me. I’ll have to put that confidence to the test. When I am done with you, I will have proven to Abraham what an asset I am, and he will increase my rank. I will acquire more riches and more power than you can even imagine.”
“I guess that explains while you’re on the floor of greed. You preach that you want to make a world without laws and that may be true. What I believe you want most of all though is the perks that come with being in charge. Am I wrong?”
“You are just as perceptive as ever brother. Congratulations! You’ve hit the nail right on the head. The bigger question here though is why are you here? What is that you wish to acquire more than anything else? We’re not so different Troy. If you look inside yourself, I think you will grow to understand what I mean.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about. There’s nothing that I want to receive.”
“Is that so? Why do you write Troy? Do you really write because you enjoy it or do you want the riches and fame that comes with it? Is there even a small portion of your mind that thinks that way?”
Troy stood there for a second in thought. He was wondering how much of his desire to write came from enjoyment and how much came from desire. After he finished thinking, he made his response, “Of course I want the wealth that comes with writing. It’s not like I can live comfortably without money.”
“Would you do anything to get it? Would you betray your friends to provide a better life for yourself? Would you steal the work of another and sell it off as your own? If you can say yes to any of those questions, you’re no better than me.”
“I would never do anything like that!”
“Would you not? Think back to the things you have done in the past. Think back and tell me if there’s anything you’ve done for your books that you are ashamed of.”
Troy thought a little harder about what Keon had to ask. While he at first had nothing he could think of, there was one specific time that came to his mind.
A few years before that time, Troy walked through the halls of a large company building. He followed behind a guy in a suit. As he followed behind, he looked around to see people working in their offices through a doorway to his left. There were a few other doors in the building, but they were all shut. The guy leading Troy stepped inside an elevator and Troy followed him inside.
After it finished its ascent, they exited to a room with a large, metal, round table. There were two seats open. The guy Troy was following took the first seat at the end of the table and motioned for Troy to take the empty seat next to him. Troy looked around to see that there was a variety of people in the room. A few of them were bulky while others were skinny. Some were tall while others were short. A couple were Spanish while others were Caucasian or African.
The guy who led him into the room was a skinny, tall white man with slick hair. He turned to Troy and spoke first, “So, Troy, how are you feeling today? My name is Kenny Clyde.”
“Pleasure to meet you sir,” Troy smiled, “I am feeling well today. How could I not when I get to talk to you today about something that I am so passionate about?”
“Yes, I understand your glee. We aren’t here to commend your work today though. We are here to speak about a couple changes you need to make for us to pick up your book.”
“Alright, tell me what you want me to do.”
A bulky short white guy with a cigar was the one to answer, “We’ve read through it and the first thing we want to speak about is chapter seven. In this chapter, you wrote in a scene of chatter between the main character and a nobody that doesn’t really fit into the book. We suggest to cut that scene out.”
“Oh, you mean the conversation with Hector and Lyon. Yeah, I was a bit skeptical about writing that scene myself. I needed a little bit of a break at the time, so I kind of just threw in a filler scene. I probably should have just stopped writing at the time, but I was eager to get to the later chapters. You can cut that out.”
“You should be careful about doing that,” a tall black man said to him, “It’s not a problem to have a scene that has one, two or even many characters that aren’t important at all. They should at least have some sort of relation to the story if you are going to do that though. We almost just sent the book back telling you we couldn’t take it. In that case, we wouldn’t have even met with you today.”
“I understand. I probably should have just played a video game during that time or something.”
The next person to speak was an average size Mexican man with a mustache, “The next thing we want to speak about is the final scene of the book. This actually isn’t a complaint about the book as much as it is advice. You have this really nice scene that ends it perfectly well. Over the course of this book and the previous two you had published however, the ending feels a little unreasonable.”
“What’s wrong with it?”
“What you have to end it is fine, but your book has a bit more of a tragic feel around it. I think that instead of having this happily ever after ending, you should do something special. Make the main character win, but have something happen which causes him to no longer be able to do something. You know, like a bittersweet ending.”
“Actually that does sound like a good idea. In that case, I have an idea for what I could do there. I think I want to do a little brainstorming before going with my first idea however.”
“Now to our third problem with the book,” stated a short-haired short Caucasian male with glasses, “You have a character in here that feels out of place in the book. Throughout the entire book, you have given us a futuristic feel. The ideas were fresh and we had fun reading it. However, your character Gregory Hines, hasn’t done much for the plot and he feels more medieval than the book would allow.”
