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The Rift Dancer

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26 Re: The Rift Dancer on Thu May 03, 2018 9:39 am

New Era’s Adventures.

Scared, helpless little girl, afraid of evil, which was piercing through her soul...  was facing her fears... all alone... lamenting sour tears... The girl was holding a kitchen knife in her hands. Surrounded by the vicious beasts with bloodthirsty eyes, burning pillars of wood, rising smoke.. falling cinders... collapsing dust... this chaos and crippling puking fear were carved in the eyes of innocence. A situation where one is forced to shed blood in order to survive. “Well... not on my watch!”

-”Gugihihigahahahaha!”- One of these so called ‘beasts’... rather a man, but a foolish one and weak minded as well fractured his mouth to release this high-pitched, sadistic laughter before licking all over his lips and preparing to raise his axe above his head.
-”Juicy...juicy... she’s a blooming flower. My friend down there will be savoring this delicious meat!” - And another filthy mouth resounded in the area... The girl was slowly backing away, but the heat of fire beneath was roughly stroking her spine, the tips of her long hair were gradually melting away...

The weak girl was surrounded by the bandits... or raiders.. I was not aware... I was just passing through and watching the scene from a far, awaiting for my opportunity to interrupt. I was well aware that I had to save up my energy, but I thought that I would rather end up dead than fail to protect them. Four against one... and the “big bad boss” watching from behind. The village was on fire, bodies scattered across the dirty path... all the belongings, all the treasures sacked and ready to be loaded on a wagon... the horses were neighing, seemingly afraid of fire. Poor animals, to be used by such beasts... The remaining survivors fled on the three o’clock from the village. Not even one was brave enough to face these filthy animals, not even one was courageous enough to save this little fragile girl, who frankly appeared to be the bravest of the bunch. I released a deep sigh... pathetic creatures... I drew out Zerneger from my back and chanted words in the language that I was born with...

-”My buddy, grant me some of your strength. Allow me to deal with these beasts, give me the courage and energy to vanquish them from my sight and return the calm breeze in this location.”- The blade was held straight in the air, a pulsating blue aura was seeping from it, merging with my arm as my muscles tightened. I swayed the blade and with a sudden and fluent movement I inserted my index finger in the hollow hole that was carved above the hilt. The sword was spinning on my finger like a propeller as I etched it into the dirt below my feet and let go of it.
-”But not today, my friend. I’m not going to use you to kill these scums.. Their fates will be decided by the villagers.”- Absorbing some of it’s powers I left Zerneger stationary and like a bullet... rather like a projectile with unrivaled momentum I shot up for the sky, my feet were flaring from underneath in it’s magnificent blue colors of hope and opportunity.. of sky and freedom. The flames were those of purity... rather than burning the air, they were freezing it instead, leaving an arc of ice in the trajectory that I was flying through.

At the center of the carnage, at the eye of the Armageddon... the epicenter of the storm and collapsing raging dust a helpless girl stood strong, holding a blunt knife. The man was about to fracture her skull, however his attack was interrupted. I fell down from the skies, crashing into the soil, burying my feet in it and shaking the ground below us... like a marching machine I held out my right hand straight and the axe that flew at the girl got stuck in my hand.. The girl dropped her knife and hid herself beneath my black cloak, which I received as trinket from that Damon person quite some time ago.  

-”What the hell!?”- The man grunted and tried to pull his axe out off my hand... it was deeply stuck inside my black steel gauntlet, the indent metal kept the axe from reaching my flesh. I smirked beneath the cold and expressionless mask, which I’ve been keeping right to this day. It was not the face that mattered, nor was it the past that mattered... it was the goals, dreams and ambitions... both of living and the dead that truly mattered. A symbol of peace... the meaning behind Azure’s mask... my will to carry on, my soul to be strengthened by it, no it was a remainder, a perfect remainder that even right to this day this persona known as Azure was protecting the realm. His face was a symbol of peace to me and to those that I was yet to save. For a defensive action I did remarkably well.
-”What the hell, you ask? I am not hell, I am your salvation!”- I calmly stated to that lowlife and pushed my own hand with the very same stuck axe towards him as he suddenly lost his balance and collapsed on his back. The others took their stances, they did not hesitate to strike me down, but I was prepared to punish them as well.
-”Oi, oi! You masked freak, get tha’ hell outta ‘ere!”- One man, located to my right marched towards me with his mace positioned forwards.
-”Masked freak? Not a correct title either!”- I backfired and quickly bent down my torso forwards his direction and delivered him an uppercut to his jaw. His mace hit the ground as he was sent flying skywards and writhed in pain, hopelessly trying to count his remaining teeth.

There was no time to rest, two more of these grunts were still on their feet. Simultaneously, with their combined efforts they tried to belch out my bowels from my stomach, as their blades were about to be plunged inside me.
-”I would say this attack is too straightforward!”- The confidence of my tone echoed in the skies as I pulled myself from the earth, disobeying the laws of gravity I jumped above their heads and with the help of my, cladded in steel, feet I forced them to bang their heads against each other. It looked like they hugged and kissed each other on the lips in the process. I landed firmly on my feet just before they fell down on the soil.

No one sustained fatal injuries, but it was enough for them to experience pain, and to stop their mischievous acts. The burning fire around the place was dropping a nice shadow from their bodies, with a snap of my fingers I reshaped their own shadows and embroiled them in the shadowy ropes, utterly immobilizing their movements. A couple of more things were left to do... The prioritized one was to deal with their leader... a fat and bald hog of a man... He looked strong, physically at least. He was more than twice my height, carrying a huge sword on his shoulders. His eyes were burning with fury and pride... I could easily read his thoughts of savagery... He was full of himself... way too full... most likely thinking that he alone would be enough to bring down a pipsqueak such as me. Well, his fantasies were nothing more, but a delusional act... a mere childish fantasy... For me these scums were not enough... not even enough for a warm up.

-”Bwahahaha! Come! Come! Your legs are trembling, your pants are wet... and most of all your face beneath this ridiculous looking mask is drenching in snot!”- Petty taunts were not enough to make me furious.. The outcome was already there, it was foreseen since the beginning. Only a matter of seconds remained.
-”I sincerely hope, that you will be having a good time gluing back your shattered bones.”- I sighed and began to slowly approach him. He brought his blade inside two hands and swung it behind his back.. and quickly unleashed the devastating blade, in hopes to split me in half... like I was a ready to be chopped piece of wood on a stump to him.
-”How do you like this, you vermin!?”- He furiously shouted, but I did not even flinch... I was just going straight at him. My relaxed and firm posture reflected the confidence that I was lacking before.. I was well aware of my capabilities. The titan’s blade was stopped by the pitch black arms that rose from the ground just before the impact. The shadowy hands took a hold of his blade and fractured it to miserable little shards with the applied crushing force.. I remained silent and was standing just before him... His shadow overlapped my frame. Indeed... such a big guy... and such a wasted life on his side... I was nowhere close to his waist in comparison.
-”No! My blade... You are a demon! Please have mercy on me!”- The bandit boss suddenly bursted into tears... his pathetic face expression begged for pity. His hands were shaking, causing him to let go of what remained of his once so great and mighty sword... well nothing much remained... only a mere hilt was left from it after all.

Fiery breeze passed through us as the wind began to build on my feet... It was not a mere wind, it was the energy that I was storing inside my body. Like a minuscule hurricane it enveloped my body... Like a helix the pressurized wind was spinning around my body, slowly lifting me up to his stomach level. The helix of wind suddenly received a new form.. a new form of energy seeped from the depths of my body as the markings of darkness etched themselves deeper throughout my body. Cold blue blazes were swirling around my frame as my clenched fist became like a burning stone.. The blue fire spiraled it’s way up across my whole arm as I sent my fist flying across the air, aiming for his stomach.
-”Oh, I pity you. However, remember this... those, who hold power are responsible for this situation. You have nothing to do with it, you are nothing, but a mere scapegoat at this point of time.”- My words were marked before the fist impacted with his stomach. His frame bent backwards, due to collision as his whole body was caught in the momentum produced by the sheer force of the spinning flames, ultimately sending him flying across the scenery. He went through several trees up ahead, leaving a smaller hole each time.. before he ultimately crashed in the strong, huge and mossy oak.

-”Oops. Guess I placed way too much force inside this one.”- The flames went off as I landed on my feet, glancing at my fist.
-”Oh well, he should be alive. Not sure if he’ll ever walk again though.”- I shrugged and lowered my hand. Only one thing was left, I turned back and approached the scared little girl, I bent down before her and removed the gauntlet from my right hand. I placed my hand on top of her head and stroked it gently.
-”It’s alright now, these bozos will not cause problem anymore. You shouldn’t be crying, the villagers in the east should of seen that big guy hitting the tree there. So they will return here in no time and put out the fire.”- I comforted the girl and stood up, stuffing the gauntlet on my hand.
-”But.. mister... don’t go!”- She cried out and held my cloak tightly.
-”Sorry, I can’t stay with you here, nor I can do anything about the burning village. I have important matters to attend to. My presence is needed elsewhere.”- I smiled beneath the mask and began to walk away from the place with my arm raised skywards.. I was waving at her.
-”At least tell me your name, mister hero!”- She fell into tears and shouted at the top of her lungs. For the last time ever... I stopped and spoke to her.
-”My name is Si-..I mean.. I am Az-... Nah.. I am nothing, just a guy, who happened to be at the right place, at the right time. I’m not a hero.. a hero would prevent this village from being attacked in the first place... a hero would put out the fire. However, in my eyes, you are the true heroine... you were the last one standing here, trying to fight back... trying to defend the things that are precious to your heart. This is a true act of heroism.. You are so young and weak, but yet you were willing to sacrifice yourself in order to protect what’s important. Take these words to your heart and do whatever you deem right! I believe in you, one day you will grow up to be a fine woman!”- I raised my thumb up and vanished from the scene, I regretted the fact that I did not put out the fire, but I could not do anything about it... Every lump of energy was necessary in order to survive for me.

Thus it was just a beginning, rather a single memory of my new adventure. Reflecting on the changes and new thoughts inside my mind I was only about to begin my true journey. With positive thoughts and ideas I felt like I could do almost anything, nothing was stopping me from achieving my dreams, hopes and ambitions. I felt like I could do anything on my own, a feeling that rivaled the capabilities of kings and queens, Gods and Goddesses alike. Although I was aware that the real path up ahead was rough, the winds of changes were blowing everywhere... The trust issues that I had remained there, but slowly and steadily I was taking my steps into this world. Guided by hopes and dreams of those, who were indifferent for me... of those, who died and sought to do better... I decided to stick to each and every of them, like an unbreakable chain that connected the ones, who left and the ones, who were still moving forward and fighting further.

My ideas were fueled by each and everyone of them... my dreams were reignited with new life inside. I truly became something else, it was so unexpected for me... I never hoped to be someone like this, but yet here I was today... standing tall and unbroken. Lots of expectations and lots of struggles still remained, but my heart was free, the painful aching that I had before vanished. With each step that I took I started to like myself more, but yet at times I still got stuck in my emotions... if only Azure was able to see my growth... How I came to be... I deeply knew that he was somewhere there watching over me... protecting me from the shadows.. As he was the shadow himself... To my surprise I actually felt that he was alive, still breathing somewhere in Atreia. Still waiting for our true and happy reunion. My soul could tell it, but my eyes were craving to see it.

I really did evolve... I woke up having nothing, but what I’ve done, what I went through and what I received made me realize that I had a lot inside me. In the end the words of his were not meaningless, they were pushing me further... I was actually doing whatever I deemed right, I was actually doing something alone and it was no one else’s, but my own doing. Yet no one was able to gaze inside my heart or soul, but it was not the case for me to shut myself completely. However my heart was unable to rest... not until I was able to see Azure again.

Thus I arranged my final journey... a journey to meet this world, to seek for atonement, to help the ones in need and with my last remainder of power... or rather life force.. to see Azure once again and hand him back the damn mask, that I held precious to my heart. I was unaware how long it was going to take or if I will ever fulfill my dreams, but I was not going to give up on them either... I was ready to resort to every measures that were necessary. It was a new beginning and a true one indeed... not a fake and made up one, when I just wanted to excuse myself with my misery. The real and most likely the final journey of my life... What would follow beyond was not up to me. The memories that I created in this world... I held everything dear to my heart... Pain and misery.. those were just memories.. I was yet to escape the pain, I was yet to destroy the misery... Standing tall on the hill, I was gazing at the sun... awaiting for my newest adventure.
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Zerneger’s awakening.

Thus... days and nights were crawling by... moons and suns were spinning in the sky... My foot marks were scattered across the globe of Atreia. Climbing up the hills, swimming through the rivers, surviving the coldest glaciers, enduring the fiery heat of the volcanoes, cutting my way through the dense bushes in the jungles, escaping the thirst of the desert I was advancing... Marching like soldier, advancing like bullet... I was spinning in circles across the various continents... looking for one man, although my search was fruitless so far... nothing good came out of it, not a single clue.. nothing at all, but I had not given up the hope. I settled in the region of Cygnea for some time, to relax and prepare my mind for what was about to come next. Cygnea, was located somewhere in Balaurea. Cygnea, which until very recently was in the depths of the ocean, still housed it’s abundance of aquatic life and features... or at least that’s what I learned so far about the place. I was above the land, but yet in this place I felt like I was below the ocean waves. I found myself a nice waterfall in the far south eastern corner of this land and submerged my feet in the water that was streaming down. There I began to meditate, to feel one with the nature... to escape out of my physical shell, which was my body.

I steadily took a deep breath inside my lungs, absorbing the coolness of the air inside myself and raised my arms up to feel the energy of the nature... the energy that I was well adapted to. A spiraling stream of wind gathered from below my feet and consumed me whole, the newfound power that I was able to harness after I accepted my thoughts. No, it was rather the power that I always had inside me, but finally... after so long... I was in perfect control of it. Those were mine and Zerneger’s connected powers. Long and deadly time of struggles improved me... Of course, the cost was great, the sacrifices were deadly... but it was indeed a learning process. A time, when I sought for knowledge through struggles and pain finally paid off, though it was a shame that I only acquired this power after I lost everything dear to my heart. Though, not everything was completely lost... I still had my dreams inside my heart and the sword that I forsook most of the time was still there with me.. My last buddy in the shape of a tool of war. The time was finally right, I had to talk with him. There were a lot of questions still lingering in my head, but now I was aware that Zerneger will not be keeping his mouth shut.
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-”Listen, I get it that you don’t like speaking about my past, but I just want to know a couple of things.”- I drew the blade from behind my back and held it straight before my eyes, speaking to it... more like speaking to him, if he was really a male.
-”Oh? You want to know something, perhaps I can tell you a thing or two.”-The tip of the sharp blade vibrated as the echoing shriek of Zerneger’s voice flooded my ears.
-”Yes. Just where the hell did you come from!?”- My mouth fired the question like a cannon.
-”Hahaha! Silly, Simon. Weren’t you going to ask about your own past?”- As usual he started out his question with a laughter and some form of insult.
-”Silence! Just tell me.”- I backfired, angrily shaking the sword back and forth.
-”Yeeeeaaah riiight. I’ll be brief.. I hope... I came from the universe, more exactly from the multiverse or the omniverse. I was the space itself, the one who created the matter, the one who expanded the universe. Basically everything what you see before you is a part of my body. One of the Gods of creation I was, a true and righteous God, but even Gods are powerless against some beings... You wouldn’t even believe in their existence. To them both you and I are nothing more, but ants or microbes. Thus, after the universe was created I was reduced to nothing, but a mere sword. I hid a part of my consciousness and powers inside this sword and this is how I came to be... A good-for-nothing talking sword, which grants it’s wielder a speck of my former powers at the cost of the user’s life.”- He ended his speech with a prolonged yawn, whether he was lying to me or not was not up to me to judge, but I trusted in the fact that his powers were indeed amazing.. thus I had to place my trust in him.
-”I see, it is hard to believe this, but wait! You mentioned something about the contract, what did you mean back then?”- There were no boundaries to my curiosity.

-”Believe what you want, I’m just stating the facts... though I have no proof. Well yes, even in the current state that I am now I have an option to be alive, that maybe one day I will be atoned for my actions and come back to my own realm not as a sword... but as a God of space. However for this to happen I was bound to mortals, I was forced to learn about their everyday lives, their feelings, motives and establish a connection with them, which should become deeper than anything. Basically to completely escape this sword and ascend to my Godhood again I am obliged to become just like you mortals are. I was well aware of the fact that someone like you will come to existence, actually I was waiting for the moment of your birth. Indeed there were others before you, but those fools failed to use me wisely, those worms died before they could fully synchronize with me and all the progress that I made so far was reverted back to zero. However, as millions of years went by...- you were born. Your past life reflected a promising potential in your eyes... Your powers and abilities shone through the centuries that passed by and that was when I realized that one day you will stumble upon a shrine where I as a sword resided in. It was nothing more, but destiny... The rifts, the space itself was guiding you towards me. Though you can’t remember about your past, but you live longer than you are aware of. Your home world is not Atreia and you’ve been in several worlds before. Though, as I said I will not reveal this to you. It’s against the rules of our contract. But note this, that only you alone can use my powers. It’s not for anyone, I only grant you my powers by choice and the more full of yourself you are, the more our interconnected souls grow. However, since this power is not designed for simple humans to use negative effects take place on your physical body, the example of this is the black corruption, which is spreading throughout your chest. One day you will crumble from the excessive use of my power and so will I, but the difference will be this that I will be reborn as another sword and you will be banished from existence.” - His words seemed hard to believe, everything appeared incomprehensible and chaotically insane.

However, after my brains digested Zerneger’s story I finally understood how he felt and what he was doing in my hands in the first place... Maybe it was destiny, maybe it was something else.. The answer that he gave me might turn out as smoke and mirrors one day, but this forsaken sword was the only thing that I had left for me. I had to put my faith in him, it was not by choice, I just had to... In all honesty his speech awakened even more questions in my head. I had to understand everything, I had to seek for knowledge. It was not by choice, but it was my destiny. Reflecting on my brief past... I finally understood that the sword itself was there, since the very beginning, when I woke up that day... He was there, with me.. It was my fate since the beginning. The Godly power of Zerneger was necessary to put an end to all the struggles, to all the conflicts... no...to end the power, to end the hate and suffering... I knew it all deep inside my soul, because my long absence in the past meant his presence here in Atreia. Most likely, I sought him out... to do this task, to protect the village.. to protect my friends... to defeat Triniel. The reason behind my lost memories was probably, because of him... Those people always tried to steal him away from me... To absorb my own powers... yes... indeed... it was because of his amazing power. I had no other choice left, but to never give up on my path. To march through the invisible boundaries of illusions and to face with the unknown and devastating forces myself.

-”So you are saying that you have to become human first in order to ascend to the Godhood again?” - I was able to feel my facial expression changing to a sad one, my face...my mouth dragged itself down, the smile turned into a frown of concern.
-”Indeed.”- Zerneger gave a brief answer.
-”So, if you manage to ascend to the Goodhood, will it mean my death?” - This would make a lot of sense, considering the fact that our souls and minds were merged into one.
-”No, but the fact is that you would never see me again, this sword, where my consciousness reside in will crumble to nothingness. It will crumble to nothingness if you die as well, but as I said I will be reborn as another sword, seeking for another potential wielder. Hell, the reason why I saved your sore ass countless of times is because I want to see you succeed.” - At least he reluctantly admitted that he is indeed on my side.
-”I got you, partner. So was I the one seeking for you, or it was you?”- Arising questions to pointless answers.
-”It was neither. It just happened that you lost your sword to some dragon. However, you made allies afterwards and they showed you the shrine from where they were driving their own powers by forming contracts with souls or beings similar as me. However the soul itself handpicks the user according to their mentality and strength. Since I was the most compatible with you I chose you.”- Thus it was the story behind his appearance in my life.

-”I think I understand what you mean, honestly nothing can surprise me at this point of time. Though one thing is still bugging me, what did you mean by that... for me to live longer than I am aware of? Do you mean that I am way older than I appear?”- It was surprising for me to believe it... he even meant centuries... was I really a relic from the past?
-”Well, since I can’t say exact information about you, but I feel that there’s no stopping your curiosity I can only say this, - you are not one, but several centuries old.”- His statement was as shocking as I imagined for it to be.
-”H-..hold..on! Am I even a human being then!?”- After hearing this I could not maintain my calmness.
-”Technically you are, at least you were born as one, but there’s more to it than you think. However, I can’t break the rules. If you want to find out for yourself then seek Thomas, he is ready to lift the seal. Any more questions?”- Zerneger sighed.
-”I think my head is getting dizzy from your words, it’s just hard to believe everything... actually I’m not even sure who I am anymore. However, I will do what I must for now... this is my resolution, I can’t lose my way... not now... not ever... But I want to know one more thing, why in the living hell I can see a person standing in front of me!?”- I was distracted by a figure, just a couple of steps before me... With each glance the image before my eyes became clearer and clearer... The transparent body, almost like a ghost was standing before me. Showing it’s back... six blue transparent wings on each side, transparent body was cladded in black robe. Did it belong to male? Or was I imagining things? The sight that I witnessed before my eyes was unclear and abstract until it finally shaped itself into a transparent tall, masked man.
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The stranger suddenly turned his head at my side and looked over his shoulder, there was nothing... just robes, no visible flesh, some black substance made up the visible parts of his body, if it was his body to even begin with and then my sword suddenly spoke.
-”It appears that I can already manifest myself into this realm of space. Though the assumed form is not enough yet, but I managed to evolve this much indeed. My consciousness is finally awaking itself.”
-”Wait it is you!?”- I nervously reacted out of rising confusion.
-”Yes and no, but it’s more like a spatial projection of me, I created the appearance to suit your understanding.”- The sword said.
-”So, does this mean that we already synchronized this much?”- I asked him.
-”Yes, through our connected consciousness I can come to flesh one day, I will be more similar to mortals. It’s the work of the ultimate universe that resides inside your feelings and my mind.”- His projection or whatever slowly raised his arm and pointed his index finger towards me.
-”Ultimate what?”- I was both lost for words and excited.
-”Allow me to show you, the place, the realm, the state of mind, the world of mine, the world of your feelings, the inner part of your soul, where you visited not once, but countless of times along this journey of yours.”- He said and then darkness consumed my vision.

Power of the ultimate universe.

My consciousness drifted to a whole other plane of reality, at first I was only able to feel nothingness... No I was gazing into blackness of the dark, my body was numb, I tried to talk, I tried to shout... I tried to see and even feel myself, however there was no response... The sound was silenced. No, there was no sound at all, my body was somewhere else as well. It was a familiar feeling, but yet completely distant and new experience. Everything that lied inside myself were my thoughts and thoughts alone. A complete state of nothingness, but yet there I was thinking about this nothingness. At first I thought to myself that I am already dead, that Zerneger killed me as soon as he spoke his words, however it was not the case... I realized that I was trapped inside my mind, but was it my mind to even begin with?

-”Welcome to my world, Simon.. no welcome to your world... no welcome to our world... no welcome to the world of everything that you know and see, everything that you feel and hear, everything that you do or did, everything that passed and everything that is yet to come... welcome to the gates of truth, to the state of our mind. To the doors of your inner universe.”- A chilling pressure on my body and a wind that was far stronger than everything imaginable pierced through my head like a shrieking bullet. White and abstract cracks suddenly marched through the black walls, - as they shattered whole... to light, to red, to green, to blue, to pink, to gray... the visible specters were changing wildly. Before my eyes moving images engraved in the vast nothingness.. they were showing the moments of my life, the moments of my thoughts, the moments of my dreams and everything that happened these past years...

But yet I could not speak, I could not whisper a damn word as my throat was dry... I found myself standing on a tall mountain, gazing at horizon, snow was falling as I finally was able to move my body, no it looked like I received a body.

-”Where am I?”- I silently asked.
-”You are inside your mind, inside your heart and soul. You are in the world that we both created, - inside the deepest layer of your mind. Everything here is under our control. No it is under your control. It’s the reflection of your thoughts, the reflection of your inner world. The time here has lost it’s meaning, not even a second has passed in the real world. It’s the space of your world, the space that I created with my consciousness. Subconsciously you’ve been in this place countless of times, this is how we used to communicate. This is how I broke you out of the endless sleep when Thomas trapped you, this is how you were able to gaze inside your thoughts and shape their visual appearance. It’s the manifestation of your own world that you created throughout your journey and here I am, this is where I live, in this spiritually abstract world.”- The strong and thundering voice broke down the sky as the ripple in time and space broke through and the white hands took a hold of my body and pulled me inside.

-”Where am I?”- I was confused, but yet I was able to distinct the place, the feeling that I had... It was really the plane of my own existence, where I witnessed the visions in my head... everything that I’ve done so far, it was like a database of my life.
-”You are inside yourself. It’s the power of our shared soul and yet it is incomplete, due to your lacking memories. While it can’t do any physical change, it can help you to make your decisions mentally, as it only acts to take quick decisions and to gaze inside your heart, and to reshape the path of your choosing. The more you develop here, the more significant I become in the real world, once you reach the pinnacle of this ultimate universe I will become human just like you. Familiar place isn’t it? Now try to reshape this world with your mind and see what happens.”- Zerneger came up with a suggestion at the end.
-”To reshape this world huh?”- I asked, imagining the world of happiness, the world of no worries.

The darkness suddenly twisted into meadows of greenery, the sun was shining, my friends were there... Even Azure was there, lying beside a tree. I approached him as the tears bursted from my eyes, his image suddenly vanished as I tried to reach him with my arms.
-”No wait!”- I lamented.
-”You see, here you can rethink and tune yourself mentally. You can do everything, even recreate and interact with your memories, well at least the ones that you already made and not the ones you lost. However it will not change the things how you remember them, it’s only for you to escape from reality and remember the important and close to heart things by reliving them differently.”- The sword calmly stated.
-”Agh! You mean, this is how I managed to overcome my grief so quickly? This is how I happened to become mentally stable!?”- It started to finally make sense, but the experience was otherworldly... It was not the experience that was out of this world, - it was the clash between my imagination and my feelings, however this time I was aware of this world’s existence and was able to consciously interact.
-”Exactly, this is the place, this is the ultimate universe. You can only achieve this state of mind, because I am here. Because I am a part of you. Although, if you become mentally unstable once again everything here will shatter and your powers... well they will crumble and become wild again, just as it happened when you witnessed the death of Azure.”- Zerneger’s laughter poured down like a swarm of meteors, shattering the place apart... for it to become dark once again. I began to fall into nothingness until I opened my eyes into the real world.

-”Now I know the answers, indeed you are one amazing sword! I never thought that I was able to enter inside this state of consciousness. I thought that everything that I witnessed so far were just vivid illusions.”- I spoke to the “ghostly” Zerneger once again.
-”No Simon, it was the power that you possessed all along, although I didn’t want to tell you about this... because the boy that you were in the past couldn’t possibly perceive the existence of such reality. Yet it may be useless in this current world, it has it’s uses for you to take important decisions and not to fall down from your road. Take it to your advantage, as not everyone can do it, as not everyone possesses me.”- Zerneger finished his speech and the spatial projection disappeared into the thin air, like it never existed. Thus it was the first step for Zerneger in taking a different form, which could resemble him closer to human.

Travels of unknown.

After I got to learn about Zerneger and myself deeper I decided to stay at the waterfalls for a little longer, mostly I meditated and trained. I was trying to master the control of my power consumption and how to spend less energy, the training was necessary to prolong my lifespan for a little longer. The training went well, nothing and no one were interrupting with the process, I had sources of drinkable water and ate local fish to keep my stomach full. After I was done with the training I packed the food supplies into my backpack, which was now located beneath my cloak and headed out with great hopes of finding traces of possibly alive Azure. The journey up ahead seemed long, but I never stopped to believe in my own dreams. With my newfound personality and will to move on I felt like an unstoppable force of nature.

My possibly meaningless, but hopeful travels led me to a lot of places, I stumbled upon ancient relics, studied the culture of the Daevas, helped strangers along the way, fought my way through hordes of horrible monsters, as always my travels never ended nor they led me somewhere, but at least it helped me to develop into something else, into a man that I once dreamed to become. Instead of a useless crybaby I became a solid man, the mirrors of the past were not trying to break my will, the reflections of distant future were not interrupting either.

I’ve climbed the mountains and gazed at the horizons, marked the visited territories in my map, but Jake... he was just a goner or maybe it was me, a really bad tracker... If only I knew what sort of energy he possessed if only I was able to feel, then maybe... maybe a rift in space would of done the job. However, I was unlucky with this circumstance as it felt like it happened ages ago, like the man itself was probably gone for good... although I was still hearing stories about him, but there was no way tracking that guy. Even then if I were to find him the answer to my question was not guaranteed. The starlight led my way, the cold and dark nights warmed me from inside.. I was not afraid of anything, I was ready to accept any given challenge, but yet I was lacking something... However I never knew the answer to this question.

Once I even visited Reshanta or the abyss, for me it was the same... I did not care how to call it exactly. There I was hoping to find someone or at least something that would help me on my journey, but everything was just as fruitless as before. Although the place was nice, the place really suited my heart’s requirements. Yet there I was facing off the greatest of threats... mindless, but powerful monsters... all of them wanted to erase my presence, but my sword and my powers were slashing through their flesh. It felt so satisfying, - to avoid the fear, to feel my blood pumping with adrenaline, to unleash my emotions and ideas by force... a force that was not even understandable for me. Though with each use of my sword I merely closed in to my bane, my death was ringing the bells of eternal silence. The worst was yet to come, but I was not aware of anything, however I did have the feeling, but it was not the reason to turn back and not the cause to stop my final journey.
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Days and weeks, and finally months has passed, since I started to live a nomad’s life... I was faraway from home, well at least this is how I wanted to call my village, but yet I was unsure about my presence there, but I made a promise to Sandvika that I will return there one day and I will... I did have feelings for that girl, but I was not aware of these emotions, it was love, but there was not anything romantic between us. I counted her as a family member of mine, like a little sister... Probably Azure felt the same way about her or he was not feeling anything at all. It was strange that the person I felt attached to most was the most mysterious one for me, but deep in my heart and the inner layers of my soul I knew how both of us felt about each other. He accepted me as I was, and he did not care about my choices, because he always had faith in me. That was the definition of true friendship.

After a while I stopped counting time, the ticking clock was nothing compared to how much I thought about these things... about the hopes that I had... everything was easy, but yet so hard... the journey itself was challenging, it was the greatest one indeed, I could not compare it to my other journeys. However, indeed I was missing something on my side, maybe the things that I was lacking were acquaintances or even friends. I was aware that it was necessary to establish some connections, but yet I trusted little to no one. This thought exposed itself as the biggest dilemma of mine, if only I was able to find like minded people, if only someone showed me such great compassion like Sandvika, Jaina, Azure or others did... but hell no... I was not seeking for compassion, my journey was set in stone and I had to carry it out alone. In the end this was a fun thought that crossed my mind, yet I knew nothing what would happen the next day or the next month.

I reached the desert of the Eltnen and it marked a couple of important events in my journey. It all started with me fighting the desert lizards, I was not even using my sword... actually I was fighting them barehanded, I managed to manifest the blades of energy from my wrists with the help of the blue flames, like my shadow manipulation ability the flames were able to change shape and density. However the range was not so great and this ability itself was drawing out the force of my life, but I had no other choice since there were too little shadows on the sand, due to the brightness of the sun. Yet I fought my way through, stabbing through their guts, slashing through their necks, it felt great, but it also wore me down even more and more until I became aware of my fleeting existence, but I had no other choice, there was no escaping those beasts and to relight my dreams I was forced to take my stance. It was not me, it was the strength that I was left with... Those, who cared about me were living deep inside my heart and the strength they gave me was far beyond anything. I was not invincible, I was just a fragile man, but I was not intending to leave it all behind and escape from the reality, not until I return my friend back. At the same time it saddened my heart, but at the same time it inspired the inner side of me, I wished for my journey to be a deserving one.
-”Shadows die twice, eh?”- I silently whispered to myself at the end of a long day.
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The man, who knew everything.

I took my time at the deserts for longer than I planned, but I had to scan through every corner, through every inch of sand... maybe... just maybe a clue, a trace, anything would of done the job... I decided to take a break for one day and visited some sort of oasis along the way to receive some proper rest. A fine place it was, the greenery of the wildlife was revitalizing, the flowing water in the rivers gave me chills of relaxation. However, I ultimately realized that someone was tracking me for the whole time. I was not wrong, I had this feeling, but it was impossible to pinpoint the person’s location or to feel it’s intent. However the very same person finally showed up, this encounter marked one these so called important events of my journey. It was confusing, but yet daring... I was ready to face the consequences in the future.

A shady man approached me from behind, I was able to feel his presence and his frame. Something was ominous about him, but I was curious to know why in the living hell he was following me. I stopped in the middle of the road, planting my feet firmly on the ground and exhaling all the air from my lungs I decided to talk to him.
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-”Alright, this is getting on my nerves, what the fuck do you want from me?”- I squeezed my fists tightly as I let out the question with annoyance in my tone and overall speech.
-”Sh is’ awwright’o, Simo’.”- The man answered me, his speech was the most random thing I ever heard... Not to mention the goofiness in his tone and a voice that was a little similar to my.
-”Ahh I get it! A creepy stalker already managed to learn my name.”- I commended his efforts as I clapped for him sarcastically.
-”Creepy stalka’? I always knew yar’ name, dumb fuck.”- The man laughed after saying his insult, his voice irritated me.. not only it was similar to my voice, but it was also in a higher pitch on purpose and sounded so daring. The intonation itself sounded funny and childish, like I was talking to some damn kid, who did not know the manners.
-”You what!?”- I touched the hilt of my sword and prepared to cut him down just in case if things were to get violent.

-”Yesh’, yesh’ mi’ bud’, mi’ brotha’ I know who yar’ are. No need to resort to yar’ sword.. Zerneger I assume.”- The stranger ended his speech with a laughter.
-”Alright this is getting way too annoying, how do you know all this information about me? Like hell, I didn’t tell the name of my sword to anyone if I remember correctly!”- I suddenly found myself wishing to break his arm or leg for this.
-”Ah gotcha, gotcha! Dun’ be angree’ awright’, Simo’ bud? Ye’ see I know everything about ya’, but I’m ‘ere not to brag about it, I came to discuss business ‘ere, brotha.”- He kept his tone goofy.
-”Tch, alright at least let me take a glance at you.”- I loosened the grip on the hilt and lowered my arm, slowly turning my head to his side. However my motion was interrupted by a sudden arc of blizzard, Half of my body became frozen from the bottom to the top.
-”I strongly advice yer’ against looking at mah’ face, matey!”- The solid ice suddenly thawed and drenched the right half of my body with liquid.
-”Damn you, what do you want from me!?”- I sighed as I yelled at him, but decided to keep myself from looking at him.  
-”Enough of this silly act. I came here to tell you something, Simon.”- His tone suddenly turned to a serious and ominous one. It’s like his personality shifted to the opposite side.
-”Tsk.. how did you manage to find me!? No, how do you know so much about me?”- My fingers twitched nervously along with skyrocketing heartbeat.
-”It wasn’t a hard task, given all the information I have about you. I know everything about you, about your past and where did you vanish for two whole years. Your sword is also responsible for the appearance of various rifts around the globe, they connect with some of the worlds that you visited once. As for myself, for now there’s no need for me to disclose my identity.”- This guy appeared like a dangerous news, but I had to act cool.
-”What do you want from me? What business do you have with me, are you with those people, like Hanzsel.. if that’s the case then I’m going to cut you down instantly.”- I threatened him.

-”Go on then, cut me down.”- He passed me by my right shoulder, patting me gently before stopping in front of me and exposing his wide open back. He was dressed in gray chained robes, his hands were covered with steel plates that had three spikes erected from above, they almost resembled steel claws. Probably a good tool for assassination and even better for hand-to-hand combat, where one punch would do to make his opponent bleed. On the upper part of his body a hood was sewn to the fabric and another, smaller one, was worn by him. Such a shady looking appearance, his attire almost resembled the one I worn in the past. A dangerous looking cyan sword was strapped to his back by metallic chains, it looked incomplete as it was frozen solid, reflecting sun rays at my side and emitting chilling pressure off it’s frame. The temperature gradually started to drop as a chilling sensation touched my skin beneath my clothes. The stalker was wide open, but yet I hesitated to strike him, his sheer presence and knowledge intimidated me. Despite the fact that I took him for a complete idiot at first he was probably smarter than I could of thought. As no one is foolish enough to expose the back to it’s opponent without a good plan up ahead.
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-”Your boldness will get you killed one day, you know.”- I desperately tried to keep calm.
-”Maybe, maybe. In the end it’s up to you, cut me down now and you might survive. Hesitate to cut me down and you might turn out as a corpse one day.”- He was perfectly calm.
-”So what business do you have with me? Should I repeat this to you or not, - are you with those people, who attacked me?”- I just wanted to wrap our pointless conversation as quickly as possible.
-”Ah... those people are not my enemies, but they are not my allies either. I fight for myself, just like you do right now. I came here to give you a message.”- He sighed and reached in inside his right pocket, searching for something.
-”What’s the message then, stranger?”- I curiously asked him as I lowered my guard for a moment.
-”Here, catch this card!”- He brought a white plastic card from his pocket and swiftly tossed it backwards, above his head. The card was flying in a trajectory, which resembled an arc. The throw was well calculated as it landed right inside my palms.
-”What is this nonsense?”- I took a glance at the card, numbers were present there.. The first one was crossed out with a red marker. The numbers went from one all the way to thirty one.
-”Count the days, exactly after a month come back to Baltasar Hill village.”- He stated.
-”Is that it? What will happen then? Why should I come there after a whole month?”- It sounded way too suspicious, but yet I was unsure, which part was the most suspicious, - was it his secretive presence or was it his message..?

-”I am just a messenger, nothing more and nothing less. However, exactly after a month a great crisis will strike this village. An all out war will break out, if you care about it’s safety you have no other choice, but to pay a visit there. Do I make myself clear?”- It sounded like a declaration of war, however was he really my enemy... or maybe, just maybe... he was my ally?
-”There’s no way, who are the attackers this time?!”- I panicked.
-”Well of course, it’s going to be them... Hanzsel, Aurora.. a couple of others will participate in the slaughter as well.”- He sighed and took a step forward.
-”Tch, well thanks for telling me this information, but can I even trust you?”- I wondered.
-”Of course you can, I’m not a liar. After all, we’re like brothers... in some way at least.”- He chuckled.

-”What the? This sword it can’t be!”- Zerneger’s voice suddenly entered inside my head.
-”What do you mean, do you know this sword?”- I spoke to him telepathically.
-”It’s way too similar to that sword, but it’s impossible! I must be imagining things!”- His tone was awfully nervous and distant, it’s like I could feel the fear coming from his voice.
-”What the hell do you mean? Tell me!”- I tried to draw the knowledge off him to the light.
-”No, never mind. It shouldn’t be possible for a human like him to have it. It must be a similar type...”- He suddenly stopped talking and remained silent for the time.
-”Brothers huh? You know what? You don’t make a lot of sense, but since you know a thing or two about me, I’ll be there after a month. Guess it’s inevitable, however can you at least tell me your name?”- I agreed to his bizarre request and wondered whether I was aware of his true name or not.
-”Perfect. I can’t say you my name, not yet at least. By the way, do you know Thomas’ whereabouts?”- He ended his speech with a question about Thomas at the end.
-”Guess, there’s no helping it. Thomas huh? I’m not sure what do you want from him, but since you know him I can tell you, he should be somewhere at Morheim I assume.”- I did not disclose the exact location to him though.
-”I see, thank you for your cooperation. Farewell, Simon.”- He headed off and ultimately vanished in the distance. I was lost for words and thoughts, I was not sure what to even say or do, however I was completely sure that my questions will be cleared in the upcoming month.
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Something was definitely suspicious about that person, yet I could not move a single finger under his ominous presence, it seemed like an invisible wall of  otherworldly strength was surrounding his body. It was always a foolish act to trust strangers, but then I thought that Sandvika’s life might be in grave danger. I had a whole month to prepare myself for the upcoming carnage, but yet I had to search for traces of Azure. Without Azure on my side... I alone stood no chance against them. I was trapped in a corner, but yet I had to move forward, I had no time to waste... not anymore. I decided to cut my break and head out off the oasis without further waiting. Hiding Zerneger inside it’s pocket dimension for convenience I began my search.
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(More will come in the evening or tomorrow.)

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27 Re: The Rift Dancer on Thu May 03, 2018 9:38 pm

New connections.

Water, food... I was almost out of supplies, the temperature was unbearably hot.. my skin was burning and the liquids inside my body were evaporating with each step that I took. The effects of the starvation took longer to take a toll on my body, but the lack of drinkable water made me nauseous and more or less mad. On top of all things I was lost in the middle of the desert, going in circles, wearing myself further, seeing mirages up ahead... my mind was getting crazy, rather I was getting insane myself... I was so exhausted that I was even unable to summon Zerneger to my side and escape from the desert through a portal. In the end my existence was fleeting, but I was clinging to one last hope, no matter what I had to survive, and to my biggest surprise I was able to see a village in a far, on some sort of hill, I decided to pay it a visit. At that point of time I was not aware of what kind of fortune the future may bring, however my decision marked the beginning of the second important event.

As a few crickets chirped in and among the village gardens, a girl in a distance struggled to get some shut-eye. She released a tiresome yawn, it appeared that the girly was watching over the entrance to the village or at least she was hanging out near the guards. In her horizon my frame became visible. I was advancing towards the village, taking slow steps as the scorching breezes of the desert were heating up the steel of Azure’s/my thick-layered black mask. My white clothes were smeared with sand. From the outside my skin was concealed by my cloth, which was drenched in hot sweat... I was breathing heavily beneath my mask. In a matter of a single minute I was fully present before the entrance of the village. I took a glance at the female guards, but my gaze remained shifted at the beauty, who was resting to my right. The visible red eye spots in the mask flashed a little as I exhaled the air from my lungs before speaking.
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-"I assume that you protect this village?"- I started off with a simple question.
-"Ahh! I didn't... see you there...” - She lulled from her half-sleeping daze. She jolted back for a moment, due to not having been paying attention to my approach before. The young girl stood up on her feet, revealing a remarkably tall, thin frame. She looked down at me, squinting at the mask I had on my face, she noticed the streams of sweat pouring from my forehead as well.
-"It's a bit late for tourists... wait a minute, you’re lepharist aren’t you?”- She frowned and knelt closer, poking at the mask.
As she invaded my personal space and poked my mask that I held so precious to myself I instantaneously backed away, by simply taking a quick step backwards. I brought my right hand to my chest, panting heavily from exhaustion...
-"Hmm... no, yours doesn't look like a revolutionary mask... however, you must answer truthfully if you're to stay the night here. Are you with them?"- With that question the girl rose above me, clutching her right fist tightly.  The sand crawled up her legs and flowed towards her hand, hardening into stone.

On normal circumstances I would of been amazed or even shocked seeing a woman, who appeared almost twice my height, but occurrence of this caliber did not make my jaw drop as usually. For some reason only momentary series of flashbacks passed through my head of the suffering and fighting for unknown cause. It appeared that my assumption was correct, the girl was indeed protecting the village uphill.
-"Lepha... w..what?"- My voice cracked, I was pretty much out of breath, but yet I tried to maintain  a straight posture. Upon seeing the hardened fist of pure sand I realized that it was not a wise decision to act hostile towards the woman.
-"Listen... woman.. I don't want any trouble here, I just want to stay the night here and I will be gone by the morning. I'm not here to cause problems... nor that I could in my current state."- It clearly was not a polite introduction, but I was just lost for words. The exhaustion was clouding my thoughts. After saying my words I wiped the dripping sweat from my chin with my black gauntlet.
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She merely rose her eyebrows as she looked down to me, and  then she dispelled her stony hand. The same hand reached for and wrapped around my back. After a long pause of silence she began to talk again.
-”Come with me, visitor." - She turned and began walking up the trail to the village, her heavy footfalls betraying her lithe figure.
-"There is space for you tonight, thankfully... and you need food and drink. Come, come.”-  She held me like some sort of puppy with her outstretched hand, but she slowed herself, noticing that I could barely stand from exhaustion. She sighed, and stepped back to me.
- "Do you... need a lift, sir?"- She placed her hands on her hips, sharing a fair view of her toned arms and stomach to me.  Although my, dried from the heat and lack of liquid, face was hidden beneath the mask, I could feel that my facial expression was just priceless. My eyes were widened as my mouth was completely opened out of confusion. I did not expect such hospitality from a stranger, especially a woman, who casted down a huge shadow on my manhood, both physically and psychologically.
-"No. I can take care of myself..."- I merely shook my head as I replied. I just shrugged away her gracious offer.
-"Although the food and drinks would be nice.”- It was not my pride that rejected her, it was just distrust. My suspicions rose, because I barely trusted strangers. Thus I began to barely climb up the hill by myself, my legs were shaking and my back was bent forwards. However I still managed to take some small steps upwards, grunting and hopelessly trying to reach the top by myself.
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The guard woman followed closely behind me, and with one outstretched hand she slowly pulled the burning-hot coat from my shoulders. She seemed to respect my lethal stubbornness. Though she followed closely behind, ready to catch me in case if I collapsed.
-”You’re going to burn up, you need to take that mask off, fellow."- Her coarse, commanding voice lowered and a smooth, sweet yet bassy tone escaped her lips when she spoke. She continued to pat my shoulder with her hand as we walked, her heavy footfalls were still easily audible behind me.
-"Nah... it is quite alright.. If I'm going to burn alive in this mask then so be it... I have to be worthy of wearing it as my own face.”- My fist was clenched tightly, the metal of my gauntlet was grinding against my hand. No way in living hell, I wanted to take Azure’s mask off. Maybe I finally started to become more like Azure?

As we were walking to the top I found myself thinking about various things, why did I receive such hospitality, what was up with her overly welcome kindness, so many questions marched through my head, but yet of all things I did not even properly introduce myself. How could I introduce myself in the first place? I thought that maybe I was going right into the enemy’s trap. If it was not the case, then still I did not deserve to be welcomed so friendly. I was nothing more, but a pathetic loser with communications, who had an awful mouth and it was not like I could repay her properly afterwards, since my mission was my top priority. Meeting her was yet another trial to me, a trial that I had to overcome. A question of trust and opportunity to gain a potential ally in the future. I knew nothing at all, but I decided to keep myself cautious. Thus questions of distrust began to linger in my head.

-"So, what are your real intentions? Are you going to assassinate me in my own sleep or are you just as naive as I was? Not that I changed to this day."- I laughed as my pace became significantly slower, my feet were abandoning me already. The girl’s expression contorted a bit, she showed signs of confusion.
-"Assassinate you? What? Why would I..."- Her speech stopped midway, before she added something more to it.
-"Look... Mister... Mask? I'll call you M&M for now. I do assume that you you have a heat stroke or you've had a rough patch, but nobody here wants you dead... nobody here wants to kill or maim you. You're in Agairon Village now, and you're under the watch of the Guardian Protector, Janus." -She introduced herself as she stepped ahead some more.
-"Look, tough guy, I... know you don't want to be babied, but... you can't stand much longer. Let me help you."- Her voice grew increasingly tender, sounding less like a bassy teenager and more like a maternal woman, she extended her hand towards me with a though to guide me up to the village like a mother would her son. At least this is how it looked, because of our significant height difference.
-"No... no...I am strong, trust me. I'm just weary..."- I sighed beneath the mask as the dense condensed steam of sweat made it's way through the side gaps of the mask. Ignoring Janus' kind and unusual gesture, I chose the path of pride. Rather it was not pride, which was driving me, I was just inadequate from all the heat that my body absorbed. I passed through Janus' extended hand and took a couple of steps forward, but then ironically I lost my balance as my left foot impacted with a pebble, which was halfway burred inside the sandy path.
-"Azu-.."- My strength was gone and yet I tried to say his name, but this sentence of mine was interrupted as I fell on the path face first. Luckily for me, the mask protected me from breaking my nose or fracturing my front teeth. Pathetic, such a wasted effort... I ran myself straight into damnation.
-”The name is Simon..."- At last I introduced myself with, lying all hopeless on the rough sandy path. My consciousness was slowly dwindling, just a drop of water or at least some food would of done the job to keep me in shape.

Janus watched my display without speaking, and pinched her nose in silence as I collapsed.
-"I gotcha, champ..."- She sarcastically said.
The large woman knelt down and wrapped her arms around my stomach. She gently lifted me up and pressed me against her bosom, afterwards she began to make her way with me in her arms up the hill. She was coddling me close like I was some damn child. She could feel the burning desert heat having permeated all of my clothes, and then she tugged open my shirt with her free hand to let some ventilation in. However, I did not care... I was already at the verge of passing out.
-”We need to get you water now."- She quickened her pace, and pressed my hot chest into her own, trying to suck up some of the heat with her body. I was able to feel a slow, steady throbbing of her bosom, which signified her heartbeat. She took long strides up the hill, kicking sand up as she came over to the priest to lend her a hand. My exposed chest was immensely hot, probably close to fire in heat... alongside the chest one more detail became visible for Janus. My skin at that area was almost devoid of life, blackened like charcoal as the black rounded ornaments were outstretched to various sides of my torso from the chest, which was marking the center of this corruption of mine.

She brought me inside a building. Janus yawned, the sleep deprivation was getting to her far harder now. But still, she managed to shove the cups and candles from the table as she laid me down across it.
-"Aerope, get him some spring water. We're losing him."- She gave a request to someone nearby, but my eyes were shutting and reopening, only small glimpses were visible for me. I was able to feel that someone stepped besides me and spoke.
-"I've... never seen these kind of burn markings before... What is this?..."-  The voice belonged to an old man. He ran his finger lightly across my chest. The desert girl clasped her hand around my mask and pulled it away.
-”But this doesn't look like a burn to me... I don't know what this is, but... it's got to be magical." - She leaned in closer, her more acute eyesight was able to notice the corrupt blackness that was dancing across me. A girl marched inside, carrying the mystic spring water, and without a word Janus took it from the smaller woman's grasp. The girl lifted my back from the table, administering the water to me.

I slowly reached for the bowl, which was filled with revitalizing water, and leaned closer with my mouth. My red eyes lit up as the sparks of joy glimmered in my pupils.
-"F...i...na..lly.."- I barely murmured and then  I began to suck the liquid substance inside my mouth... my mouth was like a black hole devouring the light... the content was emptied in a matter of seconds, since I was thirsty like a predator that was lusting for blood. Instantaneously I was able to feel quite a surge of energy entering inside my body and at last I was able to talk more clearly.
"Thank... you... but why in the living hell would you help a person like me?”- I started off with a simple, but yet self-disrespecting question. Not that I hated myself, it was just to test her worth. Afterwards I slowly glanced over to the sides, looking at the people presented inside and then I looked down at my exposed chest. I folded my arms around my chest in means to hide the corruption. The people were staring at me, I merely remained silent for a bit, but with a little bit of passing time I shifted my gaze to Janus.
-"Can you... uh... give my mask back...?"- The mask was more important to me than being grateful or so. It meant almost if not everything to me. Janus sat beside me, leaning up against the table as she gently rubbed the surface of the mask with her long fingers, before placing it inside a nearby wardrobe.
-"You can have it back in a few minutes... right now, you need rest, traveler."- She lectured me with the same familiar maternal tone. She stood to move over to the nearby cabinets, pulling out a few pieces of salt pork and bread, holding it out to me.
-"We can give you some more for the road, but right now you need to lie there and get your strength back.”-
She looked down to my chest, and she poked it gently.
-"So... what happened here? And... yes.. we take care of the people who come here. That's what we do. It's my duty."- She spoke once more, not even letting for me to interrupt. The old man and a woman both nodded approvingly and they stepped out the building to get some air.
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I listened to her words and questions especially... I merely sighed while still trying to cover up my chest.
-"I do not think that it should concern you..." -  A brief answer of mine it was, before the growling sound from below my stomach stopped my speech. I was hungry like a starving wolf.
-"Alright... I will explain everything to you, but first can I sink my teeth inside the food?" - I could not resist the sight of delicious looking food, actually even if it was bread alone it would of been enough to satisfy my hunger. I frowned a little and unfolded my arms from the chest, I then fixed my eyes on the plate, where a delicious salt pork and bread rested, ready for consumption. The hunger awakened primal instincts of the hunter in my eyes as with a swift motion I grabbed the bread first and stuffed it inside my mouth, almost choking on it, I made sure to swallow every little crumb. Indeed the hunger that lasted for so long was getting on my senses and this meal was like a blessing from the divines for me. Sound of munching resonated within the room as I clearly showed no sign of table etiquette, not that I was taught to behave like this before.
-"Oh yesh... thish ish yummy..." - Like an uneducated monkey I talked with my mouth stuffed... that was until I ultimately finished the bread.
"Hah! Much better! Now for the best part!"- I grabbed the pork and sank my teeth inside it, tearing off the skin off meat with my teeth alone until I found myself slurping it inside my mouth.
-”Yesh... thish ish gheat..."- I did not allow for her to interrupt and my speech was barely recognizable as the sound of munching continued. I ate the meat clean to the very bone. My eyes were sparkling in joy as I then placed what was left of the pork on the plate.
-"Now that's what I call a meal! Only whisk-..."- I shut my mouth midway and merely shook my head, rising from the table on my feet, I clenched the right fist firmly. I slammed my clenched fist just before the plate as it slightly shot itself up due to my strength, luckily it landed on the table’s surface safely and was unbroken. I quit drinking for good. Or so I thought... But those cravings for the good old “cure” were still stuck inside my heart.
-"No, I'm done with that..."- I then let out a deep sigh and shifted my gaze at Janus, while still maintaining the pressure on my clenched fist. I decided to finally speak normally or at least try to.

-"I believe that I introduced to you, before passing out. Might be my imagination though, the name is Simon."- I barely managed to decorate my face with an artificial smile. I brought the very same fist that was clenched to my chest and gently knocked on it, looking at the floor once again.
-"Well, I can't be dishonest with you... after all... you showed hospitality towards me... As of right now, I am not sure what is this thing for myself... but each time I tap into my sword's power it starts to consume me... Well as far as I know it has something to do with my life force... oh... you probably don't know what it is either... so... uh... basically it means that I don't have a lot of time left in the world of living." - I shook my head multiple times, while trying to explain about the black corruption to her. After coming up with the explanation I began to laugh hopelessly. Janus nodded woefully as I explained my wound to her.
-"I see, Simon... as I'd said before you fell unconscious, I am the village guardian, Janus. I've been... taught enough about magic to know about hexes like curses.. but it’s a little different than that. It is slowly killing you? That's awful.. I... wish I could solve that dilemma for you, but, alas... I'm a mere sand mage. All that I know is how to deal with simple curses, which are outside the realm of this necrotic affliction of yours. I... wish I could save you." - She leaned towards me, her face collapsed into a frown.
-"Would you still accept our offer of lodging and food for the night, though? I... wouldn't want to keep you long; I imagine you were probably on the way to find someone." - She stepped close and held her hand out to me for a shake.

I was a little nervous upon Janus' approach. I raised my dominant hand, which was right, skywards, passing above Janus' hand... It was a complete fake out, but it has it’s own reason.. there were things more important for me at that point of time.
-”First Thing... my mask."- I stated as I raised my index finger up.
-"Second thing... my coat..."- I raised my middle finger up.
-"Give those back to me...Ok?"- After I was done with my requests I took off my black metallic gauntlet from my hand and nervously wrapped my fingers around Janus' forefinger, trying to shake her clearly larger hand.
-"And yes... I accept your offer... as I am lost on my tracks at the moment. I'm not looking for the cure to my disease as I learned to handle my sword a little better... and this curse is my sword that you are referring to, he is my partner... at times he seems suspicious, because he does not like to share information with me, but at other times he's probably the only thing that I have left by my side.”- I gave her a brief explanation about the root of the problem as I then built up the courage to tilt my head upwards and look Janus in the eye.
-"Though I am looking for someone else, but I don't see a point in explaining everything to you. However I am thankful and as a former leader of another village I must warn you, - do not welcome strangers to your village so naively!"- At the end of my warning I changed my tone to a deeper and stronger as the emotions of complete despair crossed my mind for a moment. I was taken back to the past... Yet it did not matter anymore... Some traumatic events still remained and honestly I just wanted her not to follow my path. As long term experience showed me the miseries of this world and when the fate of others rested on one’s shoulders I could not possibly stay silent about this.

-"Of course. You may have your belongings back." - The girl took one long step away from me for a moment, before pulling my coat and mask from the wardrobe, and holding them out for me. She then looked down to me with a worried face expression.
-“I appreciate your concern for my village, but I promise you Agairon is in capable hands. And one day, I'll come to a point where no one can threaten it’s people; that is my duty, my mission as the Protector." - She stepped and she wheeled about to turn to the door.
-"When you're fully dressed, I can show you to where you'll stay the night. Supplies for your journey will be brought to you in the morning, alright?"- I smirked in anticipation after hearing Janus' words.
-"As the Protector huh? Interesting...."- I started to empathize with her, to my eyes she looked like a complete image of a younger and more naive me. The suspicion was still lingering inside my brain, but I felt more closer to her... if she was not spouting me lies about being the protector. I dressed up and followed her afterwards.

-"Alright, let's bring you to the inn."- Janus began to walk down the road towards the building down on the left side cliff. She sniffled to herself for a moment. She opened the door of the inn, and held it there for me. She looked to me with a visible twinge of uneasiness on her face.
-"Here... tell the keeper that Janus sent you. And, look..."- She leaned in close, getting her face right over my eyes.
-”About what happened before, but before you conked out... you... said that I was luring you into some kind of trap so I could kill you... and... I don't do that... and what you said really upset me."- She rose back to her full height again and held the door open with her extended foot, looking off over the cliff and sniffling some more. She did not ask for an apology, but she was clearly choking on tears, much as she tried to hide it.
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Through the mask that concealed emotions on my face, I was able to see through Janus' pained face, however what I truly lacked were the words and emotions to comfort the girl properly. My breathing was dense and heavy, due to fiery air clear clouds of hot steam were escaping through the gaps of the mask as I finally began to speak, hoping to be reasonable about my previous actions.

-"It has nothing to do with you, it's me and me alone... alright?" -Nonchalant words bounced inside the mask as I sighed, producing even more steam than previously... I gritted my teeth and folded my arms against the chest, turning to the opposite direction of Janus. I knew that it was a bad choice of words, so I then tried to speak again, but my voice was cracking in between the words.
-"Listen... It's not that I consider you as horrible person, nor do I trust you completely, but the hospitality that you provided for me was enough to slightly change my image about you. I still expect a lot of things from you... even worse than I mentioned before... No...Sorry..."- A total failure of a man, who was trying to comfort a person I was.. I pressed my palm against the black mask, I tried come up with a different approach while suppressing the tears of unease memories of mine.
-"So several weeks ago I indeed met nice people that punched some sense inside my head, however I can't change myself so easily... I want to believe that this world is indeed beautiful, but I lack the courage to go on... to make it real... as I am just a dying man, who decided to reshape his fate and make his final dream come true... for that reason I can't just simply trust anyone, I have to save up my strength... No! That's not it...”- I found myself to be completely lost for words, as I then  fell on my knees and took a glance on the sand below, thinking what to say next.
“I just don't want to see my close ones suffering... I want for them to live in a world without sorrow, but to fulfill such a naive wish I have to keep my distance from people, because at each doorstep a shadow of despair is knocking... I'm sorry, it's not about you... it's just my own trust issues..."- For a moment I remained to be silent. I then rose on my feet again and scrubbed off the sand from my pants with my gauntlets.
-"Anyway, it was not for me to talk... I really hope that you are not one of them... at least not one of those people, who try to deceive me." - I wanted to say something else, something better... but nothing was knocking on my mind... nothing at all.. In the end I was unable to save a girl from mere tears, and yet she helped me to survive the merciless desert.
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After a while, Janus spoke quietly:
-"I... can't be that kind of person. I don't want to... A-a few days ago, there was a woman stuck up the hill, trapped in the Kaidan Caldera by herself, and I went up to go rescue her by myself.” - She was murmuring through the bloody tears of her.
-"I-I saved her, and I thought I-I could just leave, since I can fly and all, but I got grounded by those savages, and... I... lost my temper. I mean, they tried to kill us. I pushed the better part of two dozen of those red-skinned mooks off the cliff into the lava with my magic..." - She sniffled, and began to weep.
-"I-I didn't mean to knock them to their deaths, I just wanted them out of my sight. And the next thing I know the whole cliff-side breaks off and falls away..." - She was crying fully, stopping and continuing her speech repeatedly.
-"I... didn't want to hurt anybody... that woman said that they earned it but... people don't have to hurt... people don’t know the other way to deal with things like.... like that..." - She ran silent for some time, and pulled away from the door to look over the cliff face, crying openly into her hands.

I was merely staring at Janus’s direction with gimlet eyes, my expression was lifeless beneath the mask, which kept my emotions hidden. The sound of falling and sour liquid drops caught my ears, - it was the sound of Janus crying. Such a strange emotion, what was it really? The emotion, the innocence, the grief that I felt no too long ago was nothing less, but relatable for me. After all... she saved me, she helped me, she welcomed me warmly and I... and I of all people resorted to such violent acts... I felt no better than a scum. She was almost like me in the past... Indeed she was just like me... I too was a protector of the village, I too wanted to welcome others warmly.. Even I sought to save the ones in the need of help, but yet there was nothing for me to do, nothing at all. I was not the type to comfort someone, nor I was the type to say special motivating words. I did this only on occasions when I truly felt like myself, when I truly trusted in others... but this girl.. was different, yet she possessed no signs of danger I could not just trust her blindly. The damage that was done can not be repaired, never... the scars that were left behind can not be erased, however it only took a fraction of second when a not so distant memory of something crossed my mind.

It was the time, when I was crying... when I was trying to protect the village, where I had to resort to violence in order to protect the ones, who were worthy of protection. I was devoured by the sadness, which was the consequence of all the conflicts. That time, I lost myself to that sadness, that time I lost my sole friend... yes Azure... the name of my friend... It was a living hell for me, nowhere to go, no goal in mind... trails of misery followed, however even someone like me managed to overcome the sadness and to trust humanity by even a little. There were people for me, they helped me to stand up on my feet again, without them I would of been a mess right now... Indeed it only took so little to become truly happy for once... It was the time when all of them were there for me, believing in their different ideologies, but yet trying to do the same for my sake. Yes it was a memory of Jaina, which finally reached my head... The time when she hugged me and squeezed some of the sadness out of me, yet I was acting all childish and egoistical... I had to do the same for this girl, it was the only way to show her that I care about her, to show that I trust her... To make her feel better even if for a little. Because in the end... She did not seem like a bad person... She actually appeared like a reflection of my shattered past and I was not the same person anymore.. The strength was inside me... I never lost the motivation to go on, it was just a bad day that threw me out of balance... The meeting with that strange man, with a fancy blade on his back, reminded me that my journey will be rough... But it was not the time or place to reflect on the emotions... No.. it was the time and place to once again show this world how I managed to mature, and how these ideologies, which were driving me onwards my goal rolling their most brilliant colors.

I stood straight and I clapped with my palms, releasing an ear piercing shriek of metal, which was a product of my gauntlets. My gaze became fixed at crying Janus's back and my feet began to move on their own. Was it right? Or was it wrong for me to approach her like this? There was no time to be looking for answers in this scenario, I was just doing what I deemed to be right. The fiery wind produced by the heat in the desert was blowing against my mask, slightly burning my face beneath. A tear of fleeting memory rolled from my left eye, as I closed in to her back and slowly reached for it and wrapped my arms around Janus' waist, I leaned on Janus' back, hopelessly trying for her to get the idea that the firm and warm touch was present.. and it was firm. Indeed, just as back then... I was hugged by someone firmly, now it was my chance to spread this gesture of kindness.
-"Now... now, don’t cry now.”- I even subconsciously repeated Jaina’s words and then added a speech of my own ideology that I manifested throughout the time by the help of others and my own circumstances.
-”There... That's enough. I managed to take a glance inside your feelings. I am aware that some things can't be redone, but if it's your duty... then resort to any measure to protect this village. You are not worth the tears... You are too young to cry over these things. It's not the end of the world yet.. You can still make a difference by your actions alone. Just do whatever you deem right!"- My speech was firm, but something was lacking at the same time. I wanted to add a lot more to it, but I was not the person of  great words, at least not for that day. I sighed and a warm laughter resonated within my mask.
-”For you.. I am thankful. I believe in you, though I am not able to see through your thoughts. This time I'm placing my bet in trusting you..  Just like you are right now I was the leader of a village once... Although it is pretty distant from here."- My actions were bold, yet I was not aware what was about to come next, but she helped me and this was the only act I could perform to repay for her kindness.  

She jolted slightly when I came up behind her to give a hug, and as I spoke, she indeed slowly calmed down. Her long fingers migrated to gently clutch my back up to her full height. She slowly turned to look down at me, her face red and puffy from the tears she cried. Without saying a word, she knelt for a moment, and scooped me up into her arms, squeezing me firmly and holding my head against her collar.
-"Thank... you..."- She sniffled again, and walked with me in her arms towards the inn. She held me to herself like a mother would a child, her arm holding me by the waist. I felt quite uncomfortable to be treated like some sort of baby, especially from a girl of her age, but I was happy to know she got better. She ducked, setting me on my feet at the clerk's desk. She nodded to the woman at the desk, and turned to leave. Standing in the doorway, she looked back to me for a time, and broke off the silence.
-"I... I needed that. There’s good room for the evening, or as long as you wish to stay. Visitors are welcome here... you're welcome here, Simon."- She smiled warmly and wiped a stray tear from her cheek as she looked outside again.
-”I... need some time alone, to think things through. I figure that chest wound of yours needs its own time as well. If you need something the townsfolk can't offer you, come up the hill and give me a call. I'll be here... always. It's who I am."- She left then, allowing  the air from outside of the intolerable desert heat.

My thoughts and unsaid words remained inside my mind however. I slightly nodded at the leaving Janus and waved my hand at her direction.
-"I am thankful to you as well, I'll be departing in the morning as I have no time to waste. No one knows if our paths will cross again, but whenever I see you in a need for help I'll be on your side. I will support you however I am able to, it's only natural to express my gratitude after all the things you've done for me. It's a promise. Best of luck to you and remember that sometimes we have no other choice but to sacrifice something for a greater thing. This world is not fair, but it is the only way to assure the survival of ourselves and the ones that we keep close to our hearts."- Thus for the last time I expressed my gratitude towards her and shared some of my wisdom as a former leader of the village. The woman smirked as she walked up the desert trail.

Thus my encounter with Janus came to an end. In the end I was in the wrong, she was just a sweet and innocent girl, who had no ill intention towards people. Her life radiated with bright colors of kindness and selflessness, in order to protect someone she had to stain her hands with blood, but if only she had another option... I was sure that she would of chosen the different path. I was just blind, maybe... indeed... maybe the heat was getting to my senses, but one thing was certain, - I truly made a connection and started a new and most likely a powerful bond. I was reminded once again that this world was beautiful and no matter the odds people fight for the sake of this world. It was merely a futile ignorance coming from me... Just a couple of hours I was no better than the previous me, but at the end of the day I managed to grow even more. I realized that those ideas of people were keeping me alive, even I possessed the ability to save someone from fatal tears. Indeed the similarities that I shared with Azure were brought to light in their brightest colors. I became happy, full of joy... because I reached this conclusion. Janus became my friend, at least this is how I wanted to consider her as... Because of her unparalleled help towards me... Yet I could of been anyone and use her kindness to my own advantage. Thus my strength and my mind were back to their shapes.

It was a late night already, I had the option to stay the night and wait for the morning, however I chose a different path... as the numbered card reminded me that there was no time to waste.. not too far from now my village was on the verge of destruction and yet I still had to continue my search... to continue my journey of lighting my dreams up. Since I did not want to cause any more noise or unnecessary ruckus I decided to escape through the window in my room. I looked up at the window and noticed that it had bars instead of glass. I gathered the shadows in my palm and shaped them into a sharp and solid saw. Without further waiting I sawed off the metallic bars and climbed up the frame, jumping through the window and then landing on the solid sand with my feet. I reached inside my pockets in search for a coin or two. I managed to find a couple shiny coins and tossed them inside the room, through the same window. I hoped that the money would be enough to cover the repairs of the window. Finally I summoned Zerneger on my side, supporting the blade on my right shoulder I headed out to the desert again. However, after a couple of more days I realized that my search was fruitless even there, but it was not meaningless.. I experienced a lot of things myself and as well I made a nice connection. Indeed, a promising future it was... or at least I hoped for one to be... The sun was rising, marking my next destination. I already knew where to come next...
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(A recreation of the RP that I had quite some time ago. Continuation is estimated on late Saturday or early Sunday.)

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28 Re: The Rift Dancer on Tue May 15, 2018 11:53 am

In a search for fleeting memories, in a parallel vision scattered betrayal and devastating mysteries lingered.

After escaping the fiery hellish heat of the desert I headed straight to Morheim with a hope to regain my memories back. At last I felt prepared to learn the truth, the ultimate truth behind myself. I was aware that I was in the middle of a different quest, but there was no time to waste.. only fifteen days remained before complete destruction of the village. Without my memories back I was not certain if I could take them on... and even if I were to return my memories back I was not guaranteed in victory. However... all alone, without Azure by my side I stood no chance at all, at least this is how I felt... it was only logical to think this way. No matter how powerful I felt, no matter how brave I was I could not escape my fate, actually I acknowledged their strength. I thought that by unlocking my past.. the chances of survival would grow.

Thus the setting was quickly switched to the cold and wintry one as I found myself wandering around the snowy paths of the distant lands. The blizzard had a powerful impact on my skin, my body was indeed freezing as I then found myself unable to feel the tips of my fingers. However I loved snow, I loved winter... I did enjoy what was frosty.. Snowflakes fell like a mystical mysteries, the mountains in the far signified my destination and the cloudy peak in the distance appeared like a pinnacle of the tower, where the gates of truth stood mighty... Ready to be opened... The man, who held the key to my past also had a temporal cure to my disease... if I were to ingest that... the corruption of darkness, the vines of despair would back away... even if for a short amount of time, it was still enough to utilize my power, no, - my and my sword’s powers to their full extents.

I was walking on the icy lakes. The frozen lakes were slippery and appeared like a broken mirror with thousands of fragments, which reflected the light and the images of me from all imaginable angles. Such beauty, such crystal clear view, my heart skipped a beat it was something that symbolized my thoughts... A shocking and mysterious mess, which was my mind, but yet those dreams that I had was like a rainbow, which outstretched those delusions. I was not intending to turn back, to reflect on my journey... to return to being a child that I was before, however it was such an irony... indeed it was ironical... For me to reach the mystery of the future I had to return to the past and understand how everything worked up until now. It only meant one thing, - turning back... the only solution... the only salvation... However, acceptance of myself was an option to move onward, to fight further... to shatter those boundaries and to break those chains that were entangling me up until this point.

As I was getting closer to the mountain I found myself ascending the stairs with thousands and thousands.. miserable and thoughtful steps. I had the ability to fly, but instead I chose to do it the hard way, to think things through, to reflect on the person I became over these current years... Because I had a feeling that after I return my memories back the current me would probably vanish forever. However, cruel sacrifices were necessary in order to protect what was really important, in order to stop the darkness and illuminate not only the village, but the world itself. My resolve was firm.. As firm as a diamond, as strong as my sword... as deadly as Triniel... as promising as my wish to bring back Azure, or at least to see him again. The stairs were slowly filling themselves with white and dense clouds, my fists were clutched and my eyes were fixed to the sky, where the peak resided.
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Suddenly as the chilly breeze blew on my face my vision became abstract, something was changing... beams of white light emerged in my sight and divided into millions of square windows, where the visions differed... Visions of different places, of different realms... of yet unknown places and familiar ones as well, until everything blurred out and I was able to see something. To see something otherworldly and familiar, yet trivial at the same time. The gray area of Beluslan, the descending snowflakes in a far.. it felt like I was gazing through the eyes of a different person, it appeared so vivid and realistic.. I was not moving, but I was able to feel myself advancing forwards until I stumbled upon a cliff and gazed into far.. Somehow I instantly received knowledge that these eyes, which belonged to God knows who or what... Recently left this mountain, which I was climbing on, and were marching through other snowy areas, to the possible location where Brusthonin was... Suddenly my view zoomed out as I was able to see someone standing on a cliff. Possibly a man, cladded in steel, spiky armor, a familiar sword was present on his back, entangled in the frozen chains... it was... it was.. that stranger... but why.. why was I able to see through his eyes? Why in the world I was seeing him from a far, it made no sense.. it was an illogical and abstract experience just like the one I had not too long ago, when my subconsciousness merged with Zerneger’s.. the ultimate universe? Was it really the work of it? Or was it something completely different? Indeed it felt like I was that person, like we shared the same thoughts and sights.. like we were as one, but why? My head was burning up as I then collapsed on my knees and the vision dispersed. What was the meaning of that? I tried to shout it out loud, yet when I decided to ask whether Zerneger knew about this vision he just kept his mouth closed.. The terms of contract were keeping me away from answers as always.
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I snapped out from the misleading thoughts and rose on my feet, my cloak lingered in the air, the tips half frozen and solidified. I continued the climbing process, the world below was getting smaller and smaller... so this was the view? The view, from where Gods and Goddesses laughed at us... imperfect beings? Like insects we were crawling in the dirt, one single touch, one single assault from a higher force and the extinction was definitely inevitable. I was pretty close to the peak, although the stairs were not leading to the top, instead the construction stopped just there, and everything what stretched from that point was just pure, white snow.

I set my wings in flapping motion, accelerating upwards, my frame was pushing through the frozen air.. I was ascending to the highest point... I was this close, but yet I knew nothing again.. In the end it turned out that I just wasted my time... I lost time.. yes.. time was the most important thing for me... There was no one on the peak, nothing at all... A wasted attempt it was.. or was it really?
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-”Thomas!!!”- A shout escaped my lips, resonating in the skies like a rumbling thunder it broke through the layers of air, disrupted the wind and broke through the barriers of space. But in return I received only a dead silence.. a dead and empty silence stroked my ears.
The man was nowhere to be found, not even a trace of him was left... did he trick me? Did he die? It was not to my knowledge, but then I noticed a letter, which was burred in the snow between my feet. I leaned down and pulled the frozen paper from the snow and examined it carefully. It appeared that it was folded and had a black seal imprinted, which reminded me the marking on my face. Indeed it was Thomas’ true specialty, reality bending by the use of seals.. A sinister magic it was, how was he able to do it...? it was not to my knowledge as well, but him escaping his death was probably the help of the very same power. With the help of my finger I severed the seal, which was keeping the paper folded and took a peek at what it said.

“Simon, due to help of this seal that I planted on this piece of paper no one is able to see this letter, except for you. I thought that you might pay a visit to me soon. I might be dead by this time or I might be alive somewhere, nothing is certain at this point. However, I blame you for revealing my whereabouts to that monster.. you don’t even understand what you did, he’s a beast.. a monster of monsters! Not even yours and mine combined powers are enough to bring him down, he’s just way too powerful. Run away as far as possible, forget about the village, save yourself! Nothing good is coming, trust me. A great crisis will strike... you and I, everyone will die... however there is a way for you to defeat him.. you must regain your memories, if I manage to return safely seek me out in this place once again, if you will survive yourself. Best of luck to you.”

I burned the piece of paper, which rested in my hands and sighed.. Hanzsel? Was he for real? We were having him dancing on his toes last time... Was Thomas out of his mind? Or did the mad scientist suddenly gained a boost to his powers?! I rubbed my chin in wonder and looked up to the sky, thinking that it was not the reason to run away.. Gah and what was the vision about?! I was more than confused, I was trapped in a never ending labyrinth of my thoughts... some things did not add up. If the man was a messenger... how did he scare Thomas off? If Hanzsel and his army was preparing to attack the village, just how many of them were going to participate? I was merely bending my brain, it was meaningless to overthink.. I still had to make the difference, I needed numbers.. allies... anything or anyone...!! It was a painful riddle to solve, however I realized that I had to stop my journey for the time being... I had to head to the village right away and warn the villagers, without further waiting, without fooling around and slowing down my feet.. I really hated to do it, but I had to open a rift that led to my village. It was only a small exchange of my life essence in order to save many other lives. I called forth Zerneger and swung the blade in front of me.. it ripped through the air, shattering the continuum of space it teared out the reflections of the distant stars in the vast space and expanded before me, thus a dimensional shortcut was created, leading me to one place, which was my home in the past, where everything that I held dear resided in. Baltasar hill village it was...

Conference of rising conflict.

In the middle of my home village, I stood on a high and flat column. Although I wanted to reminisce about the days I spent there, although I wanted to talk with Sandvika or to apologize to everyone, who experienced harm because of me there was no time to waste.. I had to place my trust in the villagers and hope to receive support, to warn them about the upcoming genocide. The people were gathering below, the majority of them were giving me furious glares, while others were merely confused or afraid. Pebbles and other objects were flying towards me, but I was standing firmly, accepting each and every blow... I knew.. I knew... I understood that I was wrong in the past, but I did not want for my villagers to end up extinct. I wanted for their peace and liberation, for them to have peaceful and promising lives. Without terror, without sacrifices, without conflicts... yet it was only a childish fantasy of mine, to bring everyone together, to see if our combined efforts were enough to prevent the carnage, to prevent the suffering and the crippling despair.. it only took so little, they just had to see through my ideas, to gaze into my heart.. although no one was able to do so.. however I still chose to warn them about what was about to come next.

-”Monster! Murderer! Scum! Die! Rot! Choke! Disappear!”- The angry mob continuously repeated, throwing everything at me.. spilling every trash on me, their ignorant mouths were accompanied by hateful words. They had every right to blame me, they had every right to detest me.. But their ignorance was getting on my nerves...
-”Silence and listen to me!”- I released a loud and furious shout, the crowd suddenly fell into silence, but after a couple of seconds they raised their arms up to the sky, angrily swaying their fists to my side and picking up objects from the ground, only to toss them at me afterwards.
-”Killer of the child! Your presence here only attracts trouble and chaos! You betrayed Azure! You betrayed your people! Please hang yourself in front of us and burn your own corpse!”- Sentences of detest only flooded my ears as nothing was certain and nothing was clear, it was a bad idea to introduce myself as Simon, but even if I did introduce as another person... well they would of never believed in a complete stranger.
-”Shut up you ignorant scums!”- I treated them with their own medicine and pulled out Azure’s mask from my backpack and held it up, in front of the gathering crowd. Everyone suddenly went silent and whispers began to build around the place.
-”Oh, so now we’re scums.. but first you were begging us to hear you out..”- A notorious comment escaped from the mass.
-”Listen... You don’t have to believe in me, nor do you have to listen what I am about to say to you, however if you care for the lives of your children, if you cherish the bright future of this village you have to take my words to your hearts.”- I cleared my throat afterwards and inhaled air into my lungs. I was prepared for my speech, the plan with the mask did work.. I got their attention. Azure's mask was well known around Baltasar hill.

-”Go on then! Spill the beans, we don’t have a lot of time to waste on person like you!”- Their lips were synchronized.
-”People of Baltasar hill village, people of my home, my brothers and sisters in arms, everyone that I hold dear to my heart here. Please hear me out as I have an announcement to make! Not as Simon, who betrayed you quite some time ago, not as Sylvester, who helped you a lot and desperately tried to protect the village from the last tragedy.  Not as Azure either, today I am talking as the one or rather no one, as someone that you guys used to know, as a fellow villager of our humble village. In the name of the holy tree’s protection... no in the name of a brighter future.. I address all of you my fellow friends, enemies, allies and strangers!”- I tossed Azure’s mask down to the crowd, for them to take a better look. They were passing the mask from one hand to another, examining it carefully. Even more whispers spilled and disrupted the harmony of the blowing wind.
-”It can’t... No way... It really is his mask.. but how? Did he killed his sole friend? Is Azure alive somewhere? What in the world is going on?”- Whispers were growing louder and louder until it manifested into mass confusion.
-”Be quiet and focus your attention towards me!”- I strictly commanded. The traits of leadership were still strong in me. The crowd suddenly shifted it’s judicial eye to me and stretched it’s ear to hear me out. At last they escaped from the claws of ignorance.

-”I know that I caused a lot of problems to you, I am also aware that my sins can not be atoned and the dirt that I am carrying on myself can not be washed away, however even I... someone like me... I have feelings and I have things I want to protect in this village, but I can’t do this alone.. I ask for your cooperation.”- I began my speech steadily, trying to hide my lingering emotions of doubt.
-”Fourteen days from now this village will become a battlefield, people from another world will invade this place. Yes, it is my fault that they will attack this place, they are seeking to lure me right into their trap. Half a month ago a mysterious messenger warned me that they will strike this place in about a month. They mentioned that if I do not show up here, this village will be devastated, most likely it will mean all of you dying, the tree burning and so on...”- I held my fist pressed against my chest and went on with the speech.
-However if we work together we can prevent this crisis! We have time to prepare! The children, elders and women should be evacuated.. or at least the children. Those, who are volunteering to defend this village pick up your swords and shields, arm yourself with everything what’s necessary. Because soon this place will become a manifestation of hell, because soon maps will be redrawn in this area! Those who are willing to take their stances and fight remain standing here and those, who don’t believe in me... leave this meeting at once!”- I halted my speech, to test their faith... The crowd was rapidly disbanding... and only a couple of recognizable faces were present, among the faces, one belonged to Sandvika. Several dozens of warriors remained in their positions as well, those were the faithful comrades of mine, some of them belonged to the guarding division... the ones that I helped to take care of the monster threat on the outskirts of the village, when I was taking Sylvester’s identity. To my surprise even the grumpy brax herder was there with them, he was honing his knife.
-”I pledge my service to you, master Simon!”- A young man cladded in steel took a step forward and saluted me with his gauntlet positioned against his chest. Sandvika was holding Azure’s mask in her hands, sour tears were visible, building in her eyes. However she then placed her right foot back to build her strength and tossed the mask over to me, I caught the mask in my hand and gave her a reassuring smile.

-”Indeed, this mask once belonged to Azure. Our hero has fallen sacrificing himself for this village, after the last attack took place, in the time of my absence I witnessed his death before my very own eyes. In his dying minute he entrusted me with his ideas, he left hope in front of me. He strengthened my dreams and my spirit! I took his mask and carried it myself, throughout the regions of Atreia. I never let go of this precious thing, because it is the legacy of our fallen hero. His mask was like a face to us and still is to this very own day! It symbolizes his ideals, it symbolizes peace and freedom, protection and victory! It’s a symbol of our village! We must carry out his will and protect this village... as it was not me, who looked after you all this time... it was him and him alone! He was my teacher, he taught me how to live this life and embrace myself! He was and is the hero we always had! However when he’s gone we shouldn’t lose hope! We should believe in our hearts, we should trust our strength and set our souls ablaze! We must become the ones that will carry out his will, the ones that will surpass his ideologies and create the gates to both past and the future. To respect the fallen ones, to protect the ones that have their lives up ahead! We must fight, we must win! Not for Azure, not for me either, but for our sake, for our freedom, for our rights to live!”- I placed all of my feelings in this speech and motivated the ones that stood in front of me, for them to fight further, to never abandon hope. I was holding the mask up, it reflected a bright sun ray from above and illuminated the ones that stood below the column. Symbolizing that we had strength and hope in our numbers and unbreakable trust between each other.
-”AZURE! AZURE! AZURE! ALL HAIL AZURE!!!”- The small crowd was cheering on his name, waving their swords upwards and clapping their hands.
-”When the right time arrives I will give you a certain hand sign to ambush the enemy forces. Meanwhile I will be away from the village, I will travel around Asmodoe in hopes to recruit more soldiers. As of for you lot, you should convince the remaining villagers to join our ranks. You must evacuate the weak ones as well, it’s a primary objective! On top of that we will discuss about the details in private, I think Sandvika’s tavern is a good place to draw some drafts and prepare.”- I placed Azure’s mask on my face and leaped down from the column. A humble number of the most loyal people to me started to cheer me on, waving their arms and smiling.
-”SIMON! SIMON! ALL HAIL MASTER SIMON! OUR HERO IS REBORN!”- It was a flattering experience, but it was not the time to celebrate just yet.

After I received loyalty from some of my villagers we headed to the tavern and discussed about our plans there, we did it in private, to avoid spies. After we were done with the planning I bid my farewell and set my foot out off the village. I had no time for happy and innocent gossips with Sandvika or the others, my main priority was to gather forces before the arrival of the important day.


(Not a lot of posts are left, the finale of the first arc is nearing in. Well I took my time longer than I expected, stuff happens when you are lazy and uninspired and have a lot to deal with irl. Since I wanted to post another addition to this blog sooner I decided to divide it into smaller parts. A continuation to this will most likely be added tomorrow.. or at least throughout the course of this week, hopefully. xD)

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29 Re: The Rift Dancer on Sat May 19, 2018 9:29 pm

Race against time.

My fight did not end, my journey did not cease to be... Time was burning out rapidly, pendulums were accelerating with each dying moment as my struggle was etched in my brain, as my efforts, as my strength and will pierced through the clockwork. I was agile on my feet as well as swift on my wings, searching low and high, searching far and near, I continued to push through the time itself. Days were melting like icicles under the direct heat of the sun yet no one wanted to aid me. No allies, no volunteers, no mercenaries crossed my path I was on my own on this meaningless task. The current numbers were lacking, the currents of time were flowing in a river’s stream. Foolish, naive and ignorant people... of course I could relate to them.. why would someone want to die for a stranger’s sake? Even if the offered payment was higher than life, no one in my path was greedy enough to take a stance beside me. Yet it was not for me to judge those ignorant fools... I lacked allies as I lacked connections.. Janus was something else, probably.. just probably she would of helped me, however I was not the one to put a young girl’s life at stake in addition that she was not in Asmodae. I lacked the guts, no I lacked selfishness in myself.. Did I really become this soft? Or was the very same softness my biggest strength? Why did I have so many questions... yet little answers? Why I had a thought of quitting lingering in my head? Was it fear? Was it even worth it to begin with?

Another moonlight, another noon... Another wind, another place... different faces, ignorant desires... My head was lifted up, my eyes were gazing to the sky... Ah.. War... Death was the winner in any war... I could only laugh at myself.. Thinking about it straight... I was the catalyst of the conflicts... My own existence turned out to be the bane to the world around me... Everyone and everywhere just wanted to hunt me down... What the hell was wrong with this world? Was I at the fault? Was it my fate... to die for no reason? Or was the real reason left behind in the ancient past of mine? I was nothing more, but a shell... a relic.. a breathing reminder of my old self, whoever that person was... Was I acting according to his will? Did Simon’s will drag me this far? Amazing guy... horrible criminal or whoever he used to be... I wanted to be different, I wanted to be myself, to accept myself as I was... I sought to shatter this wall and lift the veil of truth between myself... To finally bring Simon down to the state of nothingness.. As I just possessed his body... as I just had his powers... shared the same name... However I was another man, this past had nothing to do with current me... these people had nothing to win from me... I only hoped that Azure, Sandvika and everyone else would forgive me for being such a broken persona... No! I was nowhere close to broken, only the memories were broken... They should of died with me ages ago... they should of ceased to exist... But yet it was my duty, my whim to protect my home... My true home, where feelings, bonds and emotions kept me alive... Where everything was true and not artificial... where my heart and soul lied... Not because of memories... not because of my past, but because of the bonds that I created... of the fact that I was accepted as new person back there... That’s why I had to protect the village with my own life... I had to sacrifice everything... and thus this was the agreement to myself... a promise to no one, but myself... to save this dream, to live through this dream... To NEVER GIVE UP on this dream... It was the choice of my own fate, the choice of my own universe... The choice of my life.. The people that I cherished for myself had to be saved no matter what.. although the sacrifices were foreseen.

In the mysterious foreshadowing of TIME, days were flying by... reducing to the dirt.. melting to empty memories of yesterday.. Fifteen, fourteen, thirteen, twelve, eleven, ten. Five days passed and no clues, no traces... no helping hand.. nothing whatsoever.. I stumbled upon mighty “heroes”, I crossed paths with deadly assassins, I witnessed the strength of the thousand men... yet they all laughed at my ambitions, they trashed on my will and bravery... Was it the tragic fate of mine? No, I knew what it meant... it meant that I had to become the strength of a thousand men for myself. I needed it, I wanted it... the will to protect the village was dripping from my teeth.. “Azure, lend me your strength.. allow me to win.. let me stand on top.. let me be myself... Trust in my strength, believe in my way...” I was not ready to see my closure yet... I was not ready to experience rapture yet... hell no! My search was as fruitless as every other... The grip on the hilt of my blade was tightened as my own blood was injected to the metal... The fire that was burning spread throughout my veins... the mask, which saw everything expressed emotionless smile. I was not ready to give up, no matter the odds... I was ready to break the clock, to bend the time.. to revert the pendulums... to escape the gear wheels.. to sever the strings that bound past and the future. As the time of passing, as the moment of death was nothing more, but my own delusion.. I had myself on my side.. the greatest power that existed was none other than myself.

The past, which held us tightly.

My day started as I stumbled upon some ruined coliseum in Altgard.. I was able to hear screams and the shrieking sound of blades colliding... The devastating fight was taking place..  Two men.. one smaller, the other one fairly larger... One held a massive round shield and was well armed with steel.. Another one was huge, like Azure... He looked insane.. no he was probably insane... His pale, ashed skin... his red beard... bloody crimson demonic eyes and a scythe on his back.. It was my opportunity the cease the conflict between the two, but which side to pick? This was the question... I decided to spectate their match to fully decide. Tremendous roars and clashes echoed through the area as the titanic, ebonclad giant beat back his final opponent.
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-"RAAAGH!!! HRRANNNGGGHH!!"-  The larger man pressed into the smaller, sending him several meters away.
-"Doesn't this place remind you of Hopstaad, you swine? All the good Nords you murdered when you brought the Coliseum down that day? DO YOU!?!?!"- The larger man madly shouted.
The losing, smaller man was at a loss for breath and words, the tired, battered warrior merely went through the motions now as he tried to prolong the inevitable. He rose wordlessly, and dropped his blade and shield before the titan.
-"I... Surrender. Alsius... wins..."- He surrendered to the big guy. It appeared to be some kind of affairs of unknown war that took place.
- "You, Grand Vizier, who denied so many of my people mercy, now plead for it? I thought you were made of steelier stuff, Mitsaras." - He paused his assault, crossly waiting for his opponent to arm himself. opponent of his  did not reach for his weapons, and stayed prostrated before him.
-"What are you doing? Get up! FIIIIGHT!!!"- The insanely huge man bellowed at his quarry, his powerful voice echoing off the walls of the coliseum.

-"I said you won, dammit! It's been too long... the war ended a decade ago, and yet here you are, destroying every last one of us! When will you be satiated!? It won't stop at me, you know that... you won't stop your vengeance.”- The man desperately tried to inject sense into the larger one.
-”No. I just know that once you're gone, my people get to rest at last. And you'll have paid for your people's sins by the blood you hack up." - Yet, he still did not advance as I was wondering for myself... whether it was wise to interrupt or not... The defeated warrior spat blood, clenching his broken ribs meanwhile and spoke again.
-"You... can't do it, can you? Hahaha... even after everything, such an honorable wretch like you can't stand to not execute his greatest foe. No, it has to be a glorious finale, right?”- The losing one showed some backbone. The larger man's teeth grinded together as he stepped forward, tightening the grip on his scythe.
-"You can't take the life... of a man who's nothing left to live for. You ca.."- Poor man.. he even had no word to say in his current condition.. was I supposed to help this Mitsaras person?
-"I SAID GET UP!!!!!!!!"- That demon furiously kicked Mitsaras in the jaw, sending him careening backwards. The crunch of bone on metal heel echoed.

The man did not reply. His broken jaw bit into his tongue, and the man lurched and rolled over, trying to keep from drowning in his own gushing blood.
-"You will scream for me, Ignean! You will fall after our greatest final battle has ended! Your death will be the GLORIOUS punctuation mark on the essay that is the demise of BOTH our people! Get UP!!!!!!"- He continued to beat his already beaten body.
-"GET UP! GET UP! GET UP!"- He then began kicking the smaller one in his broken ribs repeatedly, chanting over and over. Each kick sent the man rolling through the dirt, his entrails painted the sands red.
-"Oi...oi..What the hell is going on here?!”- Not anymore... my temper has exploded as I could not bear to watch the carnage anymore. He completely rejected my words... and kept kicking the man, and eventually the victim stopped responding.
-"GET UP! DAMN YOU TO HELL!!!"- He grabbed the man’s head in his hand and spat, screamed and shouted in his face...but the other man had appeared to have checked out. His body, riddled with scars of untold altercations from before, and the fresh, savage wounds of today were all laid bare for us. The man's skin was devastated,  body limp and lifeless. The psychotic murderer stopped his incensed attack and panted heavily, holding Mitsaras’ aloft by his head. For a time, the massive man held the corpse there, not wanting to believe Mitsaras was truly gone.
-"Wake... up... and let me get my vengeance.”- His tone was shaky and hoarse, and he began wiggling the body by its head. But alas, the Grand Vizier was dead, and all his kin who might dare seek revenge. Not that they ever could've anyway. He dropped his heavy scythe into the sand, along with Mitsaras’ body, and he collapsed to his knees. He looked on in silent bewilderment, occasionally prodding Mitsaras’ with his finger.
-"You... can't go like this. You can't just... leave me hanging like this..."- He pulled the man's body over to the water beside them, and began cleaning his wounds with the salty brine. He even tried to make the body drink from the salted spring.
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As the giant man wiped the blood from Mitsaras’ body, the rack of broken ribs was laid bare for my eyes to see. The corpse also began to seize up as rigor mortis set in, and the tall berserker finally stopped touching it.
-"Tch..."- I clenched my fists firmly in disappointment. I looked at the beaten to death Mitsaras and then shifted my gaze to the tall man.
-"Calm the hell down for a second and focus on the situation that you're in right now. God damn it... he's fucking dead!"- Obviously it was my first reaction from witnessing the scene. Dropping onto his hands and knees, the man looked solemnly into the water. A few sparkling tears fell from his seared, scarred face as he wordlessly processed my words.
-"You... didn't know him like I did."- Maybe I did not, however this whole situation reminded me of the hatred that I once bore inside my blood. I approached the large man with caution, just in case I was prepared to grab my sword by the hilt with my nervously twitching right hand.
-"What happened...?"- I tried to communicate with him clearly.  
-"This was... to be our final battle.. his... glorious curtain call..." - He remained staring at the water and continued afterwards.
-"I was going to... lay down the names of the people he had ended... I was going to... tell the demons below that the gates of hell were to be blown open by his entrance... Even in death, he took the glorious end I had.... planned for him... my final revenge..."- Vengeance.. the emotion, which lingered deep inside my soul... indeed.. I felt sorry for the man as I knew for myself that nothing good would come from vengeful ideas... Such a hypocrite I was..
-"Of course I didn't know him, this is why I am trying to be reasonable here... what in this forsaken land is going on? Gah! What did he do to you?" - Only confused questions were falling from my mouth.

He kept looking into the water and stood, shaking his head and speaking quietly.
-"What didn't he do, would be the question..." - He turned and slowly grabbed the body. He then walked around me, and hefted his scythe up onto his back. I raised my arms towards, extending it and holding my palm to him.
-"Hoold on.. I can feel your rage, but what are you planning now?"- Such a troublesome individual he was, why was I even wasting my time on him? But yet I did not want to abandon him like that... He also looked like a valuable potential ally for me.
-"The only thing I can give him now. A proper burial, least my... revenge won't be compete." - He walked to the spot where Mitsaras roughly perished, based on the kicking episode. With his hand clutched firmly around his, several series of mighty blows were threw, carving out a hole in the earth. He then lied the broken corpse into the hole and sweeped the sand back over it with his blade. He spoke not a word during the process.

While observing his action I was reminded, no I was rather taken back to one episode that occurred in my past. The situation was similar to his... I was getting a revenge against the person I despised from the bottom of my heart... it was Thomas.. yet I possessed no ill thoughts towards him.. The memory burring Thomas’ corpse underneath the cold and lifeless dirt. I snapped back to reality as I quickly caught up with the current situation that I was a part of. I allowed for him to have his silence, saying not a single word as well with my head lowered down. I stood firmly... like a stone on the earth, breathing deeply and then I lamented a few words.
-"I'm sorry..."- I broke the silence with these two words, however I was lacking for correct words... not even a solid sentence formed in my mouth.. 'I'm sorry...' like the situation required to say such thing.
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The giant threw his scythe over his shoulder again, and clasped his hands in a silent prayer. After a moment, he looked over to me.
-"Your respect is appreciated, human."- He was still wearing a face of bottomless sullenness.
Upon hearing his words my face expression appeared shocked, my mouth opened and my eyes narrowed.. beneath the mask.
-"Human? I don't think that it's a correct term to call me as one, however I'm not too sure who I truly am myself. Aren't you human yourself?"- As always my curious nature got the better of me... even in the situation grim as the current one. Yet I spoke more.
-"Look.. I do understand the way you feel. At least I can relate to it by a little, yet I am still clueless about what happened between you two, however I'm not going to interrogate you right now. It's not appropriate. But the hate that you displayed moments ago... is something that will continue to weigh down your soul until it reaches the bottom."- It was hard to tell his facial expressions from his heavily channeled face. Countless scars and burn marks caked up over it made it very hard to tell when he was not scowling.
-"The story is... long he started by demolishing my entire nation. And left me alive..." - He kept walking.
-"I couldn't give up on those I once fought for and beside... I needed vengeance... closure." - He kept walking away. I began to walk in his trails, trying to find a reason for him to stop.
-"Oh yeah? And what are you going to do now? Where will you go next? Do you even have place to stay? Do you really think that your vengeance is over? I think it's only the beginning... no it's more like a bane to your own hateful existence. But yet, I do know what it means... I seek for vengeance as well, I live with vengeance."-Nervous and worried questions were coming from my lips, the sound of the vibrating shout beneath the black mask of steel.
-"Allow me to stop you right here, right now!"- I brought my right hand on the hilt of my sword and then I drew it forth, carrying it sideways in one hand.
-"I don't have the need to cut you down, I just want to talk.. Because I kind of been in your shoes... rather I am still in your shoes... Our stories might differ, but it doesn't mean that the things we experienced, the emotions that our hearts felt are different."- Blue evaporating mist surfaced across the blade as small blazes were trying to break through the gaps between the metal carvings.  
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The huge man growled under his breath, and then sighed. He unfastened his hoplon from his back, and a shrill metallic shriek could be heard as Yish grinded the tip of a dagger against the inside of the shield.
-"This is the proof.”- He lobbed the shield like a discus at my feet. The face of the shield was immaculate, untouched, as though it'd never bit a blade. In the center, where a handle should be, were etched the words ‘SYRTIS’ on one side, and ‘IGNIS’ on the other. Most of the other tally marks were old and faded in rust.
-"He was the last of his people. I've had fifteen years to find my closure."- As I was gazing down to the shield the man was taking his leave... Leaving disgusting trails of gushing crimson blood. I picked the shield off the ground and approached Mitsaras’ grave, and raised it above my head, afterwards plunging it’s metallic round side into the ground. A monument of a fallen warrior..
-”Great warrior, may the angels lead you in the afterlife.”- I paid my proper respect to the fallen one and then I turned my gaze to the bloody trails, that were left... I decided to track the man.. Not only I felt indifferent to him, but I also saw a great potential in him.. A potential ally on my cause... though I was short on time, but I had to give him a shot.. it was better than doing nothing at all.

The broken thunder in their hearts.  

I’ve been tailing the man for days... the numbers were almost crossed out.. the fateful day was nearing in.. as it was my final shot.. I had to give it my all, go big or go home... whatever the case it was.. I had to try one last opportunity.. To return the pained man to his senses, to disrupt the balance of my prefixed fate... to gain the ally for my future.. not a pawn, but a worthy ally. Glimmering red eyes, etched in the black and cold metallic mask, starring blankly at one spot from a far. Footsteps marching closer of a man, who witnessed the carnage. This man was none other, but me. Lingering snowflakes in the air, the atmosphere around me was cooling down. Pure white snow, stained by crimson viscous blood... or rather the crimson path was trying to guide my way to a man, who forsaken everything... at least that was according to my own standpoint. My black sabatons trampling over the bloody snow and my frame magnifying with seconds, I was ringing the bells of my approach. My back was straight, my stance firm, my gaze clear, my thoughts shrouded in mystery. It was not too long after I reached the snowy cobble stairs before me. Witch each step, I was drawing closer and closer... until ultimately I reached the man’s level and stood straight before him. I tilted my head down, staring at his eyes. No remorse reflected in my eyes, no pity coming out from my aura.. those emotions were long gone for me. Only one thing remained... the whim...no the need to guide another lost soul on rightful or misleading path. Before I spoke, dense steam... more like vapor seeped from the gaps of the mask. It was a result of fallen temperature and my own deep breathing."Huff..puff.." I cleared my throat as I then clapped my hands, rubbing them slowly against each other.
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-"I finally managed to find you. You sure don't know how to cover your trails... you..."- I halted my speech for a moment as I scratched the back of my head.
-"Oh right... I don't even know your name.. at least I didn't get it when you were slaughtering that man... Most likely my memories are lacking, due to the scene that I witnessed.. but oh well..."- I cracked a small laughter, not intending to mock the man or anything, it was more out of despair and hopelessness.
-"But anyway, did you settle in? Can you stay calm?"- I asked him.
The large man's eyes remained fixed on the horizon, slowly scanning across it with time. It seemed he did not mind the cold either, as no signs of shivering or goosebumps were present on him. Furthermore, he seemed severely injured, where blade licks were visible on his forearms, and a gash through his sleeve through, which made a visible torn flesh and muscle. Despite these injuries, the man looked as still and unmoving as the grave, and after a moment's silence he finally spoke.
-”I take it you left my shield with Mitsaras. It's a long and sorrowful road that we've been on, but now that it's reached its conclusion I... have nothing left. I'd be happy to sit and remain here, with my peoples' remains.. as a monument for all to see, of the sad, sorry end of Yishay and his Alsirian brethren." - He blinked once, and added.
-"You've a troubled past too, I'd wager. You saw something of yourself in me earlier, and that's why you did not interrupt in my  business as so many others before you had."- He had a point here.
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The answer that I sought was granted, a smirk was expressed beneath the mask.
-"Good. Then I might as well sit down here and relax myself."- He stepped four small steps forward and twisted myself to face the horizon like Yishay. Slowly, but steadily I placed my backbone on the pavement and extended my legs towards the horizon. Sitting flat. Many questions were lingering inside my head, but not each and every of them were necessary to understand what the man beside me truly felt. Yet, at the same time, I was excited and sad to hear from Yishay. My fingers twitched out of disappointment.
-"Over my dead body you gonna remain here. You still have the things to see, things to learn, things to explore... I know, your feelings will not change overnight, but you shouldn't forsake yourself. You should go, you should run! You should live a new life. A life, that will fill you with joy and sadness once again... a life, who will guide you to either glory or another downfall. If you survived this long, you must find a new purpose. A purpose that is far greater than vengeance was." - He firmly clenched my hand into a rock-hard fist and slammed it against the pavement, denting the surface a bit, dissolving the snow underneath with my angered fist.
-"Anyway, I forgot to add it... but yes the shield was left with that Mitsaras person."- I began to continuously shift my sight over Yishay's damaged body, wondering how the man was even alive with these bloody marks on his body. But this was a question for a later time, more important matters were before my eyes.
-"First of all, it's not for me, to decide one’s fate, especially when I'm not even sure which one of you was in the wrong or right. However, I do assume that neither of you were wrong, you were fighting for your own ideals and countries. Nothing good would of came if I stopped you two. However, you're correct on this one. While observing you I was reminded of myself, of the things I've done... of the things I felt back then. Your soul was crying for help, it even does it now.. Just like mine sometime ago. Yet, I do know very little about myself right now. Hell! I'm not even sure if I will learn more about myself.. but yet here I am sitting beside you and trying to act all friendly... But trust me, I do know what vengeance is...and vengeance will breed more vengeance with time. Not that I escaped from vengeance myself, I sworn to kill a being known as a Goddess of death... and here I am talking... yet taking little action. However, I think this is the right thing to do, because I do believe that on my new found journey I will be able to make the difference, to take glance at the life through different eyes."- I paused for a moment and turned over to Yishay's face, looking him straight in the eyes.
-"Anyway... what led you to this conclusion? How did it really happen for you? It must of been a rough path... However, it's not the time to be sad."
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The great man rose and stretched for a moment, before sitting back down and sighed, speaking once more.
-"I won't bore you with details. I was a common man, who wanted his people to fight for freedom from being beaten down and enslaved by two other countries. I got them to rise again, and fight for our nation's future alongside me. Time wore on, days, months, years, decades even, until finally we lost. Our armies were smashed, I was taken prisoner and I got to watch everyone being destroyed before my very eyes. Then I was left alone to die... and after that, I became a walking engine of destruction, that, over a decade and some change, brought that same complete death to my enemies."- His answer was sent to the air.
-"So this is how it went for you... well then you're no different than me, in a way at least. For my people I was willing to sacrifice everything. I was ready to forsake my own humanity if needed. I killed in order to survive, I killed in order to bring peace and freedom, but yet I turned out as a complete failure. Not only that I failed them, but I lost them all... I lost their faith in me, I lost my brothers and sisters in arms... I lost my dearest friend. Or at least this is who he was to me. My sole friend in this world.. if it's even the world, where I belong in.." - I patted Azure’s mask with my palm, metal clanging noise resonated upon the impact.
-"I took this mask as proof, that my friend is still alive. It's the only thing he left for me when I drove a stake through his skull.. but enough of that.."- I brought my fist to my heart and reinforced my tone.
-"However... I do have no regrets... I must live on, to see what kind of person I was before my memories fled from me. You can actually refer to me as the trigger of destruction.."- I chuckles momentarily, the mask was trembling from the vibration beneath.
-"Haha, engine of destruction and trigger of destruction.. doesn't this makes us as an odd duo? Anyway, I suggest you to quit reminiscing about your past. You should find a new purpose to live, and you know what I might be able to help you. No.. I will help you to stand up. You don't deserve to meet a fate so cruel."