Troy kind of just sat there staring as he thought to himself, They want me to get rid of Gregory? I get the critique and everything, but this seems a bit unnecessary. Gregory wasn’t an important character to the plot, but he means something to me. I don’t know what to do about this suggestion. It’s the only one they’ve made that I’m entirely against.
“Well Troy,” the man spoke, “What do you say about Gregory? You seem reluctant to let us cut him out.”
“Is it really necessary? Gregory is a special character to me. He’s only in for a couple scenes. Having him in there shouldn’t matter that much.”
“Every decision you make matters,” the man slammed a file folder on the desk, “You can’t just walk in here with that kind of attitude. When you write a book, there is always going to be things that someone has to say about it. Maybe they love the story, but want to fix the style. Maybe they love characters, but want to nix out a couple descriptions. Every decision you make is key to putting together a successful book. What’s so great about Gregory?”
Troy sighed. “Gregory is a character I based off of my best friend Phillip. Phillip was a huge inspiration for me with my writing. When other people would tell me about how nearly impossible it was to get published, he would tell me that I could do it. He was there for me to give me suggestions. While he was too lazy or busy to read my books most of the time I could talk to him about them and he’d give me his thoughts. Gregory is that character.”
“Your reason is nice, but it doesn’t overshadow the fact that you can’t just write in characters that you feel like without considering the plot. Gregory is not essential to the plot and we agreed that he doesn’t fit into this setting. If you don’t let us take him out, we won’t publish you at all.”
Troy sat there, motionless, as he thought hard about what he wanted to do. What do I do now? It’s either cut out Gregory or I can’t get this book published. This jerk has really put my back to the wall on this one. Is having Gregory really hurting anything? I mean, I understand that some characters aren’t essential, but Gregory isn’t around that much. I wish I had a friend here to give me advice. I don’t know what to do anymore.
The man stood up. “If you have nothing to say, we’ll be leaving. I’m sorry, but your book just doesn’t live up to our standards.”
“Wait!” Troy exclaimed. “I get it. Gregory’s not important. Just take him out.”
“Then congratulations, we will publish you. We are eager to work with you on the final book in your series.”
As Troy’s memory faded out of his mind, he looked back forward at Keon, “I guess I have done something that I’m ashamed of. I let some men at a publishing company take out a character that was really special to me because I wanted the book to get published.”
Keon smirked. “It’s nice to see that you finally admit something to me. You see, you are no better than me after all. In a situation where you have to choose between riches and something special, you chose the riches.”
“I know and I regret that. Why take that character out? There was nothing wrong with him. He rushed my decision out of me and I let him do something that I told myself I wouldn’t let anyone do. I let him cut out an emotionally significant piece of the book.”
“Let it out Troy! You can tell me everything.”
“Even when I told them I didn’t want to take him out. Even when they said that they wouldn’t publish me for that reason. Hell, even when we actually put the book out there and I sold over a million copies I didn’t like that Gregory wasn’t in there. It wasn’t their place to tell me that he didn’t belong there. He belonged there because I wanted him there.”
“Exactly and this is one of those things that Abraham will change. In his new world, you won’t have people forcing you to get rid of things that are special to you. In our world, those publishers would have axed that suggestion as soon as they heard your reason. We’re not here to dictate how you live your life. We’re here to fix the problems with the world. We’re here to allow only the humans we see fit to live in this world.”
Troy sat on the platform as the notebooks he had out hovered above his head. “So that’s why you want this world without rules. It is true that because of the human superiority complex we are often held back by rules. We get told to do things that make no sense. We get complained about for the stupidest things. Oh, and you can’t make up for it by being awesome. If that was the case, I would make up for it constantly.”
“Okay, a bit conceited there brother.”
“No Keon, this time you’re right. The world is messed up. There are too many people who can’t do harmless things because others feel that it is their right to impose on them. Well, you know what? It’s not their life and they shouldn’t have any say so in how anyone else lives. I finally understand your way of thinking now Keon.”
“Maybe you do, but I don’t think you’re here entirely because of your greed. It seems to me like you have a couple more sins buried inside; Pride and Envy. Though I must say that I don’t disagree with you on what you said in the slightest.”
“Perhaps you’re right. I do have my own sins. I want to make my money off my books so I can buy things to make my life easier. That said, I also feel my ideas are better off left alone because I am special. Anyone who says otherwise is wrong. They shouldn’t be the ones in power. I should be in power.”