The man rose once more and sighed, looking down to me as he then pulled his scythe back into its sheath. -"Much as I'd like to indulge your request, what would I even do? My entire life was combat. Anything else forgotten hundred years ago. This land may offer me a chance, but what would I even make of it? What life is there for me to even try and make? Do I... just continue finding things to destroy?"- At least some signs of sentient thoughts and wonders began to develop in Yishay’s head. I risen on my feet as well, standing on Yishay's right I found myself smirking beneath the mask. I then readjusted my loose gauntlet on the left hand and lifted my index finger, pointing skywards. My own shadow came alive and crept up across my back, up to the finger that I was pointing with. It reconstructed itself as it started to swirl in a complete black helix.. settling in one stationary position and decreasing in size, into a small, dense and black sphere on the tip of my finger. I shifted my gaze to the furthest distance of the city, looking at the wild dagg chasing a kitter. The kitter, which was a smaller creature obviously appeared weaker... it was nimble, but poor animal had nothing against the menacing predator. I pointed my finger towards the moving animals, locking on their movement.

-"What would you even do? For starters you have power..”- The wild dagg cornered the kitter and was prepared to take a bite off it’s flesh. I was keeping my speech slow...
-”Second thing is that you lived your life for combat...”- The kitter was desperately trying to fend off the larger and stronger animal with it’s claws as I kept dragging my speech.. yet Yishay did not get my hints yet...
-”I also do have power... Power greater than you can even imagine. This miniature black sphere hovering above my finger is the proof of it..”- The dagg became injured, but did not back down.. the beast was about to plunge it’s fangs to the kitter.
-”And with power, choices are present.. You can either utilize this power to destroy or to protect...”- I shot the small sphere out off my finger, it flew like a bullet and crashed between two animals, leaving a small burning hole in the snow.. The animals suddenly became scared and ran off to opposite sides.
-”And that was my choice... I chose to protect both of them from slaughtering each other, yet with my very own power I had the option to slay both of them. You can utilize your knowledge and experience, that you acquired throughout the years, to protect the ones you care for.. and if you don’t have those, then to protect those that require protection or are worthy in your eyes... Eventually someone or something will become worthy of your protection.”- I gave him an option, but yet he remained silent for sometime.. probably he was thinking things through or was trying to process my idea.. Probably it was not the greatest one, but I provided him with options.
-”All those I cared for passed away long ago, mortal. What sort of fresh start could I even have?”- Thus, this was Yishay’s answer.. it was not an answer.. a question, which marked the pursuit of futile illusions... I possessed such things in the past as well.. Escaping, fleeing... giving up... letting your own hands down... those things... were just excuses to stop experiencing life. His way of thinking irritated me...
-"I am but a soldier. But you? You're a prisoner of your own twisted delusions!"- A sad and tremendous shout escaped my mouth.. I was angry... No... I wanted to break him down... to utterly annihilate him, to beat his delusions out off him...
-”I..”- He was about to say something, but he was interrupted as the blue flames spiraled up from underneath my feet.

-”If you have nothing else left, if you have nothing else to do... If no one is by your side... it’s not the reason to quit.. Only cowards and trash quit, but you... you are finally free of your vengeance! You can finally do whatever you deem right! You can finally be yourself, to live a life... a life you always wanted to live.. without being a slave to the nation! Without having to worry about the ones you murdered, the close ones you lost... you should start fresh, find yourself anew! You are worthy of another chance, nah.. you must take another chance... to prove to yourself that your vengeance wasn’t in vain... that you are the last remaining survivor of your people! Just do what is right, count this new start as your new vengeance! Just do it.. I will help you and I will support you, because.. I am no better than you, but yet I know that both of us require a better new start.”- I shouted and mumbled, rambled and growled... just to beat some sense into him... Thus our dialogue prolonged further...
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Thus our emotions clashed... it was another war in it’s own right.. where our minds and hearts sought to find meaning, when we just wanted to find a common ground, however not everything was easy.. and not everything was hard either... We exchanged our words like blows, we exchanged our spirits like missiles... Rotten ambitions, twisted illusions... Fallen dreams and broken desires... We were different, but yet so similar... We were close, but yet so far... However in the end... after a long battle of tongues.. I convinced this monster man to seek life and meaning, and to put the past behind him. For the first time Yishay was no longer bound up by the strings of fate like a puppet...

Before heading to the teleporter he nodded to me and thanked me sincerely... Of course, I wanted to stop him.. Because I needed him for the upcoming war, however the man had to think things through, he was yet to accept himself and in his current condition he was not cut for the job of protecting the village with me.. Instead he promised me, that he will surely find me again.. after he becomes a person on his own, after he manages to find himself.. I simply sighed, realizing that I wasted way too much time to save just one person from darkness.. Yet I was too naive to hope that he would help me right away.. However I felt accomplished in my heart.. I felt like I’ve done something great, something special too.. That my name will not be forgotten so easily.. No matter what was about to come next.. no matter where my journey would of brought me... The current Simon, who is me will never disappear, he will continue to live on...

Prelude to Finale.

At last... The time of clash was prominent, the gears of time were breaking apart, grinding the memories of the past and the future between the wheels. Disrupting the natural flow of harmony, shattering the delusions of mine... I came on top, but I acquired nothing on my part. Well, I was lucky to be alive at least, but being alive was not enough for me, I wanted to see the greatest success... to offer eternal peace to the village, to see the holy tree of life nourishing the fruits of our dreams... Sappy whims of mine.. Yet by my side the strength of the world resided. I was the strength of the world, I became fully prepared to place my life on the line to protect the village, to save Azure’s dream. I wanted to survive for myself, to see the day of returning memories... however there were more important things to do, than staying alive... It was to assure the safety of the village, if not the village.. at least those people... no.. at least Sandvika... I made a promise to protect her and I had to fulfill it, as this was one of my dreams as well.

Only one day remained, I decided to gear up myself.. Through the help of Zerneger’s produced dense black substance of space I managed to arm myself properly.. I cladded my arms in this otherworldly black metal.. I gave it the name of my own, -’The black steel’- I cut off my long braids and instead loosened my long hair, this time it was very similar to Azure’s hairstyle, well I aimed for it though... I wanted for the symbol, for the role model of peace and heroism to take a far more significant appearance in myself... My legs were also reinforced by this so called black steel.. I removed my cloak, as I thought that it would only get in the way and stashed my remaining clothes inside Zerneger’s pocket dimension.. Instead... by using the help of the shadows I woven the very same black coat for myself... Last time I wore that coat when I was fighting Azure... after then I never had the chance... Though it looked like an unwise decision to keep my torso unguarded.. but I had a plan for it... I was yet to manifest my new armor... the armor, which could prove to be strong enough to repel the heaven shattering attack of those demons...
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Thus... I decided to finally come back.. come back to the place, where everything began... come back to the past that I once held dear... To revert the clock, to escape the time... to suspend the space... To create the hole in the dark sky... from where light would shine down upon us... Erect the diamond ladder all the way up to that hole in the sky... for everyone to climb... It was my fate, it was my duty! I was ready to destroy every opposition.. hell.. I was ready to even sacrifice myself... in order to reshape the destiny of Baltasar hill village, in order to rewrite the fate of Sandvika... In order to reach out for my buddy Azure. My soul was in my sword, my heart was in the village... my dreams were made of those, who fell in order to assure the beautiful lives of the youngsters... I had to be like them.. I had to be like those heroes, those heroes of light... the heroes like Azure... It was not a childish dream.. it was a choice! A choice picked by me... As I then named myself as the crusader of the black night! Yes! Black Night Crusader, such a fitting title for my final act... as the conflict was inevitable. I was not alone, I never was...
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Yet.. as I was drawing closer to the village... my sight was getting gradually shrouded... I was able to feel like instead of walking through the dead lands... I... I was sitting in Sandvika’s Tavern... talking to someone... my head was getting heavy once again, a similar sensation it was... However I shrugged off the thoughts from my mind and continued to advance forwards... Forwards the battle, which was about to take the place.. A final war was nearing in...
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(As Promised I managed to deliver a new post here this week. So yeah... uh the upcoming posts are gonna be big, they will mark the finale. I will get pretty busy soon myself, however I do not intend to rush the finale. It will take time to produce, however the finale will reveal some things for the future and as well will open new paths for me and for new stories to develop. As Simon's verse is about to be expanded drastically. Those, who are still reading this look forward for it.)

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30 Re: The Rift Dancer on Mon Jun 11, 2018 2:32 pm

There’s a sweet sensation in this nostalgic return.

At last, I finally arrived. Arrived to face my destiny, arrived to test my fate. A simple injection into my lungs of this fresh and sweet aroma of the village was needed to return me to my senses, to bring the feeling of yearning for the village. I was slowly walking in the middle of the cobbled road, marching memories like hurricane of flashbacks stroke my head. I saw the passing reflections of myself, going through me, passing by me. The scared and foolish boy, who knew nothing about himself, who always searched for a reason to claim his place into this world. The times we shared with Azure, the reflections of us sitting by the mossy tree root, gazing into the scattered petals and talking nonsensical things.. yet those times were the most fun. Once again a ghostly projection of me appeared, running around the village, hell.. it was fun, I was seeing my own image running from enraged Sandvika, who was not giving a damn about the porcelain plates. Tossing them around like discuses, those were the golden and glorious times.
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Yet the village seemed awfully odd today, yet the air was uneasy. I was deeply aware of the conflict that was about to unravel, sooner or later for that to say. However, the atmosphere felt too unrealistic, reality itself was made up, projected, faked to its very core. I wondered to myself what was the odd thing before my eyes? A head shake was not enough to dignify my awful insight. A simple shrug was not necessary to break me from the strangeness, which was happening around. The tree vibrated marvelously, giving away its precious life through the roots of hard work, which was passed by all of us. I had to snap out of this, I was probably... yes indeed... probably I was way too worried. It was a sweet sensation to see the village once again, to see the life in it, which cherished the light of this rotten Brusthonin.

My walk continued, the feet of mine were steadily and rhythmically impacting with the stone below, the metal, which was clanging on the stone ripped through the silence, the silence which was not dead... The silence, which was suspiciously too loud to be called as silence. Energies of darkness flooded, the evil lingered somewhere around the village, I was able to sense it properly. The creeping feeling of the whispering death. Yet it was nostalgic to gaze at this place. The still images of me, Simon the leader of Baltasar, who faced Thomas for the first time, who managed to unlock his powers and probably that very moment imprinted itself into the time like a stamp... from where everything changed... changed for good and the peace was disrupted forever. Why was I reminiscing about the unnecessary things? Did I really feel that the place I always return to... the place, which is my real home... could be destroyed today?

Oh, but the beauty. It never did end, the deserving journey... my responsibilities as the warden of the village.. I really picked the right place, the most beautiful one indeed.. Baltasar hill village could never be replaced.. not by anything.. It always had a place in my heart, even on the times when I was not leading it.. even on the times, when I was too ashamed to come back. If things were to last forever... I would of wish for this village to be eternal.. But a man, who was merely smoke and mirrors never thought about it’s bane... about the eternal bane... In my way a girl stood... She looked young, I was not sure if she was underage or just fine and healthy looking. Her physique appeared to be well developed, it did belong to adult women’s physique. Her bosom, her waist, those parts were feminine and had a lot of meat on it. Not that I was interested in perverted acts, she just caught my attention.. She was tall, way taller than me frankly. Her exotic silver hair, her red eyes.. a black mark on her face... she did remind me someone.. someone that I knew far too well, but it was probably a false fragment of my fallen memory. Ridiculous pink dress.. I was unaware of such a villager.. How could I of missed such a lady...? Perhaps I was just not good at observing things.. perhaps my vision was deceiving me for far too long.. for me to forget the faces of my people... such a shame it was... Her hands were positioned on her waist, she was glaring down upon me. Why would someone project hate towards me? The detest in her eyes were pouring like endless and restless tears... I  tried to shoo her away from my sight, but she remained still for a time.

She passed by my shoulder, not too long after she finished giving me her glare and headed for the exit of the village, I wanted to warn her that on the outside lingered a dangerous world, but then I merely remembered one fact... that the village itself was already dangerous to stay.. and here by that girl.. by that familiar face.. I was indeed reminded.. why in the world there was so many people in the village.. did the evacuation fail? No... I sighed as I started to ascend uphill to where the bar was.. Plenty of people was present in the place, but yet none of them seemed to be mere villagers.. mostly they were warriors or mercenaries.. Remarkable job.. such a remarkable job.. indeed.. In the end everything was going according to my plans.. the stranger was probably the visitor.. the furious glare was probably a coincidence or my own misinterpretation.

As I was rising uphill, the nearby stools, benches, chairs, barrels, tents and tables reached my eyes.. and another vivid vision followed.. Azure taking me inside to drink on the right side and Thomas hitting my nose with his fist on the left side.. the sights of memories were crossing it’s ways, through the tunnels of different timelines.. and now I was able to see how I was sweeping the entrance to the bar with a broom.. yet I was standing at the same exact spot as Azure. Interesting memories.. the visions were even more entertaining. The dwell of cold and uneasy wind still chilled my bones.. yet.. Sandvika’s tavern was the answer to all my questions.. I just had to see her face once more and deliver her my own judgment.. to say how I really felt.. to order her.. no.. to warn her to go into the hiding.. My promise.. the promise that I made... I had to keep it.. My duty was to protect her. It was not a duty, it was one of my dreams.
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Ah, but the village.. the village never changed.. it was always shining in brilliant colors, it was giving flesh to life.. I felt how a tear rolled down, across my face.. my feelings for the place did never change. I smiled, because I was happy to be here for the last time.. on this important day to protect it from unknown evil.. to save it from eternal darkness.. My life was ready to be offered as a tribute for its security. My bones caused cracking noise as they creaked against each other... the noises of excitement.. and courage.. my rusty body was dying from anticipation. It waited for the battle, it waited for relentless action. My heart was at peace... at peace, because I was already there.. already standing before the door.. waiting to enter inside.. to see her face, to make her smile.. to give her a proof.. that everything will be alright.

But just before going inside a warm feeling crossed my mind... the visions of my life inside this village.. How I was dreaming, how I was smiling, playing, drinking, gambling, at cases even whoring.. though yet to this very day I was not aware what was the pleasure of intimacy with true romance in it.. My romantic life was just as absent as my long forgotten memories. I felt good in the end, no regrets were present.. but for a change I just wanted to reverse the clocks and let the good times roll again.. This place was full of sweetest memories.. my life seemed short, but my feelings.. the feelings were stronger than anything in this world.. I missed my friends, I missed my allies.. I had so many of them, I met so many of them on my journey.. I actually did.. I was just too foolish to believe... hell.. what was I talking again? I was too foolish to accept the small things, to savor the precious and little moments. My own stupidity led me into current situation and the Simon, who was lost... he knew the answers, but yet he himself created this current situation.. for that thing.. I hated him the most.. Even if my past was the key to brilliant victory and true happiness... The person, who was responsible for all of these events was none other than me. Awful.. I felt awful, but as I wise man once told me something important.. I had to choose for myself, to follow my own path.. as it was my ultimate destiny to unlock the true righteousness behind my actions. This village was the life inside my heart, the pride of my sun, which I was storing inside the soul of my beating heart. I believed in myself, as it was necessary to do the right thing.. to do whatever I deemed right.. to reshape the fates of everyone.. To rewrite my life. I felt ready to rise above all odds!
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Family Reunion.

Just as I opened the doors a woman was present before my eyes, she was right before me, staring from up close.. I jolted back a little, she did scare me for a second. A woman that I never seen before, but yet I instantly felt that something was connecting us. She appeared like a young maiden, probably in her early twenties. Her crimson hair, tied back to a long tail... in fact it was so long that it was stretching down to her tight area... that was quite an impressive feature to her appearance aside from her sweet and pink lips. The gilded decor that she had on top of her head.. it did resemble a tiara or something.. her face looked very young indeed. She was wearing red glowing earrings and a mark was placed on her forehead, ending in a dot between the space of her eyes. Asides from a dark choker with a black gem in the middle of  her outfit was pretty casual.. a regular pinkish coat it was... The staff.. or the spear, which she was wearing on her back was something else too.. What was it really? The crimson colors and the dark aura oozing like the wounds from Azure’s flesh, the fine cut in the middle, splitting the blades into two and blunt, crocheted edges... It looked like a serious deal, but the most prominent feature of her was her eyes.. they were unusual. At color they were green, but something more was hiding behind the eyes, yet they appeared as one of the most beautiful and unusual eyes that I ever seen.
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-”Welcome back.”- She spoke to me, giving a nonchalant facial expression. Her tone was sweet and pure, very feminine as well. Her arms were folded underneath her bosom, I was able to see that she was hiding her hands underneath the black leather gloves.
-”Huh? Who are you?”- I was confused.. instead of seeing Sandvika’s face in the distance I received this stranger from up close.
-”No time to explain really, let’s go inside.. shall we?”- Enigmatic girl, but yet appearing as a harmless lamb. She took my arm like it was nothing and gently pulled me closer to herself.
-”I.. uh.. wait..”- I tried to come up with something, but I gave into her charm.. it was not charm.. it was a nostalgic presence.. but yet it did work to draw my feet closer to her.. She appeared to be at my shoulder’s tall.
-”Now, now. Don’t be shy, come inside. Everyone is waiting for you!”- She smiled slightly and blinked several times.
-”I don’t know what’s the meaning of this, but you better give me explanations once I’m inside the building.”- I swatted her arm away and let out a deep sigh.
-”She’s... no way..”- Suddenly Zerneger’s voice pierced through my brain. Z’s tone expressed anxiety, the very same anxiety when we met the ominous messenger.
-”...”- I kept silent and instead of talking to either of them, I quickly caught up to the situation and took two steps forth. The woman backed away from me calmly and the atmosphere of the room flooded in.

-”Welcome back, Azure!”- As soon as I entered.. a welcome of a familiar voice was heard. The voice belonged to Sandvika, who was waving from behind the counter. Silly Sandvika she mistook me for Azure.
-”Azure. You meant Simon, right?”- I could feel more presences in the bar, but my vision was so focused on Sandvika that I did not even care.
-”Err.. what? It seems that you are really alive. I was worried, because a couple of weeks ago Simon told me that you were dead.”- She leaned on the counter as her cheerful smile collapsed into frown of grief. Some tears rolled down from her eyes. She was not making any sense, was she unable to recognize Azure anymore? Did the mask and the new hairstyle really make me look like Azure?
-”I’m sorry Sandvika. You must be tired, I’m not Azure.. I’m Simon.”- I shook my head in disagreement and stretched my arms up, my bones creaked and my muscles stiffened.
-”Azure, you’re always bad at telling jokes. Simon is sitting on the bench right there.”- She pointed to her left side and my eyes followed her arm’s motion.
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As my head rotated a pair sitting on opposing sides caught my attention.. To the far right the very same stranger girl was sitting on a bench, resting her back against the wall and to the opposite direction of her it was.. The man, who warned me about the war. My fingers twitched nervously, I was lost for words.. I was not amazed, I was shocked instead. What where they doing here? Who were they? But most importantly why Sandvika claimed that this man was me, it was not making any sense. The scene, the act... everything was just awfully ridiculous. I raised my index finger skywards and my facial expression, beneath the mask suddenly turned into a stoic one. I inhaled the air into my lungs and finally decided to speak, rather to come up with calm words to receive the explanations first.
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-”Simon eh? I will ask you nicely this time, mister Simon. What have you done to Sandvika?!”- I shifted my gaze at the man with a sword, my tone from a calm one risen to enraged one.
-”Ah, hello.. hello.. how rude of you, not even saying hello to me. I did nothing to her.”- The man calmly claimed, he did not even bother to turn his face to me.. instead he was just sipping a bourbon colored liquor from the glass that he held in his right hand. The girl in front of him merely smirked and placed her right elbow on the table, leaning her cheek on her palm.
-”Azure, what the hell is wrong with you?!”- Sandvika suddenly interrupted as her angered shout danced throughout the walls of the room.
-”I..”- I was lost for words, I wanted to beat the truth out of his face, however even my speech was interrupted.
-”Sandvika, Azure is just tense. Let him be, he’ll ‘lax with the passing time.”- The man calmly stated and heaped up his glass over his mouth... as the contents flooded down his throat he placed it on the table.
-”Bullshit!”- I raised my voice again and furiously stomped on the floor, a shock wave was sent across the floor, from the sheer strength of stored aether in my foot, the plates, the forks, all the objects around vibrated slightly.
-”Oh shut it and sit besides us.”- The red haired girl rolled her eyes and kicked the nearby chair, it sled across the floor and bumped into my feet. I merely sighed and picked up the chair, I carried the chair over to the table and sat in between them. I wanted to take a look at the hooded man’s face, but it was concealed better than I expected.

I placed my hands on the table and began rapidly tapping my index fingers on the surface, awaiting for the answers, which were not promised to me. But the scenario was suspicious, the duo was up to something for sure, but who were they? They were not the same people, they looked nothing alike them, not to mention the fact they were not dressed in their iconic black outfits.
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-”Right, so who are you people?”- I decided to be reasonable and play along to their act. There was an empty glass before the man and a bottle stationed on the table. The bottle was opened, he merely grabbed the bottle with bourbon colored liquid inside and filled the empty glass. He pushed the glass towards me, as it sled all the way to my hand’s reach, the liquid rippled inside the glass as some of the contents spilled on the surface of the table.
-”Here’s some whiskey to my brother!”- The hooded stranger cheerfully stated. In fact he was so cheerful that it was scary. No murderous intent from him, no anger.. nothing at all... He was the master of concealing his emotions or maybe he had none of these.. I was not sure, I felt uneasy.
-”Ugh.. I don’t drink anymore.”- I shook my head as I declined his offer.
-”You will.”- He said and tilted his head up a little, slight cuts of the silver hair fallen from the gaps of his hood. This was interesting, his hair color was almost like mine. It was a rare sight to see people with white or silver white hair... The only ones that I seen so far was Jaina and the girl that I met previously. Only those two had the same hair as me.. Yet the person acted like a relative, always calling me as brother, maybe we were indeed related? However as far as I was able to remember no one mentioned about my family, not once.
-”Right on it..”- I had no other option, I had to act along. My body and my mind were saying that I should drink, that I should listen to him. I felt tense, really tense. I scooped the glass of whiskey and gulped down the contents in one go.
-”Obedient boy he is.”- The extremely long haired girl mocked me as she shifted her gaze towards the man. I remained silent. I was waiting for them to speak, to beat the sense in this scenario. To make things clear, it annoyed the hell out of me. I was not sure what to expect anymore. I wanted clear answers, not some delusional acts.

Thus we were sitting by the table, talking complete nonsense, even Sandvika joined us, she sat on the chair to my opposite direction and then all the fun began, then the walls were finally breached. The glass was finally shattered as the things began to revolve, the things that I least expected to happen. The mysterious man pulled out a sack from underneath the table, the sack was made of leather and contained something inside.
-”Here, take a look at this!”- He casually tossed it over me, I barely managed to catch it inside my hands. I was able to feel a squishy and round object inside the sack.
-”Huh? What’s that?”- I was grasping on it, trying to guess what was inside.
-”Take a look, don’t be shy.”- The trio said in a chorus.
-”Alright...”- I sighed and loosened the string on the sack, my nose was instantly flooded with corpse’s reek. As I took a look inside I instantly recognized the thing inside.. the gagging reflex suddenly hit my throat as I swiped it away from the table. The sack contained Hanzsel’s head inside.
-”What the fuck?!”- I almost threw up.
-”What’s your problem, Azure?!”- Sandvika flashed a glare towards me.
-”Oh come on, it’s just a watermelon. I had more, but I lost some of them during the harvest. Oh well, stuff happens.. right?”- The stranger chuckled, like it was nothing. He acted way too casual.
-”What kind of watermelon is that!? A person’s head! What the hell?!”- I fallen into panic.
-”A tasty one, um.”- He chuckled again and then Sandvika rose from her chair and approached the sack with Hanzsel’s head inside, she picked it up like it was a damn ball. She pulled it out off the sack and placed it on a plate, which was on the table.
-”Silly Azure, I never knew that watermelons disgusted you. You shouldn’t drop food on the floor.”- She smiled cheerfully as she lectured me.

Something was definitely up, they did something to Sandvika. Why in the living world they brought his head? Did they deal with Hanzsel’s forces already? Were they my allies, but why were they acting like my old acquaintances, why they were not disgusted by the sight?

-”Is everything all right with your heads?”- I anxiously asked.
-”Yes.”- The trio replied in a chorus.
-”Yummy, it looks so juicy and delicious can I eat it, Simon? Pretty please!”- Sandvika looked directly into man’s eyes. Her eyes were sparkling from excitement as she herself was almost drooling.
-”Of course, my dear. Of course, I brought this one for you. Enjoy it to your heart’s content.”- He laughed as he then handed her a kitchen knife.
-”Yay! You’re the best leader Simon!”- It was confusing. I did not know what was more disturbing.. the fact that she was calling him Simon or the fact that she was about to eat Hanzsel’s head.
-”You guys are mad!”- I rose from my chair and slammed my fists against the table. Sandvika meanwhile sliced off Hanzsel’s ear and started to nibble it happily, she was out of her mind.
-”Ahh, it’s so yummy!”- She stuffed the ear inside her mouth and munched on it.
-”Relax buddy, it’s just a watermelon. What’s gotten into you?”- The man calmly asked me. Meanwhile the red haired woman remained silent, she was enjoying the sight of Sandvika eating a dead man’s head.
-”Err.. I think I might need a take a break outside..”- I headed towards the exit and stepped outside to get some fresh air, I removed my mask from my face and vomited on the grass. I stood outside vomiting for about twenty minutes.

When I returned Sandvika was almost done with the head, everything around her lips was gory and messy.. the remains of scattered brain and bloody slimy insides. She was enjoying it thoroughly, with a fork she carved out his eyeball and inserted it inside her mouth, squishing it between her teeth. It was beyond disturbing and I was not even sure anymore, was I seeing things or was she being manipulated. But if the thing was really the head, which belonged to Hanzsel then it only meant that they killed Hanzsel, but for who’s sake? Did the attack already happen? Did those two save the village? However, seeing how they were torturing Sandvika was an unbearable sight for me, so I decided to call my shots.

-”Alright, I had enough of this madness! You either explain me things or I will slice your throats right on this instance!”- I touched the hilt of Zerneger with my mere finger, building the shadows around it’s tip.
-”Sandvika, sleep.”- The red haired girl commanded and then suddenly Sandvika lost her consciousness and collapsed on the floor, I instantly became furious the shadows that were building around the sword’s hilt shaped into a black cross, which was absorbing the shadows from the corners, the waving pillars of the cross were pulling everything that was dark to the center, where the core of pure darkness lied, ready to be unleashed.
-”Calm down, she’s just asleep.”- The girl sighed and I disbanded the shadows, they scattered around the room, returning to their former positions.  
-”Alright, let’s get back to business.”- The hooded man stated.
-”Business? Are you mocking me?! I give you one minute to explain this!”- I drew out my sword and merely held it in one hand... the blade landed on the floor and then I tapped inside my inner thoughts. The ultimate universe. For that very instance I felt like my consciousness left my body, like I was ascending higher and higher.. my mind was accelerating across the space and time until it bumped into the white boundaries and my mind stopped. The scene suddenly shifted to one, where I was sitting in a chair in the middle of nothingness, everything around was white.. the chair itself was floating in nothingness.
-”Zerneger, do you know these people?”- I asked him directly.
-”I’m not sure about the hooded man, but that woman is your..”- He cut off midway as the white walls began to show black cracks around.
-”Hmm.. what’s wrong? She’s my... what?”- I became curious.
-”Something is disrupting my work, it’s probably due to outside world. She’s a relative of yours.”- After he answered my question even more cracks spread throughout the walls of nothingness and the space began to distort, everything started to gradually move in a waving motion, even my fingers... they turned out to be like a reflections in unease puddle.
-”I see... One more thing before I leave this place... Warp this whole Tavern to the pocket dimension..”- This was my last request.
-”Right! But beware.. staff of L..”- It appeared like he wanted to tell me something, but as soon as he spoke everything shattered to fragments and what was white below my feet became dark, and my body was sent flying  down into the darkness.

My brief talk with Zerneger was only less than split second long in real world, my consciousness woke. Blue flames swirled around the blade and shot straight to the exit like a beam, engulfing the building from outside and devouring it out of this plane of existence. Just as I asked, Zerneger sent whole tavern to the pocket dimension... the exit of the building, instead of the village’s usual scenery now expressed only colors of black. I threw Zerneger outside the building into the darkness. I did not need my sword anymore as this whole place belonged to me and my sword. It would of been a futile act to kill me here, because I was the only one, who was able to open a portal to the real world.

-”Oh well..”- The man shrugged with his shoulders and refilled his glass with whiskey. I sat down as well, I was ready to listen to their nonsense all day long.
-”Now let’s talk.”- I used the moving shadows, which were casted from the burning candle on the table to construct black tendrils out of them, they wrapped around the bottle of whiskey and pulled it across the table to my hands. I grabbed the bottle, removed the lid with my teeth and took a decent gulp.
-”Cheers to you my brother!”- He raised his glass in acknowledgment and by displaying a single flip, he downed all the contents.
-”Well, you didn’t have to do it really. We were already on our way on injecting some sense into your insect’s brain.”- The woman frowned and pressed her cheek against her palm while releasing a deep sigh. She closed her eyelids and started to hum something rhythmically.
-”I don’t care, now you are my hostages. Answer me everything truthfully or I will self-destruct. Without my powers there’s no escaping this place.”- I took another gulp from the bottle.
-”I’d say you’re wrong on this part. However, given my current standing I can’t use that thing yet. Oh well, ask anything...”- The man brought his hands against each other and interlocked his fingers.
-”Right! First things first! How am I related to you?”- I pointed at the red haired girl with my forefinger. She tilted her head up as her eyes widened, for a moment she opened her mouth in surprise and then shifted her gaze to the hooded man.
-”Was he supposed to know this information?”- Despite the fact that she ignored my question, the girl looked surprised.
-”Nope. Zerneger spilled the beans most likely.”- The man showed no signs of concern as ever. He even knew the fact that I was able to communicate with Zerneger, just who was that man?
-”Answering him truthfully wouldn’t hurt I suppose.”- He added to his speech.  
-”I am your sister, Simon.”- She looked to me and stated.

I fell into silence, I was too shocked. I was confused rather... Impossible, it was just unimaginable. No one even told me that I had a sister, that I actually had a living and breathing family member, but yet... what in the name of this world she was doing here? Right here, right now? Why? She did not even look similar to me, then why... why...?! Even Zerneger was not lying, he told me that she was my relative, but I just could not believe the truth. Up until this point I thought that I was all alone, that I had nothing on my side.. My true family was my friends, the ties that bound me... we were not connected by blood, we were connected by our feelings and hearts.. then why? Why my own family member messed with Sandvika? That was unbelievable, I did not want to accept the truth. I wanted to be happy, to express my new discovery with a smile, but yet I felt distant, even if she was my own blood... I was not ready to accept her as my family, even if she was indeed my ally.. I...I...could never open my arms to her... Such thing as blood connections did not exist in my life... My only and real family was Azure, Sandvika and the rest of this village, but not this woman...
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-”No way...”- I lowered my head, I was staring down to the surface of the table.
-”And you can call me as your brother, although I’m a little different story, but we’re basically the same flesh and blood.”- Hooded man stirred in to the conversation.
-”And today we celebrate our family reunion!”- He refilled his glass and raised it above his head.
-”No..”- I was lost for suitable words. How was I supposed to react to this?
-”My name is Lydie, it’s a pleasure to meet you, brother.”- The woman finally introduced herself.
-”Lydie... No...”- I slightly shook my head.
-”And my name is Sim... oof.. I mean Siegmund, brother.”- The man introduced himself as well.
-”I don’t care...”- Brother, sister? What was that? Where in the freezing hell they were all this time? Why they were not there with me, when I needed them?  Were they just messing with my head? Was this one of Hanzsel’s mischievous schemes?
-”Huh? What’s wrong, brother?”- They synchronized like a chorus once again.
-”You.. guys...”- My veins were popping out from anger, my fingers were twitching.. I was grinding my own teeth, my whole body was shaking out of frustration.
-”What’s wrong, surprised to see your family? Envious that your older sister looks younger than you?”- Siegmund, brother or whoever the man was... joked around nonchalantly.
-”...Are full of shit!!!”- I shouted and crushed the bottle of whiskey in my hand, the pieces of glass shattered all over the place.. my eyes were glowing red in fury. I was not ready to accept the truth, even if it was the truth to begin with...

My angered shout bounced all over the room, like a bullet, ricocheting obliquely. However their ears were ignorant as before, they were not intimidated by me, nor resorted to defensive actions.. sitting still, gazing at the shattered pieces of glass.. whiskey was oozing down from the corners of the table, like a waterfall. I rose on my feet and looked down to them, I was silent.. I wanted to give them a solid beating, but yet I was hesitating.. hesitating, thinking of one fact.. family... Was the bond this strong? Was I really sympathizing with them? I wanted to move, I wanted to raise my fist, but I was frozen.. for some reason my body felt like a heavy stone.. a stone, which was sunk in the depths of the ocean.. no way out.. I wanted to overcome this sensation. I wanted to vanquish them, but I lacked something inside myself... I lacked brutality, I lacked cold senses.. But I did not lack courage. Courage to protect Sandvika and knew that this bluff was bad enough, if I were to self-destruct.. Sandvika would be a goner as well.. My promise, which I made to Azure would drift away. I was out of options.. if only she was not in the way.. they probably knew it. They probably lured me, right into their trap? But why? Why would a family member do such a thing? Siegmund was merely enjoying his whiskey, but I had enough of fun and games.. I had enough of this silly reunion.. Luckily I had a knife stored in my coat’s inner pocket. Instantly I reached inside that pocket with my left hand, grabbed it’s hilt and threw it, aiming at Siegmund’s glass.. My precision was accurate, the knife hit it’s mark and flung the glass out off his hand... The sharp tip penetrated through the glass, leaving a cracked hole in the side, from where all the whiskey was oozing. The man sighed and covered his mouth with his right hand.

-”I assume that everything is the other way around. We already got you on the ropes.”- Lydie took action, she bent her frame down a little and reached down, behind the other end of the table, and pulled up unconscious Sandvika by the hair.
-”We already have her under our control, it appears that you care a lot for this girl. Despite the fact that I can’t see your face, I can tell it from your actions. From your voice alone.”- She smirked, holding Sandvika still. Indeed.. since the very beginning they had the advantage, but why? Did I do something wrong? Why the people of my village always had to become scapegoats of my own matters?
-”Put her down.”- I ordered, my tone was bossy and deep.
-”I don’t mind...”- Her facial expression was nonchalant, with a good swing she threw her to the side like she was some damn rag doll.. her head bumped against the wall..
-”You bitch!”- I grabbed the corner of the table, which was in my side and attempted to flip the table over. Rather I intended to slam a table upon her, but I was stopped. Siegmund’s blade reacted to my action and the mantle of solid ice rushed throughout the other side of the table, freezing the table legs and floor below.. until it became impossible to rip the table off the floor.
-”Now, now.. play nicely.”- He joked around.
-”Hah! Just as I guessed.. you really do have feelings for this girl!”- My sister smirked and pointed her finger to my direction.
-”I do, I won’t try to hide this fact. It would be pointless... However I do have some serious questions for you. Was the thing that she was eating really Hanzsel’s head?”- Momentarily I was taken aback... to the sight of Sandvika sipping on his brain.
-”Yes indeed. It was in fact a head and not a watermelon, it also belonged to professor Hanzsel.”- Siegmund nodded while answering to my question. Although his answer was honest this time... to my eyes the pair became even more disgusting to me.. I could not bear to talk to them anymore, but they had Sandvika as a captive.. they held her as a hostage. They knew a lot about me, they probably set everything up to begin with..

-”Monsters, I have no words for you. You two are the real devils, even Hanzsel wasn’t like that.. Indeed he was mad... he cold bloodily murdered his own daughter.. but yet he was fighting for his own ideals. Doing something, instead of doing nothing.”- My body began to emit heat, it was my own energy.. energy of this pained resentment towards them.
-”Shit happens...”- The man yawned nonchalantly.
-”I will never forgive you both, I don’t care if you are some damn impostors or my real family. I will make sure to destroy you. Execute you on the spot. Why did you kill Hanzsel?! Wasn’t he... like your ally for God’s sake?!”- My hands twitching out of fury and my breathing intensifying.. I slowly walked around the table and stopped before Sandvika. I knelt down before her and tilted her head down, to see if she was not harmed from the impact with the wall. To their luck, she was not hurt... however.. a thought crossed my mind.. would they enjoy eating rotting man’s head themselves?
-”It was me, who killed Hanzsel.. I also made sure to slaughter them all, before abandoning that damn realm. Well, I might be lying about slaughtering Hanzsel, I allowed for someone known as A2 to deliver the finishing blow. Justice was brought. The man disappointed me, I gave him resources, I gave him a squad of elites and yet he failed to follow my orders. Such a disgrace, such a shame to me... Thinking of him makes me vomit. Instead.. I came here by myself, I came to deal with you myself. Though on my way here, I met someone interesting... I never knew that I will meet sis again.. This universe is small indeed.”- At last, he spilled the beans.. cracking a laughter in the end. Now I was sure that he was not my ally, but what made him do this? Why did he set up so many things?
-”So, it appears that you are their leader. The real and only one? At last I met you, I’ve been waiting for this day. To slaughter you myself, it turned out as a surprise that you are my long lost brother.. I don’t know your motives behind murdering your own comrades, your own people... But one thing is guaranteed I will rip you off your pride and end this cycle of madness once and for all.”- It was not me... it was his speech.. his honesty, which made me hate Siegmund even more.
-Bold words...”- Lydie interrupted, rolling her eyes to the sides..

Enter the phase of final war.

I rose on my feet and stood near the the exit doors, awaiting for them to finish their speech. Yet it was already decided that I will kill them on the spot. I swore this to my heart, these worms... they were not worthy of being my family members.. Upon visiting this village they dug out a hole for themselves... how considerate of them it was. However one thing still kept me from going... one single thing still held me from skinning them alive.. it was Sandvika, first I needed to figure out what have they done to her.

-”Yes, those are bold words.. I will be sure to fulfill them. I will feast on your blood, it’s a promise.”- I sighed. Even though I was prepared, even though I believed in my own strength.. This wrath... caused my emotions to ripple wildly.. It did affect my self-control.. almost to the point, where my powers would become unstable once again. But even then.. I was ready to sacrifice myself.. for the sake of Sandvika, for the sake of Azure.
-”How ignorant of you. You know nothing about yourself, yet you judge us. You don’t even know  who you are, but yet you dare to call us evil. Silly Simon, everything was your own doing... You are responsible for creating this situation. We just came here, to take our vengeance. If you weren’t the real monster in the first place, we would of never bothered with you...”- It was not clear if the man was trying to break my morale or was he saying the truth. However, one thing was definitely clear.. No matter, who I was in the past.. I’m not the same person anymore and I will fight for my ideals, to the very end. Siegmund rose from the table and straightened his back, he faced towards me and exposed his face. It was hard to see his whole face, due to the hood covering the most of it.. however for me the revelation was quite shocking. He looked similar to me, his pale skin, his young looking face.. silver white hair covering some of the parts on his face.. his purple eyes.. yet he looked similar to me.. there were indeed  minor differences.. but the most shocking feature on his face was the mark, the tattoo around his left eye.. it was the same as mine.. it matched perfectly.. was the man... really my brother... or was he someone else entirely?
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-”Wh-who are you?”- I took a step backwards and opened my mouth in the rising confusion.
-”You really want to know the truth, monster?”- My sister, who was still sitting on the bench raised her voice.
-”I do!”- I yelled at her, but Siegmund merely extended his left arm to her direction and swayed it back at forth, giving her a gesture to keep her mouth shut.
-”Just as I said.. I am like your brother.. no... rather you are like a pest to me, who invaded my own body.”- He raised his tone as well, but remained calm overall.
-”Don’t talk in riddles and tell me the truth!”- I gritted my teeth in frustration.  
-”Alright. I am you.. no rather I was you. No in fact I always was the real Simon and you are just impostor, who stole my body, I want it back.. along with this power, you faker.. This mark on my face is the proof that once upon a time you stole my body.”- He pressed his palm against the left side of his face.
-”No way! It’s impossible. I don’t believe you! I am myself and I am the real Simon, everyone... everyone here accepted me as one, while you were only terrorizing everyone!”- I took another step backwards, the girl picked herself up on her feet as well and faced me.
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-”Everything is possible my dear brother... I don’t want to explain things now.. But you will understand everything in the process, when we will be clashing our blades. Although I want to ask you something... How does it feel? To have the ultimate body? How does it feel to have the ultimate strength? How does it feel to have a body without scars?  How does it feel to have heightened senses? Feels good... right?”- He knew everything, he truly knew everything... but yet.. something was awfully suspicious about them.. Him still calling me as his brother.. Her still referring to me as her brother.. I could definitely feel it... that they have not told me the truth yet.. There was something more to this story.
-”You know, whoever you are... Simon or Siegmund.. or whoever you want to be.. I will always remain as Simon. I will be the same Simon! No one can take this away from me and in this dimension.. both of you are as good as dead!”- Zerneger flew out off darkness, right into my hands.. I prepared my stance, bringing the sword between my arms. At any moment.. I was ready to cut them down.
-”Silly boy, our little display with Sandvika wasn’t for nothing. We did it to prove you, that we indeed can end her life without even blinking if needed. If I told her to die, she would die. If I told her to attack you, she would attack.”- Lydie smirked and stood besides Siegmund, both of their eyes gazing to me.. it almost looked that they were confident in everything.. like they secured their victory already. Such cowardly, keeping a helpless girl as a hostage. Disgrace to humanity, to all the warriors... No honor in them...
-”Now listen to us... return this tavern back to the village and we will have our fight there.”- Siegmund grinned.
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-”And what if I don’t?!”- I attempted to psyche him out, to show that I cared less.
-”Oh... then this will happen!”- They both passed me by my shoulders.
-”Bend the knee and warp us to the village.”- Lydie ordered me and then suddenly I had the urge to get on my knees.. I became scared for some reason.. yet I did not understand what was the reason.. I just felt obliged to kneel.
-”What the hell...?”- My body felt numb.. I could not move a single finger.. The sword that I was holding on... was shaking in my hands.. I did not want to give them the opportunity to strike me, but something was awfully weird.. I was confused... I felt fear crawling in my blood.
-”SIMON! Don’t do this! What’s gotten into you!”- Zerneger’s voice suddenly echoed in my head.
-”I.. I... Have no other choice, they will kill Sandvika.. I must return this tavern to it’s former position.”- I answered him..
-”NO.. I MEAN WHY ARE YOU STANDING STILL AND DOING NOTHING!?”- The loudness of Zerneger’s voice intensified.
-”I.. I am kneeling.. like a dog.. yess.. kneeling like obedient little puppy. Shut up and open the passage of space.”- My voice was cracking for some reason and yet.. those two appeared like the most powerful force in the world.. Like they were my masters... I had no other choice, but to open the rift and fight them outside. No... I did not understand for myself.. For some reason I just felt like doing it.. Sandvika’s life... yes Sandvika’s life was at stake..
-”Let’s switch for a second!”- Zerneger suggested something.. what was that? A switch? What? It confused me, so instead I came up with a better reply.
-”No, shut up! Shut up! I will fight them, but I want to do this outside! So now, open the gates!”- I replied... Zerneger had not said a word against me and the tavern returned to the usual scenery of the village. I was still on my knees, looking up to them.. they were gazing through the exit..
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-”Good boy, now stand up and venture outside this inn with us. We will have lots of fun together. After all, we’re family.”- Lydie winked to me.. I slowly stood up on my feet and nodded. We stepped outside, the view was brilliant.. the tree was standing strong and the gem in it’s core was radiant. I was gazing to the their backs, for some reason I was very afraid, but I knew that I had to fight them.. that I had to protect this place.. this will of mine was not fleeting, it was only magnifying.. I don’t know what they did to me.. what kind of tricks they used on me, but I decided to get back on them.. I had to.. Thus it was only the beginning... the beginning of this sibling rivalry, the beginning of this family feud.. Final clash was already marked.. although I did not know what to expect.. I was ready to use everything at my arsenal.. I had to.. It was my duty.. to protect this village. To protect Sandvika and to never give up on my dreams!
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31 Re: The Rift Dancer on Sun Jun 17, 2018 8:10 pm

Beyond Inferno.

I followed this duo down the hill, my heart was racing wildly, my muscles were throbbing, bones jabbering, fingers vibrating both in fear and excitement... knees almost giving up on me.. beckoning the signal to give up, to stand down and leave... to surrender.. but my inner spirit was calling me... calling to fight, calling to arm myself, to burn them down, to cut their bowels, to devour their hearts. I was chattering my teeth... not in fear, not in excitement.. I was just feeling cold.. I felt chilly presences.. shivering spine... and as if something was stroking my head... with dead cold hands... We moved to the center, I was standing besides them, their gazes fixated to the tree of life, even I was looking to it.. even I felt something for it, felt the need, the duty to protect it from dangers..... from my family. My very own family was the root of all problems and yet I was nowhere close to the truth that I was seeking, more and more questions rose inside my head. Did I really have to fight them? Was this the answer?
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My blackened sabatons impacted the pavement below, it appeared as if they were sending vibrations throughout the surface. Vibrations, which pulsated in dark energies... nothing was left for me, escape was not the option.. I had to choose for myself.. to either die defending the village or to escape like a damn coward. I was moving away from them, not even taking a small glance over my shoulder. I wanted to see this beauty, this tree... the thing, which was most beautiful and venerated in this village. The thing, for which I was fighting in the past. The beauty of these heavenly blue colors etched its way deep down into my eye pupils, as if I was witnessing the reflections of thousand diamonds. I stopped in front of the tree, I firmly stomped on the pavement. The metal clanged and resulted into a loud echo, which tremor flew across the air and lifted the birds on the branches up ahead. I sighed and pressed my palm against my chest, in the area where my heart was supposed to be beating, and I silently promised myself that I will make it out alive no matter what, that I will defend the people.. even if everything else will be lost in the process. I turned around to face the pair.. to face my brother and sister, their eyes showed no remorse, their eyes were dead to me.. It was not me... it was them... they caused this... and I was not ready to take their nonsense seriously. Never!

-”Frankly speaking I’d like to talk more.. I mean.. I’m not quite ready yet, but I guess it can’t helped. For an impatient dog you did quite well, you sure took your time before attacking us..”- Siegmund sighed and clapped his hands slowly.
-”I have nothing else to discuss with you, however I want to ask you this.. why do you seek to destroy me this badly? What is this vengeance that you are talking about? Isn’t there another way to sever this feud?”- Even after all the things they did to me... even after witnessing only cruelty and despair.. I had a sliver of hope in them.. a crumb of mercy hidden inside me... was I too soft? Or was it the word family that kept me alive? Haha, maybe it was just a delusional fear... a fear that I felt when I got on my knees.. but I could not understand why I felt this way.. what consumed me? I was aware that they were using something.. something to trick me with.. but what was it?
-”I do this for my family. I want to protect what is my family, I don’t want anything else.. not anymore! If you regained your memories you’d probably realize how it feels to lose everything... how does it feel when you wander around the globe with nothing on your side... all alone... when it’s cold... when there’s nothing on your side, when you don’t understand what kind of person you were before.. when world itself attempts to crush you. You will never understand what it means to live a life full of lies and delusions, full of fear and terror, because you will die here... by my hand!”- Lydie lashed out her feelings... feelings, which I was able to perceive. Yet Siegmund remained silent, probably his only agenda was acquiring my body...
-”I do understand you! Even now, when I know nothing! Then why? Why can’t we find peace? Why can’t we find an agreement?!”- I extended my arm forwards and pointed my finger to them.
-”Because you were responsible for erasing my memories! Don’t you dare to act innocent in front of my eyes, I don’t need your comfort! I don’t seek to find common ground with you! I just want to destroy you! And now is the perfect opportunity to do it!”- Her scream reechoed throughout the village and rebounded in my ears.
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Me...? It was me? What kind of nonsense she was spouting? I became puzzled once again... I could not believe her words.. was she trying to break me mentally? How did I manage to do it? If it was Thomas... Thomas had the power to do it, it was not me... what in the hell I was doing these past years? Where did I got myself into? Why I woke up as this amnesiac and dull existence? Like creeping demons, these thoughts devoured my mind.. I was trying to break through, to fight trough.. slashing these inner demons, yet they found me again and again... each time stronger and more dangerous... I did not understand who I was anymore... But my resolve... I had to fight for my beliefs or else everything would be in vain.

-”I don’t believe it! I would never do it! Why would I do such a thing for a family member? Why would I do this without a reason?!”- I shouted at the top of my lungs, the scenery around was shaken by my shout.. like my voice was tearing through myself into the nature.
-”Of course you wouldn’t now, after all karma caught up to you! But I had enough of this useless blabbering, as a family member you are long dead to me.. you weren’t my family to begin with! So I’ll be the one to bring you down!”- With her right hand she reached for her backside and slightly pulled her staff, it then sled upwards across her back, red bands fallen from the rod and scattered below her feet.
-”Bravo! Just bravo!”- Siegmund laughed and clapped with his hands.
-”So be it then, I have no words for both of you! I will defeat you on the spot!”- Energies of darkness gathered and swirled around the blade of my sword. The display resulted in a black everlasting helix with rising blue flares around. I drew it forth and brought it inside my two hands.
-”Thus... thanks to me and our faithful ally Thomas her memories were restored.. such a befitting finale for you, my brother Simon. At the very least.. you met your true family before your death.”- Siegmund joked around and drew his frozen greatsword afterwards, frozen chains of metal, which connected his blade to the back, crumbled to fragile icicles by the pulling force.
-”Mhm... but.. I secured my victory already!”- I smirked beneath the mask as soon as I realized something important...
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I looked around the village, armored soldiers were gathering around the corners.. mages were chanting their spells, mercenaries honing their blades, archers tightening the strings of their bows with already inserted arrows. Everything was revolving exactly as planned, only one thing remained.. to give them my signal. Those fools probably overlooked the situation in the village, they were so focused on destroying me that they did not even notice how they were surrounded.. even if they managed to manipulate Sandvika.. I was never alone, I had the force of the village, the strength in numbers... the power of my allies was the key to my victory. The setup was not in vain, everything was well calculated.. and then I realized that we were in the center... that they could be surrounded by the pillars, which I ordered for the workers to build underneath the ground. I was taken back to the time, when I was visiting the village.. when I was discussing the plans with the warriors, not even Sandvika knew about this.. with each party I planned separate things.

-”When I shoot a sphere of darkness above my head, you bozos will line up and erect the pillars.”- I said, pointing my finger to the village’s map, leading my finger to four different points, drawing a rectangle as a result.
-”Yes sir!”- A group of earth mages saluted and then I shifted my gaze towards the mages, which were efficient in using lightning magic.. at first I wanted to look for people talented in fiery arts, but most of them were either dead or severely injured from the previous battles. So lightning was the only radical solution for combat.
-”And you group of reeking drunkards will then infuse your spells with these metallic pillars and direct the electricity towards the opposing forces!”-  I slammed my fist against the palm.
-”Understood!”- They saluted as well.
-”One more thing.. If I fail to be here on time or if impostor shows up I give all the authority to Sandvika. Listen to her orders.”- Afterwards.. I was brought back to reality.. I already had the upper hand.

I tilted my sword skywards, the flames danced across the blade, shadows on the ground fluxed upwards, circulating up across the blade and then a small lump was spew out to the sky. The bubbly sphere of darkness was ascending slowly, black condensed liquids curled around it’s core as it then marked the signal by exploding midair as the darkness rained  upon me. Earth mages lined up from the sides, surrounding the cobbled area in a rectangle’s shape. They started to chant in a chorus, they sounded like angels singing the march of war. Suddenly earth underneath our feet started to shake in hectic fashion. The pavement at the corners started to split apart as something huge began to emerge.. four metallic pillars risen from the ground, shattering the earth below. The tremors were loud, almost like earthquake was striking the village. It was hard... even for me it was hard to balance myself on the feet. Thus in a matter of seconds the pillars were erected fully, each of them had a sharp tip, where the energies started accumulating as the mages of lightning did their part behind the earth mages’ backs. Four bulbs of electricity built around the tips, growing larger in seconds and sending down the sparks across the pillars. Discharging through the rods as if the lightning itself was a slippery snake wrapped around it’s prey.

My enemies were standing still, showing no fear or surprise in their eyes as if they were waiting for something, but then Lydie stepped forward and held her staff in front of her. Small teeth looking things suddenly erected around the handle as they injected into Lydie’s palms, drawing out her blood. The crimson glowing jewel on her staff began to spin rapidly as it produced black mist around it, which was rising above like black smoke. She then hummed and opened her mouth, chanting something in foreign magical language..
-”KAIES. . . ULES. . . AUGOES. . .”- Her voices was deep and reechoing within her throat, she was sounding almost like a chorus herself. Like there were multiple people speaking within her. The black mist then engulfed the duo and scattered around them, resulting in a spherical veil of permanent darkness.. everything inside the conjured barrier looked slightly dim.
-”Eep! So scary! Without you my sis I would of been roasted.. so glad to have you on my side!”- Siegmund’s goofy reaction was only expected.
-”Well, they called me as Darkness in the past for a good reason!”- She bragged about her ability, but was their barrier enough to deflect the attack? Lydie lowered her staff, placing it’s tip on the pavement.
-”Alright men, I’ll keep them busy while you charge the energy!”- I shouted out and began moving towards Lydie and Siegmund.
-”Idiot...”- She sighed.

Suddenly a diminutive figure beaten it’s way through the gathered line of mages and entered inside the rectangle, which was surrounded by the mages. It was Sandvika, she finally woke up. She stopped besides the enemy and gave a furious glare towards me, she was holding a knife in her right hand as well. She raised her arm along with the knife that she was holding and spun it around the tip of her finger once before talking.

-”Halt! This man is a traitor, can’t you see that he is an impostor of Azure?! Are you really this stupid to attack Simon and his sister?!”- Her voice was the same and sweet, but her words shattered me.. she betrayed me completely.. no.. it was not a betrayal.. she was in pain.. she was being controlled. Suddenly whispers began to built between the mages as one of them stepped in the cobbled area and raised his hand in question.
-”Excuse me, miss Sandvika can I ask a question?”- The mage asked.
-”Go ahead.”- She nodded.
-”I am pretty sure that this man is Simon, I think that you are siding with the wrongdoers. Am I not right?”- He said in a trembling tone.
-”You fool! Don’t you remember? He gave the order to listen to me if he doesn’t make it here, he also said that impostors are expected and this one is just a perfect replica of Azure, who’s actually dead.. at least dead to me...”- Salty water built on her eyes.
-”I..I see.. bu-but.. he gave us a signal, how can impostor know so much?”- The man continued to question Sandvika. It almost seemed like he was the most loyal soldier of mine. I wanted to thank him, but I was shocked... shocked that Sandvika was saying such things, even if it was not Sandvika talking... it was coming from her lips...
-”Don’t you get it?! They are smarter than they seem, they always find out ways to leak the information.. look at the destruction they caused on previous times?! Wasn’t that enough?!”- She furiously backfired, giving him counter questions.. the man merely nodded and lowered his arm, he then took a step backwards, returning to his position in the line.
-”Sandvika.. I can’t believe it... why..?”- I asked.. I felt like falling into tears.. I felt like breaking at any minute..
-”Don’t you lie to me bastard! I only acted along in the tavern, because those were Simon’s orders! I wanted to stab you as soon as I saw your face. You despise me...”- She was frowning whilst swaying her knife back and forth. Lydie leaned down to Sandvika’s ear and whispered something. Sandvika carefully listened to her and nodded several times in agreement.
-”Since, I and Simon... yes the one with the hood and not the masked impostor of Azure... are the only commanding ones. I command the lightning mages to destroy this man! As for the others... archers.. aim your bows to mercenaries hiding in the bushes. Warriors of the village, the guards are actually spies of the enemy.. slaughter them at once! Earth mages, mop the floor with guards and mercenaries alike! Leave no traitor alive!”- Her commanding voice.. the orders of madness.. she just basically declared the self-destruction of our troops.. she basically dyed her innocent hands with blood by declaring it.. her words turned out to be the uprising genocide..
-”You maniacs! Don’t make her do it!”- I furiously shouted!
-”Too late...”- Sandvika declared in a calm manner.

The village fell into the confused silence, whispers were building in the gathering crowd. Soldiers were well aware that they were allies, they knew it and they were not ready to raise their blades against each other, however they knew one more thing. The thing was the protection of the village, to secure the safety. They did not want kill their brothers in arms, but they never really knew if they were traitorous scumbags or not, only thing that mattered was to ensure the safety of the village. But they knew little, poor lambs... they were set up for self destruction since the very beginning, bloodshed was inevitable. I tried to reason with them, to talk things through.. but my words never reached them.. I was just another obstacle in their eyes.. It saddened my heart. My only dream, my only ambition to bring everyone together... to fight for eternal peace was just trashed and scattered... Those scums... they even plunged Sandvika into this chaos. I did not care anymore.. I decided to go all out, as carnage was inevitable, a carnage for nothing... a carnage, which I basically caused by uniting these men to protect this place... I wanted to apologize for what I’ve done, but there was no time... in my grave I will have the chance to pay for my sins.. now I only had to fight with everything at my disposal.

It all started with me, I was the one, who called the shots. As the drums of battle were pounded I observed my surroundings and noticed that the pillars and produced electricity on the top were casting a huge shadow upon the pavement. Swiftly I plunged my blade into the pavement, as it cracked throughout the sides from the impact, and I bent down on my knees, and placed my palms on the surface... The shadowy floor suddenly waved like a restless ocean, shadows were rapidly gathering behind me and creeping on top of each other like a colony of insects, until the creeping darkness manifested into two giant shadowy arms. The black arms were almost as tall as the erected metallic pillars. The arms reached down into the earth and pulled out two black swords from underneath the ground. The swords of shadows were swung sideways, cutting down the pillars behind me... the energies jolted upwards, piercing through the upper layer of the barrier above... A hole was carved out and the clouds above were split apart... the toxic air of Brusthonin made it’s way from above. The parts of the pillars, which were sliced, crashed down upon the soldiers.. some of them were crushed underneath, some of them injured from the tremendous shock wave or the falling debris. Thus an all out war between the villagers broke out, a complete mayhem..

The remaining pillars were fully charged at this point and then then the lightning was merely directed at me. The raging arcs of swirling electrical bolts were launched at my direction, but my precision and coordination were on par.. The shadowy arms threw the giant swords to the pillars in front, the shadowy blades reshaped themselves into spinning sharp discuses and severed the pillars. Meanwhile the arms of shadows protected me from the already launched devastating attack by covering my body underneath the palms of darkness. The impact was powerful and loud, some cobble bricks were blown away out off pavement... the sound itself laid siege to my ears, as my eardrums felt like wanting to escape from my ears. Nothing was left of the shadowy arms that I conjured previously, only a puddle of black goo and some geysers of darkness were erupting from the produced temperatures.. Smoke befallen upon me and also engulfed the soldiers that were fighting behind me.. only noises of colliding blades and blood spilling were rumbling in the pure white mist.

I used this opportunity to remove my blade off the ground and propel through the smoke, blue flames built underneath my feet as they lunged me forwards like turbines. As a matter of fact the force was this huge that the mist itself was moving along with my accelerating body. I raised my sword above my right shoulder whilst flying through the air and prepared to cut through Lydie’s produced barrier. However Sandvika stood in my way with her knife’s tip projected towards me. I did not want to strike her, so instead I ceased my attack by extinguishing the blue flames on my feet and lunging the upper part of my body downwards.. I rolled across the pavement, due to momentum and released a deep sigh. I picked myself up on my feet and glared to the trio.. I knew that Sandvika was innocent in this, but she was going too far... no rather they were going too far... yet I knew nothing... nothing at all... We were standing and starring to each other in this little corner of false peace, while everywhere else in the village mayhem was consuming souls of the fallen men. Screams and shouts were bouncing forth and back... sparks of colliding metal lighting up the battlefield like hundreds of candles in the graveyard.. it was a catastrophic event... everyone was fighting everyone.. no one was right, yet no one was wrong.. they were slaughtering each other... the worst case scenario took place.. and yet it only took these two people to come.. they really lured me into their trap... they basically won.. the first round at least..I finally realized why no opposing army was present.. it appeared that they did not need an army in the first place.. they were in the league of their own, all it took was a good strategy.. Commendable from a commander’s perspective, yet disgusting from a human’s perspective..

In the name of love.

I was panting heavily, dense white steam was divorcing through the gaps of the mask, my eyes burning in crimson... showing fury and disgust.. to their perspective I probably resembled a devil. In fact I was like a hungry devil, awaiting to devour their souls.. Images of them suffering were etching into my brain repeatedly, I was imagining their miserable faces, how they were desperately running away from me in awe, but yet... yet I was not even sure about my skill, about myself.. probably only death awaited me.. nothing more, nothing less... Yet Sandvika in the middle was separating me from them.. she was holding a knife, pointed towards me. Her eyes were full of rage as well, almost as if she was glancing at the most hated existence.. almost if I was the big bad villain in her eyes.. was it really the case? Was I really this bad in the past? I could not believe myself, without hearing answers I rejected this idea... Azure was not this stupid, he accepted me as the real Simon.. If I was some damn faker he would of annihilated me ages ago, but yet he always had faith in me and to this very moment of revolving carnage I believed in him... He was my motivation and my strength.

Lydie approached Sandvika from behind and placed her hands on her shoulders, ripping off the cloth from her, the top fell down and awkwardly hanged down from her waist... Her bra was exposed. Lydie swirled her index finger in circular motion and then Sandvika turned around and exposed her back to me.. a large runic symbol was planted on her back, it was circular with some wild tribal stripes stretching out off the sides. Through the ink some substance, which resembled lava was flowing across.

-”M-monster! Is this the thing that controls her!?”- I furiously yelled at Lydie.
-”No, it’s just an exploding rune... Sandvika will be the one fighting you, however if you lay a hand on her or even touch her directly I will activate this rune and kaboom!”- She enthusiastically shoved her arms to the sides.
-”This is disgusting! She has nothing to do with it...”- I stepped back and took a brief glance behind me. The scenery was in ruins.. corpses scattered across the crimson grass.. rising smoke from some of the buildings and befalling cinders.. remaining soldiers bailing out from the battlefield and the injured ones begging for mercy in their last breath.. some of them having dissected limbs. Yet the fighting was raging on and on... Floor at certain areas completely devastated or deformed lands with awkward inclines of rubble produced by the earth mages.. molten armor pieces scattered.. it was a horrible sight.. although the tree itself was still shinning, but the air was gradually getting polluted from the hole in the barrier. Some of it’s leaves falling and rotting in sight... the dead end was marked.. and yet they were trying to force Sandvika to fight me.. probably my last remaining comrade, probably my last remaining friend.. someone that I loved... so much.. I wanted to give myself away to love her even more..  My true family member, as if she was my little sister and yet I was not even sure if she was being manipulated or she really did betray me...
-”Hah! Everything and everyone has everything to do with it... if ya know what I mean..”- After a long silence Siegmund opened his mouth again.
-”Well then... I’ll break this cycle once and for all, as long as I’m standing here.. your victory is not guaranteed!”- I supported my blade on my shoulders.
-”Alright now... be a good girl and kill this man! He will not harm you, he’s basically useless.”- Lydie patted Sandvika’s head and then Sandvika turned around to face me, her eyes were also glowing in red.. well of course that was the famous Asmodian rage.. I was not Asmodian myself, but I fallen into the same category with my glowing eyes.
-”Chop! Chop!”- Siegmund grinned... and I... I of all people wanted to grind his despicable grin to dust.

Sandvika marched forwards, her feet moving swiftly, her knife readied to stab my heart as soon as she were to get close. Yet her attack was too straightforward, even her ‘flying saucers’ were scarier and more unpredictable.. As soon as she got close I stepped to the side, whilst twisting myself sideways.. my gaze followed passing Sandvika.. she moved several steps forwards until stopping and going at it again.. but I merely dodged again.. and again.. she was just tiring herself out from continuous series of charging.. Yet I could not touch her.. not even slightly or she would explode... It was a dire situation.. I was trying to come up with a radical strategy, but she was going straight at me furiously.. pushing through her own limits.. the hate, which was accumulating in her eyes was growing increasingly strong.. as if I was the one, who killed the villagers, as if I was the one, who made her suffer.. I attempted to talk her out of this madness...

-”Sandvika.. stop!”- I grunted as I leaped to the side and sled on my feet in the momentum.
-”Like hell! Just die!”- She jumped up to the air, curling her knees to her chest she brought her knife above her head, ready to land an aerial attack.
-”Don’t you remember me? It is me Simon... the best leader... the drunken fool.. and the biggest pain in the ass, who only falls asleep in the tavern..”- I wanted to remind her of my existence, but my effort appeared to be futile. Her facial expression did not even change, it only magnified into a stronger hate. She was aiming straight at my head, but I merely jumped back... she crashed into the pavement, her knife flew out of her hands.
-”Go to hell, you murderer!”- She picked up her knife and gave me yet another despicable glare.
-”Sandvika... I just want for you to snap out of this.. you must live on..”- I opened up my arms to her.
-”You have no right to call me as Sandvika, monster!”- She scooted in front of me and attempted to plunge her knife into my bowels.
-”Yes I have the right... my only and true.. my lovely bar maiden.. Sandvika...”- I quickly clapped with my hands and the wall of shadows emerged between us, her knife bounced off the black wall... as the sparks flew by her shoulders...
-”Shut your trap, you despicable demon!”- She attempted to breach through the wall of darkness, swinging her knife around, trying to pierce through.. but her effort was futile as the wall itself was strong as steel.. power of darkness was my specialty.. and the advantage of using it was that it did not consume my life force. She was so furious at me that she was not even thinking straight anymore, she could of easily go around the wall and strike me from the side.
-”Sandvika, step aside!”- Lydie’s shout reached my ears. Sandvika took two steps to the right side. I was unable to see what was happening on the other side, I was only able to imagine that the wall of darkness was ready to go down.
-”ULES. . . KAIES. . . EGINSES. . . ILTIES. . .”- Another set of magical words were heard and then in a matter of seconds something impacted with the wall... The shadowy wall suddenly became hot, like it was burning.. indeed it was burning.. and melting.. until it dissolved into black liquid.

Lydie was standing proud, the upper and sharp part of her staff directed towards me.. trails of smoke were ascending from it. I scanned her thoroughly and this is where I found an opening... her feet were unguarded.. there were no signs of barrier from below her feet.. it gave me an idea... it was an opportunity to end Sandvika’s suffering. A distraction was needed for it to work... Meanwhile Sandvika herself rushed towards me, but I merely raised my arms up, surrendering to her attack.. awaiting for her knife to impale my skin. I noticed that both Lydie and Siegmund rose their eyebrows and opened their mouths as they witnessed my display, but they never knew what I was up to. Then... Sandvika pierced me in a stabbing motion... as I bit down my lower lip in pain. It’s been a while, since I felt pain such as this..

-”I give up, Sandvika.. you win..”- I smiled down to her, and then she pinned me down to the ground, falling on me and holding on to the hilt of her knife. Just as I thought.. she touched me, but Lydie did not explode her yet.. She probably fell for it, because she was well aware how I felt about Sandvika.
-”What the hell? Giving up now? Like hell you are giving up!!! You must suffer!”- She looked puzzled as she pulled out her blade out of my stomach and brought it above her head.. I was looking up to her and smiling.. although the pain that I was feeling was real.. my clothes drenched in my own blood.
-”Yes.. I give up.. you win...”- I closed my eyes and smiled once more.. But she merely drowned her knife inside me, until she found herself furiously stabbing my stomach.. I was only enduring the pain.. the pain of pleasure... Because the pleasure of my victory was shinning through..
-”No, I crave for your blood.. so scream! Cry! Feel the pain!”- She continued to continuously stab me.. While the duo was distracted and seemingly enjoying the sight of me getting stabbed multiple times.. I began to gather shadows underneath Lydie’s feet.
-”But.. Sandvika.. I don’t want to fight you, because.. because I do love you..!”- I caught her blade in my hand, blood dripped on my mask from the resulting cut.
-”Wh..what!? No..S..Simon..is..is.. that you?”- The red glow in her eyes ceased as she momentarily regained her senses.. I forced the knife out of her hand and hugged her, pulling her down to me... her forehead landed on my mask.
-”Yes it is me.. and I always loved you, my sweet barmaiden..”- I smirked beneath the mask.
-”I... I love you too.. my sweet Simon.. I mean.. we’re like family right?”- She bursted into tears.
-”Yes.. we are the greatest family that ever existed..”- I brought my right hand behind her head and stroked her hair.. I still could not believe how a mere knife was enough to cut through my gauntlet, which was made from ‘black steel’.. and yet it could not penetrate the shadowy wall.. was my powers getting weaker?
-”No.. no! I must annihilate you!”- She fallen into her furious state once again and attempted to squirm her way out off my grasp, however I was already holding her tightly.

Lydie was probably preparing to activate the rune, however the shadows wrapped around her feet like snakes and spread throughout her body, pinning her movement down.. she was unable to move anymore, not even chant her magic as one of the shadowy snakes wrapped around her mouth.

-”Zerneger! Tear through the barrier of space and warp us to the pocket dimension!”- I gave my command to my partner in combat, he was almost sleeping there, underneath my back.
-”Aight buddy!”- Suddenly space underneath my back shattered to fragments and a spatial hole carved it’s way to reality, sinking me inside... I held rampaging Sandvika as tightly as I was able too, dragging her along with me.. Distraction was successful in the end.. We were safely transferred to Zerneger’s pocket dimension. Scenery around me and Sandvika suddenly shifted to a dark one and completely devoid of life and matter.. both of us were floating in black nothingness.
-”Sandvika did you snap out of this?”- I asked her as she appeared to be calming down.
-”Huh? What happened? Why everything is so dark?!”- She pulled away from my grasp and looked around the area.. tears were rolling down from her eyes.. the stab wounds that I received were not closing down.. there was too many to count.. so it took longer this time for them to heal. I decided to comfort and question Sandvika while the wounds were healing.
-”You are in the pocket dimension, this reality is made up. It looks delusive, but it’s a realm of non existent space. You can walk on the middle of nothingness here, you can also breathe, even though it’s full of nothingness. Don’t be afraid. I saved you from those people, do you remember anything prior this point?”- She seemed to be crying and shivering, she looked down to my wounds and jumped to my grasp, hugging me tightly.. she was crying on my chest..
-”I’m sorry, Simon.. I don’t know what happened.. I’m really sorry..”- She was apologizing.
-”Do you remember anything at all?”- I asked her.
-”Ye..yes I do remember everything! I don’t know what’s gotten into me.. I..I.. was seeing things.. there was you and your sister, you came to me, telling me that the war is going to break out soon.. tha..that.. Impostor of Azure is going to destroy this village, I-I.. didn’t know it was you.. I didn’t know that there were two Simons..”- Her speech was terribly confusing.. I was lost for words myself, but I decided to comfort her.. I gently ran my hand across her head.
-”There.. there.. everything is going to be alright.. breathe slowly... and tell me what happened.”- It appeared that she remembered everything and on top of that she was still seeing Siegmund as Simon.
-”Well.. you came to me.. warning about the threat and explained how to prepare for the upcoming conflict.. you also brought that tasty watermelon.. I.. I.. don’t know why I did attack you.. I thought that you were impostor, but it appears that I was trying to kill you... I mean.. you looked very tall and muscular, like an exact replica of Azure... and now.. now you are back to normal.. I don’t know what happened...”- She was making even less sense, her speech was nervous and abstract.. I was able to feel the wild throbbing of her heart.
-”Geez.. it almost sounds like they screwed with your brain... I mean... Azure is dead.. and I am the only one Simon.. also I would never bring you watermelons..”- Although the thing that she was eating was not a watermelon at all, but I decided to be silent about this.
-”I’m sorry...”- She squeezed me harder.. the wounds on my stomach were already closing down.
-”Anyway, as I said.. I love you Sandvika, you are my true sister.. a sister connected by feelings and not some forsaken bloodshed! I will make them pay for what they did! Also.. I’m relieved to see you well, you haven’t exploded yet, so I guess Lydie can not activate her spell if her victim is outside of the reality. Phew... I’m glad... it was a huge wager..”- I released a deep sigh and gently pushed her away from me.
-”I’m really sorry, please don’t be mad at me... I don’t know what’s gotten into me.. I mean.. I wanted to avenge Azure...”- She looked up to me, her eyes were sparkling from tears. I wiped off her tears with my fingers.
-”I’m not mad. However, I must apologize I will leave you in this dark space for a little while longer.. I have to deal with them first.. I promise you that I will make it out alive. They must pay for their actions... and whatever they did to you.. I will find out.. and I will make them suffer the same!”- I clenched my fists firmly and pulled away from Sandvika.
-”J-just.. don’t get yourself killed... I don’t care about vengeance... I know that I can’t stop you, but please be safe... that’s all..”- She sniffled.
-”I promise... Azure’s final wish was to protect you and I’m not going to back down..”- Darkness swallowed me from behind as I was then brought back to the village.

Sentinel’s descent.

I pushed through the space once more, the scenery from darkness suddenly shifted to the one, which resembled a ruined village, no indeed it was a ruined village.. A conflict torn place.. Most of the area around the center was covered in rubble, smoke was rising, dust was descending.. cinders dancing in the air.. bodies of dead men laid out. Fallen pillars from before, showed signs of molten metal on the sides.. buildings were on fire.. arrows scattered below my feet. A complete nightmare.. and yet before me.. those two were eagerly waiting for my return.. Siegmund was sitting on the fallen pillar.. and Lydie was now free from the shadowy snakes.. She was standing on top of the same mage from before, same loyal comrade. The man was gravely wounded, his ribs broken and erected through his flesh into outside.. his left leg completely dissected. A puddle of blood underneath him.. Lydie was pressing her heel against his chest and looking down upon him. He was breathless, but even he... even he.. was a hero to my eyes, a hero, who never yielded, who always believed in the righteousness. My brother in arms he was.. With the remaining strength he managed to push Lydie’s heel away from his chest and turn his head to me..

-”M..master..y..y..yo..you.. have.. returned.. I’m g..glad.. n..now.. I can... d..die.. at.. p..peace..”- He said in a stuttering tone. He smirked, looking to me.. his eyes were darkened, but even he managed to go out with a bang.. his vision cut off.. but ears were still functioning.
-”I will avenge you, my brother in arms. Now rest in peace.”- I comforted the dying man and observed how his frame became inanimate.
-”Hoho.. took you long enough.. you sure took your time making out with Sandvika..”- Siegmund risen from the fallen pillar and approached Lydie. He stood on her left.
-”I have no words for scums like you, I have only one thing in mind...”- I clenched my fists firmly as the aura of darkness surrounded my outline, my eyes glimmered in crimson.
-”You have nothing in your mind, you are already dead..”- Lydie rolled her eyes in annoyance.
-”In my mind... you two are dead as well. What a nice coincidence.”- I bumped my fists against each other, the sound of metal shrieked throughout the skies.
-”Oh well.. you managed to win Sandvika from us.. but you have no idea how dead you are going to be soon...”- Siegmund merely sighed and emphatically swayed his hands to opposite sides.
-”I’ll feed you with your own medicine, trash.”- I mocked him in response.

I was the only one.. It was my destiny.. to stop them... I had to do it. If not me, then who would do this? Not everything was lost, Sandvika was protected.. Tree was still standing.. some of the villagers were safely evacuated.. and everything else could still be redone.. rebuilding everything takes time... but with great efforts this village and it’s people still had the chance to live a prosperous life. Black Night Crusader I was.. I named myself this way and I had to carry out this title.. Because I was always there when the night was blackest.. I was always there to shed the hope on life... It was not an option to back down.. it was not a choice to surrender either. I was a sentinel, the one sent by the Gods.. to watch over this village, to look after it’s people.. I did not care if I was not the real Simon.. I was just myself.. I always was the person, who guarded this place.

I brought my companion Zenerger into my hands and hammered through the air at full speed. I pummeled the wind into submission and marched like a true soldier, like a real man, who only sought to protect what was important for him. However, the night was still dark and I was yet to see what’s coming next. As I was approaching them, they were expanding drastically, they were getting bigger in seconds.. they were growing.. but why? Why did they suddenly become giants? Their huge shadow overlapped my frame and their foul mugs  inflicted fear in my heart as they looked down upon me... But I was not afraid.. Instead I was ready to survive the longest night yet!
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32 Re: The Rift Dancer on Sat Nov 03, 2018 7:46 am

Devil’s omen.

In an empty, dying place with no light, with no shadows, where everything was halted in darkness as the cogwheels of dead hope were broken I was standing still. Earth cladded in a glimmering veil of ice, no one could perceive the place, no one could understand it’s meaning. Dead trees erected out of the ice like grotesque icicles. Wind was not blowing, water was not flowing, flora was trapped in the death’s moment and ceasing to exist in the broken eyes of merciless time loop, where nothing mattered.. where everything was just made up. Up in the sky darkness followed, the seas of polluted clouds did gather. Eternal eclipse shone like a beacon of despair, trapping the world in darkness. This was the place, where I lived, this was the place where I happened to be born. My heart was in pain, my spirit was shattered... I wanted to save this world, but it turned out that I hated this world and I just craved to revert it to it’s former glory... but what a foolish little boy could possibly achieve? Where many had to suffer, I was not the only one suffering.. I was no one special.. I had the same feelings just like the others, but my powers were not enough to bring salvation. It was merely pitiful, nothing else...

Was it a miracle or a curse to be born in such a world? Children had no place in this world, but yet I was alive and surrounded by my family, my friends and acquaintances. It almost sounded as if I had nothing, but I had the most necessary things in this world, where others had nothing... where others were struggling to be alive in the first place. I was a child blessed by the Gods. I was a miracle among miracles and my heart was pure, not tainted, but sacred instead. My little hands, my little feet, my fragile frame and my happy face was everything that this world needed. A perfect manifestation of innocence I was, it was the time when I believed in miracles, believed in dreams and hopes. Was I a fool to trust those lies? Was I merely blind to see the harsh truth? My heart was captured since the very beginning of this cycle, since my first breath. The stories that I heard as a child kept me dreaming, but for what? This time? This place? This realm? Where was I? Did I shatter the time and space? Did I transcend the reality? Mommy? Daddy? Sister? Brother?

In the distance, up above the spiky, frozen hill, which was encircled by blackened clouds a teenager girl was performing magical rituals, her palms were ablaze. She was surrounded by rusty armored figures, it appeared that they were hollow, only plated armors hovering midair. She was fighting the animated armors, burning them to crisp and repeating the process afterwards. That girl was none other, but my very own sister, her green eyes gleaming like a hunter’s. She did not break a sweat, she remained calm and concentrated. Her movements were precise and her frame was firm and strong. Why was she doing this? What purpose did her actions serve? This world was already destroyed, this world was already forsaken... why one had to fight if no possible future was prominent? I was sitting on what was supposed to be a tree stump, but it was unrecognizable as if the life of it was sucked away long time ago. It was reduced to rotting mess. I turned my head around and then to the side and took a glance to my mother, she was holding a toddler in her arms and observing my sister’s display with hope and courage in her eyes. I tugged her by the cloth and opened my mouth.

-”Mommy, what is my sister doing?”- I wondered as I rubbed my chin. My mother faced me afterwards.
-”She is training, my dear.”- She gave out her answer with a smile in her face.
-”What does training mean?”- I ran my right hand across my crimson hair.
-”My silly sunbeam, it means that she is trying to get stronger to fight alongside your father and other villagers.”- She chuckled and pulled me closer, hugging me with her free arm.
-”But mommy... why does sister want to fight? I want to play with her instead!”- I exclaimed angrily.
-”Because she wants to protect you from the dangers of this world. Now go and meet her, express your gratitude.”- She laughed and pushed me forwards.
-”Yes... mom..”- I sulked and began to approach the hill.

To protect me? From what? What significance did I posses? I just wanted to play with her, that was all.. I just wanted to spend time with her.. I never wanted for her to get closer to my father. He never really cared about the family, he was just fighting those horrible monsters from the outside. I never even saw him kissing or hugging my mom, it was like he did not even care about her. All he cared for was those stupid fights! And now my sister was basically preparing for the same! But if she really wanted to protect me I wanted to express my gratitude. I rushed into the cave, which was underneath the hill and noticed some frozen flowers there. They looked very beautiful, as if they never had the chance to wilt. I brought my palms around the flower and then the ice started to melt down from the grace of the holy light, which I produced in my palms. I plucked off the beauty and decided to gift this flower to my sister, but everything that followed was not how I expected for it to be.

The flower was trampled upon and I was struggling for air in my lungs. My throat was being crushed by the force of my sister’s hands. She was strangling me and piercing my soul with her furious eyes. It hurt a lot, it hurt so much I was writhing and squirming in attempt to try and touch the ground with my feet, but it was meaningless. I was just too weak, I could not do anything about it, but then she merely released me and tossed me on the ground. I crashed on the ice and sled across it back first. I was gasping for air, my eyes were in tears. I was crying and crawling backwards, further away from her.

-”Weakness.. this weakness will kill you one day.”- She said.
-”I... I just wanted to...”
-”To give me flowers? To play with me right?”- She asked in angered tone.
-”Y..yes...you.. are.. scary..”- I nodded.
-”You are just too naive, grow up faster or you will never get the chance to grow up.”- She began to approach me slowly, her eyes were darkened, her frown was hateful.
-”I just want to be with you! I want to love you! Stop your fighting, I’m begging you!”
-”I do this for my family...”- She bursted into tears and fallen on to me, wrapping me in her arms.
-”Sis?”
-”I love you, Simon. I can’t afford losing you. One day, you will understand my actions.”- She squeezed me in her arms and then everything blurred out from my sight.

Afterwards with a sudden shift of scenery... I was thrown into the center of carnage.. the village was collapsing, soldiers dying in the frontlines, and there she was standing still and breathing heavily, her clothes were drenched in blood. She was holding a still beating heart in her hand, then she looked to my side and whispered something in the distance yet the noise of intense battle silenced her words.. She whispered something that I never heard...

After witnessing these series of flashing events I found myself charging at the giant duo, my blade readied to vanquish them for eternity, but I caught a glimpse of Siegmund’s eyes.. tears were rolling down like boulders from a steep cliff. He turned his back to me and Lydie moved in front. I sincerely wondered what was that all about?

Warped reality.

Her heavy, gigantic foot buried itself underneath the pavement as the tremendous shock wave was sent throughout the place upon collision.. bricks and pebbles shot up to the sky like they were some mere dust lifted from an ancient surface. I pummeled the sharp end of my sword inside the earth to maintain my balance, the debris and organic waste flew by as some impacted with my body. The air pressure in front of me was so strong that I had no other choice but to support myself on the ground by taking other measures. Black energies swirled up around my blade and two shadowy chains with hooked ends popped out, they lashed behind me and firmly interlocked with the earth. Lydie did not take any chances to rest, she raised her staff above her head and spun it, collecting all of the falling pink petals in the momentum. They danced around her staff like thousands of blades as they were redirected towards me and then in a cleaving motion she slammed the staff down to my direction. I pulled the blade out of the ground and allowed for the chains to pull me back before her staff landed on my head. I was lucky to avoid the attack, the dual edged staff landed just meters before me and fractured entire ground below my feet... magma erupted from below like a geyser, spewing out burning corpses and charred skeletons.
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Shadowy hooks detached as I brought my blade in front of me, the surface below started to emit heat and I catapulted towards her, setting my wings in motion. The blue glowing spirals on my wings filled up with the energies of my sword as the blue flames bursted out from behind, giving me a massive boost in speed. I adjusted my blade sideways and went straight for her eyes, to take out her vision was my aim. However as I got closer and closer I noticed that she was not getting anywhere close to me, my pacing dropped significantly as if she was controlling the gravity itself. Lydie raised her right foot from the ground and kicked me to the side.. It was so heavy that I could hear the noise of bones fracturing inside my body. I crashed down into the church, breaking through the roof.. I found myself lying in a pile of ruble and dust. Her titanic gaze got locked towards the church, she dimly smiled and let go of the staff with her left hand, she turned her opened palm towards my direction as two red, glowing runic circles stacked on each other with an eye came out off her palm. Heat accumulated around it as a wall of steam distributed around the eye and then a minuscule red ball of fire emerged from the eye as it rapidly grew in size afterwards until it was as big as a building. Without hesitation she launched this replica of a sun towards me, I gritted my teeth and channeled the energy within my body.. My muscles slightly inflated and the blue fire curled up my whole body, the debris dispersed around me as if every molecule broke down, this gave me a passage. In a blink of an eye the fire grew larger and propelled me from behind.. I shot up like a bullet towards her and passed by the ginormous fireball, which soon after resulted in a huge explosion behind me.. Nothing was left of the church, only a huge burning hole and the outer part of the barrier, which was surrounding the village melted like boiling plastic.

I brought my sword forth as it then soon collided with her right eye, however the blade bounced off like a ball, which was tossed towards a wall. I could not believe it with my eyes, the fact that my attack possessed no effect at all. I sighed as I then quickly pulled away midair, my body stopped burning and all the energy was drew inside the blade once more. The blade ignited in blue and my reechoing scream drove away the air from me, raising my sword above my head I began to bend the space around me, as the forces of gravity started to circulate around me, spinning my body alongside until I reached immense speed and my frame from a distance looked like a spinning discus with a bright blue sharp edges of fire around. I then lunged towards Lydie and went straight for her heart, I never felt this strong before... and yet this idea gave me chills, because no matter how powerful I was my attacks were barely tickling her. In a swift motion that “bitch” caught my body between her thumb and index finger. For a brief moment she laughed and then hoisted me up to her face, gradually increasing the pressure on my body, her fingers felt like steel pincers.. slowly crushing me.. almost squeezing the air out of my lungs.. As I was attempting to get out of her grasp by hammering my sword  on her hand repeatedly, but it had no effect whatsoever, it was unable to cut through her flesh.

Momentarily she let go of her staff and brought her other hand behind me. Her two fingers locked around my feet and she effortlessly started to pull my feet down. I was able to feel immense strain on my legs, as if they were about to be dismembered at any second. But instead of pulling them all the way down, she released my feet for a brief moment.. I was holding in the pain, I was not screaming nor I was panicking... I endured.. I attempted to endure the pain that I just felt.. it was close, as if the fabric of my muscle was about to be ripped off. Yet it was too soon to celebrate, she repeated this process again, this time her pulling force was stronger.. and again she released my feet.. She did not even give me room to concentrate.. I felt hopeless, like a mere doll in the hands of a sadist. Thus it went on for minutes, although those minutes seemed like hours.. the pain that I felt in my lower body and the ripping sensation that I had in my core made me lose my consciousness along the way, only to be reawakened by even greater pain.

-”Pointless...”
-”This is pointless...”
-”I just want to die...”
-”There’s no way in fighting those two..”
-”I’m out of their league...”
-”Just kill me already...”

My spirit was shattered, I had no will to struggle, I gave up on squirming and attempting to get out of her grasp.. yet she was just playing, because she could easily rip off my legs if she wanted to... at any given time... She loosened the grip of her grasp and allowed for me to fall down.. I held the hilt of my sword tightly, but my body was not moving anymore.. the ground below was not getting bigger, instead it was shrinking below.. as if I was falling to the opposite direction.. I was gazing into the destruction below.. charred corpses were writhing in pain.. they were trying to escape the jaws of boiling magma below. Did I? Did I turn up in hell? Was I in hell? Suddenly my thoughts were disturbed by piercing feeling in my stomach, I tilted my head to my stomach.. there was a sword penetrating my body.. and then another one appeared in my feet.. arm... shoulder.. and soon my whole body resembled a piece of meat, which was ruined by series of toothpicks. Blood was penetrating the cloth as it then was gushing from my mouth.. suddenly I lost my vision.. but in the center of blackness I was able to see the death of my comrades numerous of times.. repeating every time, in this endless loop of carnage.. the worst one of them was the memory of Azure’s death striking my vision.. witnessing his death over and over again.. and yet I could not move a finger.. even the pain went away, it felt as if my soul left the body. I was trapped in a limbo of torment... Where my shout did not matter, where my lament never reached one’s ears.. where pain was not existent, but the psychological torment was indeed true... seeing this I was just falling into the despair.. burning chains embroiled my body and iron thread sew my mouth shut... and then one after another.. the swords, which were stuck inside my body started to move.. one of them pulling away and penetrating my flesh soon after.. then the rest followed and thus this continuously repeated... while I was forced to watch how all of them were dying in front of my eyes..

-”I’m sorry that I was too weak...”
-”Please forgive me...”
-”I just wanted a better life...”
-”I wanted to be happy..”
-”I never wanted to end up like this...”
-”This way my vengeance will never happen...”
-”Triniel will roam free..”
-”Sandvika will die...”
-”My promises.. my dreams.. are shattered...”
-”This world...”
-”I don’t care about it anymore...”
-”Azure, sorry for not bringing you back...”
-”I give up on my dreams...”
-”Wake me from this...”
-”...Nightmare...”

At last my eyes became shut and the sound that I was hearing went into the screaming silence.. I... passed out.. but... I never expected to see the light again...

Warped world.

This heat... My throat... Dry... Water... The thoughts of a dying man resided in subconsciousness. I opened my eyes.. a bright, golden bulb was burning my vision away... shining sand dislocated across the globe.. high and mighty triangular castles in a far... Wait what the hell? I’ve been here before..! Why did I end up here again? Was I just having a long and bad nightmare? I got up on my feet and shook out the piles of golden sand from my pockets... I looked around myself and not a single living being was present around.. Land of sand huh?

-”Queen will get mad, I must return!!!”- I loudly exclaimed, my strong voice embraced the desert.

As I attempted to move my foot stumbled on something... it was a black blade covered in sand.. I knelt down and rubbed the sand from it’s surface... I quickly realized that it was Zerneger.. of course... it was my sword.. I snapped back to my senses and realized that the damn queen never existed and I was never a slave.. But what was I doing here in the first place? I lifted the sword from the ground and heard a noise of falling liquid... I looked around in suspicion, but no one was present... I shook my head and decided to advance onward, but the noise of water drops did not stop.. the beat of the noise intensified. I looked down and noticed that the wounds that I had from the swords were still there.. crimson blood was oozing and my trails were dyed in crimson.. I dropped Zerneger on the sand and fell on my knees..

-”WAAAAAAAAAAGHH!!”- I screamed in terror, almost choking on my own blood.

The ground suddenly started to rumble until the earth below me split in half and I fell inside the black hole, where I was able to see Lydie’s gigantic eyes gazing right into my soul... As I was falling I found myself in utter darkness, the surface above shut.. rays of sunlight were changed by whispering darkness, where something was grabbing me from the sides and attempting to rip me apart.. until the scenery slightly got lighter and snow broke through the skies... I was falling along with snowflakes until I dove headfirst into snowdrift. I emerged from the snow and found myself amidst the village..

-”My family! Yes.. I need to save them from those thugs!”- I shouted while running towards the nearest building.. I bursted through the wooden door.. and found dismembered and hanged corpses inside..
-”NOO! NOO! ZERNEGER GIVE ME YOUR STRENGTH! I MUST AVENGE THEM!”- Out of desperation I attempted to contact Zerneger, however he did not respond.. and instead Lydie stepped in from another room.
-”You bitch! This is clearly an illusion I know it!”- I came to an assumption as I charged at her, pointing the sharp end of the blade forward.
-”Or is it..?”- She effortlessly caught the blade inside her palm and smirked. Several drops of blood slipped through her palm.
-”Of course! I’ve been in these places before, you bitch!”- I drew my sword back and let go of the hilt.. as it landed on the bloody floor I jumped on top of Lydie, delivering her a blow from my fist to her face. It connected, however her facial expression was just cold and lifeless.
-”I have no idea what you are blabbering about... but whatever..”- She sighed and spew blood on my mask.

She raised her right hand and brought it to my mask, she resorted to a simple flick.. but it was so damn powerful that the force of it blew off the entire ceiling alongside the roof... as I myself rapidly ascended to the air... until my consciousness drifted away and I found myself in another familiar scenario.. I was in a wedding.. that’s right.. I was going to marry this giantess that I became allies with.. She was holding me inside her hand, wearing a dress.. everyone around us were celebrating the day of our unity, however as soon as I looked to her face.. I noticed that the face belonged to Lydie. She hoisted me up to her mouth.

-”Now let’s kiss little husband..”- She smirked, as I hopelessly attempted to get out off her grasp.

She opened her mouth and her giant tongue popped out, like a snake it wrapped around my whole body as half of my body was sucked inside her mouth and then she bit my body in half... guts and internals hung out from my body as the pair of my legs were left inside her hand, while the upper body traveled down her throat... Darkness blinded me once more.

Metallic pillars erected around me.. skyscrapers eh? A rainy day.. but the rain was abnormal.. it was red... yes blood was raining down upon me.. washing my face.. I was looking up.. holding a gun in my hand.. surrounded by machines and a cold corpse of my buddy.. Lazure... was lying.. nah.. not Lazure... but Azure.. I knew it... it was not a mere coincidence. These worlds were the replicas of what I did before.. fractions of my locked memories... with different tones and settings.. only now I was able to realize... that everything that happened and happening now was the work of my deep subconsciousness. My hand was shaking... but it ceased as I held my breath and pointed the pistol towards the soldiers, who were surrounding me..

-”All of you! Just die!”- Instead of committing a suicide this time I fired the shots at them. But the bullets passed through them.. as if I was firing at ghosts.. nozzles were bouncing back, until the magazine became empty.. I breathed heavily, almost struggling for air. I dropped the pistol on the ground and called forth Zerneger, which actually manifested into the reality.. the hilt fit inside my hand perfectly.. And the the blue flames of freedom burned away the cold blood around. I charged at them with no hesitation.. dissecting their limbs, melting away the metal of these machines.. but yet.. everything returned back to their places.. as if they were regenerating..

-”DAMN IT!”
-”I WANT TO ESCAPE!”
-”I WANT TO LIVE!”
-”I WANT TO SAVE MY FRIEND!”

My voice pierced the heavens and my blade ripped through their flesh thousands of times... but they just stayed there like a unit of immortal soldiers.. That was until I gave up and decided to stake through my heart with my own sword in despair... Everything blacked out.. but I knew that I was not dead.. I knew it.. because I was barely feeling pain.

Dark skies flooded in once more.. I was gazing to the red moon, which illuminated the village below the cliff, on which I stood upon. Little hands, little feet.. Again I found myself into this world.. a world of my childhood.. a world of my beginning, where the origins of my story rested.. Yet I was completely clueless. I overheard the footsteps coming from behind and looked back over my left shoulder. I noticed approaching Lydie.. She stopped beside me, to my left, and smiled warmly.

-”It is dangerous to wander around alone, you know..”- She lectured me.
-”Tch.. just kill me already..”- I folded my arms against my chest in disgust.
-”What are you talking about? We are siblings, we are comrades.. don’t you want to grow up? Don’t you want to become a hero? An adventurer... like you always wanted?”- She rubbed the back of her head as she gave me a worried look.
-”This isn’t funny! I have no time for your games!”- I threw a fist towards her, but she swiftly pulled away to the side, avoiding the connection.
-”Whoa! What is wrong with you?!”- She pouted upon asking.
-”That’s my line!”- I backfired and swayed with my fist.
-”Hah.. I don’t know what’s gotten into you.. but I heard how you were talking with mom last night.. You always wanted to have a big sword right?”- She smiled and placed her tender hand on my head.
-”Umm.. yeah...”- I gave her a confused look.
-”I know just the right place... the name of the sword is Angel’s bane.. Once you are old enough this seal will break and the location of this legendary sword will be exposed.”- She said it as she handed me a small paper sheet with a weird symbol in the center, which was probably the seal.  Angel’s bane huh? Was that the name of a sword that I had in the past..?

Her frame stopped it’s motion as it then crumbled to dust...This dark world was awfully silent tonight.. and I was never this confused.. Was this the past? The present? Or was this the future maybe? It seemed vivid... but the scenario was out of place... did I regain this memory? But when and how? Was it connected to the vision that I had before I charged at Lydie and Siegmund? Questions still remained, but I vowed to myself that I will seek out the answers. I gazed down from a cliff and noticed  fire.. the village was burning.. I jumped down off the cliff and dove straight into the chaos.. a child was powerless indeed, but I was not a mere child.. I had Zerneger on my side, which somehow emerged in my right hand just from the thought of it.

-”Alright let’s go!!!”- I shouted against the wind and dove straight ahead and thus everything blurred from my sight.. not knowing what everything was about.. I had a sensation that this was the last vision... but suddenly.. for a split second.. I saw Lydie surrounded in flames, she was holding a still beating heart.. She crushed the heart in her palm and then everything turned into crimson.

-”This world...”
-”Is it really a dream..?”
-”Illusions can’t be this realistic..”
-”Yet.. I can’t escape by realizing that this is not true...”
-”Something is definitely up..”
-”For how long...”
-”... I have been fighting?”
-”How many years have passed..?”

Staff of Longinus.

My eyes were opened once again, I woke up in a familiar scenery of Baltasar Hill village. Of course half of it was destroyed, but this time I was sure that I was not trapped into some damn illusion. Lydie and Siegmund were normal sized this time.. it appeared that the wounds that I received previously were already gone. I squeezed the dirt underneath my right palm as I sighed.

-”You had so many opportunities to finish me off and yet I am breathing.”- I stated before I got off the ground and shaken off the dust from my clothes.
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This time I believed that the victory was truly mine, however something was lacking inside me. I was not aware.. but the morale, the resolve was not there.. after witnessing these series of endless torture I was not truly sure whether everything before my eyes was real or not... Maybe I was already in hell? Maybe I died after Lydie released me? In the end I placed those questions aside and focused on what was in front of me. Lydie leaped up into air, spinning her staff above her head as it ignited in flames, which left trails of black mist. It was a straightforward attack, but it looked deadly due to that fire, so I had to take precautions, I ran a couple of steps, accelerating forward I took a leap towards her.. my blade was positioned on the right side. It went through her bowels.. NO.. it passed through her body completely.. as if she was some transparent being. She grinned and swiftly rotated her body midair, delivering a blow to my back.. my coat was set ablaze and I crashed down into the dirt. Her body was hovering midair, I could tell that she was muttering something silently with her lips.. But I did not have the time to observe her, because I had to put out the flames first.. A layer of shadows covered up my coat, leaving no oxygen for flames to burn. Meanwhile Lydie brought the staff in front of her.. holding it horizontally.. two giant and bright red circles surrounded the staff... as the fireballs were shot.. in fact it was a continuous assault.

She left me no room to come up with a defensive move and thus I was forced to run.. Consecutive explosions followed my trails.. blowing off everything in sight. I was not glancing back anymore, I was just running in a straight line, taking swift turns with hopes to avoid damaging the property... but then unexpected happened Lydie appeared in front of me and I bumped into her.. I collapsed on her as I stared right into her eyes.. our eyes were centimeters apart..

-”A second ago you were behind me!”- I shouted in panic.
-”Well, I am still there..”- She grinned and pointed her index finger.

I took a look back, over my shoulder and noticed that she was still there, hovering midair... I quickly turned back to the one, who was lying on the ground and jolted back in shock.

-”And I am also here..”- She giggled.
-”It can’t be...”- I started to crawl backwards until I bumped into someone again... I took a look behind me.. and saw yet another Lydie.
-”Hey hey! I’m here as well!”- She closed her eyes and smiled.
-”No! How many of you are there!”- I screamed and then I felt something sharp penetrating my stomach.
-”A lot!”- I slowly turned my head to the front and a sight of blade etched into my eye pupils came clear. Another “clone” of Lydie was holding the blade..
-”Damn you...”- I grasped the blade with both of my hands and tried to push it away from me, but it was meaningless the bleeding was too heavy.. In the past I never had to struggle when something wounded me, but now it seemed that my strength was just fleeting or maybe she was too strong for me to handle...

-”Damn it all!”
-”I’ve reached the top!”
-”I have no idea...”
-”No idea at all..”
-”Fighting her is pointless.. I should just quit...”

It only took a couple of blinks before I was surrounded by several dozens of Lydies.. She was multiplying in sight and I had not a slightest idea about her ability... nor time to figure it out. Illusions, fire, spells and incantations, ultimate strength, ultimate defense, multiplying... she had no weaknesses.. not even a single one.. she was almighty.. too powerful to comprehend.. My morale dropped down like a falling star. Each and everyone of them were waiting in line just to stab me. Stab after stab... her smile remained deadly confident. It was hard to grasp the meaning of pain... after so many series... I was unable to feel anything at all.. but yet I lacked the spirit to raise my sword and fight.. pathetic... so pathetic.. was I about to face my end?

-”SILLY, BUFFOON!”
-”I’D GIVE YOU A GOOD BEATING FOR THIS!”

Huh? Whose voice was that? I wondered... a familiar tone and speech etiquette echoed inside my head.

-”JUST WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING?”
-”WAKE UP!”
-”WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON HERE?!”

Again this voice crossed my mind... wait... this voice.. I knew it... I knew the owner of this voice... yes... it was none other than him..

-”YOU DEADASS SKUNK!”
-”JUST SNAP THE FUCK OUT OF IT!”

It belonged to... Z ... E ... R ... N ...

-”ARE YOU PLANNING TO DIE HERE OR WHAT?!”
-”I WOULD GLADLY KILL YOU MYSELF!”
-”BUT YOU KNOW WE HAVE A VILLAGE TO PROTECT!”

... E ... G ... E ... R ...

-”THAT’S IT!”
-”I’M DONE WITH YOU!”

Zerneger... yes Zerneger was speaking to me... but why? What was he rambling about?