“Whoa! Hold back there. You can have power, but you’re still under me. That doesn’t matter though. Troy, you have finally seen reason. You understand the idiocy that is the human condition. You are fully ready. Leave and join us at Sinister Ambition. We will create this world and you will be given power. You won’t have to listen to anyone else about how you live your life ever again.”
“That does sound pretty nice. I could be special in this new world. People would look up to me the way that I so rightfully deserve. I wouldn’t be just some other fool on anyone’s mind.”
“Yes, so join us. Join Abraham in his creation of a perfect world. With your help, we can show everyone why Sinister Ambition has been right all along. We can show everyone that Abraham is more deserving of being God. With your help, we can be one step closer to victory over those damned angels.”
Troy smirked. “I think you misunderstand me Keon. It would be nice to have that power I will admit. There’s a bit of a problem with that though. To join Sinister Ambition, I would have to agree that Abraham is a better fit as God. The way I see it though, he’s just a fool. He’s not worthy of having that status.”
“So, you actually think this God we have now is more worthy?”
“Yes, I do. Keon, I am upset with this world just as you are. There are things that happen around the world every day that piss me off. There are kids who have been shot in their schools. People get robbed every day. It’s sad to me that anyone has a reason to do that. Here’s the thing though. To reach true peace, you have to overcome grand obstacles. Anything else is not peace at all. It’s just a dictator scaring people into doing what he wants.”
“What a bunch of nonsense! The people of the world don’t deserve that peace. They are despicable. That’s why we are getting rid of well over 90% of them.”
“They are, but they yet they still stand. They live day after day facing the trials of life because they understand. They know what it’s like to suffer. There’s a song called Ain’t No Rest For The Wicked from a band called Cage The Elephant. In the song the artist has a conversation with two people; a robber and a person being robbed. When the robber explains himself, do you know what he tells her?”
“No, I’ve never heard that song.”
“You really haven’t? Man Keon, you’re really living under a rock these days. Well, the robber says to the person, There ain’t no rest for the wicked. Money don’t grow on trees. I’ve got bills to pay. I’ve got mouths to feed. He also goes on to say You know I can’t hold back. I can’t slow down. Though you know, I wish I could. I may have been off on a couple words with the lyrics, but that’s really what they sing about in the song.”
“So, there are even humans who realize the crappy state that the world is in.”
“That’s not the point! I ask you a question Keon. Did anyone in that song do anything wrong? Sure the robber stole something, but maybe he wouldn’t have had to steal something if he could actually afford to live.”
“You’ve stated my point exactly right there. Now, I’m not going to say that it’s easy to keep the world from going into poverty. These people who control that have a tough job to deal with. They can’t see everyone’s situation. Why does the potential for this issue even exist in the first place though? If God was really such an awesome God, he wouldn’t have allowed this to happen.”
“I don’t think that’s the point behind God. What’s the point of creating a world of humans if you don’t let them live the way they see fit? God’s doing exactly what Abraham is talking about if you think about it. He’s letting people live their lives. He’s not interfering. Sure he intervenes sometimes, but he makes people deal with their problems a lot. I know I learn much more when I deal with my problems than I do when an answer is given to me.”
“No matter how much proof you are given, you’ll just never get it. The point is that Sinister Ambition understands the world and we desire to change it. You look at us as if we are villains, but we aren’t. We’re just people who want to see the world change. The difference is that we are actually making it happen.”
“There’s nothing else I have to say to you Keon. We’re never going to agree on this.”
Troy stood back up as Keon pulled another white string. A wall of lava emerged between Troy and Keon. Keon had left a seemingly perfect defense that could melt away Troy’s entire body. Troy rummaged through his books, looking for an empty one. As soon as he found one, he opened it and quickly wrote in his book with a pen. Just seconds before he would have hit the wall of lava, the wall split and he passed safely though.
Keon grinned. “I’m impressed Troy. You actually had a defense ready for that.”
“Of course I did. What more would you expect from me.”
At that moment, Troy noticed something. He and Keon were no longer floating down the lake of lava. Instead, they were floating in mid-air inside what appeared as the inside of a volcano. He could see lava far below and a rocky walls extending upward all around. He couldn’t see the lava lake in the direction he had entered from as the path had been closed off by a rocky wall.
The platforms stopped floating in the center of the volcano as lava shot up in pillars all around them. As Keon began to transform he spoke, “Welcome to your final resting place my brother.”
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