-”Hey... Zerneger.. can you hear me?”- I wondered.
-”Loud and clear!”- He responded.
-”What do you want? Can’t you see that I am getting killed?”- I hopelessly laughed as I tanked another stab.
-”Getting what? You are just standing there with your eyes shut, muttering bullshit up your nose!”- His words did not connect with the reality.
-”I’m sorry?”- A confused look decorated my face.
-”If I had hands... I’d be facepalming at this point of time... Anyway.. don’t tell me you came into contact with her staff? I mean... you were about to attack them, but you didn’t move a single finger against them.. yet you were randomly running in circles, swinging me around.. you stupid monkey! You injured yourself along the way and put on a show of fireworks.. now thanks to you.. even the last remaining remains of the village were ruined... you should be glad that you didn’t destroy the tree or the barrier.. ALSO YOU SHOULD BE THANKFUL THAT THOSE TWO WERE JUST WATCHING YOUR SHOW AND LAUGHING... OTHERWISE YOU’D BE DEAD IN SECONDS!”- Zerneger’s rant made me realize that I was trapped in the illusion since the very beginning..
-”And what about you? You just kept observing this whole time?!”- I backfired furiously.
-”Idiot... our contact was completely cut off, this whole FUCKING time I’ve been trying to synchronize with your soul, just to get in TOUCH with YOU!”- He lashed back.

-”What we are supposed to do now? Come on! Dispel this illusion!”- I gave him my command.
-”Oh... if it was this simple.. it’s the staff of Longinus that we are talking about! When you touch the staff it’s all over.. there’s no exit.. Unless the user decides to snap you back to reality or some intervention from outside world wakes you up. It’s one of the most powerful tools, I don’t know how she acquired it.. but it greatly enhances ones magical abilities on top of that Lydie’s ultimate ability is a complete hypnosis where all of your senses are being controlled.. basically the world that you are in belongs to her. Combined with the staff of Longinus it’s one of the deadliest spells in existence. This staff has been passed upon from generations to generations it’s almost as legendary as I am! Only the most powerful magicians had the chance to use this staff, not to mention that your sister already excelled in illusion spells.. I don’t even know what you’ve been through right now.. but it was probably horrible.”- He sighed at the end of his long speech..
-”So.. is there a way to beat her?”- I wondered, suddenly I felt a spark of hope inside of me..
-”Of course there is.. I am the weakness for this staff. I can break the link, but you will have to trust me on this one, because this time.. I am going to fight alone!”- Did I even have an option?
-”Well then! Let’s do this! Let’s execute your plan!”- I released a hopeful shout. Although I was pretty clueless about his plan.
-”Alriiiiight theeen! Give me your body! This is gonna be fun!”- He happily shouted.

Was this even possible? Switching bodies with my sword? Well.. we did fuse in the past so... But did I even have a choice? Nope... Not at all.. but to think that everything what happened was a hypnosis was mind bending... I was about to lose myself.. I was about to surrender.. but my companion was the ray of hope that I always had.. Mental battle has ended... and the real show was about to take it’s place... Only this time I had no other choice, but to spectate.. however I placed my trust in my sword and allowed for him to shine in combat.. giving away my body sounded like a scary idea, but without trust.. without decision making I would of been doomed.. So it was my last chance against Lydie...

To be continued.
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(Somehow, after a long time I came up with another post. Up next: This battle will be concluded and it will mark the beginning of the grand finale where most of the confusing stuff will be revealed.)

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33 Re: The Rift Dancer on Sat Nov 24, 2018 4:54 pm

True Power.

On that long forgotten day snow was descending from the sky, every snowflake resembled a falling shell shot from an artillery. Both of us were running through the dense forest, where branches were storming our faces... hah back then I almost lost my right eye. I barely managed to duck in front of that son of a bitch in hopes to avoid it hitting my eye. Armed with a bow and an arrow I was looking for my prey, I looked like a true hunter. Head covered in a hood, my leather jacket decorated by branches and rotting leaves. It was a hell of an experience, though I was just a newbie who was not able to hold his bow straight and each and every time I tripped on something, causing rustling and cracking noises. I bumped right in the back of someone, who was significantly taller than me.. it was her.. it was my sister. As always I was behind her, - Leagues apart... She grabbed me by the shoulder and forced it all the way down. I could not withstand her mighty arm, so I fell on my knees and then I instantly took a laying position.

-”Shh... we’ve got a target.. don’t mess this up or we will be starving for this evening.”- Lydie whispered in my ear.

I merely nodded and listened to my older sister. After all she was far more experienced than I was, in fact I always despised the forest.. hunting was not for me.. I was not made for that.. Although this was how I felt back then. She slowly moved her left arm and motioned with her extended index finger over to a tall and and icy clump of earth.

-”Take cover on the left and wait for my signal.”- She ordered.
-”Right, I’m on it...”- I silently said and slowly crawled across the snow towards the cover.

My upper body was drowned in snow, it was so cold and wet and yet I had to stay calm.. I had to lay there like a dead leaf. My fingers were freezing to the point where I was unable to feel them and the upper layer of my skin was slowly cracking from the cold. With each second a thought or two crossed my mind.. “Faster...”, “Please be quick, sis..”, “I don’t want to freeze to death here..” but I just held my head straight ahead of myself and attempted to track my target’s movement. It was not for me or my sister.. It was for my little brother, for my family.. for those, who were not suited to fight at all.. for those who were dying on the front-lines while protecting us, the small community that I was in... was my top priority..

-”But what in the world am I even reminiscing about?”
-”When did this happen?”
-”Why are those thoughts and visions so vivid?”
-”Am I trapped again?”
-”No... it almost seem that my memories are flooding back little by little..”
-”Even if those are glimpses of my past, but still...”
-”THEN WHY THE FUCK AM I FIGHTING MY OWN SISTER?!”

The vision got burred in snow with the occurring disturbance in my thoughts. Darkness surrounded my eyes, shadows creeping in and out.. crawling like insects beyond the reach of reality. Such an idiotic train of thoughts it was... I attempted to open my eyes and saw Lydie’s back in front of me, she was holding her staff straight, facing the direction, which led to the holy tree of life. Why was she in front of me... Wait...

-”There...”
-”There’s someone standing before her...”
-”A masked man..!”
-”No way! I can see myself... but through whose eyes?”
-”Wait! You don’t mean... I can see through Sieg...”
-”...Siegmund’s eyes...”
-”GAH! I DON’T GET IT AT ALL! WHAT IS EVEN HAPPENING WITH ME?”

The vision cut short as I found myself drowning in the darkness again... This tingling sensation, this strange feeling... Yes... I was really close.. I was able to feel it.. The answers that I sought were closer than I was able to imagine.

-”Siegmund.. whoever you truly are... I will definitely find out.. even if it’ll mean my own death..”

It almost felt as if I was sinking into darkness... I opened my mouth for air, but something black flooded in.. choking me..

-”Well...?”- Zerneger’s voice ripped through the silence.
-”I’m ready... use my body as much as you need.. But promise me that you will prevail..”- I grinned and without any regrets I let the darkness consume my body and soul... And then... My vision expanded... I was able to see anywhere, but I was unable to move my own body.. I was at the scenery through the mirrors of disturbed space. It almost felt like my own soul left my body and I was left wandering between the world of living and the dead.. But my spirit was bound to the sword that I possessed.. Yes.. my soul became an object, which was unable to feel pain and lacked human emotion. So... this was the feeling of switching my body with the sword?

-”Please relieve my soul!”
-”On this night of revolution our battle continues!”
-”Go get her, Zerneger!”

I reached into his mind, shouting my words of courage.

-”Tch... I won’t take long..”- He sighed.

Possessing my body Zerneger brought the sword in front of his masked face. The visible hues in the eyes ignited in bright red as some crimson sparks descended across the body. The lowest corners of the black coat spew out bright blue flames that grew out to be a huge ring of fire behind his back. The outer frame of the body cladded up in a dim purple barrier of energy as the earth beneath began to gradually disintegrate. Shadows from behind came to life and resembled a restless sea of black water, waving back and forth... the waves were crashing against each other and going off in a black liquid substance. This was the potential of my power and Zerneger knew my abilities the best. A combined power it was... when two souls were cooperating with each other. All the way from the hilt to the furthest edge of the blade twin spirals of fire swirled... One was burning radiantly in bright blue.. it was almost freezing the atmosphere around.. while the other one was purple colored, eating away at the oxygen around. Zerneger slightly bent his upper body forward and placed the left foot in front of him, the ground below the foot melted like ice in the early spring.

-”How did you break through the hypnosis?”- Lydie gasped in surprise as she then instinctively took two steps backwards.
-”I told you that this might happen.. you were supposed to finish him off while you had the chance..”- Siegmund interrupted from behind, holding his hands in the pockets of his cloth and sighing.
-”But this is impossible. No significant being can break through this spell!”- She took a glance back over to Siegmund and shouted with a sign of panic in her tone.
-”With him... everything is possible..”- Siegmund however remained calm as he was before.
-”You truly are a monster...”- She frowned upon saying this to Zerneger, but she probably was referring to me. After all she was not aware yet that I was just observing the situation and that I had no control of my body.
-”Monster? Such insolence.. I am a God.”- Zerneger spoke through my mouth, but the voice was nowhere close to mine.. instead it was rebounding and divine.
-”Whatever... I’ll bring you to hell!”- She furiously backfired and with a swing of her staff she raised earth’s crust two stores above her.
-”This will be boring...”- Zerneger threw the blazing sword on the shoulders and took a deep breath.

Not even a second crossed as he moved the feet, which resulted in a flashing leap forward.. the crust that was lifted from the underground was breached and crumbled down to dust. Zerneger was flying across the ground, but his aim was not fixated on Lydie.. instead he was going straight for Siegmund. Like a flash of lightning he passed through Lydie, leaving destruction in his trails.

-”SIEGMUUUUUUND!!!”- He bursted in angered shout.

But it only took one more second for him to crash down into the gigantic wall of spiky ice. Siegmund did not even move a finger, just stayed in his position with his hands in the pockets. Zerneger was quick to react, he spun to the opposite direction midair and touched the surface of the ice with his feet. He then bounced back from the solid fortress of sheer ice and left a burning hole in the place of the feet. He was flying towards Lydie at high velocity.. the space behind him was breaking apart.. ripping through the dimensions it resulted in a chain reaction of small explosions, where oxygen was destroying itself. Lydie got prepared to tank the hit, her body cladded in a bubbly barrier, but the barrier was not sufficient to hold off Zerneger’s devastating might and it merely shattered like glass... Zerneger released the sword from his hands and left it hanging midair, he then quickly grabbed Lydie by the face and pushed her into the ground, the momentum dragged both of them across the lake of wavy shadows... Zerneger then released Lydie and vanished from sight.. as if he submerged with space itself.. He reappeared behind the sword, which was hanging in the air.. He took a hold of the flaming blade and the ring of blue fire behind his back started to spin rapidly, spewing out bullets of fire towards Lydie.

-”Tch... you’ll pay for this..”- Lydie rapidly got up from the ground and swung her staff back and forth, raising tall pillars of earth in between them.. the bullets of blue fire bombarded the pillars, causing for them to collapse.. Lydie was avoiding the rest by magnificently dancing around the battlefield with her staff in front of her... Zerneger once again released the blade as it started to spin midair.. He waved with his arms and raised his fingers up... The puddle of unease shadows suddenly formed into dozens of black arms, which attempted to immobilize Lydie, but her staff was set ablaze, burning the shadows away. Zerneger quickly grabbed the sword again and tightly rested the hilt against his right shoulder. The spiraling flames around the blade started to spin faster as the energy began to accumulate at the tip of the blade. Lydie on the other hand was not that slow to react to Zerneger’s upcoming attack.

-”KOES . . . NISES . . . ENAES . . .”- She chanted those familiar magical words again as the bright red runes surrounded the staff... at the end of it massive amounts of fiery energy accumulated.  Zerneger fired a massive beam of dense purple colored energy from the tip of the blade and Lydie countered it with her own beam of sheer fire... Two different energies collided midair, resulting in a destructive explosion between the two. The explosion shattered the earth below with it’s devastating force... blinding everything in sight.. and ripping apart everything in the radius of the whole village with it’s exploding shockwave.. Even Siegmund was forced to take cover from this one and then the massive cloud of dust arose from the center of explosion... where rubble and fragments of destroyed buildings where flying in a hectic fashion. But the blinding end of two colliding forces did not conclude the battle... instead both of them charged at each other and dove straight into the dust and smoke... delivering blows at each other head on. Even in the real world Lydie excelled in physical combat.. she was able to hold off Zerneger’s every cut and swing with her bare staff...  Each clash produced flying sparks and noises of shrieking metal.
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-”You’re quite good.”- Complimenting his foe Zerneger grinned beneath the mask and kicked her away from him. She sled across the earth, holding her mighty staff tightly. For a moment a smile dyed her facial expression, she tapped the ground with her foot and then a pillar of earth rose from the ground... it rapidly erected towards Zerneger, the surface of the pillar hit the Azure’s mask, which pushed Zerneger up in the sky.
-”That’s what you get for lowering your guard down, amateur..”- She spoke back with a passionate laughter.. The heat of the battle really turned her senses on.    
-”Then let’s test your reaction...”- Zerneger laughed as the vortex of space tore itself into reality and consumed him. Momentarily we traveled to Zerneger’s pocket dimension where Sandvika was resting unconscious.
-”Dang it.. you’re not messing around man...”- I exclaimed.
-”Well.. I’m always serious when it comes to fighting, but I must admit she’s pretty damn powerful.”- Zerneger calmly stated.
-”So, what we are going to do now?”- I wondered.
-”Just watch, I’ll show you how to fight, boy.”- Zerneger laughed and tapped in the empty space with his palm.. a ripple carved it’s way through the space and the view of the ruined village was exposed.

His name, - My name.

We passed through the rift and appeared right behind Lydie. Zerneger struck her from behind in a cleaving motion, but her reflexes were truly spectacular she instantly twisted her whole body and blocked the blade from behind with the stove of her staff. But Zerneger was not snoozing around, he was controlling my body as if it was his own. He vanished in sight yet again and reappeared in from above, lunging downwards he aimed to crack Lydie’s skull, but yet again Lydie exposed her quick reaction and raised her staff above her head.. but this time Zerneger caught up with her pacing and instead of impacting he teleported from behind again.. Pummeling her spine with the hilt of the sword.. she gritted her teeth in pain, but barely managed to stay on her feet and by bending her torso to the side she swung the staff backwards with her full force, but Zerneger etched the sword into the dirt and jumped above her head.. the staff impacted with the sword, which was left stationary and the sparks were ignited again.. Zerneger clenched the right fist tightly as it ignited in bright purple flame and he then delivered an uppercut to her jaw.. blasting her away from his side... she fell on her back writhing in pain.. but for a fragile looking body the sustainability was outstanding.. She was not screaming or anything, but instead she was taking those blows like a true warrior.
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I was shivering from the cold, but the string was drew tightly... The arrow was ready to be released on Lydie’s signal. I was waiting impatiently..

-”Faster.. please faster..”
-”I’m feeling numb...”

In my pupil a mighty bear was devouring it’s prey.. a cycle of life was shown right in front of my eyes. Hunt or be hunted they said.. I took a short glance to my right, but Lydie was not around.. she’s been gone for long now... What was I supposed to do? Did she abandon me? But I was afraid to shoot.. what if I were to miss my target? I gritted my teeth in anxiety and tried to calm myself down. But then suddenly... a loud explosion roared from behind and a mighty wind stroke my back.. The bear who was consuming the corpse lifted it’s nose and looked over to my direction.. for a small moment the beast was staying frozen, but then it just ran away, hiding it’s traces in the density of the forest. It sensed danger, but what was that all about?

-”Sister, are you still there?”- I anxiously shouted and started to tremble in fear. However, no one heard my voice... no response was given.. something was definitely up.. I swallowed down my saliva and got up on my feet, facing the direction from where the ear piercing noise originated.
-”IS ANYBODY OUT THERE?!”- I shouted at the top of my lungs and then a shadowy frame emerged in the distance.. It resembled a human, but it was different.. it was bulky and held two curved swords in each hand. Even though it was too dark to see it.. I was able to see the golden glowing eyes. I froze in fear and dropped my bow..

-”...Silence...”
-”This vision...”
-”Once again it struck my mind...”
-”FOCUS! FOCUS!”

I returned back to the events that were happening in front of me.. Lydie was slowly getting up, but Zerneger was just waiting for her to take her staff and come up with a counterattack.

-”What the fuck? What are you waiting for?! Just finish her off!”- I yelled at Zerneger.
-”Sorry, I was just testing her will to fight...”- He laughed.
-”Will to fight? Did you lose your mind?!”- I yelled again.
-”Yes.. I don’t know why is she seeking vengeance. It almost feels as if she was brainwashed.”- He replied.
-”Brainwashed? What are you babbling about? She tried to kill us!!!”- I panicked.
-”That’s true, she has her own motives for killing us.. but teaming up with Siegmund? She was never like that... Because our real enemy is him and not her.”- As always Zerneger knew something that I did not.. but as always he was talking in riddles. I never really understood why was he hiding the truth from me.. why was he hiding my own past...?
-”Well... I don’t know about her or Siegmund, but make it quick as you promised. She tried to kill us and that means everything!”- I came up with the decision of my own. Even if it meant cutting down my own flesh. But this time it was not up to me, because if I were to return to my body I would be put under her hypnosis again.
-”Right... right.. at least I am giving her a chance to fight back.”- He replied and plunged the blade into the ground. He bumped the fists against each other and then the whole body started to burn from outside.. It was burning radiantly in blue flames with a bright purple tint to it.. the energy which was surrounding my body felt otherworldly as if it was blessed by the divines.

Lydie held her staff of Longinus straight and began to murmur her magical words once again, but this time it seemed like something massive was about to pop up.

-”KAIES . . . ZUDYSES . . . VOES . . . AES . . . TOSIOSES . . . IESES . . . ALBAES . . .”- As the words were chanted her whole body got surrounded by bright red glowing runes.. they were circulating around her.. as the barrier of red energy cladded around her outline.. red crystals erupted from her back and formed into two spectacular wings.. her staff levitated and returned behind her back.. Her frame looked firm... Her facial expression gracefully calm. Wind was rising around her body, scattering the pink petals around the village and then the sky above her head ignited.. tearing itself apart.. it formed a huge wall of floating holes from where fire balls of boiling magma emerged... It looked like a siege made of stars... But Zerneger was just standing on the ground confidently. But could he really deflect so much? Did he even have a plan? Well.. I trusted my comrade, but so far Lydie was the most deadly opponent that I had to face.. at least during this period of time, when my memories were gone.

-”Disperse...”- She said... and then the storm was directed towards Zerneger.. The hail of boiling meteors struck Zerneger’s side. But he did not even flinch.. instead he leaped up in the air.. and jumped from one fireball to another one.. slowly making his way towards Lydie.. leaving blue burning trails, he formed a wall of blue fire, where all of the fireballs crashed down.. but the wall suddenly stopped to burn and instead it started to swallow the dimension itself.. devouring the fireballs slowly. Zerneger landed on the ground and behind him was this scenery of one giant rift devouring the storm of these mini meteors. Once he was done, he closed down the portal by the snap of his finger and extended his arms to the sides with his palms opened.. dozens of smaller portals popped up above Lydie’s head as it started to rain with the very same fire.. Indeed it was a redirection. Lydie however did not lose her cool, the red crystals in the shape of the wings started to rumble and then they were scattered at immense speed, shooting at every possible direction. Destroying the falling fireballs and lighting up the whole village in the bright and flashy colors... The crystal swarm did not stop there.. they were just growing out of her back as she started to levitate, utterly destroying everything on her path. Only one thing was protected.. it was the tree and the barrier which covered the already destroyed village. Zerneger was using his power to engulf the area of destruction in a dome of sheer space.. thus a starry sky resembling horizon was everywhere.. He was truly amazing.. Even I was unable to pull these stunts, but for him it seemed like it was a child’s play.. But I could only wonder what would happen to my body after all of this was over.

Lydie shot straight for Zerneger, her crystal red wings were set in motion.. She clapped with her palms along the way and the earth below started to shake.. Roots and vines made their way through the dirt entangling Zerneger as the gigantic lance made of red crystal grew out from her back.. she took it into her arms and was ready to penetrate Zerneger.. however Zerneger just smirked and the whole body erupted in blue blaze... burning away the binding roots. The sword, which was plunged into the dirt before... suddenly sled through the fabric of space and fit right into Zerneger’s hands as he then charged straight ahead.

-”Well buddy, this is our final shot.. be prepared to witness the power of the helix!”- Zerneger confidently shouted.
-”Helix what? Final shot? What?”- I became confused.
-”Don’t worry, everything will be fine.. It’s just our signature attack! But after this one you will return to your body, because I will have to recharge the energy of my soul.”- He stated and screamed head on.
-”Right let’s do it!”- I shouted as well.

-”Prepare to witness our SOUL!”- Zerneger started to shout from the bottom of his heart.
-”Prepare to taste the DESTINY!”
-”...BECAUSE...”
-”...The combined HELIX of our SOULS...”
-”WILL SHATTER THE TIME AND SPACE!”
-”A GATEWAY TO THE FUTURE AND PAST WILL BE OPENED!”
-”REALITY WILL BE BREACHED AND YOU WILL TASTE THE COURAGE!”
-”OF OUR BOILING BLOOD OF STEEL!”
-”RIP THROUGH THE LIMITS NOW AND MAY THIS HELIX OF COMBINED FLAMES SOAR!”
-”MY NAME IS HIS NAME AND HIS NAME IS MINE! WE ARE THE PERFECT COMBINATION!”

The flames that were circulating around the blade suddenly expanded in size and became wild, outstretching widely around us and spinning faster and faster until the motion began to look inanimate from the sheer speed of it and only a helix shaped structure of two different colors was left.. The body of mine suddenly stopped to burn and everything around us started to slowly disintegrate, but the area of destruction was suppressed as the dome of space shrunk several of times.. Trapping only us and Lydie. Zerneger was not a fool, he was in fact covering the village this whole time. The time around us started to flow extremely slow.. everything appeared to be frozen in one spot.. even Lydie, who was approaching like a bolt of lightning was now moving at us in slow motion and then finally the impact happened... The mighty crystal lance was just shattered as the helix started to spin again.. it was eating away the reality itself.. the air that these flames touched suddenly turned white as if everything that was around the area vanished from the existence and it was Lydie’s turn to meet the same fate.. to be simply erased..

However my consciousness were sent to the very same event yet again.. I was slowly backing away from an armed beastman, who was approaching me.. He looked incredibly strong and with ease he could of behead me with his two curved blades, but then another explosion hit the area... I closed my eyes in fear of the rumbling sound and the flash that occurred, and as soon as I opened my eyes the beastman was already in front of me... however it was standing with no signs of life.. only smoke was rising from his back.. that was until he collapsed on his back and the vision of my sister became clear.. her palms were lit by magical fire. She smiled and extinguished the flames in her hands, she immediately started to run towards me and caught me in her arms.

-”Thank goodness, Simon.. I’m glad that you are alive..”- She sniffled as she squeezed me firmly.
-”Sister.. Thank... you..”- I replied and bursted into tears.
-”Those beastmen raiders will never get my brother. I will always protect you!”- She smiled and then everything blurred from my sight..

Thus I was reminded of that fateful day.. was this the memory of my own? It truly was.. She called me as Simon and it was not a goddamn illusion. I was not sure how I remembered such an important event from my past, but I was sure about one thing that Zerneger was about to kill my sister.

-”NOOOOOO!”- I snapped back to reality and suddenly felt that my body was in my control, the spiraling flames of divine power were only centimeters apart from Lydie.. I used all of my remaining might to quickly conjure the tunnel of space before me and passed through it.. although I only managed to teleport to a nearby location.. due to exhaustion that I was feeling and the lack of time and power.. I emerged just above the barrier of the village and then the accumulated energy exploded in my hand’s reach. The air squeezed in tightly and then a massive and destructive air wave was sent throughout the globe.. blasting and tearing apart everything, which airborne in the process.. the sky above bent in and fractured before the dense shards of what was previously supposed to be a sky rained down and bombarded the barrier of the village... The barrier below me disintegrated alongside the shards and fell down into the dome of space, which was opened before and the sky above me lost it’s colors completely.. it was erased... totally ripped out of existence.. the twin flames were unleashed upwards and dove straight into the blank nothingness that was created above me... I suddenly started to feel numb and the dome of space below me vanished... but then another huge explosion struck from above.. the unleashed energy exploded inside blank space that I created in the shape of a black helix, which sent down a devastating wave, pushing me down into the center of the destroyed village.. I crashed down next to Lydie, who appeared to be injured, but not gravely wounded.

For sister.

-”Thank God she’s safe...”- I sighed in relief and looked up to the sky, where the gigantic helix of darkness was rotating, flooding nothingness with series of explosions that resembled thousands of black stars in the white sky.. literally.
-”Gwahahaha... using more than half of your energy was the right way to go..”- Zerneger laughed.
-”Whaaat?!”- I reacted to his statement with a shock.
-”Well.. I never wanted to kill her, I left it up to you at the last second, but I don’t know what pushed you to save her. Gwahahahaha!”- He laughed once more.
-”I’m not sure myself. My body just moved on it’s own... I mean.. fuck.. she’s my actual sister and she loves me.. riiight?”- I wondered.
-”I don’t know whether she loves you or not, but one thing is clear, - she is not our enemy.”- He confidently proclaimed.
-”It’s just the vision.. I don’t know how I received it.. but for a moment I felt like I was inside the head of someone else.”- I shrugged.

Indeed... I felt connected to someone and I knew it in my heart that it was Siegmund.. I felt a link.. the vision that we shared together.. it was him reminiscing and not me.. but I had no clue why I was able to gaze inside his thoughts and why was he reminiscing about his sister in the first place. I slowly got up on my feet and realized that we were both lying in a deep crater. I approached Lydie and pointed the tip of the blade towards her throat.

-”Speak up.. I seek answers...”- I started the speech with a direct approach.
-”Why... why you didn’t kill me?”- She came up with a question of her own upon opening her eyes.. I could tell that she was extremely exhausted.. although I felt barely alive myself. The switching really took a strain on my body.
-”Because we’re family. Because you were always protecting me.”- This was my answer.
-”Nonsense.. I have no idea.. My only true brother is Siegmund and you are just a mere impostor, who erased my memories.”- She frowned in disgust.
-”What? I never did such thing...!”- I bursted into anger.
-”You did.. and this was my vengeance.. killing you was my way to live.. erasing you was the key to my peace, but I guess it’s all gone now..”- She took a deep breath after declaring this nonsense. Although her eyes reflected the truth, but I instantly realized that she was most likely manipulated by Siegmund.
-”I don’t know if this is true, since I don’t have any of my own memories. However, I do know the way how to restore them.. I think that person might know how to restore your memories too.”- I decided to persuade her.
-”Thomas right? Yes... he already restored my memories and in those memories you did all of these horrible things to me.. I hate you..”- As soon as she said the name Thomas I noticed something on her forehead.. Even though I saw it previously... only now I was able to understand the pattern.
-”The seal.. the seal is still there.. I don’t know how many of them he restored for you, but you were probably tricked by Siegmund.. I think that you only remember the one side of the coin.”- This was in fact a theory of mine, but it was very likely.
-”I don’t know what you are babbling about, but please die...”- She sighed and the crust of earth suddenly started to elevate.. it brought her to the surface, where Siegmund was standing..

I leaped up to the sky and with the help of my black wings ascended to their level and landed in front of them.
Both of them were standing before me and both of them seemed to be ready for a fight.. even Lydie, who was exhausted did not hesitate to raise her staff. Siegmund smirked and began to slowly clap.

-”Well.. well.. Lydie.. Lydie.. you had a whole day... and yet he’s still standing on his feet..”- Although Siegmund was expressing a rather happy face.. his tone expressed annoyance.
-”I’m sorry. Just give me one more chance. This time I’ll beat him for sure..”- She apologized sincerely and knelt before him, as if he was some damn king.. or was it the fear and terror controlling her.
-”Alright.. alright.. just take it easy...”- He grinned and took a step towards her.
-”Thank you, bro..-”- Her speech ended midway as her bowels were penetrated by Siegmund’s blade.
-”Like hell.. I don’t have time for useless objects like you.. I appreciate the fact that you bought me some time, but your use has ended.. Sleep well, sister..”- After he said that he effortlessly pulled out his blade out of her insides. He looked calm and merciless, however was I just seeing things or did I really see a glimpse of a teary eye of his. Such monster... did he really have emotions?
-”Bro...th...e...S..i..m..o..”- Unable to finish her last sentence she choked on her own blood and dropped down on the cold ground.
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-”YOU SCUM!”- I shouted in anger.
-”Shh.. you’ll wake her up..”- He turned his face towards me and whispered with a smile on his face.
-”Why did you have to kill your own sister?! Don’t you have any emotions?!”- I drew forth Zerneger and swayed it back and forth in anger.
-”I have no use for useless things. Not to mention that I brought her here on accident. She served her purpose well and now she can just slowly die here..”- He nonchalantly proclaimed.
-”You’ll pay for this!”- I roared at the top of my lungs.
-”Pssh... your turn is up.”- He sighed and finally faced me.
-”Now I know who was the real monster.. and it wasn’t me.. It was you.. all along.. it was all your doing.. You dragged innocent people like her and myself into this madness.. You are a psycho!”- Dense steam squeezed through the gaps of the mask.
-”Innocent? Soon enough you will realize how innocent you and Lydie are. Prepare yourself, because I’m taking this victory. I bet that you will not be able to land a single scratch on my flesh.”- He resorted to a taunt to ignite the anger inside me deeper.
-”I don’t care... I’ll make sure that your death will be painful! You will experience what this village and it’s people have experienced. I will make you eat rotting flesh like Sandvika did and most importantly I will avenge my sister!”- The air around us has stopped completely as the tension built up.
-”Hah.. I’d like to see you try, but note this fact, - IF I WANT TO I CAN BEAT YOU IN UNDER ONE SECOND.”- He bursted into laughter.

Thus.. the final fight was about to break out.. I was not sure what to expect from him, but I knew one thing for sure.. that no matter what.. no matter how.. I will ensure my own victory. He came here for his vengeance, but the very same vengeance will be taken by me. With each passing moment I despised him more and more.. But I knew that the very same man.. whoever he was.. me... my brother.. or cousin.. or whatever... He knew everything and this opportunity was for my taking.. I felt intimidated.. my pulse was rising higher and higher.. my legs were shaking, but the courage.. the songs of heroes.. the drive of motivation... the dreams that I had... the fallen memories that I lost... and the painful emotion of vengeance kept me standing.. I was prepared to do everything to destroy him.. I had to.. Because this was truly the end of the line.. a final fight was on it’s way.
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To be continued.
(Nothing too great here, lots of grammar mistakes and lazy writing, but whatever... I accidentally lost 2k words worth of content.. qq But a new post is a new post and I'm glad to present it to you. Anyway.. I'll make sure to implement it later, cuz the next post is gonna be huge and revealing.)

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34 Re: The Rift Dancer on Sat Dec 08, 2018 9:33 am

Between Infinity.

A loud laughter roared from the peak of the icy mountain, but was quickly silenced by the bone chilling breeze of wind. The snow continued to fall, enveloping the earth in the shiny glacier dress. Red eyes gazing at the sky of no tomorrow once told us a tale of a man, who passed through worlds across the centuries of joyful daylight and shadowy starlight. The dream of burning ashes and the hunger that made him desperate for more power. A lamenting breeze passed upon the torch of dreams that lit the glassy sky.. A conclusion to ones story or just a path to choose, where ones dreams were shattered to pieces, but remained with the light. The creed of vengeance and the twisted side of lustful humanity were etched down into his soul. Thus he had to stand for his own ideology.. living in betrayal and sinking in the lies of those who knew everything for so long.. Everything had to be redone with the cost of his own life or the lives of everyone. To end this cycle once and for all he chose to become the nemesis to his own mindset, where his one side wanted the salvation and protection of the light and the other one knew that some things were just plain impossible, but in the end he felt like reversing this role and living the way he wanted to was the ultimate way. Balance had to be restored through disruption of the infinite power. The path that he was walking so far was just wrong, but it marked the trails of the one he was yet to take. Just by being a prisoner of his own self he finally realized that it was enough for these silly, happy dreams to roll. Delusion was not the rightful answer, but it was a great distraction to receive experience and wisdom before opening the new doors.

These eyes of mine were never the same again, to think that I lost so much time just by being someone entirely different. I was a complete idiot for walking this way... I thought... that this would finally bring me to peace.. such a failure... my mission turned out to be a mistake. However.. now I knew what I was supposed to do and the ride that I was having was indeed worthwhile. Without this I would of been doomed ages ago.. and now almost every enemy of mine was vanquished.. only a couple of more remained breathing and  waiting there, beyond these mountains, a whole new world of adversaries was actually waiting in line.

-”...Heh...”
-”...Hueh...”
-”...Hueheh...”
-”...”
-”...Huehehehehehahaha...”
-”Hahahahaha...”
-”AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!”

I could not believe it with my very own eyes...

The things that happened...

The years that passed...

What kind of person I became...

...Who was I?

WHO AM I NOW?

Wait... I know...

I was just sleeping... the real me was just taking a nap... yes...

Such stupidity...

To descend to this level...

I blame my own decision...

But whatever...

...A failure is a failure.

Now I am truly back...

Finally I can feel them...

I can feel my memories...

Yes.. I do remember everything.

-”Already in a good mood huh?”- Picking up on my laughter Thomas just smirked and gave out his remark.
-”Ah, of course...”- I brushed the snow off my head and with the very same hand I tapped into the disturbance in space that was happening right before me.
-”Zerneger.. you’re not going away just yet..”- I drew out a tiny cyan flame from the rippling space and squeezed it inside my palm, extinguishing it in the process.
-”Hum..? Are you talking to yourself?”- Thomas slightly tilted his head to the right side as he wondered.
-”Tch.. forget about it... This doesn’t concern you. Allow me to stand up, the whole world is waiting for me.”- I shrugged and rolled my eyes to the sides while slowly lifting my exposed back from the snow. The white flour fell apart as I shook my back, back and forth.
-”So.. what you gonna do now?”- Thomas asked me as he took a couple of steps back from me.
-”I have to finish what I started.”- I smiled and closed my eyes while taking a deep breath of revitalizing air.  

But like a leaping wind the memory of this event just vanished as the clock started to tick backwards... until the arrows accelerated and crossed the line of the past.. settling inside the current moment.. I found myself spacing out... Was I daydreaming? Suddenly a sound of ringing bells pierced through my brain and I found myself standing in the wrecked Baltasar hill village, a tear was rolling from my eyes. I brushed it off with my index finger and looked to the man, who was standing in front of me. It felt like I was forgetting something very important.. it felt like I was out of this place for a moment.. But the fury kicked in and I was ready.. Ready to deliver him the deadliest end.

They gave everything away to love him more...

My breathing was heavy and the dense steam was continuing to breach through the gaps of the mask, as a matter of fact my whole body was evaporating with dense steam. The black infection on my body was spreading further.. I was able to feel it.. it was crawling beneath my skin.. cutting through my flesh and reaching on my muscular tissue. It was swallowing me.. and I never felt this exhausted before.. The after effects of switching my body with Zerneger were kicking in. But the courage that I had inside kept me on my feet.. and the strength inside of me was still blooming I was prepared to stake everything away. This time I broke through my own limits and set my own life force in line. This tribute was my only chance.. the only guarantee to victory that I sought against Siegmund. If only Azure was beside us... If only I and Zerneger were not alone in this fight.. I did not want to die alone, I just wanted to see my closest friend for once more. However, I had no other option, but to fight to the finish till my body goes numb... till my heart stops... till my soul flies away...
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I took a glance down to Lydie, who was laying on the ground, fatally wounded.. I noticed that her skin was turning pale rapidly, that her hair was turning gray.. her flesh was shrinking and getting decorated by wrinkles.. She was getting significantly older at my very own sight. Of course.. I remembered one of the most important details about myself... I was never young to begin with.. I was not aware how my body remained fresh and young during all these centuries, but Lydie was in fact older than me and she probably never possessed the same body like I did. Just how in the world she attained her immortality? Just how in the world she survived for so long? Those questions remained unclear for me... but now.. she was reduced to an old hag.. who was laying in the bedding of her own death. Immortality was probably a magician’s secret... Perfectly young body was just for impression. I lifted my eyes up and our sights crossed.. Siegmund’s violet eyes showed no remorse.. those were lacking empathy.. and the time between us felt as if it was halted.. not even a breeze of wind passed between us.. My fists were itching to punch him to oblivion to the point where I started to imagine how I was punching out the smug expression off his face.. but in reality we just stood and stared to each other for minutes.. maybe for hours.. or maybe just seconds passed.. but our gazes were eternal.

-”So are we just going to keep up this staring contest? Or are we going to actually clash with our swords?”- Siegmund broke off the silence with a slight and despicable grin on his face. He moved his neck from one side to another slowly, the motion was followed by cracking noise.
-”No.. I’d like to execute you on the spot, but I want to talk to you first.”- I was holding in my hatred as tightly as I was able to. Although I wanted to smack him at any moment, but answers were more important for me.
-”You want to talk? Seriously? A wise choice indeed.. This way you will be able to live for a little longer.”- With a cocky attitude of his he actually agreed or was he just stalling time? Whatever he was up to.. some things were more important to me than actually fighting him.. and by taking this way I was hoping to regain as much strength as I was able to. So time was very important on my side as well.
-”Who or what exactly is Lydie?”- I released the built in steam from my lungs as I gave my question to Siegmund.
-”She’s a traitor.”- He gave out a brief answer.. without a pause, without even blinking.
-”How so...? How did Darkness become... uh.. I mean Lydie become a traitor?”- I tripped on my own tongue.. Darkness? Why did I refer to her as Darkness? I shook my head in confusion.. this word just flooded inside my mind.
-”Heh.. Darkness.. interesting..”- He murmured to himself before raising his tone and adding up more to his speech.
-”She is a traitor to both you and I. She’s always been this way, since the time when she abandoned our community five centuries ago. A manipulative bitch, who tried to capture you or me, whichever way you prefer to look at it... Luckily you put her to an end, but instead of killing her you pitied her and gave Thomas an order to erase her memories, but what a surprise karma caught you as well, haha. But the fact remains clear, - she is our sister. On top of that I just recently learned that she was a powerful shaman once, a high priestess of the wolf clan. She always excelled in high class sorcery and on top of that she managed to get that nasty Longinus staff, who was a real problem to deal with, but luckily just as you predicted Thomas only restored some of her memories. This way she became an obedient bitch, who sought vengeance against you.”- He ended his speech with a laughter.. Was I supposed to believe in his words? Well.. I had no other choice, he did not look like he was lying at all. But I did not despise Lydie, because I could not bring myself on judging her so early.

A moment of silence broke out between us as I was momentarily lost for words.. Siegmund’s answer gave me more questions than the answers that I was seeking for.. although I formed a good view on Lydie’s background and the fact that she was my sister was true. I probably pitied her in the past, because I saw the good in her or maybe she was never that bad to begin with.. maybe she had her own reasons? After all.. she once told me that she was prepared to always protect me, not to mention the fact that even Siegmund for that very instance, when he was thrusting his blade into her bowels showed a glimpse of emotion in his eyes. A sadistic bastard like him would not feel anything if she was just a mere traitor or a doll in his playground.

-”Any more questions?”- He calmly asked.
-”Yes... why did she take the identity of Darkness?”- And again this word escaped my lips.. where was I learning all this information?
-”I have no idea what you’re talking about..”- Siegmund just shrugged innocently.
-”Do not lie to me! You know more than this! Darkness once revived you from your slumber and then... wait.... wait.. what am I even saying?”- My breathing intensified as the confusion rose inside my head.. what was happening to me? Was I really able to glance inside his mind?
-”Holy mother of shittiest shit in the universe... you really are remembering things just by being close to me.. Now I finally understand why I was able to see you approaching the pub through your eyes back then.. Well nevermind about Lydie... she’s not very important here, is she? And it’s not like I’m going to spoil you all the juicy stuff. I will only tell you the important things.. so ask ahead or let’s just get this over with..”- He ended his speech by covering his mouth with his palm.. a loud and prolonged yawn was released from his mouth.
-”I have no idea what is happening here, but now I know.. Now I know that you really are entirely something else.. I’ve been waiting for this moment.. I always wanted to learn more and now.. I can see that fighting you will be the most fun of all.”- I smirked beneath the mask.. At last I cracked his formula.. he was indeed connected to me.. maybe he was the real Simon to begin with.. just how he proclaimed at the beginning. But then... what was my actual role?

The erased sky began to gradually subtract until nothing was left of the blank space, but the same old gray sky of Brusthonin, ah and here I thought that the distortion that I and Zerneger caused previously was permanent.. Thank God... But I had no time to focus on the damn sky.. even though my thoughts were all over the place I had to focus on what was in front of me. Thus I decided to interrogate Siegmund further.

-”So... if she’s not that important then why did you bring her here huh?”- I had this feeling that something was up... bringing a traitor to fight alongside sounded like an irrational idea.. unless he had something planned.. also the weirdest part was that they were not going at me on the same time. Instead Siegmund chose to stay outside the battlefield and let Lydie do the rest.
-”Hah.. my brother.. it’s very simple. I was just investigating the rifts that were opened by you and it just so happened that one of them led me to the world, where you expelled your sister to. Interestingly enough I decided to drag her along, because I was aware that Thomas is somewhere around Atreia and with her abilities... well.. she appeared to be useful, but hell.. I was damn wrong.. She’s as useless as I imagined.”- He placed his hands behind his head and laughed.
-”Oh.. are you trying to say that you were too scared to fight me alone. Such a chicken!”- I taunted him on a purpose just to see his reaction.. if he was as prideful as me he would definitely fall for this trick and resort to power... and if he was not.. well.. then my hypothesis of him stalling time would appear to be true.
-”Hah.. hah...hahah.. Chicken you say... Yes you may be right on one part.. Indeed for now I am not at my best.. I can’t use my full power just yet, but... DON’T TAKE ME FOR GRANTED! MY CURRENT STRENGTH IS ENOUGH TO BRING YOU DOWN!!!”- He lit up in anger and released a resonating shout out of his lungs.

The temperature around us suddenly dropped.. it was getting cooler and cooler with each passing moment.. His eyes glimmered in white for a split-second and then his whole body coiled up in a bright white aura. The icy chains that were sticking to his sword crumbled one by one, causing creaking and mirror shattering noises. He tightened the grip on the hilt by clenching his fists and shouted to the sky.. his roar reechoed like a rumbling thunder.. and then a giant pillar of this white energy was released to the sky.. it shot up like a geyser, piercing through the clouds and hitting the sky.. his aura suddenly vanished and then the sky darkened, it suddenly became really cloudy and the temperature around was just chilly. Not just chilly.. It was freezing! Little by little snowflakes started to descend from the skies... they were lingering in the air gently as if they were paired up and dancing waltz in the middle of the sky. Just what kind of shift in weather did he pull off? Was this his power? To freeze everything, to bend the weather to his very own will?!

-”So what? A change of weather will not beat me.. although I give you credit for a nice trick..”- Darn it! Why did I suddenly become so cocky.. Siegmund appeared to be like a real deal, but yet I.. being exhausted to the very core... I of all people.. I just wanted to belittle him.
-”Suit yourself... you don’t even know what’s coming. It appears that you do not have any more questions left...”- The grin on his face suddenly widened as the area around was gradually becoming whiter and whiter...
-”Psh.. well.. well.. at least I learned that you were indeed stalling time for some reason.. if you’re not in shape then go see a doctor or something.. Going up against me while you are not at your best.. bah.. lame!”- I almost felt like poking out my tongue, like a mere child... but then again it was an impossible feat since the mask was blocking my face.

Suddenly I started to feel lightheaded and then something appeared in my eyes... it was a girl... a blond girl.. uh.. where did I see her before? What was she doing in front of me...? What was going on? Something fell from the sky.. it was the broken hilt of a sword... and then a loud roar pierced through my ears and loud tremors shook the place.. a mountain just moved.. no it was not a mountain.. it was something huge.. it was rocky and mossy.. but it was indeed huge.. wait.. was I seeing a dragon before me?!

-”Simon.. run! we will hold him off!”- The girl looked to me and said this..
-”You.. you are...”- I tried to communicate with her.. but she seemed to follow some kind of script.
-”Yeah.. we are the best team, we will regroup later.. now get outta here!”- She smiled and extended her arms to opposite sides.. a white circle formed around her and white, burning, magical arrows were shot from the middle..
-”Wait.. I can fight too! Siegmund is going down!”- I extended my arm over to her.. but then everything became cloudy and there in front of me Siegmund was just standing still.. doing nothing at all.. just awaiting for his turn to attack and enjoying his artificial winter.
-”You bastard! What have you done to AURORA?!”- I released an angered shout... but then once again this familiar sensation crossed my head.. the name.. the name of the girl.. Aurora.. where did I hear it before.. wait.. I knew it.. it was Hanzsel’s daughter.. But what about her.. did she protect me from something? What was that all about? Why did I suddenly remember this?
-”You mean.. A1 or freshly made A2? Wake up man, Aurora died several years ago...”- Siegmund nonchalantly joked around... and then I heard a whisper entering into my ear.
-”Simon, I will always love you.. So promise me this.. that you will protect this place no matter what. I hope that my death will not be in vain...”- The feminine voice of the very same girl.. she loved me.. but why... why all of these people were terrorizing me for all this time?
-”Shut your trap up and face me, Siegmund! I have enough of silly chit-chats! Aurora’s death will never be forgotten!”- I was angry, although I vaguely remembered anything.. but my heart felt this.. that the people.. the visions that I witnessed.. those things were important for me.. those people were the ones I treasured.. This gave me reason.. to break away from stalling... My body just moved on the instinct.

Blue blazes swirled around me... but went off in black colors.. my energy became unstable.. just like back then when I was facing Azure.. Black flames spew out off my back, propelling my body towards Siegmund.. I was quick to raise my blade and go for a nice and deadly swing.. however my blade bounced back from his forearm, which was now cladded in a layer of sheer ice.. with a slight push and a confident smile on his face Siegmund deflected me backwards and extended his left, icy arm towards me. The ice on his forearm suddenly erected in a form of a long and sharp icicle, which struck my mask... if it was not for the mask my head would of been impaled.. but thanks to Azure... it actually saved me.. however I was pushed back further... With a clean swing upwards I sliced off the tip of this icicle and stepped to the side, running towards him... He grinned and effortlessly swayed the remaining part of the long and solid icicle to my direction, bashing my ribs.. I fell on the ground and rolled down across the dirt... the giant structure of ice suddenly fell down from his hand and shattered to fragments upon collision with the earth.

-”Boring...”- Siegmund sighed and a shiny white object glimmered on his extended arm. Three white magical triangles stacked up before his fist and small particles of energy began to fly from the center over to me. I responded with a move of my own, with my hands I tapped inside the earth and drew out the shadows, forming it into a small black wall before my head. The particles bounced off the shadowy cover and lit the sky with small explosions above. I rolled to the left side and rapidly leaped up on my feet.
-”What’s the meaning of this... where did you get that?”- I knew what sort of thing it was... it was the same ring used by Aurora, Thomas and even me... But I buried it with her corpse.. where did he find it?
-”Do you even care at this point of time..?”- He sighed once again and slowly turned his fist towards me, shooting another barrage. I tossed my sword skywards and then my fists enveloped in blackest flames as I merely started to punch the incoming white bullets. With each collision I noticed that I was getting pushed backwards as the each impact was exploding at my hands. However, I do managed to find a small opening, thus I faced my hands to the ground, shooting out the black flames. The fire pushed me skywards and now I was at my sword’s reach.. I snatched it from the air by holding it tight on the hilt. My whole sword engulfed in black as I unleashed the flames in a cleaving motion. The black fire shot down straight to Siegmund’s direction.. but then in a mere blink a deadly silence broke out between us. The flames that were sent to devour him just froze into a cube of ice.. it crumbled down and fell before his feet.
-”Let me give you some advice. You will have to use something way hotter to melt my ice.”- He proudly boasted and leaped up to the sky as well.. The shiny ring that he was wearing constructed a white transparent bow in his left hand as he then drew his own great sword on the string and shot it at me. It flew illuminatingly fast towards me, the recoil dropped huge amounts of smoke backwards.. the quick motion was followed by a loud and booming noise. The tip of the sharp blade was just inches before me, but I barely managed to fend off the attack. However it pushed me several meters back and as the sharp tip was drilling at my blade I was able to see how the ice was spreading through my blade. The tallest branches of the holy tree stopped me... but my sword was half frozen now... and then a barely visible string on the hilt of Siegmund’s sword exposed itself, it led straight to his right hand. He tugged the string back in and soon after the sword returned to his hand.

I was hanging on the branch, endlessly breathing.. I looked to the blade, which was half-frozen and felt how the fear was slowly beginning to flow throughout my veins.
-”Damn it... how can he be this tough?”- I simply asked myself before a cold shiver ran across my spine. Yet I did not have time to just simply hang there on branch, instead I set my wings in motion as they were now lacking for a proper shape or form.. instead they were burning in black flames, I lunged downwards to his direction. Aiming the tip of my blade at him I started to spin in circles midair, only black smoke was left behind and with each split-second my pace was getting faster and faster until I fully accelerated and our blades collided.. Siegmund’s feet broke through the snow and cracked the earth below.. it appeared that I was pushing him into the dirt, however his sword glimmered in cyan and then again the ice started to spread further across my blade.. the fire that was burning on it merely went off, due to that I backed away by leaping backwards.. I resorted to another hit by quickly shooting myself to him again. However he just plunged his blade inside the snow and then an arc of ice started to rise from below right at me. My left arm was caught in the ice as I found myself unable to advance further.. Indeed he trapped my arm in the gigantic glacier. Without even thinking much I instinctively resorted to pummeling the blockade of ice with my free arm, in which my sword was located.. the ice was slowly cracking, but it was not breaking fast enough for me to defend from Siegmund’s next attack.. I looked towards his direction and noticed that he was already approaching to my side. Walking proudly and smirking confidently, he was dragging his icy sword across the snow... raising huge pillars of ice in his path. It looked like he was merely playing.
-”I don’t get it... how can you be so powerful?”- I asked him directly... Momentarily he stopped on his tracks and sighed.
-”Honestly, the answer is right before you. It’s just what you see.. The answer is in you. I am the answer to each and every question of yours.. I am the source of your power and you are the source of my power.. I’m just you.. more like.. the real you..”- He resorted to some damn riddles again and lifted his blade from the ground... he swung it forwards in a slicing motion... due to momentum of the caused motion an icy shard detached from the left and broader side of the blade and suddenly expanded in size collecting the falling snow and turning it into ice.. it became big enough to compare itself to a knife.. the spiky object traveled all the way to my right hand and shoved the sword out of my hand.. it spun midair and landed behind me.

-”So.. this is the power of the fabled Zerneger? It is truly disappointing..”- Siegmund just threw a half-assed shrug and dropped his sword on his shoulder.
-”You’ll pay for this once I get the hell out of here!!!”- I shouted from the bottom of my heart and attempted to pull my arm out off the ice, however it was frozen shut... and the ice was spreading further.. it went up to my shoulder, almost to the side of my mask.. I grunted, but tried once more... however at the end I found out that I was lacking the power to break free, I was just exhausted.
-”Yeah.. yeah.. whatever man.. just give up..”- He yawned and by the help of Aurora’s ring he summoned a white magical dagger inside his left hand.
-”Like hell.. You’re not gonna take me alive!”- I screamed in anger and started to pull it with all of my might. I also realized that Zerneger was being awfully silent.. probably he was still out of reach..
-”Shh... I’ll come back for you later, but first let me take a look at that sword.”- I was so focused on my arm that I did not notice his approach. He injected the dagger into my lungs and passed by my shoulder. He was going straight for my sword.

He went further behind me and stopped in front of my half-frozen sword... he crouched down and began to investigate it while I was catching for another breath.. The dagger that was stuck in my lungs and the pain was clouding my vision, but then the dagger flashed a little as a whispering voice entered my head.

“Simon, please.. I beg you... You should never give up. You are stronger than you think you are. You are smarter than you know, but most importantly you are the most courageous person that I met in my whole life. Please.. I always believed in you.. I always adored you.. I loved you.. I gave everything away just to love you... And I was not alone.. all of us were there.. so please.. save yourself and save us.. Protect the peace and share our ideologies with everyone in this world.”- A familiar sweet voice hugged my heart tightly.. or was this just a hallucination? I was unsure, but I was sure about one fact that I had to act.. that I had to sacrifice even my own life to defend this place.. to protect my own will to live.

“Hah... Thank you Aurora... now I understand the meaning of your ring.. it was passed upon from one hand to another just to inject reason and courage into me and even this pain is not as painful when I can hear your voice.. It’s a shame that I can barely remember you, but I know.. I know that I meant the world for you.. Yet I don’t feel anything for you.. Yet my sights are on someone else.. your spirit will not wilt... no it will live inside my burning heart.. forever..”

-”AAAAAAAARRGGGGGGHHHHHHHH!!!!”- I screamed as the strength pulsated in my veins.. Cracks began to spread throughout the glacier as it started to crumble little by little, but it was not enough I had to pull harder and that was until my own fabric of flesh began to rip apart.. My bones cracked in the process and I found myself ripping away from my own arm.... Yes.. my arm was just a small price to pay... A geyser of blood was launched from the area, from where my left arm was decapitated.. but I did not care.. because pain was truly temporal, but glory felt eternal.. and I knew it the best.. that with my regenerative abilities it would only take moments for it to regrow.. I stopped the bleeding by patching the area with shadows.. and instead of one hand.. three more grew out from the wounded area.. Three shadowy arms lingered in the air twisting on one another like snakes.. I roared like a beast and crossed my arms in front of my face, the dagger just popped out off my lungs like a bottle cap, storing the energy inside my body I let it out in an all out explosion.. The snow around me was quickly melted down by black flames that were spewed out of my body.. and I of all people.. I marched towards Siegmund, who was about to touch my sword.. My shadowy arms extended to his side and two of them grabbed him by the shoulders, while the third one was about to deliver a massive punch to his side.. The fist multiplied in size.. dozens of times, now it was as big as his body.. And just now it was about to punch him right into oblivion...

(Note: From this point A2’s and Lydie’s backstories will be revealed in their own side stories. So yup.. you read me right.. Since my story is first person based and multiple people, who are working behind the scenes are involved it’s a must. Also it will be more fun to see a story from another person’s point of view. Not to mention that branching and stirring it up can add some nice easter eggs here and there. Oh yeah baby... it’s time to lift this story up to a CINEMATIC UNIVERSE! Lol jk.. but that’s true.)

The Invincible Siegmund.

The giant shadowy fist did hit it’s mark, but for some reason my target did not even flinch or was brought down on his knees.. My shadowy fist dissolved and then I noticed that a block of ice was sticking to his back.. most likely it was defending Siegmund from my attack. He glanced back to me and simply smiled..
-”Still can’t scratch me...”- A comment from his mouth and then a frown of disappointment both decorated his powerful nature. He lifted Zerneger from the ground and turned back to face me. He tossed over Zernerger and then sighed.
-”Pick it up.. I’ll wait.. I want to test it’s power.. It might not be as worthy as I expected.”- For some reason he showed his honorable side and gave me the opportunity to fight back. Yet he was completely aware that I was nowhere close to his level.. or was it the exhaustion.. I was unsure anymore, but Siegmund did pulsate in reassurance and unimaginable might.
-”Tch.. I don’t know what you are thinking, but I’m not letting for this opportunity to slip away.”- I frowned beneath the black metallic mask and noticed that my left arm was already there... fresh and crispy.. straight out of oven. I picked Zerneger from the ground and ran my hand across the surface of it’s blade.. Lighting it up and covering it in black flames.
-”Just like your darkness can blind the light.. my ice can freeze even fire.. so don’t expect that victory will be easy.”- He said and then his feet started to move forward, until he was fully running towards me.
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Our blades collided in a flashy fashion.. sparks and fragments of metal, and ice were dropping from us. I was not able to feel his blade.. his heart or will.. he was hiding his soul.. he was hiding everything.. Only a frosty sensation was rubbing my back. The mix of extreme temperatures of cold and hot did rise.. as each blow and cut were completely synchronized.. I was giving it my all to repel all of his attacks, but for him it seemed like he was not even using his full might.. he was just playing and testing my strength.. with each raised stake.. with each stronger cleave of mine his strength was also increasing. Our swords were grinding against each other and we were staring directly into each other’s eyes. He was pushing me backwards little by little however.. I could not uphold the strong oppression, but I was not ready to give in.. Instead I jumped above my sword and over him and dragged my blade across the air.. it left trails of black cinders. I stopped midair and attempted to kick his head with my metallic sabaton, but he warded it off by moving his frozen blade above his head... I landed on the tip of his blade and instantly felt the cold.. but I had no time to worry about that, my sword was still in front of him.. I went for an all out impaling strike, but his blade released gas resembling substance and then a sharp-tipped pillar was raised from the side of his blade.. it fully stopped my sword, which just bounced off the solid ice... it was not even thawing.. instead it was slowly devouring my flames.. My senses were not failing on me... the ice was just too cold.. too cold even for fire.

He freed one of his hands from the hilt and grasped me by the foot.. He pulled me down and bashed my chest with the hilt of his sword... I was sent flying midair.. The string that was attached to his hilt suddenly loosened and then he spun the sword above his head like some sort of cowboy spinning a whip. The spinning sword started to freeze the particles in it’s radius, until a huge plate of crystal pure ice formed itself midair. He swayed the sword behind himself and then threw it at the bottom of the giant saucer of ice. Soon after it was flipped over and landed on me, it fell upon me and stomped me flat on the ground... But I was stronger than that.. I erupted like a volcano and drilled through the ice by unleashing my flames and leaped to the sky.. my landing trajectory was Siegmund... who was now holding his blade in his hands tightly.. sound of shrieking metal.. and smoke erupted as our blades clashed.. We were not looking for reasons.. we were not even talking.. Our blades were talking in our steads. As each blow was exchanged our hearts were beating in sync. With each slice and slash a landscape was shredded to pieces.. the ruins of the buildings were frozen shut or plant life around was burning to a crisp. My own sweat was burning up, I was burning out myself.. I was able to feel that my muscles were tensing up, but he... he was not even blinking or grunting.. his sight was just fixed on me and a cold stare was chilling my soul.
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He retracted his sword away from me and began to spin it around... causing a mini snowstorm around himself.. He was placing his feet towards my direction and the tornado of snow did hit me, but the fire that was burning inside of me was not giving in so easily.. no instead I noticed that the flames were changing it’s colors again.. this time going back to the blue ones. I was holding my burning sword in front of myself.. holding out his assault.. which struck my blade like a barrage of thousand icy needless. Each connection did push me further and further away, and it felt as if it was about to split my blade apart. I screamed in passion as the blue flares shot up from my back and started to spin continuously in spiral. It gave me resistance to push him backwards. But was it just a miracle or was I on equal footing with him now? He quickly stopped and sled below my sword, thrusting through my stomach he hung me like I was a meat on a broach.. He then grinned and his icy blade spew me out to the air by extending itself in a huge pillar of ice with a sharp and frosty end. It dragged me several stores across the sky until I was high enough to see half of the Brusthonin. The pillar suddenly tumbled down and the gravity consumed my body, thus it made me fall with a huge wound in my belly.. I was enduring the pain as best as I was able to.. during those fights that were happening in the past.. I learned it a lot.. that they always go for the stomach.. well.. it was my fault for not wearing any armor. Suddenly a barrage of white arrows with frozen tips met me from below.. I was diving from one side to another.. avoiding the deadly shots.. but some did hit me.. and those were hard.. one of them got stuck into my left knee and the icy tip spread further.. leaving my whole leg immobilized by the sheer ice.

I crashed right into the earth and multiple parts of my body were impaled by the spiky surface of the ice... it left me bleeding and shivering on the ground. I was unable to speak anymore... I was feeling numb and tired.. What was his weakness..? Where did his strength come from? How? Just how did he manage that? His movements, his strategy was on a whole another level.. and his strength.. how can a mere ice vanquish my fire?
-”You know... You were doing quite well.. Although you still disappoint me.”- He shoved his sword behind his back as the ice perfectly attached the blade to his back.
-”Let me give you some advice before fighting me for real..”- He added up to his speech.
-”Guh... I c-can’t f-fight you...”- I coughed up with blood after stating that.
-”You will.. Only I know the capabilities of my true body. Your wounds will soon heal and you will be ready as new and I can help you to fasten the process.”- He smirked and touched the hilt of his blade... it reacted to his palm and glimmered, then the dislocated icicles on the earth quickly thawed. Why was he even helping? Was his body this important? Or was he seeking to draw out Zerneger’s powers? I was so confused...
-”Huff.. puff.. why.. why are you always giving me an upper hand?”- I barely managed to lament those questions while writhing in pain.. although I felt relieved that he released me.
-”Why? Because my victory is already secured and I want for you to witness my true power, before I truly kill you. On a side note I am interested whether I will be able to use Zerneger to my will or not and this is my answer, but most importan-...”- I cut away his speech by slowly getting up on my feet and yelling.
-”I’d like to see you try! With each blow or stab that I take I evolve!”- I attempted to intimidate Siegmund, but it was a worthless effort since I was really winded.
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-”You know.. I stopped for a reason, because my following advice will inflict more despair.”- He folded his arms in front of his chest and giggled.
-”Oh yeah.. then bring it on!”- Without further chit-chats I launched myself at him like a flying bullet... It was my chance to strike him when he expecting it the least. Although my wounds were not completely patched I still had my fighting spirit. Both blue and black flames circulated across my body as the red sparks of electricity surged across my blade. The air was squeezing in front of me as the gap between us was getting shorter and shorter.. my blade was ready to penetrate his skull, however he tapped with his finger on the hilt of his blade and then slammed his right foot on the ground. The earth below our feet suddenly froze solid and two massive rectangular blockades of ice risen from the sides and sled against each other, trapping me in between and squeezing me from the sides.. my shoulders suddenly became stiff as the extreme cold got me and the thick layer of ice crept across my arms and feet, immobilizing my movement from the sides.
-”Too slow.. with your pace.. I mean with your pace.. bwahahaha.. With your pace it is next to impossible to beat me at full power..”- He almost died in laughter while attempting to describe my speed in a mocking fashion.
-”Gargh... alright.. if you want to talk.. then say what you want to say...”- I swallowed my spit and allowed for him to speak.

-”Remember when I said that my victory is already secured?”- He asked after he expressed a wide grin on his nasty face.
-”Yeah... so what?”- I replied.
-”Phew... well as I said.. I am indeed the real Simon, one and only that can exist in this world. Although when you stole my original body... my immortal and unbeatable body... I was reduced to this shitty and despicable mess. While physically you are indeed stronger or at least equal to me.. my body is aging.. my wounds can not heal and I will die one day.. However I found ways to perfect my powers. Indeed I found something else that can end you in a blink of an eye.. but about that later... hehe.. Where I am getting thought is the fact that to truly reach perfection I need to retrieve my body and I would also like to use Zerneger. You see if he is obedient to you, it will obey me as well. But the way I am now.. I just wanted to erase my real name, so instead I caught a suiting name for this trial of mine. And this name is really worthy of my conquest...”- He gave out a confident mug and halted his long speech momentarily.

It was really difficult to grasp the meaning in his words.. If he was truly the real Simon then who was I? A good-for-nothing impostor? Why was I even fighting for? For fake family? For fake friends? For fake memories? Were those things important anymore? Maybe quitting everything was the right way to go? It squeezed my heart tightly.. because the reasoning that I had.. it was just black.. a confusion in my heart.. an emptiness in my soul.. I was just a nobody, who stole someone’s body.. I had no reason to exist then. Erasing me was probably the right thing to do.. but then why Zerneger was so proud of me recently? Why Azure took me for a friend if I was the fake one? And Siegmund himself.. he felt almost like me.. as if he was me.. but if he was me? Then how was this possible? To live a life inside two bodies? Why was my memories erased? Why did Lydie betray us? Why Sandvika was crying and suffering? So many whys and no direct statements... But these thoughts of mine.. they were not for nothing.. I had to find it out until the very end.. if Siegmund was the key to all of my questions then I had to see and hear this till the very end.

-”The name Siegmund.. I found this name in an old library while I was exploring my castle. Yes... yes.. the very same floating castle that you once saw.. Funny isn’t it? I was ruling over that place all along. I don’t want to brag of course, because after sabotaging you and everyone in your crew I truly did reach the top. Only Thomas stuck to your side till the very end, but he trembled in fear upon seeing me in Atreia. Although I promised not to kill him for helping me out with Lydie. Anyway... I overextended myself again, but this is my way of saying things... You see.. I almost feel like talking to myself.. ahaha.. because I am talking to myself..”- He was just joking around, but yet his facial expression was calm and his gaze was stating the truth.. although it was confusing, but the dots were really connecting to me.. It almost felt like everything that happened was my own doing. How ironic.. how pathetic actually..

-”The name means, - Victory Protection, - isn’t that suiting? I chose this name, because I always secure my victory. You see not only that I am always victorious and I was during my time of reign.. I actually never lost a single battle.. People been calling me as invincible. Such a befitting title for me I must say. The Invincible Siegmund, couldn’t be better.. haha!”- He bursted into laughter again.
-”However, enough of bragging.. I chose this name because it is closely connected to my power.. To my true power, you see average people can’t even react before their death nor they can scratch me. The only downside to this power is the cooldown.. Yes.. I gave you a whole month just to demonstrate my full power, because if I overuse it.. It stops working for a month.. sometimes longer. But you ruined my plan, by reaching the village sooner than I expected. So Lydie was a nice distraction for that, but I never thought that my basic abilities would be enough to bring you on your knees. I mean this is just pathetic.. This is why I am giving you a chance and I will give you as many chances as possible, because I as well want to witness the true power of Zerneger. What you demonstrated earlier while fighting Lydie really intrigued me.. I want to see it again.. I want for you to fight me at your best and I have my ways of bringing this out of you. Sounds like a good deal for enjoying your last days right, Simon? Or should I call you Someone? Maybe S? Who knows.. S was a hero, a protector.. a warden of hope.. that was until he became ruled by madness and became twisted just like me.. maybe it was due to my body? Or maybe the same fate is binding us both huh?”- He ended his speech.
-”I don’t understand where are you going with this... Answer me how are we connected at the very least!”- I demanded answers.

-”Alright..”- He removed his hood from his head and exposed his face, which looked almost like mine with slight differences. He moved his index finger over the very same marking that I had on my face.
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-”See this seal? This thing is the only thing that separates me from you. While I can not undo it myself, nor can you. Zerneger’s intervention allowed for me to reawaken in this body. How could you steal my body? You had everything! You had power, you had your allies.. you were the ruler.. the emperor of those lands and yet you stole away the only thing that I possessed... my original body.. The one that I was roaming in for several centuries long. I don’t want to spoil you this, but whatever.. Some years ago, before you even met Triniel.. your soul.. or rather.. my soul.. or whatever.. it’s even confusing for me sometimes.. ahaha. Anyway your soul was split in half.. Your sister’s subordinate killed you and dropped you down into the bottom of an ocean.. however your buddy.. or at this case my buddy Azure managed to somehow summon your soul by the help of that shiny thing in the stupid tree of life. He also created you a faux body, yes.. not the one that I am wearing now.. but something close.. a mortal and fragile body.. probably made out of shadows.. surprisingly enough.. Lydie found your original body and decided to reawaken it by removing that nasty stick from the heart and thus I was born.. Since the body is immortal.. the soul was just split in half and since the body belonged to a maniac and a mass murderer it just so happened that your evil half was born. But now is the real question.. I was never your evil half.. I was the curse that you’ve been living with for a whole eternity..  I was always the real you. I was your true nature. I was practically the same as you.. but at least I was living in my own body.. the one that I belonged in.. Until you came and stole it away from me! Who cares about vengeance? You sought power right? Well shiiit.. you have Zerneger isn’t that already enough? Why don’t we just fuse together into one and the easiest thing to do is to break the seal together.. if we break it we will return to this original body and be as one again. Although now I hate you more than I used to.. Thus I’m not planning to merge with you.. I’m just going to rip you off your power and in addition to that I’m just going to shatter your soul and return to this body. Two Simons can’t coexist. One is enough and the hero must always defeat the villain, because in this story you were always the villain and I was the hero, who acted on his feelings.. who wanted to see the light. While you just became corrupted by the world. This is the ultimate truth, I know it is hard to grasp the meaning of this, but bear with me in this fight and you might realize a thing or two on your own before I truly kill you. The fact is that I am the real Simon and you are just someone, who used to be Simon long time ago.. but you were never the same person. Because the real source to your power and the real reason why are you still breathing is the damn tree of life.. Yes you are mixture of both me and a stupid tree.. And if it dies or rots away it will mean your death as well. Only I can help Azure and you are not worthy of wearing his mask, because he is my real friend and you.. you are just a failure... yes a failure who jumped right in front of Triniel’s scythe and put Azure’s life at stake.. I’m taking this back from you.. And this is my true vengeance!”- His longest speech has ended and I was just lost for words.. I could not digest the information.. I needed time.. to even concentrate.

What have I done?

My one and only friend?

Azure, did I really betray you?

Me as a mass murderer?

Even thought that I was also the part of Simon...

A part of a man, which was unknown and distant to me...

I was never the hero? But the impostor? But for what motive? What did I seek?

No... there’s nothing left... Nothing at all..

If this is the case...

I have no reason to live anymore...

If this is not my real body and that I am not the real me...

Then...

What’s the point in trying anything..?

...

My memories... of course..

But why do I seek those memories?

Ah... now I understand why...

To learn the ultimate truth and to decide on my own...

Yes.. even if I am not worthy enough, without knowing the complete truth...

...the other side of the same coin.. I can’t be certain..

I can’t be so sure about his words...

Even if he isn’t lying.. I have to realize it by myself..

I have to remember and then make my own judgment..

Yes.. this is my last task.. my only dream that I have left..

But my biggest obstacle is myself...

Siegmund...

No...

Simon or just simply myself is my biggest enemy...

The series of carnage and devastation that happened was my own doing and just now...

Just now.. I realize the truth...

Alright.. I’ll raise my arms and fight.. for my selfish desires even if it means defeating my own self...

Even if it will mean destroying everything that is precious to me...

I will never give up on my last dream!

I opened my eyes and smirked... knowing my answer.. I decided to fight till the very end and this sensation.. this burning sensation.. in my melting soul.. it felt strong.. to fight against the impossible odds.. to overcome my own self.. is my biggest task yet..
-”Siegmund.. I mean.. Simon.. I’ll show you what I am truly capable of and I will beat the truth out of you. In the end nothing changes both you and I are the same person and we can’t coexist together in this world so be prepared, because I am going to shatter your streak of victories!”- Those words meant my own answer.. and it was firm.. It was for my dreams.. for my family.. for my friends.. yes.. for everyone.. for everyone that I met along the way.. how many of them were there for me? Azure, Jake, Jaina, Daente, Vlad, Janus, Sandvika, Aurora, Thomas and even Lydie... and all of the passengers.. and trespassers.. all of the fallen soldiers... and villagers.. they were always there for me.. and even in my worst they at least gave me reason to exist in this world.. yes.. Maybe I was not a failure.. not a failure.. at least starting from this point I would never count myself as a failure.

“Thank you everyone... I will fight for all of you... to show you how far I can go.. To prove you that I can be myself and that I can live the way I want to live my life.. I’ll be the one to claim this victory.. Because I still have Zerneger on my side and Azure’s mask, which is now my new face! So let’s get this show on the road and break the ICE!”

To be continued.
(Yet another note: Well my production rate intensified a little.. can't promise that I will wrap this story up by the end of the year, but it is surely close to an end as of now.)

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35 Re: The Rift Dancer on Sun Dec 23, 2018 11:04 am

When they clash...

Having the reason and a meaningful goal to fight onward I acquired new strength inside of me. It was purely my sheer will, but it was enough.. ENOUGH to struggle for survival. Without saying anything more, Siegmund extended his palm in front of himself, hiding one side of his face just a little bit behind it. His visible eye glimmered in white and then he clutched his palm into a rock solid fist, causing the wall of ice to rumble. The sides of my body were grinding between two frosty crystalline walls, it was slowly crushing me from the sides and the layers of ice were spreading further across my armor and clothes. Like perfectly folded sheets of paper the icy shards stacked on top each other, further immobilizing my movement.

-”Burst...”- I simply sighed as I said this one word.. storing most of my own energy inside my right fist. The ice around my right arm started to melt significantly fast and then the blue flames erupted like a volcano, setting my whole arm ablaze and ripping through the glacier... The shards of ice bursted all over the place as my arm got loose. The blue flames on my arm suddenly crawled down to my sword in a circular motion and then I delivered an invert cut to the other side, which led to destruction of the wall on my left.. it was chopped off and the huge chunk of ice just fell on the ground. It was all burning and thawing, causing huge amounts of steam to break through. While the steam was hiding me with a couple of more cuts I broke free from this trap, I firmly landed on my feet.. my eyes were burning in crimson and my blazing sword was illuminating the way to my next move.

-”So... in the end it is not impossible to break through his ice, I just need to use more power... Still.. I don’t have a slightest idea on what he is capable of...”- I audibly thought. I breathed in and breathed out, and set my right foot backwards.. It radiated in warmth as the soft breeze passed through my feet. The ice below me was rapidly turning into a puddle as if I suddenly became really hot. Indeed, my body was burning up.. both my soul and heart were on fire. My senses heightened and then I felt movement in the air behind me. Almost five meters from behind... My body reacted on it’s own as my feet rapidly spun backwards, bending my whole torso to the side.. Bringing the hilt of my sword into both of my hands I countered a blow from behind.. Thus we clashed.. Two blades were grinding against each other as Siegmund was slowly pushing me backwards.. This time his face was rather serious, but once again I felt nothing from his blade.. as if it was soulless.. as if it was not existing at all.. I pushed my blade to the side as it sled across the sharp edge of his blade.. The sparks were igniting and pouring like falling stars to the sides.. everything behind me was burning up, almost boiling, while the opposite side, where Siegmund was standing was withering and freezing solid. When the blade got loose I quickly dived below his blade and cut his torso with my fiery blade, however the flames were stopped as the hard layer of ice curled up on his body. Instead they shot up in two burning arcs and ripped through the debris, which was behind me. This was the power of ice and fire.. two opposites, yet equally matched.

Siegmund let go of his own sword with his left hand, on which the magical ring was sitting... it shone brilliantly and then two white circles stuffed on his hand.. quickly filling the empty space in between it turned out to be a white gauntlet.. He delivered an upwards swing, the gauntlet crashed right into my jaw.. lifting me up a little. I grunted in pain and attempted to move in the air, but compared to him my movements seemed to be pretty slow. He raised his right leg up and bent it over the knee, spinning his whole body he kicked my stomach as hard as he was able to. It struck me like cannonball, as the foot itself was within the rock-solid ice. The air in my lungs was squeezed out and then I flew across the sky, ultimately hitting the earth and bouncing off the ground a couple of times I found myself to be laying on my stomach. At least I was holding my sword tightly and the smile beneath the mask did not disappear.. instead it left me thrilled.. to think that my opponent was this tough.. to think that I alone was lacking for power.. but yet.. I was ready to battle on!

He waved with his right arm and let go of the sword, the barely visible string, which connected his hand to the hilt glimmered and then with an upwards swing it shot up to the sky. Siegmund tugged his right arm behind his shoulder and bent it over the elbow, the blade swept backwards and then he lashed it upon me. I was fast to react, the shadows risen from below my body and threw me to the left side.. The blade crashed down on my former position, freezing the shadows and created a tall cross of sheer ice.. it emerged like an earthquake and shone down upon the village. The crystalline cross looked almost the same as the gem in the tree. With a slight tug backwards he pulled the blade from the ground and swiftly returned to his hand.. the icicle arc remained in it’s trails. The white shards of ice erected from below his feet and moved accordingly to my location, and Siegmund himself was surfing on the running ice, which was spinning obliquely across the air. He held his sword straight to the right side, ready to strike me down, while his free hand was shooting out those white magical arrows from before. That ring, just how did he know it’s location? I was unable to even figure it out, as I was flip-flopping backwards, dodging what was thrown at me. He finally caught up to me and jumped down from the crawling ice surface.. I jumped right at him as the flames pushed my body from behind and then our swords crossed again.. Both of us twisted midair in a synchronous motion as the blades brushed through across each other. Siegmund hit the earth and I remained airborne.. bringing the hilt to my hands I drew forth the blue flames again and by swinging my sword over my shoulder and then back down at him.. I released a huge outburst of fire. Everything burned to a crisp in the jaws of the burning heat, except for Siegmund, who merely leaped up to the air as soon as the lump of fire was unleashed.. He struck me from the side, bashing my ribs with his elbow and then sending me downwards with his blade, a huge cut mark was left, but before the blood started to gush out, the wound just froze... I crashed into the dirt and writhed in pain afterwards.  
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At first it looked like we were equals, but Siegmund.. somehow he was one step ahead.. or was it the difference in strength? No.. strength was not the answer, it was his experience.. he looked like a seasoned warrior, compared to the likes of me, who only won all of his battles by counting on the help from others. Where was his weakness? What did I lack? No... there was no time to think.. no time for meaningless questions and thoughts... now was the time to strike.

Patching up my wound I slowly rose from the earth, holding my sword firmly I rushed straight ahead. Our swords collided again.. The smoke was rising, the shadows were crawling like insects and the snow was falling in a hectic fashion, only the sounds of metal disturbed the rhythm of the lingering snowflakes. He jumped on the roof of the fallen building and I planted my feet on the shining crystal of the tree of life.. We leaped from our positions simultaneously and impacted midair in the center of the destroyed village.. Our blades vibrated and sent down a strong shock wave along the way... pushing away the air and covering the debris in dust, scattering the pink petals around us... they were moving in a giant twister, where we were going at each other.. toe to toe.. hand to hand.. Each blow and blast took out more of the village belongings.. until everything around us was falling in ruins... amidst the falling debris our blades were dancing.. The fire, which was burning hot and the ice, which was paralyzingly cold mixed in, almost swapping the weathers from one to another around us... But it was far from over I still had to at least scratch him.. I just had to... To prove that I was a worthy opponent, to prove that I was able to defeat him.

Thus our battle dragged on.. Both Siegmund and I accelerated to inhuman speeds.. going against each other like arrows colliding in the crossfire. His blade began to glow in white and in a fluent swing downwards he sent out a chilling an amassing force of crystal white ice... It froze the atmosphere around, ripped through the oxygen and devoured everything that was showing the signs of life in it’s path. It spread across the ground and soon grew out to be a giant arc of ice.. a spiky glacier, which was directed towards the holy tree of life. By holding in my breath I took my stance and gathered all of the shadows around the village, they rose like pillars and were sharp like spears.. The shadows broke through the ice and slowly, but steadily stopped the glacier from hitting the three of might.. However I lost my focus on Siegmund, who was now behind me and ready to cut me down. But instead of cutting me down with his blade, he hardened his fist in a thick layer of ice and smashed my mask... I lost my balance and crashed down into the dirt. The impact was heavy enough to bury me in a man-sized crater and the outlines of the dent earth were covered with further spreading cracks that soon crumbled down to dust..

-”Please, remove this mask off your face.”- Siegmund sighed in disappointment and delivered me another blow with his fist.. making me to sink into the earth further... The earth around us started to rapidly freeze and he was bashing my mask continuously. His face displayed no emotion at all.. It was hard to understand him.. it was so hard to feel his soul.. what was the gap between us..? How was I this weak? Why I could not do anything on my own? Without Zerneger’s help... I just shrugged off these thoughts and shook my head, gritting my teeth I suppressed the pain inside of me and clutched my palm into a fist.. My arm shot up like a rocket as I then managed to grab him by the cloth, where his chest was located... He expressed an annoyed frown and then lifted his sword up and chopped off my hand. It was still stuck, clinging to his robes, but he merely took it off, threw it to the air and split it in half with his sword. Blood was gushing out from the place, where my limb was severed. He placed his foot on the very same arm and pushed it down, crushing it underneath it. He was not holding back, the steel clad foot of his was squeezing the blood out of my veins.

-”Do... I... Have.. To... Repeat... Myself...?”- In an angered tone he asked me and penetrated the right side of my lower torso with his blade. I could not help but to scream in pain again.. holding it in was just plain impossible.. and the blade of his was sending out chilly sensation across my skin... until the gap between the wound and the upper side of the blade cladded itself in solid ice, which was shining brilliantly.
-”Ugh... never... it’s my friend.. it’s the only symbol of hope...”- I was not planning to give up.. even in pain I had the balls to state what I was thinking deep down.. I grabbed on to his calf with my free hand and set his cloth on fire.. He leaped back in defense, but quickly put out the fire, by enveloping the burning area with ice.
-”Persistent trash...”- He replied and by the help of the magical ring he conjured two white magical swords in his hands, while his main great sword was sent to the air, still hanging on that weird string, which was attached to his hand.

The frosty great sword almost landed on top of me, but I was lucky to deflect it with my blade.. I was able to feel how my severed hand was already regrowing. But like a torpedo he rushed right at me and started with a combination of simultaneous stabs and cuts with these swords.. This time I was forced to fight him single-handed.. deflecting most of his attacks with my sword I was forced to keep up with the airborne strikes as well, from where he was tossing the icy blade.. and with each impact it planted more and more crosses of ice.. This assault of his went on for far enough until the whole village resembled a frozen graveyard. Luckily the sheer will that I had inside me allowed for me to go against him toe to toe... He dropped the white swords and jumped on one of the icy crosses.. Meanwhile I raised my sword skywards and ran my hand across the blade... revitalizing the blade with energy. A huge blue flare shot up to the air, it almost resembled a giant, almost as tall as a tree, sword of sheer flames... With one perfect swing to the side.. I chopped off and set the icy pillars on fire, while Siegmund was jumping from one to another.. Throwing huge chunks of icy objects at me. However, I did go through everything... I reduced the ice to mere steam.. At this point of time I was able to tell that Siegmund was gradually starting to get serious and his movements, yes... they started to become more and more predictable.. I was learning as I fought.. this supposedly ultimate body of mine or maybe his at this point of time.. was really a big help for surviving the prolonged fights.. There was no wonder why he was seeking for it this badly.

For a moment both of us stopped as we found ourselves staring to each other. Somehow.. it felt like I fought him a lot of times before all of this.. somehow it felt like we’ve been fighting for far longer.. for a whole eternity and this was definitely not our first and not our last clash.. but the winner of this conflict was still unclear.. much questions still remained, but no answer was given.. only the proof of one’s strength would be able to bring the answers and I was not planning to waste that opportunity.

-”SIEGMUND!!!!!!!!!!!!”- I shouted and charged right at him.
-”FAKEEER!!!!!!!!!”- He did shout as well and repeated the same action.
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We collided in the middle and both of the energies mixed in, forming a barrier of unease energy around us, which was rippling and faltering, gradually expanding and subtracting, but totally devastating everything in it’s path.. The clumps of earth were rising from the earth and flying like arrows.. The ring of fire suddenly formed around the barrier, which devoured the remains of grass and some of the remaining corpses of the fallen soldiers. A snake of ice was wrapping up against the barrier and the snow was falling uneasily... suddenly turning into a hail of deadly sharp icicles, which stormed the earth like artillery, breaking through the ground and leaving everything crystallized. The earth below our feet split in half and we began to sink inside the earth, while in the epicenter of all of this our blades were continuously landing on one another.. even the air was pushed away from us.. it rose like a storm, which blew away many of the objects in it’s way. We went out in a huge explosion, which blasted both of us out of the center... I defended myself by coiling my skin in shadows, while he did the same with his ice.. thus both of us remained unscratched, just a little bit exhausted.

Ice Prison.

The drop of sweat ran across the side of my face.. it fell down from my chin.. my heart was pounding and I was able to tell that my pulse was out of rhythm, it was bouncing wildly. But this beat of the heart expressed the fire inside of me.. expressed the emotion inside.. and the power, which I carried inside and along all of these years.. Although it was no time for reminiscing things, I was glad to go this far.. After all I was not just a simple human, my life, my story.. my existence and everything else.. everything was just interesting and worthwhile.. And this was yet another reason for my survival.. another claim to see that I was worthy of the truth.. Simon or not.. Siegmund or not.. Someone or whatever.. names were meaningless... A true person always spoke through actions and never used name for advantage. This was the truth.. Maybe I was not worthy in Azure’s eyes.. maybe Siegmund was right on this part.. But he was far from being better than me, he destroyed the place that I and Azure were guarding for far too long. He ruined our shared vision and dream and this was unforgivable.

We were several meters apart, I was breathing heavily and looking to his eyes... He looked quite calm and collected, but something glimmered on his forehead.. yes.. it was sweat.. even an invincible person did break a sweet. Yet he fulfilled his word.. I had to scratch or bruise him yet. He tilted his face down and spitted on the ground, with his single hand he raised his sword in front of himself and pointed the sharp tip at me. The icy area, on which both of us were standing began to show the marks of crystals growing.. They were growing like that nasty weed... Popping up randomly everywhere. Suddenly each and every of the risen crystals started to explode, releasing clusters of sharp icy projectiles, which were projected towards me. In fact they were flying at me so rapidly that my body was unable to compete, however.. then... I felt something.. once again.. this sense.. yes I was not mistaking... at last.. Zerneger... he reawakened.

-”Yo Simon, nice you are still alive.”- He laughed.
-”Yeah... yeah.. good morning, you sleeping beauty. Help me out at once!”- I did not have time for silly chats, so instead I chose to use his powers right away.
-”Yeah... yeah... whatever.. also... You aren’t weak alone. It’s the opposite, you are truly powerful. You grew to be a very strong opponent. And my power is your power, so NEVER EVER think that you are a weakling!”- His lecturing shout pierced through my brain and then the black burning wings with glowing blue spirals grew out  on my back.

I shot up straight like a bullet, right into the jaws of crystalline fire. Ripping through the gravity the tips of my wings tore through the space, scattering the ripples in space behind. I brought Zerneger with it’s tip, facing downwards, and swung it upwards, red sparks soared across the surface of the blade as the sharp edge tore open the space before me, the disturbance in space puked out a barrage of shadowy bullets that all went straight to the crystalline shards.. they impacted midair.. delivering a chain reaction of explosions... Smoke engulfed my body as I dived right into it. Ripping through the smoke I emerged with my blade above my head and crashed right into Siegmund, who stopped me by bringing his sword above his head.. The loud impact of the colliding blades boomed throughout the area.. as the ground below Siegmund’s feet was ripped apart.. it made him lose his balance and he was about to fall on his back, but his sword suddenly glowed in white and an the icy crystals grew out of his blade, slightly pushing me backwards, while he leaped backwards a little to regain his balance. My blade penetrated through the ice as it shattered like glass and then I marched straight on, plunging my blade right into his kidneys..

-”So.. weak.. you are so weak.. ahaha...”- I laughed as I pulled the blade out of his body... blood gushed out from the opened wound and then he let go off his sword and dropped it in front of his feet..
-”That was unexpected... To think that you would actually deliver a cut this deadly...”- He was lost for words and fell on his knees.
-”That’s what you get for bragging, you dumb shit!”- I raised my foot and kicked his jaw, causing for him to fall on his back.

Siegmund grabbed on the wounded area and pushed it as hard as he was able to, to stop the bleeding.. but the blood was erupting through the gaps of his fingers.. until his hands became all red.
-”Tch... to think that I will be forced to use this.. But I was aware.. I anticipated your abilities..”- He mumbled something and let go of his wound, he moved his right hand on his wrist and grabbed on the cloth tightly, tugging it to the front. The fabric started to rip little by little until he torn off his left sleeve and the half of his arm was revealed.. Purple veins were popping out on the skin and some weird bottle resembling tubes were sticking to his skin, with buttons on top. He brought his thumb above the button of one of the tubes and pushed it. The fluids that were stored inside flowed underneath his flesh, directly into his veins.
-”Wait a minute! Is that!?”- Without even finishing my sentence I was about sever his arm off, because I clearly realized what kind of thing it was. But I was too late, the wound stopped bleeding and the hole that was left behind suddenly subtracted. A strong and chilly wind blew from his side, freezing my clothes around the corners and pushed me backwards.
-”Yes... the very same life force, even I have those.. your best creation.. only one thousand sacrifices are required to create one of these dozes.”- He said and picked himself up on his feet.
-”What do you mean?!”- I asked in panic by extending my left hand towards him.
-”That means that for each and every of this bottle you slaughtered thousands of people.. Can you really justify your actions now, you mass murderer?”- He smirked and picked his sword up from the ground.
-”There’s no way I would do such a thing without a good reason!”- I shouted in anger.
-”Oh you would... and I know this the best... hehehehe...”- He placed his sword on his shoulders.
-”Listen, Simon.. it’s not a good time to listen for his bullshit.. even if it’s true.. you must win this fight no matter what!”- Zerneger’s voice entered my head.
-”But... but.. if I was this horrible...”- I tried to make my statement, but then again Zerneger interfered.
-”Shut your trap! It’s not your fault, you truly are a great person! You always had a reason and the current you is not the one from the past. Believe in your current self, not in your past!”- His voice vibrated through my head.
-”Yes sir!”- I replied and rushed straight ahead, hoping to take another taste on Siegmund’s flesh.
-”Well.. I lowered my guard, what can I say.. next time.. I promise you won’t be able to even scratch me..”- Siegmund started off with an excuse and prepared his blade as well.

We both clashed midair once again, but this time we were truly equally matched. He countered each and every blow of mine, but I did the same. The loud tremors of our blades impacting were heard all over the place as the zombies finally started to invade the unguarded village. We were going against each other.. ripping through and crashing down through the countless numbers of zombie hordes. Rotten limbs were flying all over the place and guts splattering all over the place. It looked like a true harvest day. But at the end of all of it.. only the two of us were standing on the piles of headless corpses.. I was panting heavily, but so was Siegmund. No gap was left between us, but he showed off to be true on his words.. indeed I was unable to damage him anymore.

-”Hmmm... his sword feels odd...”- Zerneger stated.
-”What do you mean?”- I asked.
-”I just have this unease feeling that I seen it before.. more like.. I know it.. but I want to be wrong..”- Zerneger turned out to be panicking.
-”It’s just some magical ice sword.. so what.. it’s no match for us.. it’s just his skill that is keeping us from instant victory.”- I attempted to reassure him.
-”No.. it’s not the ice.. it’s something else. It feels like something ominous is slumbering inside of it.. and if it’s that thing... well then.. be prepared for the worst.. Because even for me it’s hard to compete with...”- His voice was cracking and vibrating in a hectic fashion.
-”So wanna take a guess on who it is then?”- I calmly asked him.
-”Ah... I think I’m not the only God on this battlefield...”- That’s right.. When I met Siegmund for the first time Zerneger was uneasy about this sword too.. however giving up was not the way to go.

Siegmund smirked and raised his sword skywards, it was illuminated in pure white.. shinning vibrantly and reflecting the destruction of the village. He looked up to the sky and closed his eyes, suddenly snow broke through the skies.. actually it was hailing, the wind was rising and scattering snow all around us. The corpses of zombies and soldiers froze to ice and disintegrated into a solid surface beneath the village.. Solid and slippery one, which was pure and clean. A hurricane of snow fell down from the skies and surrounded me, blocking my sight completely.. I was able to see only white in the distance, because the snow, which was trapped in the hurricane was dense. The snowfall gradually got slower and slower until I turned out to be trapped in a huge veil of ice... I looked up to the sky, but even the sky was covered in white, like a ceiling the ice was blocking everything. Then the walls started to rumble and the mirrors of ice circulated across the whole area.. surrounding me with hundreds reflections of myself. I unleashed the power of the flames and shot it straight to one of the mirrors, but it did nothing.. instead my flames were absorbed inside and then a mirror, which was located on my back spew out the fire directly at me.. I raised my left hand and stopped the fire in my grasp.

-”What’s the meaning of this...?”- Unable to locate Siegmund anywhere I asked.
-”Welcome to my place.. Welcome to the ice prison!”- His laughter echoed everywhere.. it was emanating from the mirrors, which spun around the place.
-”That’s cheap!”- I gritted my teeth and charged at one of the mirrors head on, pointing the tip of my sword forwards I was going to impale the mirror.. But my attempt was meaningless, I merely bounced off the mirror and hit the icy surface.
-”I see.. So it is unbreakable. However it must have a weak spot. And I think I found it’s weakness, I’m so getting out of here!”- I imagined the place outside this giant fortress of ice or whatever.. and swung my sword forwards, the space started to rip apart, but then one of the mirrors suddenly started to glow and then a rift opened right inside the mirror as if it absorbed the reality inside it.
-”Don’t you get it.. these mirrors can absorb, reflect and deflect anything energy related... Basically this thing that you are inside of is almost unbreakable.”- Siegmund’s loud laughter resonated around the place once again.
-”Then I’m going to find the means to destroy it!”- I let out a furious shout and erupted in flames, I leaped up from the icy surface and attempted to penetrate the mirrors, but each and every attempt ended up in failure... My sword merely bounced off as if it was made from plastic or so.

Icy needles began to swarm from all over the place, injecting into my body.. there was too many to avoid at once, not to mention their small size.. it was next to impossible. It was eating away at my clothes, devouring my flesh and ripping through my armor.. slowly freezing me from every corner. Only several of minutes passed and my body was stuck inside the iceberg.. frozen solid..I could not even move a muscle.. I was stuck.. stuck inside a block of ice.  It was even impossible to light the fire in my sword.. there was no space for it to spread.. it was impossible to produce heat.. I was trapped.. The mirrors and the walls suddenly dispersed and the scenery switched to the destroyed village. Siegmund was standing in front of me.. He walked up to me and poked the block of ice with his index finger, barely suppressing his laughter.

-”Well.. well.. looks like you are done for.. you can not escape from the grasp of ice..”- He joked around.
-”What a coward.. aren’t you going to fight me?”- I attempted to squirm inside the iceberg, but it was plain pointless.
-”I must admit, that you almost got me there.. Zerneger is truly impressive indeed, but I mean.. if you are trapped, then it only means that I already won.. oh well.. how disappointing.. and here I thought that you will be worthy to see my true power. Guess I’ll just extract this power from you, take back my body and move on.. any last wishes?”- He looked to the sides and casually shrugged.
-”Just go on with it I don’t care...”- I admitted my defeat.. it was the truth.. it was impossible to escape it.. I was in the grasp of doom already, so what was the point in fighting anymore?
-”Alright.. It’s a shame that you weren’t going at me with your full power. But nonetheless it was a good warm up.”- He plunged his sword into the ice and clapped with his palms.  
-”Sleep well, little Simon..”- He grinned and placed his palm on the block of ice, in which I was trapped.

I closed my eyes, preparing to meet my end... My luck ran out at last.. I knew it all along that one day I will have to meet my end and this moment smelled like the right time. But a simple man like me was not enough... nah.. I alone could of never protected the place.. A lone soldier was just good as dead.

Goodbye everyone...

This world has ended for me...

I’d like to see the new beginning, but...

But...

My dreams... they will keep me warm...

The eternal slumber...

Was for my taking...

A tear rolled down from my eye and I did have no regrets in finally dying... Except for one. My only regret was the fact that I could not meet Azure again... the pages.. who wrote those pages? The pages of my life... Who created this story, who was the architect of my struggles? If it was me alone, then who was observing me? Who believed in my long journey of emptiness? Who foretold this lore?

But... I’m not going to apologize.. it is my fate to die...

So long...

Everyone... I loved you...

The chains of ice that bound my soul were freezing my existence.. the time was rapidly stopping.. the world was not revolving anymore, not in my eyes at least.. A sensation of closure whispered into my heart and I prepared to meet my own peace.

Recreation.

However, just before accepting my grim fate I felt something incredibly hot touching the surface of the ice.. Blowing Siegmund several meters away and thawing the ice in a blink of an eye.. A blinding flash clouded my eyes and the sound of explosion rumbled in my ears.. Black smoke engulfed the area and left me temporarily blinded, but I felt free.. yes.. I was indeed free from the jaws of death. Someone just released me from this prison of ice.

-”What the...?!”- Siegmund’s shocked voice echoed from afar.
-”Hah.. now it’s my time to shine..! Although my power is not much.. I need a better plan.. I need more power.”- Saying this I looked around myself while the clouds of black smoke were moving away from me, scattering to the sides.
-”Grrr... now you are really getting on my nerves, you bitch!”- Siegmund exploded in anger and then a familiar figure.. a recognizable face exposed itself through the smoke. She was holding her staff, pointed towards Siegmund.. Already back in her youthful form, but severely wounded, her clothes were stained in blood, but she was standing brave. Black mist was circulating across her staff and crimson runes that were etched were glowing. It was none other but Lydie, somehow she survived.. she was not dead and she indeed helped me out. Was this a good karma?
-”Huff.. puff... Don’t touch my brother.. you backstabber..”- She barely lamented, her voice was almost breathless.
-”This is it.. I’m going to deliver you a painful death..”- Siegmund nonchalantly stated and straightened the posture of his sword.
-”Brother.. thank you.. now I can see the truth.. I will continue to protect you for eternity.. even if we are so distant..”- Lydie turned her face to me and smiled.. the blood was slipping through her nostrils, but even in this situation she remained courageous.
-”Oh shut up! Shut up! You are so annoying! JUST DIEEEE ALREADY!!!”- He removed his hood again and almost ripped out his own hair.. Siegmund was indeed pissed.
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With no hesitation he charged right at me, his blade spinning around like a twister.. It pierced through my chest as I was pushed backwards.. and then he ended it with a jumping kick to my head, lifting me up several stores in the air and redirecting me right into the crystal, which was resting in the tree of life.. I crashed right into it.. all bleeding.. my heart was visible and pounding... such a gory sight.. I was completely out of guard. Siegmund then went for Lydie, he charged right at her and grabbed her by the throat, lifting her above him.. squeezing the air out of her mouth.

-”Your death will be slow and painful...”- He said as he licked the blood around his lips. He applied the pressure on her throat, squeezing the blood out of her mouth.. she was barely breathing.. struggling for survival.. her consciousness was dwindling. I wanted to help her, but the wound that I received was just too heavy.
-”Zerneger.. what am I supposed to do now?”- I asked for his advice and looked down to my upper torso, exposed and dent ribs were crushing my beating heart.
-”I’m afraid, but you won’t be able to save her in your current condition...”- No hope was found in his answer.
-”I don’t want to let her die... I don’t want to die as well...”- I bursted into tears of despair.. I wanted courage, I craved for strength.. but where.. where was everything..? How did I end up this way? I raised my bleeding fist towards the dimly shining sun in the sky and desperately attempted to grasp it’s form... like I was a forsaken soul trying to reach salvation from a greedy God.

I laid my head to rest against the magical gem of the tree and looked down upon the destroyed village. The gem was really warm.. it gave me incredible warmth.. massaging my back with it’s grace. Gazing at the scenery I realized just how many lives were taken.. just how many had to fall.. Not for evil, not for glory, not for heroic deeds or bravery.. but they died, because of my own stupid mistakes.. yes.. The man in the distance, who was strangling and beating up my sister was not my greatest adversary.. it was just me.. yes.. another Simon.. maybe the real Simon.. who probably sacrificed everything just to remove a parasite like me, who was always leeching on the goods of the village, who caused terror for it... yet someone like me.. was just selfish.. Due to my own selfishness and survival instinct everything became ruined. If only I was submissive from the beginning.. maybe then.. these poor people, Sandvika... Azure... would not have to suffer. But I... even I crossed the line.. even I wanted to fight for my own self.. it was enough to act selfless.. my true nature was nowhere close to being selfless.. My truest nature was in fact Siegmund’s actions.. and if his words spoke the truth then now I was able to tell why I’ve been leading such a pitiful life so far.. But even a selfish man like I... even I.. did not want to disappear and I was not planning on doing that.

Take me...

Take my hand and lead...

Me...

To the glory of winning...

To the fantasy of seeing the end of the world...

To the dream of witnessing the courage with my friends and family...

Restore me from pieces and remake this universe...

Unfold the story...

And rewrite the tale...

But the tree... the tree did stand with it’s roots deep down.. the gem of life was still pulsating the power and giving this carnage a new life.. this story was far from over.. closing my eyes for closure never meant the end of this place.. A legendary place founded by me and my friend.. A place of courage for life to develop. Being at home for the last breath of mine was not a bad thing at all.. it felt amazing.

Strength of absolute grace.

Sinking inside of my own memories, I was wondering where did I go wrong? How did I go so far in the first place? So many new faces.. so many new experiences.. both good and bad.. even the times when were just hanging out.. even the times when we were trying to protect this world from the shadows.. and the times when we were antagonists.. the way of Eternal Darkness.. the creed of our mighty organization, which was formed for far stronger purposes.. yes now... just now.. I remembered.. remembered those good times before my death.. when I was not Someone.. or just S... when I was the real Simon.. a little bit sadistic on the side.. a man with a strong will and beliefs.. a man of his word.. but also the one, who had the lust for blood, but yet we never did threaten the weak ones.. instead we chose protect those.. instead we gave them the place to stay.. We gave them the world of their own, when they were abandoned by everyone.. We accepted each and everyone, who was worthy of our mysterious circle. Even now.. remembering how I tried to beat up Azure in the steel rake when I was totally wasted placed a smile on my face.. yes it was our first meeting.. a bouncer of the bar and some local drunkard.. haha.. but from where.. from where did those memories flood? Was this the tree of life softly whispering into my ear? Or were those Siegmund’s memories?

My purpose for visiting Atreia.. what was it again? A flashing series of events that took place in my head.. Trevor.. Tom.. Mana.. Juliet.. Kritsi, Pain.. Faces of my former allies.. murdered in cold blood by none other than me.. why did I kill them? I loved them.. They were almost like my family.. Maria... where are you? We were planning to build a house in a mountains and have a happy life. Where did you go? Who was at fault for your death? Why this world was the never ending cycle of vengeance? Power did bring despair.. but now.. just now.. some of the parts just penetrated my head.. some of the memories.. some of the faces and names, but nothing more... I missed them all.. In the past I was much more.. I was a hero.. but also a villain.. I was the gray spot in the society of black and white. It did not matter anymore.. the past was the past.. fighting for the new future was my cause and even Triniel was not going to stop me from doing this.. not even her.. which would become my most satisfying kill. These whole years of absence I’ve been preparing, I’ve been gathering the otherworldly power... just to bring the end of her terror.. and I used every means that were necessary.. even if it meant slaughtering or betraying my comrades.. except for those that I held deep in my heart.. My sins can not be atoned.

The heart was beating still.. the blood was flowing nonstop.. the sweat was dripping through.. and I continued to breathe.. to breathe the same air of Baltasar Hill village. It was finally the time to completely destroy what I’ve been protecting for so long. In order to redo my life any means were necessary.

Just like back then...

The gem of the tree is vibrating with power...

I do remember that occasion when I was training...

When I touched this crystal...

I felt so attached to it...

I almost felt like devouring it...

Such a good sensation it was...

I do remember that sometimes when I was not up for a walk to Lollu forest I found myself floating before the radiant crystal of the tree of life, my thoughts were shut off from the world around me. It was a good way to relieve myself from the nightmares that haunted me in the night. For some reason I felt a strong connection with the Tree of Life, it’s glowing aura of life looked very similar to my own. It seemed like I was born in the crystal of the tree, but as soon as I was spitted out to the world my energy engulfed itself in the shadows... (An actual reference to the past chapter lol.)

“...but you were never the same person. Because the real source to your power and the real reason why are you still breathing is the damn tree of life.. Yes you are mixture of both me and a stupid tree.. And if it dies or rots away it will mean your death as well...”

Suddenly I remembered a part from Siegmund’s monologue.. A mixture of both... huh...? The source to my power? Destroying it would mean my death... But what... what.. if... I became one with the tree..? Indeed the life would be doomed here forever.. but my life.. would be protected.. what if both I and Azure were protecting this tree in order to save ourselves.. or at least in order to save me..? It sounded so selfish, but maybe... maybe it was the truth? The very same tree granted me life, a new chance at it.. and I decided to protect it in the past for the very same reason.. to pay my debts... but now.. since there was no one around anymore.. maybe it was the time to take it back with me?

I am sorry...

But I am doing this for my own good...

Promise me that you will open your gates for me one day again...

I slowly picked myself up on my feet and harnessed all of the remaining power inside my right fist.. It wrapped itself in shadows and burning darkness with slight tints of blue cinders... The cyan, glowing orbs that were gathering around the mighty gem were ascending to the skies and some of them stuck to my side, enveloping my body from every corner...

-”BECAUSE THIS IS MY SOUL!”- I screamed as I threw my fist right at the glowing crystal with all of my power. My whole hand penetrated the gem and I was able to feel the cool air inside it, gently stroking my fist. The crystal soon got covered in cracks that were spreading further from the damaged area and across the whole crystal until it ultimately shattered.. and a dense, marvelous and giant bulb of energy became exposed.. It soon flooded down to me... piercing right through me.. and my soul.. going through my wounds and mouth.. my body was indeed absorbing it’s energy.. my eyes lost it’s pupils and cornea and started to glow in cyan for a moment... I was screaming, but not in pain.. I was screaming, because of the rush of energy.. so much power.. so refreshing... it felt so good... The ocean of energy was consuming me whole.. The grace of the former tree.. finally touched me.. The ultimate power, which I was seeking for finally reached me.. and it was always in front of me...

My body lit up and began to emit the heat.. the very same heat that the gem produced.. It was the heat of life.. and a dense and  blue burning aura swallowed my body.. the shiny cyan orbs were rising from around my body.. and the black corruption in my body instantly dispersed.. as if the process was reversed.. as if my body suddenly ascended to something even greater than it already was.. The pain that I was feeling just went away.. and only then.. only after feeling so good I realized that I was the one, who destroyed the tree in the end. I was the one, who put an end to our years long struggles of protecting it.. a bittersweet sensation it was.. but indeed it was worthy and necessary in protecting what was left.. for my own survival as well. The angels started to chant in a chorus... and the wind was rising from the area where I was standing.. The tree became hollow and was rapidly rotting away.. until.. just like in that nightmare that I had a long time ago.. it actually fell down.. it collapsed to the opposite side from where I was standing... It suddenly lit up in fire and burned down to a crisp until only ashes and the marks of never ending fire remained.. It saddened my heart, but it was the only way to do it.. but then a glimpse of hope shone before my eyes.. A small glowing seed remained there.. I approached the seed and picked it up from the ground.. With my free hand I dug a small hole in the dirt and planted the seed inside of it.

So long my sweet tree...

Thank you for being there for us...

For all of these years...

You’ll be missed...

But your power...

Your power will burn inside of me forever...

After all.. we are one and the same...

Now.. I am the holy life...
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I turned back to Siegmund, who was standing on top of dying Lydie, gazing to my side all shocked and probably pissed. I picked Zerneger from the ground and casually swayed it to the right side.. A mere swing was enough to send down a strong air current to the side, which took out a good chunk of the hill, which was standing there. Taking a deep breath I threw my sword on my shoulders and in a blink of an eye I shot up like a rocket, accelerating towards Siegmund... I was moving in a spiral.. my burning feet, tapping the air.. as if I was walking on it.. and indeed I was.. because the space and gravity did obey me. Siegmund was too slow to even react at my assault.. I struck him like a bolt of lightning.. slashing through his bowels and kicking him into the nearby debris.. He crashed into it and his spine broke.. only a gory sight of splattering blood decorated the fallen wall of the destroyed pub.

-”I’ll be back soon, but first let’s get her out of our way..”- I said to Siegmund and picked Lydie from the ground and placed her on my arms. A rift in space has opened before me and I entered inside of it.

I only had one place in mind.. and it was my best bet to safely leave those two in the care of others.. Sandvika was probably dying out of boredom in Zerneger’s pocket dimension too. A portal has opened in Agairon village. A shady man has emerged.. but he was not a complete stranger.. his looks were iconic.. black attire, thick layered steel mask and a huge sword strapped to his back, clinging on the creeping shadows. It was none other than me. The very same foolish man who got himself lost in the desert quite some time ago, but it was all thanks to Janus' sincere hospitality, from which I received another chance to see new dawn in this village. It was my second visit, though this time circumstances were even more grim than previously. With each passing minute my frame became clearer and clearer... My mask.. was scratched this time.. inclined with marks of the cuts.. dried drops of blood scattered around the black mask.. The lower ends of my coat torn from below.. as the marks of battle were printed. The cloth, which concealed my stomach  was holey and drenched in my own blood, but yet I was advancing forwards.. carrying Lydie in my arms.. A red haired beauty was writhing in pain and squirming in my arms.. it appeared that something black was engulfing her torso... in the shape of moderately narrow and long almond. As if something was carved out of her body.. as if the flesh itself was dissected, but the darkness was holding it tight. This darkness was my fabled shadows, stopping the blood from gushing out. On my right Sandvika was walking, holding onto my cloth tightly, looking to the sides nervously. Her face was pale, her eye pupils were narrow, she witnessed a complete turmoil and was desperately trying to perceive the surrounding reality. She wore maid's clothes, but even those were smeared in blood. Although the girl was not injured, but definitely in shock. Our trio approached the tent and stopped a couple of steps from the leader of the village, which appeared to be Janus’ father. I inhaled as much air into my lungs as I was able to and began to talk in a tired and husky tone.

-"I heard that you basically run this place. We need your help and quick!"- I pleaded him. The man dropped his papers to run up to the tree of us.
-"By the gods... Simon!?"- He inspected us thoroughly. He then turned back to the medic's hut where I was brought months ago, cupping his hands.
-"AGRIPS! I NEED YOUR HELP RIGHT NOW!!!!"- He held his arms out to take Lydie from my hands, and as the priest came and pulled a whistle from his pocket and blew it. The countryside echoed with a shrill, high-pitched buzz not unlike an aggressive case of tinnitus. Agrips moved to help me and the others into the hut.
-”We need to get you out of the heat... and fix you up..."- He too was worried out of his wits at this sight. I just shook my head in disagreement and waved emphatically
-”No.. I have no time to waste. I'm just glad that you guys acted quickly. As you were my last resort.. I just want for you to promise me one thing.. please keep these two girls safe. I will be forever in your debt...."- I then shifted my gaze down to Sandvika, who was standing to my right and patted her shoulder.
-"You too should listen to them, this village is full of good people. If I don't return it will be up to you to pay for my debts. Stay in this place.. Sandvika, promise me this.." - I lectured her.
-"If I were to abandon the village, I would never forgive myself. Besides that demon must be stopped."- She looked up to me, her eyes were building with tears rapidly.
-"I.. I.. don't want for you to leave.. there's nothing to protect in that village anymore.. you should stay.."- She sniffled, trying to persuade me.

As our conversation continued, the canyon was shaken by a powerful, rhythmic cadence. What few leaves were on the trees rustled in a dance of fear, as the THOOOM, THOOOM, THOOOM drew nearer, stronger, louder. The nearby objects could be seen bobbing up and down in time to these THOOOMs, with billowing clouds of dust following not far behind the ball of curls. As Janus rounded the corner, her feet dug deep divots into the road. She came out in the open air as she looked down to the group of us. The genuine giantess of the earth could easily discern the condition of me and my womenfolk from a distance. This realization was followed by a loud voice.

-"SIIIIIIIIIMONNNNNNNN!!!!”- She sounded like a siren, though her earthshaking call was one of worry and fear, rather than the reverie of reunion. Her pace quickened, and the valley shuddered beneath the brimming power of her. Coming to a stop before us, her great knee dug into the dirt, cratering it effortlessly. She peered down at the crowd, her face was bent in confusion and sorrow.
-"Wh-what... what's this!?...."- She asked in shock. I observed the tremendous display of Janus in awe.. I even resorted to the retreating action, such as stepping back several of steps. My jaw was hanging down, beneath the mask.. momentarily I became puzzled to see Janus this big.. But her new size was none of my concern, due to the events that were taking place. Instead I was just confused and relieved at the same time.. to see Janus' face and her doing extremely well. Rather too well, good diet perhaps? Her voice laid siege to my ears though, as the eardrums were whining in hopes to crawl out of my ears. Everything that followed was a sincere smile beneath my mask, yet I was unable to show it to the world, because of it concealing my facial expression.. I indeed trusted in this wager.. even though her new height was suspicious.
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The giantess before me was unnaturally bigger than the previous time.. yes... but I believed in her capabilities, I also trusted her as Agairon.. itself.. was the first place that came to my mind in a situation as dire as this..
I was relieved that the gravely injured woman was already in good hands. Even if we were enemies with Lydie, but since she was my sister by blood at least I was happy to know that she would receive the necessary treatment. I was also happy that I managed to fulfill at least one promise.. it was a promise for Azure, to protect Sandvika.. a man's dying wish was granted.. Because I knew that she would be treated well in Agairon village.
I wanted to come up with something as well, to say something more.. but my teeth merely jabbered and my head was shook to the sides. At the very least I managed to release a sigh of relief, yet standing before Janus' towering figure was not my biggest strength.. my legs trembled nervously, but I had no time to worry about such trivial matters.. so instead I merely looked up to Janus and waved my right hand in greeting. It was the least I could do.

-"Janus... I'd like to stay and chat with you.. I'd want to thank you properly for the last time.. but time is running short.. I must head back. Please can you take in these two girls? They have no place in this world anymore.. The injured one is a complete outsider just like me... and the one, who is standing behind me recently lost her home. I know.. it sounds stupid and selfish.. but this is the only place that I could think of in the heat of the battle. So please.. I beg you! Take care of these girls, in my behalf.. If I make it out alive, I will repay the debts that I owe you and for the people of this village!" - My pleading lament was flying across the skies, like a bird. I reached for the hilt of my sword and drew it out off my back.. the shadows, which were connecting my black coat and the blade detached and dissolved into black substance, which ran down throughout my body and settled into a black and slimy goo below my feet. I then brought the blade to the front and held it tightly in my two hands, which were concealed in black and heavy looking gauntlets. Afterwards I began to mutter silently...

-"Zerneger, grant me your power..”- Sandvika was merely standing behind me and looking up to Janus, her eyes reflected anxiety and shaking fear.. her whole body was shivering awkwardly, but yet she stopped the shivering by biting down onto her  lower lip. Giantess before her eyes was indeed trustworthy. Janus held her man-sized digits down staunching of the bleeding by her father and Agrips, gently took the broken Lydie into her grasp. She decided to merely do as was told of her by me, and she nudged Sandvika’s way.
-”Please... come here you'll only trust me."- She said.
-"Farewell.. I place my trust in you.."- The blade that I was holding in the hands suddenly set itself ablaze, yet the fire surrounding the black blade was unnatural. It was cyan and bright. I raised the sword above my head slowly and displayed a cleaving motion. The blue blazes danced across the air in front of me as the air distorted in the empty space before me.. the air itself split apart and rippled like a water.. the very same ripple before me expanded drastically to match my own frame. A rift in space was carved out midair.. on the inside ruined Baltasar village was reflected, fallen pillars scattered with it's sides molten.. the descending smoke and falling debris all mixed together in the sight of the fallen holy tree of life, which was burning brighter than ever. I leaped inside the spatial rift and vanished from the place, leaving everything up to Janus.

From a ripple in space in the air I crashed down into the village, shattering the earth below my feet.. I was standing tall and straight.. My head was up and I was ready to take on Siegmund once again.. I did lose the first round, but the second one was for my taking. This new strength that I received from the tree put me on a levels beyond of simple humans.. and combining this power with Zerneger’s divine abilities only increased my chances of winning.. I felt like I could take on anybody.. even on Triniel herself.. At least this is how I felt.. proud of this power.. But this pride was burning just like my soul did... Single-handed I moved my blade in front of me, setting the ruined floor ablaze and sending out an almighty wave of pressurized energy, which pushed Siegmund backwards even from afar. This time Siegmund was on his guard, while I was away not only did he patch his wounds, but he also put on some armor.. But I simply did not care.. An energy of ice started to twirl around Siegmund’s frame as he charged forwards.. ready to fight me.
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I leaped up from my position as well and crashed right into his helmet with my mask.. Our foreheads impacted with a loud shriek of grinding metal. The ground below us literally crumbled to pieces as the after blasts were sent across the place, bouncing off the air and creating small twisters of air all around. I was looking straight into his eyes... But it was no time to play the game of staring... I lifted my knee up to his chin, kicking him to the air and by overtaking him in the air I lunged the burning hilt of my sword right into his spine... He crashed into the earth...

So weak...

He was just a weakling...

I couldn’t believe it with my very own eyes...

This time...

The gap between us was truly visible...

It was my turn to counterattack and this newfound power kept me motivated.. A courage soared through the skies like a symphony sung by the angels.. An unrivaled power was blooming inside me.. A power to protect those peaceful times.. Suddenly I felt that someone gently touched my left shoulder from behind and giggled.. the voice was sweet and feminine.. I looked back and saw a face before me.. a face of a never before seen woman, but yet it appeared like I knew her for far longer.. Violet eyes... Long black hair.. soft and fairly pale skin.. she was all naked.. I blinked and upon opening my eyes she was gone from my sight. Was that my impression? I shook my head, thinking that I was probably imagining things.. I looked down to Siegmund and crashed right into him, impaling him from the air.. Whole earth rumbled from the impact.. I then raised my head upwards and noticed the very same girl standing on top of the debris.. Now she was trying to cover up her body with the black robes.. She was carrying a dusty book in her left hand and a similar looking sword in her other hand... where did I see those runes? Azure’s sword...? Wait... I blinked again and she was gone from sight.. I shook my head again.. indeed I was imagining things.. or was I?

-”Siegmund, you will tell me everything before I kill you!!!”- I shouted and looked down to him, who was hopelessly trying to escape the deadly jaws of my blade.. Even though the village was completely wiped out.. my burning desire to win lived on.

Thus... a conclusion was not so far away now.. or so I thought.. but the time was different.. The time itself was ceasing to exist.. And the universe shifted it’s gears.. as if something just disturbed the existence.. But the fight... my deadliest showdown had to come to end at least.. Because this was the birth of a courageous symphony.

To be continued...
(Note: And another post... Not very generous with the images since my supply of those are running out and I already redesigned some of the characters.. such a shame lol.)

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36 Re: The Rift Dancer on Sun Jan 27, 2019 7:13 am

Courageous Symphony.

In this soft whisper of the snow, a secluded village was dying and counting it’s remaining breaths, but the unrivaled power of courage was blooming, - ready to stop the destruction and to erase the carnage once and for all. Standing on top of my greatest adversary, I was drilling at his insides with my burning blade, - seeking to take a peek what was hiding behind the cold steel and warm flesh. A massive arc of densely condensed energy was seeping out off me and like an aurora of cyan it lit the gray sky in the distance. Acting as a beacon for all to come and see that the hope was still inside the eye of the deadliest storm. Whispers of cold voices did echo inside of me, lulling everything around to sleep in a soft and gentle vibrating tone of the angels.. where the songs of courage were sung by those, who wanted to survive. Although not a single living being remained, the strength of the tree signified the life of the village inside of me.. where all of the souls did gather and performed a courageous symphony.. where flesh was only flesh and steel was only steel.. Where bravery was the key to the gates of victory, because I finally felt it that no one, not even Siegmund was able to stop me. The power was not inside of me, - instead I was the power myself.

Siegmund’s blood was erupting out off the opened wound and evaporating in the mighty presence of my aura, which radiated unimaginable heat. He held in his pain and threw a fist right at me... I flew backwards, but landed on my feet, slightly bending my torso to the front. His steel gauntlet broke and melted upon the impact with my aura.. his charred hand exposed Aurora’s ring, which now showed some cracks in the white jewel. He quickly jumped onto his feet and accelerated towards me, with his sword aimed right to me.. I caught it in my left hand and bent it to the side, quickly releasing the blade I smashed his helmet with my elbow. He fell on his back and laughed once more. Did the madness get to him?

-”Ah.. gurgh.. I was pretty much expecting this.. After all I wanted to get inside this body while it is at it’s fullest and now I see that it will be truly worthy...”- Grunting and drooling in his own sweat and blood he rolled to the side, attempting to stand on his feet.
-”Enough.. your death is finally here.”- I came close to him and placed my right foot on his head, pushing it right into the dirt.
-”Not yet... huehueheh...”- He squirmed against the dirt, hopelessly trying to stand up, but the pressure of my foot was too much for him.
-”Shut up.”- I calmly said and plunged my blade into his lower back, it penetrated the steel effortlessly like a knife would slice butter.
-”Let me break you...”- He smirked in his own blood and shoved the ring in front of my face, it spew out a blinding burst of energy, it slapped me like a giant would slap a mere fly. I was sent backwards, all the way to the other end of the village.
-”Extending your own life I see, but it is meaningless..”- I said as I wiped the soot remains off my mask.
-”I am thankful for Thomas, he showed me where to dig for her corpse. Her ring really did serve well...”- He got up on his feet, grunting in pain.. the blood was oozing like a waterfall from his wound. He tugged in the barely visible string, which led to the hilt of his frozen blade. The sword fluently returned to his hand, it appeared to be cracked a little and through those cracks a golden light was shining. With his eyes he scanned across his blade from one end to another and smirked.
-”I don’t give a shit about your silly tools and trinkets!”- I sliced the empty space in half and breached the dimensional barrier, reappearing right in front of him and impaling the very same wound with my sword.. He slightly bent to my side in pain, but held onto his blade tightly.

The golden light, which was emitting from his damaged blade seemed as if it was seeking to attract attention. As if the light itself was silently whispering... In the languages unknown.. This looked like a bad sign, but I was not planning to give in for his tricks and instead I redirected the flames that were gathering around me into my sword. It burned right through him, eating his whole torso away. Siegmund was shocked from the pain and fallen into coma, sliding across Zerneger’s blade he dropped down on the dirt.

Did I win?

At last...

I shifted my gaze towards him, he was not moving a single muscle.. he was unconscious.

We did it...

Zerneger, we truly did it!

-”Winning? Is it your way of saying things now...?”- A husky whisper landed on my eardrums.

I looked around the place and back down to Siegmund, but he was still laying on the cold earth, with no signs of life.

-”Who said this?! Come out!”- I released an anxious shout.
-”Haha... hahaha...”- The whispering calmness suddenly turned into a loud and extreme laughter.
-”Argh! Just die already!”- I pushed the blade inside Siegmund’s chest.
-”You can’t stop the process.. it has already begun..”- The laughter did become louder.
-”What is going on here?!”- I backed away from Siegmund’s body.
-”I’m nothing but a mere soul now.. the body that I used was nothing more, but an instrument.. a puppet..”- Siegmund calmly stated..
-”Then where the fuck are you?!”- I lashed out.
-”Up there...”- I tilted my head skywards and noticed Siegmund lingering on the air with his transparent looking wings extended to the sides.
-”How?”- I dropped my jaw in surprise.
-”The ring.. Just moments ago, when I unleashed it’s powers.. I used it’s last remaining powers to craft me a new body, I quickly hid this one in a flash of light, which I produced earlier and swapped the bodies. Since this ring can not create life or souls.. a soulless vessel for an unease spirit like I am was perfect. It saved me this time, because I knew that you were going for the kill and now.. now.. just now I can see that my power is starting to awake.”- He landed besides the fault magical body and picked up his sword from the ground.
-”Don’t play with me!”- I rushed right at him and unleashed the might of my blade.
-”At last... it is awakening..”- He blocked my attack with his own blade. The collision shook the reality around us.. tiniest particles in the air merely disintegrated as the ear piercing sound of rippling disturbance around us boomed across the ravaged surface.. Some of the junk and debris on the ground just vanished... Vanished as if they were erased from existence. The cracks that were on his blade began to shine even brighter. I leaped backwards and landed on my right knee, awaiting for the next opportunity to strike.
-”Are you ready to taste the courage of my resolution?”- Siegmund held his blade in front of himself as the ice around the smallest corners began to rapidly melt, exposing even more of this golden energy.
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-”You know... I always wanted to find out if he was stronger than Zerneger.. When Zerneger awakened for the first time I’ve heard a voice calling for me..  This is when I realized that even I.. even someone like me, who is trapped inside in a body of a weakling can taste the power... The power that rivals the Gods.. the power that can bring the destruction, which would shatter the universe. Back then I woke up and realized that I was nowhere close to being dead, instead I was just trapped.. slowly possessing this person’s body and devouring his soul, like a parasite I crawled out to the top and then I visited this shrine where he told me that I was indeed worthy of such power.. that it was my destiny. To use this power, to bend it to my own will.. and now.. since that very same moment I’ve been rising to the top. This strength made me invincible, but even this power is not unrivaled. To truly complete this power I need to bend Zerneger to my will and with this sword of mine I will bring you to your knees and I will possess the power to create life, to create universes, to rule over everything. Now is the time for me to strike you with my fullest!”- A golden aura of light suddenly surrounded him, burning down the steel armor, which was protecting his body.
-”Oh no this is bad.. THIS IS REALLY BAD! CUT HIM DOWN! CUT HIM DOWN RIGHT NOW!”- Zerneger shouted in panic. The blue flames ignited underneath my feet and exploded at the very same instance, giving me a great boost forwards. I aimed my sword forwards, readying an impaling strike.
-”DIE SIEGMUND!”- However I just passed through his right shoulder.. our gazes collided midair.. he was confidently smiling.. I rolled down across the dirt and looked down to my hands.
-”What the hell? This is impossible! I was sure that I was aiming straight at him... I could of never missed this shot...”- I slammed my blade against the ground in anger.
-”Hah... hahahaha... Behold... THIS IS MY REAL POWER!”- Siegmund proudly shouted.

-”This is it... End of the line for us...”- Zerneger completely lost his will to fight.
-”NEVER!”- I shouted at Zerneger and charged back to Siegmund, speeding ahead full force.
-”S... L... O... W... D... O... W... N...”- Siegmund slowly and audibly commanded and quickly bent his upper body, centimeters below me. His movements were just too quick for me to comprehend, as if he was twice... no maybe thrice or even faster than that now.. He Struck my chest with his mere palm, which was as hot as fire and glittering in golden colors. The powerful blast launched me airborne, but I did not waver. The unbroken will of the tree was sleeping inside of my heart.. I stopped midair and launched myself down at him, pointing the sharp and burning blade in front of me.
-”I’m not the same as I was moments ago! YEARRGHH!”- Even the sound exploded behind me and left a huge ball of smoke, due to my fierce dive.
-”It’s futile.”- He kept up the smirk on his face and avoided my attack with his eyes closed, as if he already knew the trajectory of my flight.. It only took a couple of steps to the side for him.. Looking down upon me, he enjoyed the sight of how I was trying to pull out my blade from the dirt. He extended his left palm, which was still glowing in gold, the warm and radiating energy gathered in front of it and was ready to be released.
-”Tch.. how predictable..”- An energy blast.. seriously? It seemed way too easy for me to dodge it.. I merely leaped skywards at the same time when he was about to launch the energy. However at the very last moment he just tilted his palm up, as if he already knew what I was about to do. The ball of energy struck me, burning my chest slightly and causing for me to lose the balance on the air.. I spiraled downwards and crashed into the rubble.
-”Marvelous...”- He took a look at his burning palm with slight enjoyment in his eyes.
-”Simon, I’m sorry, but fighting him is useless.. you must run... but then again you can’t escape... Grr... anyway.. I won’t interrupt you.. let me figure out something first...”- Zerneger let out a worried and thoughtful speech.  

Out of time.

-”Haha... let’s begin the final phase.”- Siegmund exposed a grinning mug and raised his sword skywards with his single hand.
-”As if I’d let you!”- I jumped up on my feet and leaped to the air, holding the blade over my head I prepared to slice him apart.
-”Futile... just slow down a little bit, mkay?”- He winked and was not bothering to change his pose. Somehow... I landed down to his right side.. did I miss? But how? I merely shrugged off the thoughts and decided to cut him from the side while he was unguarded.
-”Erase...”- He muttered and suddenly the distance between us expanded, as if I never leaped up to the air to begin with.. wait a minute! Was I just imagining these events, did my memory become faulty? Was that deja vu? He was holding his sword still and grinning.
-”Huh?”- I remained speechless.
-”You probably won’t remember this, but the rippling SPACE around you feels it. A deja vu perhaps? Anyway, this FRAME was erased.”- He laughed and then a golden beam of light shot down from the heavens and struck his sword like lightning would strike a rod. The ice melted away in a flash... the molten armor that he was wearing suddenly changed into robes of royalty and a golden crown decorated the top of his head. He brought his golden sword into his two hands and the burning heat with dancing cinders soared throughout his frame.
-”I wonder, which one of us is stronger.. Emperor Simon.. or King Siegmund.. witness the brilliance and elegance of my true power.. meet the fate of yours and be swallowed by my graceful sword of the divines!”- He proudly announced our final duel.

A suspicious movement behind Siegmund distracted my attention, thus I was forced to instinctively tilt my gaze up. On a mountainous pile of debris the very same woman was sitting, her right leg was positioned on her lap.. A book of some sort and a feather with ink on it’s tip was perfectly sitting in her fingers. She giggled and wrote something down, muttering a word in the process, - “Kill”,- afterwards she vanished like a distant mirage. An urge of adrenaline rushed throughout my veins and the forces of the life flooded inside my body, causing for my blue aura to become even denser and brighter. A thought of killing and an action of it’s own followed, I found myself rushing towards Siegmund with my sword brought to the left side. But as soon as I got close to him, I went through him.. I passed him as if he was a hologram, but did I lose my coordination? A drop of sweat rolled down from my temple and then I felt a burning pain on my left shoulder... The shoulder plate that I was wearing broke down to pieces and instantly rusted to dust. Blood oozed out from the area, as the wound of a cut appeared in that area, I slightly grunted and looked to the smirking Siegmund, who kept himself intact.. Did he swap his position? Such speed, his speed was unimaginable, but was this really a speed?

I followed up with a sweep to the side, but in an acute and predicting fashion he pulled himself to the side and the golden blade that he was carrying lit up in even brighter colors, those colors were almost blinding me.
-”Decay.”- He silently muttered and slammed his blade against my left gauntlet.. The cut itself was not strong or even deadly, it just simply scratched my gauntlet upon contact, but then the black gauntlet rapidly started to change it’s color to brown.. indeed it turned to rust.. I quickly drew back and shook off the gauntlet from my hand, it felt down and crumbled down to a rusty pile of metal.
-”Stop.”- He said  and in blink, no in second... it only took a second and he completely vanished from my sight. I instantly felt a presence behind me, a really warm hand was touching my back.. I looked over my shoulder and noticed that Siegmund was already behind me. His hand was burning up and melting my skin... The blast of heat pushed me aside, as I rolled down across the earth. He put on his blade on a shoulder and looked down upon me with a cold stare. Golden wings grew out of his shoulder as he then stated something.
-”Transition is finally complete. Cooldown is finally over.”- A laughter ended his words and he dropped his blade down on the earth, dragging it across it and slowly approaching me.. each and every object that the blade touched crumbled and rusted down to pieces.. plants were decaying and rotting.. as if they were trapped in accelerating time. Basically the blade corrupted everything upon mere touch.
-”It’s impossible to fight you!”- I curled up in fear and slowly started to crawl backwards. He stopped for a moment and raised his index finger in front of his face.
-”And your next sentence is, - ‘How did you acquire this power?’, right?”- He smiled.
-”HOW DID YOU ACQUIRE THIS POWER?!”- I panicked.. wait.. what? He predicted my words, but how? Did he read my mind, no.. did he see the future? Such a confusing and bothersome ability, but what was his ability exactly?
-”I believe that you are already out of TIME to figure this out..”- He grinned once again and continued to approach me. A man-sized golden circle formed itself around Siegmund’s back, almost like a halo of an angel. Bright and burning arrows carved and extended in the center and numbers with letters etched themselves around the arrows, which started to rotate clockwise. Indeed it looked like a clock.

Story of nobody.

Indeed, right from the very beginning you were a troubled man. Born as a middle child in a family, which fate was already grim and the world that you were living in was just a cold and creepy place. Revolved around conflicts and unleashed hatred, a lust for battle and vengeance. The chances of your survival were slim.. at first this world took your mother, then your sister, then your father, brother and lastly your beloved wife with your newborn son. The thoughts of hatred and endless vengeance haunted your for centuries, driving you insane to the very bottom. No light and no salvation was awaiting for you.. a bloody murderer, a rapist and the deadliest monster you became. A seed of evil was planted inside of you since the very moment you were born. Even I think about this at times, such a pitiful life.. no goals, no purpose, no rightful achievements, but just a curse.. a curse to be living in such dark and harsh circumstances. I was never the core of your darkness, instead the darkness that you were holding within allowed for me to breathe.. Yeah, I was born out of your darkness and for this I am thankful for your existence, if it wasn’t for your unease soul and life I would of never existed in the first place. The split personalities that you developed along the way and the abstract thoughts about almost everything caused for me to rise, but only a small miracle separated me from you and I turned out to be an existence of my own, but this is not the story of mine. The story of mine lies in the pitiful thoughts of yours.

However, things were not grim all the time.. things were changing drastically. You managed to overcome your scars, you replenished your wounds and repelled the lustful desires. Even thought you were ran by pride of your own and envy for humanity.. you attempted to redeem yourself, to seek for another chance, to become someone else.. to become a hero, a rightful savior. But in the end you always found your own downfall.. you always failed, like a mere loser. And each and every thing that you tried ended up in vain.. standing up and falling, standing up and falling.. was this the life that you wanted? Tricking yourself for centuries, escaping your true self? Why did you choose to pretend to be someone else that you’re not? Did it bring you happiness? Did it get you closer to salvation? Being your true self was always the answer and you.. You just chose to abandon yourself and escape your real thoughts and happiness.

And yet when you traveled to Atreia with a great purpose and mission the easy life and temporal things distracted you. Making buddies and allies along the way, blinded by the light of the stars... was it all worthy in the end? To lose it all.. to sacrifice yourself for those little things, and yet you thought that everything would be eternal. Laughing again for the first time in centuries.. drinking with your war buddies, befriending women, who were blinding your sight from your rightful path.. Everything was great right? Your best friend Azure was so proud of you and you were proud of him as well. A duo of outcasts, both on a quest for vengeance suddenly turned out to be the heroes from the shadows and protectors of hope. Yet you two were foolish and wasting your time mostly, loitering around and doing nothing for days.. enjoying your lives to the fullest, it was fun right.. even I envy you for this, because not once in a lifetime I made a true friend. At times I felt like I had a friend.. I called him as my brother even. But everything was scattered by the delusions that I created. The enemy count increased and soon enough almost all of us became the adversaries of the world. Fighting our way through.. for what? Glory? Lands?  Ideologies? Friends... families? Love? Answer me this... Why were we fighting for so long, when we had to do our thing? When we never belonged here in the first place? But the years were flying fast and we did a lot of great stuff together, even thought most of the things were painful, those people who were torturing us.. those people that we sought to destroy. And yet in the end I ended up killing all of your allies, but wait.. it wasn’t even me.. it was you, who murdered the ones, who showed you the way, who brought you to this place and gave you a chance to breathe in a light of happiness.. but yet this happiness was fake, since you forgot your real purpose and reason ages ago.

However, even then you never quit.. you did not halt or escape your tracks. You continued to press onward, finding a village, increasing the numbers in your own delusional army of talented and yet strange people. Hah.. even the Death itself obeyed you at once, I’m not even sure how did you pull out a lot of the things on your own. But even then, think back... was it really worthy? You were just escaping from yourself, abandoning your true nature.. you never belonged to be this way.. nor that you deserved to be like this. I am truly sorry... and only my existence kept you in check, only I, who envied your life.. who wanted to be like you.. attempted to break you completely. A lust to have the same life as you, but I always failed, because of your existence. Yet I always reminded you the real nature of your existence, I was doing this to save you from despair and to save myself from hell, in which I was burning. In the end, I was the only one, who knew what was right for you.. In the end I was real and understood about your real happiness. So will you wake up, at least? Or will you continue to suffer as a nobody, who keeps distracting himself.. even now.. you are doing this, but at one occasion I was really happy.. I was really proud of you, but even then you missed your chances like a sore loser.  

That’s enough... I’ve had enough... Stop disappointing me. The light did shine for you however, even in the darkest times of your life, when you were stripped off your power you found people to cherish, you found your closure to your happiness.. even with the paranoid nature of yours you felt love again, but then betrayals followed.. and a shameful defeat ruined you.. You remember her, right? Triniel.. the reason why you left Atreia, the reason why you found a new world.. a new world that was not so distant from this one.. and who would of thought that there would be a rift in the Abyss that would lead to such a marvelous world, right? To a place where your life began anew.. an existence who wanted to get his vengeance visited that place and changed it completely. On your quest for power you made allies, you made friends.. you were so focused on resolving their silly conflict that you even forgot why you came to that place at first. It only took a couple of days for me to find you and engage in yet another conflict with you. But on that day, you really did prove your strength.. strength in bonds and numbers.. where did you learn all of that teamwork? Why did you cloud your own mind? For what or whose sakes? Where was your vengeance?! What consumed you?! And time after time I lost to you.. it started to consume me... but at least I felt the strength inside of me... the strength that was leading me to survival. However the hatred towards you was only increasing and increasing.

You stopped the war, you led a great army.. you built a new world and constructed a new scheme of ruling.. you were sitting on the immortal throne, surrounded by your allies.. with power and numbers.. you became the emperor.. and it only took you how many? Two or three years? Just how... what was the point in achieving that victory... helping those people? Those scums that turned their backs on you? And that power... the power of a God.. I always wanted to have this one.. I always needed Zerneger, but it was not just the power that I was seeking for.. I just wanted to rip you off your pride. I wanted to return you to your senses... that you still had unfinished business, not only in Atreia, but also in Earth.. yes... just how did you forget about your dreams? About your goals.. Did ruling over a land blind your vision? Did those friends cause for you to forget your true self? For this.. I always envied you.. I feel envy towards you right to this very day.. because you always had what I did not.. because even during the tough times you had someone or something by your side, while I had nothing at all.. Because you were not alone. Even though everything was fake, because you weren’t like me... because you chose to be someone that you never would be. You truly led a fake life and for this reason you must vanish.

At the very end of that silly dream however your destiny was your own downfall.. some circumstances made you to remember, who you truly was. The promise that you made a long time ago and vengeance that you sought for made you thirsty for more power. You began to experiment with lives and having the power you did it well.. you began to enhance your immortality, you started to kill again. Thus a genocide was born, how pathetic... right? When you were not your real self people loved and cherished you.. People wanted your support, but when you became like me.. or at least closer to me.. everyone started to riot.. But your tyranny was impenetrable.. You continued to consume the lives, those innocent lives.. that you fought so hard for.. to save them from what? It was their own problem.. their own war.. you just came there to seek for power.. and once you had it all.. you became obsessed just like I am. Little did you know that your own actions would bring you to your own downfall and I used that opportunity wisely. Since the body that I was trapped in was of royalty.. The throne was mine.. However you shall remember one thing.. everything that happened and is happening right is nothing, but your own fault.. you caused this.. not I.. but you did it.. Even the destruction of Baltasar Hill.. even Azure’s death was your own doing. You destroyed and shattered your dreams, but were those even dreams.. even now you are not your real self.. Even now you know nothing.. But you dug out a grave for yourself... yes... you are even responsible for your memory loss.. it wasn’t Thomas doing.. he just helped you.. You wished for it, but was it the right answer? To escape from your own self? I don’t think so. The right answer would be this, - just stick the way you are, just do the things that you truly want and need.. Don’t try to escape from yourself, but even now it’s useless, because the end is coming for you soon.

With this newfound power of mine.. I shall bring you on your knees at last.. His voice called for me.. Just like Zerneger called for you.. after all.. Zerneger is not the only God on this battlefield and he was not the only one, who was sealed inside a weapon.. It is a sword that can counter the ruler of space and it belongs to me.. probably the most powerful weapon in existence or at at least that I am aware of. It will unleash terror over you, because these two twins are bound by destiny, just like we are.. Our fight was destined to happen.. it was planned since the very moment of our birth.. Yeah.. the rifts in space.. the disturbances and the flow of endless time led us to this point.. Those things didn’t happen to be there on an accident.. they were there and waiting for us. And now our final clash begins.. however this time.. only one of us will survive.. So be prepared to witness.. to witness the real power, because who knows.. this fight might take centuries or just a couple of seconds. It already changed the universe, everything was disturbed and caused a huge paradox. Oh, don’t worry brother... because this is it.. I will show you.. how I get the job done.

So... Sink to the bottom, sink to the depths, deeply in the dark, collapse and break away in despair completely to the bottom of the darkness, together with your friends, allies and beloved ones! Burn down in the shadowy depths, sink within a blink of light under the freezing blackness and vanish from existence for eternity!

Chronological Disorder I.

I opened my eyes and realized that everything that just happened was not a dream, nor a hallucination... Siegmund was gazing into my soul directly.. communicating with me from inside.. He knew it the best.. he knew everything about me and after seeing his thoughts I was left speechless, actually I did not want to talk anymore.. I never wanted to believe in him, even if it was the truth.. maybe I was really trying to escape from the truth.. Maybe I was hiding my true self, but the best thing to do was to fight till the end at this point of time.. I still had the power of the divine tree inside of me.. yes.. the power was not of this body.. this power merged with my soul.. indeed I was a product of this tree. Siegmund was seeing me as a threat and obstacle, but my thoughts were not too different from his.. The only closure for me would be bringing him down.. and yet just now I started to realize that I was indeed fighting myself.. I was not Simon.. he was not Siegmund either.. We were one and the same and whichever our name was did not matter.. As always names were meaningless. At this point we were just two warriors, who clashed for the sake of their own ideologies.. For the sake of their feelings and what really drove us.. were our hearts. We were truly acting on emotions, both I and him.
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I got up on my feet and readied my sword, the flowing energy of the tree was redirected towards the blade. The golden clock behind Siegmund suddenly accelerated until the arrows blurred out.
-”Decay over time...”- Siegmund said and rushed right at me, his blade touched my previously exposed hand.. It suddenly started to dry up and shrink.. until the flesh turned out to be rotten.. The corrupting sensation was spreading further across my arm.
-”Cut down your arm and quick!”- Zerneger’s cry echoed in my head, I did as he said.. These days cutting my own arm became pretty much natural.. My arm flew off to the side until it became a pile of bones and even those bones suddenly crumbled to nothing, but mere dust.
-”What the fuck, Zerneger?”- I asked him.
-”Don’t even touch his sword, especially after he releases the command, - DECAY-, now I am truly sure what that sword is and I was not mistaking.”- Zerneger’s tone collapsed to a troubled one again.
-”Uh.. what about it?”- I asked him and jumped to the side, awaiting for my arm to regrow.
-”Whatever that thing touches rots away, decays or rusts.. Basically it gets inside it’s field of accelerated time. Yes.. That sword is another God! And by far that one is the deadliest one! It’s my...-”- Zerneger’s speech was cut away as Siegmund just appeared right in front of my eyes. He merely blinked and then several cuts emerged on my body.. the blood bursted out like a fountain from my body.. as I fell down on my knees.
-”Well, you are quite lucky.. I didn’t use ‘decay’ on these cuts, so you should be alright.. for now at least.. ahaha..”- Siegmund laughed and lifted his right foot to the side.
-”GOAL!”- He shouted and kicked me in the head, causing for me to fall on my back.
-”Gah! How do you strike without even moving your blade?”- I was confused, but then I noticed the blood, which was dripping from the edge of his blade.
-”A magician’s secret..”- He giggled.
-”I see.. I think I get it now.. but if it really is that way.. then I have no idea how to fight him..”- I muttered to myself and closed my eyes.

My sight was completely darkened, but I knew just what kind of ability it was... I knew it.. but the consciousness of mine was slowly fading.. the loss of blood did take it’s effect.. darn it.. I needed a plan.. I needed some kind of power to counter him.. if this was really time... If he was able to bend time to his will.. then a perfect shot would be tricking him into not doing it somehow.. but how...? I.. I am... Sorry... It suddenly turned to be so dark.. But... I was not planning to surrender.. defeating him was my only option.. However the cold did touch my skin and my own body became numb... sa...sa..ve..m.. me..

To be concluded?
(Ah... wanted to make a longer post, but some factors led me to leaving it on a cliffhanger. A certain chat over a discord and me passing out on my keyboard. Well here it is at least.. The first part after a while. xD)

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37 Re: The Rift Dancer on Sun Mar 03, 2019 6:13 am

Chronological Disorder II.

Indeed, you were my friend, to be truthful you were my goal and only dream that I was having. Even you, left an emptiness inside my heart. Even you forsaken me, and now while the clock is still ticking your burial will begin. Both of us wanted better things, however our fates were doomed. I will not find salvation by killing you, nor you will know the ultimate truth of your soul. Simon, leave me alone now... I don’t want to see you ever again. Can you see the light already? It belongs to you, the sun that is rising in the horizon is for you. You always craved to see it, the warm sun over the blue ocean. So, now right before your eyes I bring you the sun of salvation!

I opened my eyes and witnessed a spectacular horizon with a vast and blue ocean before my eyes.. I was standing with my feet buried in the sand. Cantas Coast was it? Indeed.. what was I doing there? Was it the glimpse of my memory? A person landed behind my back, this person was cladded in red robes and only it’s murderous eyes were visible, the red human unsheathed the sword from the scabbard on it’s left side and struck my chest with it, the sword was glittering in vibrant silvery colors, but it was fated to be stained with my blood.. The red assassin raised his knee and staked the sword through my chest, leaving it inside me and pushing me in to the depths of the ocean.. I found myself sinking, unable to do anything. Struggling for air I was only able to gaze at the warm sun, which was shining above the ocean’s surface. A train of flashbacks crossed my head and bounced all over the place.. I attempted to grasp the image of the sun in my palm by raising my right arm, but then a poisonous arrow pierced through my palm and I sunk down, dyeing the ocean in crimson... and closing my eyes once again.

Thus, this was only the beginning.. The beginning of my birth.. when both of us died. After then we were revived not as one, but as two separate beings. Funny enough, but I never knew who was the murderer.. You did not care either, but why? Weren’t you interested in the person, who was responsible for your death? Because that very own death is responsible for your change... For your change of heart, when you became completely distant from me. I always wanted to show you this very event and the sword of mine helped me to gaze into the past.. to send your consciousness into the past. But what about the future? Ever cared to see your future? Well, I’m afraid that it is not existent yet. But I can tell one thing, that something even greater is disturbing us from witnessing the future. I think that we created something new or at least we are going to create something soon. It is the power of creation. I want to end you on the spot, but even now I foresee that it’s not your time yet and this disgusts me.

Simon... Simon...

Can you hear me...?

Hey! Simon!

Zerneger?

DAMN RIGHT!

Where am I? Why am I blind? I can’t see anything.. I only hear his voice...

...Actually I can’t feel anything either..

You entered the divine realm of shared universes...

THE WHAT?

Remember the ultimate universe of mine?

Yeah..

Well, this is yet another labyrinth of thoughts caused by you and another Godly sword.

Oh yeah, that sword...

The truth is that the other God is my brother or my counter part, sneaky bastard chose your other half to surprise me and probably corrupted his mind. To tell you the truth, before getting banished from the divine realm I was not alone, I was indeed fighting him.. we broke the laws of universe and were reduced to mere pieces of iron and steel. However, my powers were contained only in one object, while his were scattered all over the universe in the various forms. He is way more deadly than me.. because his powers are born of non existing things. Luckily it’s only this sword and not all of the pieces, so we might have a chance, but it will be a tough duel. While we can’t manipulate time together... we are the rulers of space and the very same space exists in the frozen time or even accelerated one. Endure for now, while I try to figure the way out.

I regained my consciousness and saw Siegmund’s face right before me.. he was holding my throat tightly, strangling me.. the blood was oozing from my wounds and each drop of blood that was landing on his golden attire burned to smoke.

-”I shall rip this mask off your face..”- He said and slammed his shiny crown against my mask.. the mask then fell down from my face and Siegmund tossed me aside effortlessly. He then bent down a little and brought the mask from the earth, looking at it with a sad facial expression.
-”At last.. my buddy. At last I have the last memento of yours. However, I’m not like this faker.. I’m not going to wear your face.. so rest aside, while I finish the job.”- He said it in front of the mask and placed it against his chest, the corners of the mask suddenly melted from the emitting heat, firmly attaching to Siegmund’s chest.
-”And as for you, let’s have another round.. shall we? I will give you some minutes to regenerate.”- He turned over to me and pointed his index finger towards me.
-”Ah... My blood has been boiling... For years now.. I’ve been waiting to reduce the big and bad boss of all of my problems to dust..”- I said and picked myself up from the ground, my arm, which was previously cut off suddenly grew back and covered itself under a thick layer of my own blood. The wind began to gather around it as it then suddenly lit up in blue flames, spreading all the way to my head and going down across all of my body. The grace of the tree and Zerneger’s strong will still lingered inside my body.

Yet I was aware that I had no chance against him without a reasonable strategy I needed to act, I had to outsmart him somehow.. But my best bet was to charge him head on and to see for myself of what he was capable of. I dropped down all of my armor and prepared to fight him with my bare rugged robes. Moving my blade in front of myself I bent it horizontally and stored the energy around my muscles, with each breath of mine a cold vapor came out and I was ready to show Siegmund my full speed. Like a wind I leaped up from my position and breached the empty space with my bare feet. Breaking the fabric of space and leaving small cracks midair I was running forwards him.. I twisted myself in reverse midair and assaulted him with a cleave from below.. He barely managed to stand back, but it was not his speed most likely, it was his late reaction.. at the last minute he probably managed to slow down time.. The blade of mine lit up the air and broke space, as it shattered like glass I dived straight in the rift. Seeing the destroyed village from Zerneger’s pocket dimension I pierced another wall and my free hand emerged from another rift, which appeared behind Siegmund.. I attempted to pull him inside the empty space, but he did not even move as my fingers were chopped off.

-”Cheap bastard.. you stopped time again...”- I grumbled and swung my blade towards him, but Siegmund merely hit my blade with his own... As the two Gods collided chilly shockwaves were sent down across the whole area, disturbing the space.. it looked almost like the air and whatever was around us was rippling like a watery surface would do. The sound of it deafened me for seconds as I then noticed that the objects around us were starting to disintegrate from sheer force of our blades..
-”Can’t you see now.. when our blades clash things are vanishing from existence.”- He made a comment and then suddenly appeared behind me. He nonchalantly plunged his blade into my back and vanished again only to reappear in front of me again. I grunted in pain, but remained on my feet.. I was really getting used to the injuries by this time.
-”As you can see.. I can rip you to pieces, I can behead you at any moment. Stopping time is only a children’s play to me now. Zeitgreindner, the brother of Zerneger.. his powers are marvelous.. It far exceeds Zerneger’s, but to truly master it and unlock it’s true potential I have to combine both of these swords.”- He smiled once again and jumped above me with his blade over his head, a burning aura shot up out of his blade like a volcano would erupt from it’s deep slumber. I screamed at the top of my lungs and my whole body shot up a huge lump of energy to the sky, splitting the clouds above in half. Abandoning the piercing sensation of my bleeding wound I charged at him like a flash of lightning. We collided midair and our bodies spew out exploding beams like a spinning supernova, those beams devoured everything in it’s path and stretched all the way to invisible horizons.. ripping through the trees and hills and dyeing Brusthonin in the colors of gold and cyan... The atmosphere rapidly changed and the rain broke out.. but before that an even greater tremor was released due to collision, reducing the earth below to nothingness and sinking the ruble into one giant crater of dust and melting earth..
-”But what if I erased this event?”- Siegmund asked a rhetorical question and then a voice entered inside of my head.
-”Simon, it’s me Zerneger.. He’s going to erase this frame of time! Quickly jump into my dimension, time is not existent there. You should be alright.”- I did as he said.. I pulled back from Siegmund and dived into a rift with my back and closed the dimensional portal as soon as I was inside.

I found myself floating in the middle of black nothingness once again.. I scratched my head and decided to speak.
-”Uh.. what will happen now?”- I asked Zerneger..
-”Zeitgreindner’s powers are limitless.. for now we are safe here, but once you leave this place you will probably return to that point of time when you two were about to collide with your blades. You see once he chooses to erase time, he basically cuts down the event that has already occurred from existence and he can repeat it however he chooses to or redo it in a new way. The only difference of that is that you will not be aware that the event has already occurred already, but he on the other hand will have all of the memory and will even know the outcome of it. It is very deadly and who knows.. how many times he has used it already after awakening his powers. Even if someone manages to stop time completely, this ability can even cancel it out, since it basically erases time and it can be used however he sees fit.”- Zerneger basically over explained everything, but he was indeed informative and confusing, because time manipulation was out of my head.. it was hard to believe that such powers were existing.
-”This is madness! How are we going to fight him?! It’s impossible to defeat him!”- Now I truly remembered why he was calling himself as invincible.. if it was a simple joke or some meager pride he would be done for already.
-”Well.. you are correct, it’s impossible to defeat him. His power is unrivaled... It has almost no weaknesses nor flaws.. The only weaknesses that he has is probably the long term cooldown and it’s user, just like I am devouring your life force.. each use of Zeitgreindner’s powers puts a devastating strain on the users body.. the only flaw is that Siegmund has dozens of bottles with ‘life force’ contained inside injected to his body. He came in very well prepared...”- Zerneger was talking long talks once again, but I decided to interrupt out of misery.
-”Then it’s no use! Let’s surrender! We can not do anything against him.. maybe if we become his underlings then maybe he will spare us and allow for us to live.. haha..”- I was not even joking around.. I was out of options myself.. My mind was thrown in a trembling terror.
-”Oh... SHUT THE FUCK UP! I didn’t even finish my speech you, despicable monkey!”- Zerneger’s tone got louder and angrier. I merely nodded with my head and allowed for him to finish.
-”Although my very own brother or rather the other God, who was holding the balance alongside me in our time of rule surely has no visible weaknesses... there is one thing that we can do, because his only and deadliest weakness is me. Just like he is my weakness, I am his weakness as well. You see, the space exist anywhere.. even in the frozen time.. even in reverted time or in the future.. The space will exist everywhere, since this is my very own creation.. But without time space cannot change it’s form, without time space cannot flow.. and without space there would be no time, because only halted nothingness would exist. Each and everytime when Siegmund uses his powers I can feel it, I can even exist and see the events beyond the frozen or accelerated time.. Although you as the user can not do it. That’s why you felt a deja vu previously, because our powers are connected, but as a mere lower life form you can not perceive of what’s beyond.. even I am not the highest entity in this universe as I told you previously, but I can at least grasp the meaning of how these rules apply. I think that by communicating with each other would be the way to our survival. Maybe we could outsmart him, however remember one thing.. at the other side of the wall another God exists and just like you can communicate with me... Siegmund can communicate with Zeitgreindner. Remember that time when we fused? Do you want to repeat the process once again, but this time for far longer and this time our fusion would be far different. This time we would stake our very existence on the line. We might even lose, you might end up dead as well... Because as always it will take a heavy strain on your body and your lifespan.. well sadly.. it is fleeting already. But it’s our only bet to crushing him completely.. so do you accept my offer?”- Zerneger offered a solution, however it only left me frowning. I wanted to save my people, I even wanted to save the world... but the selfish desire of me seeking for my memories and a wish to see my friend getting revived kept me from this offer.
-”Sorry, but I refuse... Nothing personal, but there must be another way... We can do this together without even fusing! We must take him head on and outsmart him! I don’t want to die just yet.. not until I see Azure again!”- Thus, this was my answer and I broke through the dimension, which opened a portal to the shattered village. Without saying another word I leaped inside the chaos.

Chronological Disorder III.

I stepped right inside the middle of the village, I looked around and saw Siegmund standing in front of me. The destruction that we caused to the whole realm of Brusthonin just moments ago was reverted, as if it never happened. Indeed.. that event was merely erased, but somehow with Zerneger’s help I managed to escape from it. I probably erased myself from existence momentarily... at least that was the only logical solution to this time reversal or deleting stuff.

-”Not bad... but it’s not enough to beat me.”- Siegmund proudly declared and raised his golden sword above his head.
-”Don’t underestimate me, after all you’re the one, whose jealous of me.”- I smirked and adjusted my sword to the right side just a little.
-”Bahaha! I wonder... I just wonder how would the power of eternal light fare against you!”- He took a deep breath and at the same moment his sword started to glow in white, he then resorted to a mere cleave in front of himself and the energy of light seeped out of his blade.. Going in a straight line, directly at me. Shadows, which were controlled by me rose from below in the shape of rising walls, but merely vanished within the light. As a last resort I released a huge lump of energy of space and tree’s might... like a tidal wave it shot up from my blade, decorating the air in black smoke and burning blue flame. The energies collided midway and mixed in, rotating the air and shaping it into a an ever spinning spiral, which bashed the existence out of this universe literally. Only a white hole of nothingness lingered in the middle, which was emitting the sounds of countless explosions due to wildly dancing energies inside.
-”Mhm... not too bad.. not all.. This destruction is out of this world.. it is hard to explain with mere words. I truly need to combine both of these powers. I have to avenge Azure’s defeat... yes.. I need to...”- He went almost mute at the end.
-”Why do you care about Azure so much?”- I wondered.
-”Back then... I was observing your fight against Triniel. You guys lost, because of your weakness.. you were just scared and afraid of her.. If it wasn’t for Azure shielding your ass.. you would of been done for.. Although I am no better, I decided not to interrupt.. Because I knew that I was too weak back then.. Back then I was way too inferior to fight her. However, it was all thanks to me.. I quickly shot a shadow ball at Triniel from a side to weaken her attack.. I also hate to admit it, but back then I saved you as well.. When Azure crashed into the lake and both of your sights were blinded by flying water.. I lent you some of my powers by sending a couple of shadows to your aid, that submerged with your body and acted as an energy reserve. With a condition like that you would of never had the chance to escape. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t planning to save you.. I done it for the sake of Azure. Because right to this day I hold those memories of him and me living our lives as best buddies.”- He spat on the ground and appeared behind me, but it was not his speed once again.. he stopped time again. I suddenly felt an urgent pain in my heart and then I noticed that there was a shard of sharp edged glass stuck inside my heart. I attempted to remove it with my hand, but as soon as I tried to raise my arm it flew off like paper... squirting my own blood on my face... As for Siegmund.. he was now... standing before me..

-”Hmph.. You shall decay. No! This place shall rot and die!”- Siegmund shouted it out loudly and plunged his sword into the earth with all of his might. Whole earth was shaken by the impact and soon after it everything around him started to rust and decay in a rapidly expanding circle, which was killing everything inside.. Yes it was the very same ability, which was accelerating the time... The grass was dying, the flowers were decaying.. the pieces of broken armor rusted to dust.. and soon the spreading sickness of time was close to my feet..

Damn it all...

Even though...

...I failed to protect this place...

...I failed to protect my home and my friends...

At least.. I want to save this rotten place.. At least I want to see it blooming again one day..

So...

...I shall strike now... No matter how strongly... no matter how much time I will lose if I dive inside this zone of melting time..

I will protect the last grain of hope!

The flaming blue aura, which was emitting from me got even brighter, illuminating my surroundings. Once again my wounds got replenished and the glass piece, which was stuck inside my heart just melted in the grace of blue flame. I bent my my legs over the knees a bit and then jumped straight at Siegmund.. diving straight at him with my blade pointed towards his heart.. The corruption of time hit me straight away.. as I felt and actually noticed that my body was aging up rapidly.. But the courage and strength inside of me was never fleeting. It only took seconds, but biologically I lost years... Years worth of time.. and even though my body was ageless.. the powers of Zerneger were driving out my whole essence.. My greatest weakness and probably the bane of my strength was strongly visible in this occasion, but I strongly desired to revert this... I strongly wanted to remove this from existence.. from happening.. I wanted to redo.. the damage and destruction.. if only I was there before they started to die. If only I was there... Yes.. those were my strongest thoughts and feelings... The blade of mine, which was flying in the air was drawing a straight line and cutting the air like it was a single piece of paper.. and opening the doors to the vast horizons of space.. Until it finally hit Siegmund’s Zeitgreindner...

And with those thoughts of mine both of us were merged in the light... blinded and deafened.. we started to feel a pulling force, which was drawing us inside a dimensional labyrinth. Breaking apart the boundaries of space and time we were sucked inside a rippling vortex.

A passage of space opened up and both of us were spew out of it.. My body took some damage from the impact, but those were just minor scratches, the same happened for Siegmund.
-”Ugh where am I?”- I scratched my head as I looked around the place.. I was able to hear the noises of clashing swords and clanging metal, the area was covered up in smoke and then something giant fell down behind me, shaking the earth a little. I quickly looked behind my shoulder and noticed a huge metallic pillar with a molten end, electricity was running across it, sparking wildly until it finally ceased. A soldier was crushed underneath it, desperately praying for help. I wanted to save him, but it seemed like he was already done for. The smoke was clouding my vision further..
-”Where did I see a similar sight?”- I audibly asked myself.
-”No way... I had no idea that this would be possible, but it seems that this is the truth.”- Siegmund was amazed himself, he took a small pebble from the earth and crushed it between his fingers, then took a sniff on his palm.
-”What are you saying?”- I looked to him and asked directly.
-”Can’t you see? This event has already happened... I don’t know what were you thinking before opening that space passage, but you truly did think about saving this village from destruction... am I not right?”- Siegmund smirked and swung his sword to the right side, hitting someone, who was approaching him and cleaving through the insides.. it was yet another soldier.
-”Are you saying that...-”- I was unable to finish my question and then he interrupted.
-”Indeed.. we traveled back to the past. To the moment when our battle just begun. This is truly spectacular, I was aware that combining both of these powers would grant the user to jump through time and space.. and I guess our little clash in not so distant future caused us to return to this very moment when shit was about to fall down. Damn it... ahahaha... bwahahaha... Now I’m truly thirsty for this power.. With this power and the immortal body, which belongs to you now.. I could reshape the history! I could even prevent Gods like Triniel appearing in this place or I could even conquer worlds and create a new lore...”- He cracked up in laughter, but this one was insane and sadistic.. rather than reasonable.. He had no idea that he would be able to destroy a lot of worlds by holding such power.
-”As if I’d let you!”- I shouted it out loud.
-”Oh, but you will let me.. and the destruction is not preventable either way... If my hypothesis is correct then now I know why all of the soldiers died behind the smoke, now I am even aware why most of the buildings were destroyed on the sides.. Yes Simon... it was not me and Lydie.. it was probably us that came from the future. I found it strange, because I never touched those buildings and soldiers, but now I am almost sure!”- He stopped laughing and charged at me head on.
-”Now, let’s feel the heat of the battle!”- His blade crashed into mine and the dust and smoke was lifted around us.

Siegmund was going in straight for the kill, the blazing excitement was dancing in his eyes. His swings and cuts were rapid, as if he was suddenly faster and stronger.. too fast to imagine, his body was probably skipping through the time. He pushed me away, as I was able to only defend myself and dodge the fatal blows. He caught my blade and quickly dived in underneath the blades with his feet first, kicking right into my stomach. The impact caused me to fly back as I crashed right into the church and the strong impact shattered it’s foundation, causing the building to collapse onto me. Other soldiers picked up our movement and were going at us directly.. They mistaken us for intruders.. While I was trying to get up from the ruble, Siegmund was going straight at me, slashing and tearing through the soldiers as if they were mere and useless punching bags. The smoke and rising cinders were following his trails, he then quickly disappeared from my sight and appeared right in front of me.. He lifted me up by the hair and threw me into another building with all of his might.. I crashed right into the roof and took off from it with all of my might, the force that was sent from below my feet caused for it to crumble down to pieces. Accelerating through the air and zigzagging my way towards I held Zerneger pointed straight, sparks of electricity and fire were dancing joyfully behind me.. This time I was almost there, however Siegmund just grabbed a soldier from the side and pushed it right in front of me.. I was too late to stop, so I ended up piercing right through his heart and burning out his whole chest.

Damn it...

Now he makes me to purposely kill my people...

I will never forgive him, no matter what...

Thus.. our fight dragged on for some time, while the main match of the past was taking the place in the center, we were wrecking the havoc on the sidelines... Gutting through the brave soldiers and breaching the walls of the buildings we destroyed most of the village ourselves.. Yet I just wanted to save this place, but even then.. what was I thinking? It was impossible from the start as my fate was grim already. Even by transcending through the time and space was not enough to stop this madness.. I only relived the same painful experiences again and over again. Although I noticed that Siegmund was holding back this time, he was probably aware that our fight was not going to end in this place.  For a moment we ceased our blades and looked to the ourselves from the past.. It was that point of time when I was attempting to snap Sandvika out of mind control while the Siegmund of the past was just grinning on the sidelines.

-”Ah, isn’t it a nice sight? To see our past actions, to witness the start of it...? I wonder.. just how many years our fight will take.. after all.. we transcended far beyond the reality.. we truly did shift the gears of time and changed the flow of universe. Simon, you know.. in the not so distant future we do not exist anymore. Our friends, allies and those who knew about us will never meet us again. Because in that timeline or that part of the universe we just vanished without a trace, leaving Brusthonin in ruins. Who knows now.. maybe your friends are already mourning your death there... oh but wait.. it didn’t happen yet.. ahaha..”- He suddenly turned into a philosopher.
-”Yes.. It is an exciting sensation, but I don’t think that this is a wise moment to just stop and talk.”- I replied to him and then an idea crossed my mind.. an idea of changing the future.. Just what if... what if I killed his past version? Would the current him disappear.. would I be able to change the outcome of it all or would I shatter the universe in the process? Well.. I just had to try this shot... It was probably my best chance..
-”DIEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!”- I screamed and opened up a portal before my eyes... I was able to see Siegmund’s back inside the portal, I raised my blade and was about to plunge it right into his back. But then in a mere blink I ended up in the sky.. I was falling down from the sky.. I placed my feet midair as the space rippled below my feet, holding me tight on the sky..  Damn it! He stopped time and changed my location.
-”You have no idea what you were about to do...”- Siegmund descended from the sky with his wings extended to the sides and slapped my face with his palm. In the process I took a couple of steps backwards, but held on tightly on the gravitational anomaly that I created. I gritted my teeth and looked straight to him with a serious look on my face.
-”What?!”- I asked.
-”God knows what kind of paradox you might of caused with your action. You were about to split the universe in half.. although I don’t know the answer for myself.. I’m not sure what could of happened... however if you killed the past version of me.. you would been trapped in this timeline forever and two versions of you would exists here.. or maybe.. no.. I know.. maybe you would be dead right now.. completely erased from existence... anyway... I’m glad that you didn’t kill me..”- He ended his speculations in another laughter.
-”You just wanted to save your ass, cheap bitch...”- I frowned and pushed through the air, stabbing through his guts.
-”Haha.. gotcha!”- I smiled and headbutted him... our foreheads collided and blood poured all over our faces.. I was smirking from the look on his face..
-”And you said that I will not be able to hurt or even scratch you.. well there goes your ultimate whatevers... and invincible powers... NEVER LOWER YOUR GUARD YOU MORON!”- Blue flames crept across Zerneger and ate out his insides. I swiftly pulled out my blade from his guts and left him for a free fall..
-”R..re..reverse.. t...ti...the..ti..th..t...ti... me...”- He muttered and was left to fall.

-”And this is what happened.. if it wasn’t for me.. retelling your memory.. you would of never knew or realized..”- Zerneger stated.
-”I see...”- I said.
-”Just like he said.. the space feels it, because I exist in any timeline. So, what is your resolve? Will you finally fuse with me?”- Zerneger asked.
-”Even though he reverted the clocks I managed to hit him before and it means that I can do this again, but this time he will not be able to use the powers of his sword. So no.. not now.. I shall put an end to him on my own.”- I gave a firm answer to Zerneger and opened my eyes.

So... this is the past huh?

Well this smoke...

These soldiers...

...And this scenery are indeed familiar...

Even though we just landed here...

We already fought here just moments ago...

This is so confusing...

Will he revert time again..?

Well I will not let him to do that!

-”So... how does it feel to travel back to the past?”- Siegmund asked, he was probably unaware that Zerneger allowed for me to see what happened already.
-”Ah.. it feels incredible..”- Even though I felt like I relived this event already, it was my very first time experiencing it..
-”Now let’s get started!”- Siegmund shouted and charged at me.

Siegmund was going in straight for the kill, the blazing excitement was dancing in his eyes. His swings and cuts were rapid, as if he was suddenly faster and stronger.. too fast to imagine, his body was probably skipping through the time. He pushed me away, as I was able to only defend myself and dodge the fatal blows. He caught my blade and quickly dived in underneath the blades with his feet first, kicking right into my stomach. The impact caused me to fly back as I crashed right into the church and the strong impact shattered it’s foundation, causing the building to collapse onto me. Other soldiers picked up our movement and were going at us directly.. They mistaken us for intruders.. While I was trying to get up from the ruble, Siegmund was going straight at me, slashing and tearing through the soldiers as if they were mere and useless punching bags. The smoke and rising cinders were following his trails, he then quickly disappeared from my sight and appeared right in front of me.. He lifted me up by the hair and threw me into another building with all of his might.. I crashed right into the roof and took off from it with all of my might, the blast that was sent from below my feet caused for it to crumble down to pieces. Accelerating through the air and zigzagging my way towards I held Zerneger straight, sparks of electricity and fire was dancing joyfully behind me.. This time I was almost there, however Siegmund just grabbed a soldier from the side and pushed it right in front of me.. I was too late to stop, so I ended up piercing right through his heart and burning out his whole chest.

No way...

Did... we... repeat the same actions?

That bastard forced me to kill my man!

Thus.. our fight dragged on for some time, while the main match of the past was taking the place in the center, we were wrecking the havoc on the sidelines... Gutting through the brave soldiers and breaching the walls of the buildings we destroyed most of the village ourselves.. Yet I just wanted to save this place, but even then.. what was I thinking? It was impossible from the start as my fate was grim already. Even by transcending through the time and space was not enough to stop this madness.. I only relived the same painful experiences again and over again. Although I noticed that Siegmund was holding back a little, he was probably aware that our fight was not going to end in this place.  However he was keeping his distance from me most of the time and he was not resorting to his silly chit-chats anymore. He probably was not planning to repeat the same mistake again. For a moment I lowered my blade and looked to our past versions... A deadly thought crossed my mind.. what if I killed Siegmund from the past? Yes if only I killed him... then everything would be alright...

Wait... once again..

Am I planning to repeat my actions once again?

But if I did not...

He would figure out that I know something about this...

However my train of thoughts were interrupted by his actions.. he crashed right into me and blew me to the nearby hill, my back crashed into the hill and left a man-sized hole in the rocky hill. I grunted in pain, it felt like some of my internal organs were squeezed within.

-”Damn it... I lost my guard...”- I spew out blood from my mouth.
-”As if I’d let you kill the past version of mine...”- Siegmund yelled with an angered and tremendous tone.
-”Shut up!”- I raised my fist and attempted to hit his face, but he merely predicted my movement and tilted his head to the opposite side of my flying fist.
-”I already knew that you were trying to kill me. You see time is in my control!”- With his free hand he grabbed me by the throat and began to squeeze.. almost crushing it.. I was actually struggling for air.
-”D...damn..y...y..you...I... I... k..kn...o...w...ah... ne...never...mind...”- The blue flames gathered around my body and forced Siegmund to draw back.
-”Argh...”- Blood started to ooze out from Siegmund’s nostrils... For a moment he expressed an annoyed look on his face and wiped away the blood from his nose.
-”What’s the matter? Did I hurt you?”- I attempted to taunt him.
-”Shut up..SHUT UP! I’m just sick from getting stabbed over and over again and reverting the time... This fucking power takes a toll on this fragile body...For this I need to inject one more doze of your greatest invention!”- He ripped out his sleeve and revealed the bottles with life force, which were injected to his arm... He pushed the button and the contents inside flooded to his veins. His whole body throbbed for a moment as the bone cracking noises echoed. He took a deep breath into his lungs and let it all out, bashing his knuckles against each other.
-”Aaaah... muuch better... now where was I? Oh.. that’s right... I was about to crush your throat...”- He smirked and flew back to me, but I had no time to mess around with his madness.. I needed to rethink my approach.. I sliced apart the air before me and through the rift a rippling vortex emerged before my eyes.
-”Well, I’ll see you later.”- I waved with my hand and dived into Zerneger’s pocket dimension.

Trapped in time.

-”Zerneger, I don’t know if I will be able to compete any further.. but I think that I decided what I should do.”- Without further waiting I communicated with Zerneger.
-”Oh...? You finally want to fight as one? Or your delusional wishes still keeps you from sacrificing yourself?”- Zerneger spoke to me in a mocking fashion.
-”No.. I’m not going to merge with you yet... However, I want to send him to a different world. I don’t know what was I thinking sooner, but by sending him to a different planet would solve my problems. After all he only appeared here, because of the passage of space, which already existed. So if I trapped him in another world he would have no chances of escaping from there. What do you think about it?”- I asked for Zerneger’s advice.
-”Hmm.. indeed.. it sounds logical. Damn it, you are smart kid! However how are you planning to escape from that world yourself? As if he’d let you... Also he could always erase the time and prevent you from dragging you into a different world.”- Zerneger brought his own arguments to the light.
-”I am very well aware of this, But I think that there is a limitation to his powers.. First of all his erasing time stuff only can revert events that happened in the first five minutes or so.. It’s only a hypothesis, but if he so wanted to revert or even erase the time he would of returned to that point when he was about to wipe out all of Brusthonin alongside me. But instead he returned to that point when we traveled back to the past. So, I assume that he can not go back further or erase long sections of events.”- Although everything was based on assumptions, but I strongly believed in my thoughts.. Because I knew Siegmund the best, he truly had my nature.. He was truly similar to me and our mindsets were alike, so it was only natural that he would do the same thing I would do, instead of acting like an idiot.
-”I see.. you might be correct.. Since Zeitgreindner’s powers are scattered all over the universe and this sword holds only a fraction of them. All right.. I’m in! I truly believe that this is our only way of stopping him... But you know.. you will be stuck in the past then.. when you return... you will return to the world where the same battle is just beginning and the very same Siegmund and Lydie will wait for you.”- Zerneger warned.
-”Yes... I know, but it is only a small price to pay.. not to mention that I will be killing Siegmund in one blow when I return. I will not be waiting for him to active Zeitgreindner’s powers.”- This was my final decision and thus both of us became ready to send him to a faraway place.

A rift in space opened just before Siegmund’s eyes and I emerged from it, charging at him with all of my might, I pushed him right into the dirt and started to beat his face, he was unable to even react and was not fast enough to use his time bending abilities. My fists were as hard as steel and with each hit they got harder and harder.. they decorated his face with bruises. But my main aim was not to beat him up, it was in order to secure Azure’s mask. I confused him with a good beating and then grabbed onto Azure’s mask, which was firmly connected to his chest. I screamed like a wild animal as the steel was melting on my hands, it was attached too tightly, even my burning hands were not enough to rip it out off his chest.. Siegmund managed to regain his senses and punched me in the face with his left fist.. the punching force was just too strong.. it pushed me all the way up from him... but I managed to stop midair and by spinning my sword above my head in the middle of the air.. I ignited the oxygen around the blade.. causing a disturbance of space and forming it into unease blob of rippling space..

Siegmund, I hope that you like a dark world...

Because this is it for you... I am taking you on a trip...

To a world that we both know..

But since I have no dear memories of that world...

I will make sure that you will feel comfortable in that place!

Because... I’m going to shut off all of the entrances to that world...

Yes... indeed.. Now I can even feel the disturbed space in this world...

The vortex of space that lies in the Cantas Coast is the gate to my homeworld...

I will make sure to close that one after I return...

...After I send him home!

-”Uwaaaargh! Let’s go home, brother!!!”- I squeezed the blob of rippling space tightly in my arms and crashed right into Siegmund.. for a fraction of second he expressed a smile on his face and at the last moment he managed to stand up straight.
-”Yes.. let’s go home..”- Closing his eyes, he accumulated all of the energy inside his blade and the spectral gears of time, that were behind his back started to spin rapidly backwards.. He severed the blob of rippling space in half and then a shrieking sound of a ‘boom’ pierced our ears.. The blob cracked to pieces and the rippling disturbances expanded and engulfed both of us.. everything around us started to go in backwards motion as it then accelerated to immense speeds that even light was unable to reach our visions.. We became trapped in the darkness with the ticking noise clouding our brain to insanity. Until everything cracked and we were thrown out of the disturbance of time and space.. We appeared on the top of some flat mountain.. Actually it was a volcano, but it was frozen and dead a millennia ago. The sky was dark and everything around was already dead.. it was truly the place.. it was the planet Earth.. my home world... We made it.. We managed to drag him into this world..
-”Hah...haha...”- Siegmund was almost dying from laughter now..
-”What’s so funny?”- I raised my right eyebrow in suspicion.
-”So, what’s the point of us being here? Nostalgia eh?”- He asked.
-”No, this is the place where you will meet your doom.. a befitting finale for you I think..”- I proudly stated.
-”Yeah... yeah... as if you’d beat me..”- He waved his right hand to the side while laughing.
-”Maybe not, but I don’t think that you will be able to escape this place as I am about to close all of the passages to Atreia...”- I intimidated Siegmund.
-”Bwahahaha... ahaha... ahaha... ahaha... Alright... Alright.. so what’s the point in escaping from me now? In Atreia you will have no friends, no family, nothing at all.. because all of them aren’t even born yet...”- He was dying in laughter now, rolling to the sides, unable to suppress it.
-”Hm.. what do you mean?”- I asked in a serious tone. Siegmund quickly picked himself up off the ground and pointed with his index finger to a far horizon.
-”Look to the north and tell me what do you see.”- He said.
-”Ugh what do I see.. well I see a castle.. a really huge castle...”- As I looked to the north I found myself gazing at the giant black castle with countless of towers with pointy roofs and scattered inverted crosses all around.
-”Exactly.. This castle is still pretty much fresh.. In reality it crumbled down over five hundred years ago.. And it still looks as new as it was on that day... Basically our combined powers sent us back to the past.. to the times when you were still young.. to the times when you were a fighter of justice... ahaha.. this is intriguing...”- If his words were spouting the truth then it meant that there was no escaping this place, because we were sent back further... and this time I did not have a slightest idea of getting out of there.. I had no idea at all.. on how to travel back to the future..
-”You are lying right... you are just trying to throw me out of balance riiight?”- I took a step back and felt the rush of cold stroking my back, my fingers were trembling nervously.
-”I never lie.. and it looks like that we are trapped in time... So if you want this.. we can finish our fight here.. I don’t care..”- Siegmund smirked and pointed the tip of his shiny sword towards me.

To be concluded.
(Having no time at all is not a problem to post one of these! YEAAAAAAARRRGHHH!!! Anyway, one day I will finish this, but for now let's leave it at that. Been writing from one to two hundred words each day before sleep on my smartphone, so expect quality issues. xD)

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38 Re: The Rift Dancer on Sat Mar 16, 2019 5:24 pm

A clash of Time and Space.          

–"So, this is the past...? In the end my plan ended up as failure..."– I shifted my sight down and tripped on a small bump in the earth, which appeared to be frozen solid. I moved my left fist in front of my face and opened it into a palm, a bright cyan blaze swirled up and formed into a burning fire. I inspected the burning fire, which burned vibrantly on my palm, it acted as a spatial sensor.. Bright white lights emerged inside the rising cinders and showed me what was supposed to be a map of the occurring space disturbances around the globe. It appeared that no anomalies or distortions in the space were there.
–"Weird.. I thought that a portal to Atreia existed somewhere around here..."– I whispered to myself with a thought inside my mind, – If the rift never existed, then how in the universe did I manage to travel to Atreia back then? Or was it in the future? That's right future! Future was most likely the answer.
–"Uhh... Hello?  Why are you spacing out?"– Siegmund waved with his hand and looked to the sides.
–"Oh right... I almost forgot that we were still fighting.. I am so very sorry..."– In apologetic, yet sarcastic tone I gave him my reply. A surge of energy pulsated throughout my veins and rushed across my body while my eyes set themselves ablaze. I drew myself in closer to Siegmund, my feet moved fluently as if they were sliding across this flat surface. A light outburst of blue flames unleashed itself from behind me, thawing the ice in seconds and clouding the area within steam. Bringing my blade down with my single hand I swung it upwards in hopes to slice Siegmund apart, but as I expected he pulled away at the last second with his incredible "speed", which was also known as time control. His eyes reflected my smirk before the blade of mine spew out the fire right at him. He crossed his sword in front of himself in hopes to defend himself. The fire licked his arms, savoring each and every burned area that it carved out. The bottles of life force on his arms exploded from the ferocious heat and he sled across the icy surface with a pain in his face.
–"Nice shot, but what can you do against time? It is merciless after all."– He grinned and raised his blade skywards, a spectral golden clock shaped itself around the sword and then it started to rapidly spin backwards.
–"As if I'd let you!" – The steam built up around me and spun itself into a twister as I leaped at him with my sword brought to the front. Carrying the everlasting fire of hopes and dreams on my shoulders I was giving it my all in this one single strike. Like a ruthless bullet I crashed right into his blade and forced it out of Siegmund's arms.. It was spinning in the air before it landed a couple of meters behind Siegmund.. He seemed to be lost for words just as he was looking at me with great awe in his face.
–"At last, I have the upper hand. Without your sword you are the same as nothing!"– I was about to cut him in half, but then he quickly extended his arms towards me with his palms opened, they flashed like a sun and spew out a burst of energy, which blinded me and dug inside my guts, throwing me off a cliff.
–"I must admit you are a formidable foe, but I can fight without using the powers of my sword as well, but first let me erase this event to replenish my supplies of life force, so go and hide in your pocket dimension.. I don't care! The next time you show up here I'll show you the greatest battle of the century. Who knows maybe we will reshape the history!"– Siegmund shouted it loud from the top of the frozen volcano and I just did as he suggested to, - I dived inside Zerneger's pocket dimension straight away.

-”Gwahahahaha! Your plan ended up as a failure in the end and like a naive fool I agreed with you.”- Zerneger mocked me with a tremendous laughter.
-”Oh shut the fuck up! I will find another way to bring him to dust and come back to our timeline.”- I said this in the defense of my pride, although I had no idea how will I be able to pull this out at all. I dragged the blade across the empty space vertically as the sharp edges cut it like it was plastic, the torn fabric revealed me a window of space, which showed me the outside world. The horizons were stretching far and wide, but not a sliver of light was there. Forests of dead trees, frozen peaks of enormous mountains and a sleeping titanic castle in the moonlight was covering most of the view.  
-”I do remember this place a little, after all this is my second visit.. back then when I was fighting Thomas we happened to travel here randomly, but to think that we would come back here many years in the past feels unimaginable. To the times when I was young huh.. when I was a fighter... I wonder what was I doing at this point of time, what was I fighting for? What was my purpose? Why was I born in such a ruined world...?”- Too many questions arose in my thoughts and ended up emerging from my lips.
-”You want to know the truth so badly, eh? Well... even though it’s against the rules for me... but you already know too much about yourself.. I can tell you at least this.. Let’s say that you were fighting in order to protect the world. But world was not the only meaning for you. You were fighting for your family and you wanted to bring them a brighter place to live in. That was your goal. After all once upon a time... you had the purest of the hearts... In fact your heart and soul were so pure that you were taking the pain of the world on your own shoulders alone. Your justice was your ultimate weapon and the rumors spread by Siegmund of you being the seed of evil were just lies..You were never like this, not in this timeline at least. The merciless world changed you, but even now.. after you lost your memories.. you kind of resemble that young and selfless Simon. You always think that you are selfish, you always attempt to act selfishly... but you know.. you haven’t realized one fact.. in the end your attempts at being selfish leads you to selflessness. Simon, you are the best human that I ever met.. No matter how things will turn out in this fight.. even if we will fail, I want for you to remember that I will never forget you. That one day if I manage to ascend to my Godhood again I will do whatever is necessary to bring you back. Even if it will mean to reconstruct the whole universe. Maybe I will play against the rules once again, but if my fate is to be a mere weapon, which tries to befriend humans then I’m fine with it.. By having a partner, a friend.. I found joy being closer to the mortals. If Azure is the person you look up to, then you are a person I look up to.. and no matter how badly you would turn out I will always stick to your side, it’s a promise!”- For once Zerneger actually showed a lot of feelings.. I never even thought that he had a side like this... however it did make my heart warmer.
-”Heh...haha... Zerneger this is why I always count on you!”- Even a sour tear rolled down across my face, I wiped it off my face and breached the window of space, the world of the past was awaiting for me and the battle of the history was ready.

I jumped out of the vortex in space and attempted to slice Siegmund in half instantly. He brought his sword in front of himself as defense and then our blades clashed once more... The ice below our feet shattered like glass and the cracks spread all over the volcano.. the ice was crashing down from the sides of the mountain and the shards on the top were ascending from below.. surrounding us from every corner and expressing thousands of reflections of us clashing with our blades. Siegmund quickly pulled his blade back and twisted to the side coming back with a kick to my stomach, at the last moment his sabaton surrounded itself with the energy of light and I was kicked off from the mountain’s peak.. the ascending shards absorbed the light, which was coming from Siegmund’s foot and reflected thousands of golden lasers back at me... Diving through the air I found myself trapped in the rain of light, which pierced the mountains in the far and burned the dead trees on below.

Siegmund leaped up from his position and dived in to the air as well.. As the volcano suddenly became active and erupted on the very same instance as he jumped down from it... Lighting the sky in red and wiping out the dark clouds from the sky... the ashes and dust clouded the sky instead and fell down on us tremendously... as we clashed in the middle of the air, shaking up the sky in the eyes of the boiling magma. Sometimes I was wondering why were we fighting in the first place.. did some stupid vengeance drive us? Was there another way to stop this madness? Both I and him... we basically had common goals.. we were the same and our fight seemed to be just meaningless, but both him and I were not able to forgive each other... His actions were not right, but mine were not either... We were just fighting for our own ideologies and that was all about it. Blue fires encircled on my back and spiraled their way wider to the sides.. ending up in a giant spiral of fire behind my back, which spew out raining fire down to Siegmund. Just as he promised this time he was not using anything time related.. With his spectacular spectral wings he was advancing towards me, making dives and circles along the way in hopes to avoid the fire, but the rain became increasingly stronger and deadlier. As I then lifted the shadows from below and captured him in the middle of the sky. However he just shouted everything out loudly and the outburst of golden energy vanquished the shadows, freeing him up. Like a bolt of lighting he got closer to me and flew behind my back. He Dived in and plunged his sword in the center of the fiery spiral.. Disturbing it and disbanding it in the air.. He then was about to pierce my back, but a shadowy arm of mine slapped him from the side, bringing him down to the ground, where the dead forest was burning.

Millions of thoughts were traveling across my mind in this fight.. just where in the world we were going? For whom did we fight? There was no salvation for both of us.. no glory either.. Fighting was not even an option, but yet I just wanted to slice him to pieces.. because of what he did.. it was just unforgivable.. and the survival was the only thing that I was craving for. Thus I dived inside the fire and fought him head on.. we were jumping from one burning tree branch to another one. The boiling magma was following us from behind and swallowing everything in the forest.. not that there was anything alive to begin.. Biggest of boulders were flying from the sky and the rumbling earth caused a rather horrible scene.. When hell was being devoured by an even greater hell.. Both of our feet landed on the opposite branches and then we jumped at each other, crossing our blades.. with a sudden urge of energy Siegmund rotated and pushed me from the sky... I crashed into the thawing ice. A boulder, which was as tall as a building was flying at Siegmund directly.. He turned at the boulder and placed his sword on his back, he caught the giant piece of rock with his both hands and threw it down at me. I raised my sword as the fire erupted from it’s tip, making it significantly larger. I sliced the boulder apart and leaped up to the sky, propelling through the air I was diving throughout the space. In the process I opened multiple of rifts in the air to my sides and released the energies of darkness from within, black projectiles suddenly engulfed Siegmund as he was tanking most of the hits with his bare fists, which were glowing in gold. Indeed he was true to his word... even without bending time to his will in this state he was a real beast.

My assault continued, while the bullets of darkness were occupying Siegmund I was building up the energy inside my sword, I was hoping to deliver him one and final strike.. But he was smarter than I thought.. he caught up with the interval of the projectiles and dived inside one of the rifts that I produced, reappearing from behind... He caught me by the cloth and with a good swing upwards He tossed me all the way to the castle.. I crashed right into the tallest tower.. Interestingly enough I did not broke through the wall.. the construction was very stable and solid.. only a tremor of the collision echoed across the walls of the castle and nothing more.. The castle itself appeared to be dead, but it was not the time to be glued to the wall.. I jumped down from it and was ready to unleash the stored energy inside of my sword, however Siegmund was not playing either.. He managed to enhance his sword with his own powers. Both of us crashed right into each other midair.. The energies poured in and mixed together into two helixes, which lit the skies in a long lasting aurora. Thunderous sounds rumbled across the globe and the burning trees on the ground were shaken apart.. An after blast of us colliding crashed directly into the castle... instead of falling down and crumbling to dust.. it appeared to be absorbing the energy as if it was a living organism.. Then all of the windows around the castle lit up and crimson barrier formed around it, which breached the heavens and illuminated the whole sky in bloody colors..

-”No fucking way... it was us... We awoke the castle.. holy shit... five centuries ago we woken the slumbering castle...”- Siegmund seemed to be surprised and rather speechless.
-”What are you saying? I can’t hear you clearly!”- I shouted at the top of my lungs, since it was pretty hard to hear him.. but did I really care? My task was to push him down and vaporize underneath my energy.
-”I remember this sight once upon a time... Even though back then I was a part of you.. I was escorting my girl to the safety and then in the far horizon a volcano erupted. The sight of it was spectacular and after some minutes... something huge exploded not far from the castle. A sky was dyed in crimson afterwards and the castle itself started to function.. no fucking way...”- Siegmund stopped his speech for a moment and held in his breath, giving everything he could into the strike.. slowly pushing me away..
-”Tch... on that fateful day... the dark lord was woken up from his deep slumber.... but if that was the case... if it was us, who woke him up... then... then... I know...”- He closed his eyes for a moment and stopped talking... This time I was getting the upper hand.
-”It was us, who sealed our fates since the very beginning... with these powers.. we doomed ourselves... I was such a fool...”- A tear rolled down from his eye and then the light absorbed Siegmund..

The energy that both of us were emitting all over the place suddenly began to split time and space in half.. And in the shapes of various rifts our voices reechoed and spliced into one cluster of infinity.. our moments and memories flew by.. spanning across time and space it reflected and mirrored our endless struggles and moments of joy.. It even captured this very moment.. when a crimson haired man, who was probably me, and a blond haired girl were standing near the lake and observing the sight of explosion, which occurred near the castle.

I don’t know... What is going on...

But this is it...

This is truly it...

We are actually making the history...

Yes...

All of my life and all of my struggles...

Is because of me...

Because of my own thirst...

And delusions...

The Dark Lord...

I have no idea who he is...

But I just had the same feeling as Siegmund...

He’s bad news and he was probably the cause that ruined my life...

Indeed... the Dark Lord that you are referring to gave birth to me.

What... how did you enter my thoughts?

Haha... at this point of time.. when our blades are as one...

Our thoughts collided...

The saddest part about all of this...

...Is the thing...

That both of us are pretty much responsible for our fates...

And since it happened we can either break the universe by causing a paradox...

Or escape and cause havoc elsewhere... it’s up to you, Simon...

Silence!

...

I know what I should do...

-”A message to you. Heya Simon, so I will keep it short and simple... this may be not a relevant thing for you at all, even though that the world here is harsh and dark... but I want to say to you that one day you will see the sun, that one day you will feel the joy of life.. one day you will count yourself as the happiest person in the world, even though your path will be full of struggles and hardships you will always have friends by your side.. you will be trusted and loved by people.. so never lose faith in yourself.. so never stop believing in your will and strength. Because you can do it, it’s because I do believe in you... I sincerely do believe in you.. so don’t ever fail me... make your own decisions, choose your own paths.. and don’t let yourself to fall.. A good friend and ally will always wait for you.. a beautiful girl and maybe wife will always support you.. So please.. don’t let yourself to be wasted.. Remember.. your purpose is to see the sun and to protect what is important for you! You are destined to become the greatest warrior, so never stop believing.. no matter how dark it may get... as you shall NEVER GIVE UP ON YOUR DREAMS! At one point of time you will lose all of your memories, but after you regain them... no matter who will you become.. listen to this recording again and remember the good in you, the good that you carry inside your soul. Because you will definitely remember this and I can confirm it... so for now... Just think of a place where to hide this recording in time and space.. so for now just decide how to hide it from your dark side as well.. that is if you have one.. and once you regain your memories remember what I said.. because this motivational speech... because these words... hopefully will lead you to a change as it counts as a warning.. that sometimes things do not turn out as expected... So goodbye... I am your close relative from over five centuries in the future and I know that you can do it!”- My voice of hope pierced down the time and space.. the words that were said were trapped in a small rippling vortex, which formed itself in a bulb.. Those words were ever repeating and then sent into the rift of space where Simon of the past and his unknown girlfriend stood and watched the rising of this mysterious dark lord.

Maybe one day... in the future...

If I am destined to regain my memories...

I will remember what kept me driving and motivated..

GAAAAH!!!

This is the very same reason why I keep hearing those words in my dreams!

And here I thought that this was some destiny, but a blasphemy made by you!

Oh... so you heard this as well.. well that makes it even more intriguing...

And I can only wonder... where did I hide that crumb of reechoing space...?

Tch... The good inside of me... of course there would be no good inside of me...

However, I do fight for the same ideas as you!

But now... I’m at that point where I can’t stop....

Somebody or something... is just forcing me to fight you...

I just want to erase you...

Although my purpose is slowly fading away with each passing second...

But I shall never give up on my dreams...

And now I know what I want...

Yes I do...

...

Our clash of thoughts ended and only the silence remained within the light as both of our physical bodies were trapped in some kind of anomaly of time and space. It did not contain any exits or escape routes.. we were both there... looking each other eye to eye... Our blades were piercing each other, but not reacting at all.. I found myself to be unable to move.. Did we erase time? Did we shatter the space? Was this just a paradox? Were we erased out of existence or did we erase the universe? Which one of these it was? I wanted to speak, but I was unable to... Siegmund seemed to be speechless as well.. probably. Just probably.. both of us were trapped in the same condition... however the mysterious white nothingness allowed for us to see each other... it even allowed for us to think.. but for some reason I was unable to hear his thoughts now... Why? Really... why was this happening? My body was just numb... I attempted to move my fingers, but they were staying there, frozen and lifeless. Was this our salvation? A point of no return? An eternity to be trapped within the light of sheer nothingness or was it the place they called as limbo? Azure’s mask was laying still on Siegmund’s chest.. The only remaining thing of my friend.

I just want to protect your ideals...

I have to preserve your last wishes...

Don’t judge with that sinister look of yours...

Please... don’t stare to me like that...

If I could only revert the clocks...

I would go to that moment when we met for the first time...

And then... then...

I would change the future...

I would prevent our bond from forming...

I would save you right from the very birth of our friendship...

Hah...

Who am I kidding to?

I would do nothing, because I’m just a coward...

But this coward will talk to you again one day...

Siegmund remained stagnant, his attire was as shiny as ever... was he even thinking? Was he hearing my thoughts at all...? Did he not want to return to realm where time and space exist?
-”Simon, I do want to exist... I do.. but this time.. let’s pull this together...”- Siegmund just spoke in front of me, he managed to move his lips, although his body remained stagnant.
-”Huh.. we can talk again?”- I became surprised.
-”Seems so.. I don’t know where we are... but it seems that we needed a common agreement to be able to talk again.. You were probably thinking the same as me. It means that our powers are in proper sync now.”- Siegmund even managed to dye his face with a confident smile.
-”And what do you suggest?”- I wondered.
-”Heh... let’s work together.. the only way for us to escape from this is to use our powers again.. We have to connect them and break through this wall of shattered space and time.”- He laughed a little and moved his left hand, spinning it by the wrist.
-”Alright.. I think I understand now.. Our powers have merged for this instance.. but they were conflicting.. But our hearts have calmed down, so now we are free to talk and move at least.”- I managed to feel my body again.
-”Yes.. I wonder... how many years have we stayed here? It felt like centuries right?”- He asked me directly.
-”What? Only a couple of seconds have passed!”- I disagreed with him..
-”No.. for me everything was going so fast... it almost seemed like I was trapped in a bubble of time.. I have this feeling, due to my sword’s aura... But anyway... let’s bash this barrier shall we?”- He suggested at last.
-”Yeah, let’s do this.. but once we are on the outside we are going to become enemies again.”- I agreed to him and lifted my sword in front of my face, hiding it beneath the sharp edges of my blade and it’s burning blue aura.

-”LET’S GO!!!”- We shouted in a chorus as our blades sung throughout the reaches of nothingness. The metal collided in between us as the sparks soared across the air, lighting up the space in vibrant colors. Soon after cracks of blackness spread across the white walls and shattered into millions of fragile pieces.. It shook up the reality and bursted out in explosions of fire and smoke, which revealed a devouring black hole in the middle of us, which started to drag us inside the boundaries of reality. The scenery suddenly regained it’s dark colors as we appeared in the world of darkness, which was also known as our home world. It actually worked, for once our combined efforts made it through, we were spew out off the black vortex and crashed through the roof of the ruined castle... As soon as my back breached through the floor the dust was lifted from below.. Both of us jumped on our feet instantly and went for each other’s head. Using the moment Siegmund dived underneath my blade and sled across the surface, rotated his torso and slashed through my back... the drops of blood flew to the sky as I attempted to stop myself from going further. Instead I gritted my teeth and by holding in the pain I backfired, with a good and perfectly timed swing right at his chest.. but my blade merely bounced off the attached mask.. It seemed as if Azure’s mask was protecting Siegmund.
-”Oi... oi.. oi.. it looks like we traveled some years further to the future.. and since the castle is dead.. we are probably at those times when the dark one was defeated..”- Siegmund quickly pointed it out that we actually managed to travel to the future, but which period was it?
-”Hmmm.. at last.. I’ve been waiting for this.”- I quickly ducked and rotated my whole body, delivering him a sweep from below with my feet. He was unable to even react and found himself laying on the floor.
-”Hah... I realized one thing as well.. somehow the portal to Atreia never existed.. Because I’m going to create one just now... isn’t it funny? We opened the paths for ourselves... if it wasn’t for us we wouldn’t be fighting here and now... In our lifetime Atreia would of never existed to us... haha... Let’s travel back to that sunny beach!”- I split the space apart, before jumping into the rift I motioned with my left hand for him to come over..

Escape the Time.

Just as I predicted previously I was the one, who opened this rift.. there was no wonder why Siegmund was investigating my rifts before.. Since these ones were staying there for years to come... And now I was just standing in the Cantas coast and waiting for him to come to me.. Right here, right now.. it was the time when Atreia was untouched by my presence... When the sun was shining the brightest and the things that were created here were not destroyed yet. Preserving the past was my top priority! Siegmund emerged from the rift in space and charged at me with his full force ahead... I managed to block his attack with my sword.. but the force of his charge was in fact devastatingly powerful.. that it pushed me right into the sea... and my feet floated across the water’s surface, lifting the waves to the side and splitting the whole sea in half... A huge shadow was casted upon us as the rising waves were getting bigger and bigger. I stopped the shadows from moving and molded them into a shape of solid black walls, from where shadowy tendrils crawled out and attempted to get a grasp on Siegmund.. Multiple of them lashed straight to him at once and caught him by the feet, dragging him all the way back from me. I brought Zerneger in front of my upper torso and turned it to the left side, horizontally. The blade lit up in blue colors and shot out multiple of blade-sized energy discuses, which were flying right to Siegmund’s torso.

But of course.. my perfectly timed counterattack was nothing against his outstanding abilities.. if only... uh... if only it was not the time bending.. he would of had been done already. But I was able to see it clearly with my eyes that in about thirty meter radius everything around him began to move in slow motion as if the time itself was disturbed around that area.. probably it did have it’s reach.. or maybe it was yet another trick of his.. The tendrils were crawling like snails, even slower than that.. it seemed as if those were gradually weakened too. While the drops of falling water were almost stagnant, hovering in the middle of the air. With his bare hands he pushed away the tendrils at ease and nonchalantly turned to the side, passing by the discuses that I sent for him. Such a sneaky bastard he was.. His abilities just had no boundaries... And yet I was too stubborn to fuse with Zerneger, but I started to reconsider my thoughts... maybe it was the right thing to do? I never knew the answer for myself, but my will to fight was still burning inside my soul and that was the idea, which mattered the most.

After freeing himself Siegmund allowed for time to flow normally and every movement of the environment around him suddenly returned to normal. However he rushed right to me and brought his blade behind his back as it started to burn in gold with hints of bright red blazes. When he was close enough he swung his blade right before me and unleashed the energy of light... I fended off the attack by opening a mini vortex of space before me, which sucked in most of the light, but what passed by me crashed right into the water below. The emitting heat was powerful enough to evaporate most of the water below me, causing the dense and hot steam to befall on the area.. It clouded my sight heavily as I was unable to predict Siegmund’s next move. What I actually felt after his distraction was the pain in my stomach and then I realized that a really hot piece of metal was penetrating my bowels... I screamed in pain and vomited blood. Then the steam before my eyes dispersed and a fist came flying right at my face, it brought me down and pushed me right into the depths of the water, which crashed down upon me.

-”Blargh... I am still too weak...”- I muffled those words underwater, the colors of blue suddenly mixed with crimson as I was struggling to regain my breath, but then he dived inside, crashing down right at me and bringing me right to the very bottom. As we hit the moist sand underneath, we caused a powerful impact, which pushed the water around us to the sky and we found ourselves fighting in the middle of this artificial rain. His blade shined in blue a little and then the drops of water suddenly transformed into icicles.
-”What the hell, you can still use your ice related abilities?!”- I got surprised and then the barrage of ice came right at me, but I instantly dealt with it by unleashing the fire from my body, which circulated all the way up and emerged like a spiraling tower, which surrounded both of us.. Despite being wounded I came right at him, the rush of adrenaline kept me pumped up as our blades were dancing across the giant spiraling tunnel of fire. The ice from all around melted in the fire’s grace and once again turned to water, which consumed the fire and both us... We then continued to fight underwater.. each collision of our blades created giant tidal waves in the surface of the sea. However as soon as we started to struggle for air in our lungs we emerged from the water and with our wings we flew above the sunny beaches, colliding midair. Sounds of metal and collapsing fire shrieked across the beaches. Siegmund maintained his usual smirk and seemed to be quite pumped up himself. Were we even fighting at this point of time? It looked like a sparring contest. I was unable to feel negative emotions coming from him, but then... but why? Why was he doing this? With his powers he could easily kill me.. was he just teasing me? Playing with me? Or did he want to enjoy his last battle, before stealing my body and taking away Zerneger?

We drew back from each other and looked each other in the eye, my breathing was heavy and the sour sweat was dropping from my face.
-”Damn you are tough... with your strength we could easily defeat Triniel.”- I complimented his abilities and skill for the very first time.
-”I know, but there is no ‘we’ in this fight.. there is only me and me alone!”- He smirked.
-”Tch.. as selfish as ever...”- I shook my head and prepared to clash with him once more, but then a shadowy figure emerged right in front of us... in fact... it was a pure shadow, holding a pitch black blade.. only glowing violet eyes were visible.
-”Huh who is this?”- I asked.
-”As if I’d know.. I thought that this was one of your shadows...”- Siegmund was not very impressed, but I was surprised that someone decided to jump right in front of us. Of all this, we were only able to make out a humanoid figure, which was surrounded by the shadows.. they were crawling around it... but then they suddenly cleared away and a feminine body emerged from it.. It appeared that she was holding Azure’s blade, she had a black long hair and young facial features, her skin was rather pale and she was dressed in black robes.
-”Huh? where did I see you?”- She looked very familiar...
-”Hey it’s that bitch again!”- Siegmund raised his right eyebrow and became rather pissed off.
-”Hey you’re right... it’s her.. she showed up back at Baltasar hill, but what is she doing at this timeline? Was she following us?”- I wondered and rolled my eyes to the sides in deep thought.
-”Don’t try to fool me, she is clearly one of your tricks.. Who is she?!”- Siegmund asked in an angered tone.
-”I have no idea... not at all.. why don’t we ask her?”- Although she appeared to be silent.
-”Yo Simon, it’s me Zerneger!”- Zerneger contacted me.
-”What’s up? You’ve been awfully silent lately.”- I wondered what was up with him.
-”This woman might be dangerous.. I just have a bad feeling about her...”- Zerneger looked surprised the most of us.
-”What do you mean by that, she is carrying Azure’s sword.. She might be an ally of ours.”- Although she seemed suspicious I was not quick to judge her.
-”Well how should I put it..? Ermh..... hmmm... I just have a feeling that she is not supposed to exist.. Not once in a lifetime I felt a presence like this.. the disturbances around her feels out of this world.. as if she’s not existing at all.. She looks like an anomaly in my eyes... But the weirdest part about it is that I can pickup traces of my energy around her.. It’s like she is well familiar with my powers.. just like you..”- Zerneger appeared to be rather disturbed.
-”She does not exist? What are you spouting? She’s right in front of us!”- I raised my suspicions.
-”Uh... it’s hard to explain it to you, but she is not supposed to be here and now.. I think Zeitgreindner feels the same away about her, this is why Siegmund became silent too.”- Zerneger then went silent.
-”Sometimes you Gods are totally nuts! But whatever, I trust you buddy.. I will take caution.”- In the end I heard him out and counted her appearance as a threat.

Once again my and Siegmund’s sights collided and then we nodded at each other, bringing our swords up simultaneously. We knew what we were supposed to do in this scenario. We both charged at her with all of our speed and might. But once we were close enough to her, she slowly turned to me and opened her tender lips.
-”Stop fighting, please..”- She softly whispered, her voice was angelic and pure. But it was too late to stop, we were about to inject our swords right into her, but then she extended her arms to opposite sides and caught our blades with her bare hands. A rippling disturbance waved across her body and at one point she disappeared from the sight, as if she was a ghost or a blinking bulb of electricity, but she held our blades with all of her might and started to spin in the air, dragging us alongside, and then she merely threw us to opposite sides, redirecting our energies right back at us.. I crashed right into the sand... while Siegmund dived in the sea.
-”Tch.. what was that all about? Maybe she’s really not existing? Because when our powers clash things vanish from existence...”- I was contemplated about this while trying to wipe away the sand from my clothes.
-”You piss me off!”- Siegmund’s loud and angered tone roared across the skies as he rose from the depths of the sea, his body was ablaze as the spectral clock emerged once more, this time the arrows were slowly accelerating and the environment around us was picking up with the pace of the arrows.. this time the whole world was affected, but us. Siegmund’s scream thunderously reechoed in the breeze of the wind and the day and night cycles accelerated.. Days began to fly rapidly as the environment around was drastically changing. He hid his face beneath his palms and appeared to be completely out of his mind.
-”What the hell is going on here? Why is the time flowing so rapidly around us?”- I asked Zerneger.
-”It appears that Siegmund went berserk. He can’t control his powers, the flow of time is rapidly accelerating. We are traveling through time basically. That woman must have done something suspicious to him...”- Zerneger pointed out..
-”Damn it, then I shall rip her to shreds for myself.”- I faced the shady woman and extended my left arm towards her, the shadows on the ground began to bend and twist until they formed into chains that enveloped her whole body, I pulled the shadowy chains to my side and got her close to me.
-”Simon...”- She said in an innocent tone.. she was not even resisting and starring directly into my eyes.
-”What the fuck have you done? Who are you?”- I asked her directly and squeezed my palm into a fist, the chains around her suddenly became tighter.. squeezing her body a little.
-”Simon...Simon...”- She appeared to be happy, even smiling to me and repeating my name all over again.
-”Bah... some damn child you are...”- I was about to crush her within the shadowy chains, but she merely absorbed the chains into herself...
-”Huh... you can absorb shadows..? It looks like you can use the same abilities as me... However you will not escape my sword now!”- I screamed and was about to penetrate her skull, however she just smiled once more.
-”See you later.”- Her body suddenly turned black as it then collapsed into a black goo of shadows and dispersed around the earth.
-”I can’t believe she’s gone... Darn it!”- I gritted my teeth in anger.
-”Whoever she was.. she appears to be gone.. I didn’t like her.. She had a mysterious feel around herself. She even knew your name... Destroy her without hesitation the next time you see her...”- Zerneger suggested and I nodded at his suggestion and focused to the events that were happening in front of us.

-”Gahahaha... I hate all of you! Why? Why? WHY!? WHY ARE YOU INTERFERING WITH MY PREY!!!?!?!?! CAN’T YOU SEE THAT HE’S MINE? CAN’T YOU SEE THAT I AM THE MOST POWERFUL PRESENCE IN THE EXISTENCE!!”- Overran by pride and madness Siegmund was unleashing his feelings all over the place as the blue skies were replaced by stars in every passing moment. The time was just burning out and everything that was moving, living and such seemed to be fast forwarded around us... soon weeks and then months passed...
-”YOU KNOW!? I’ve had enough of you! I will rip this universe to shreds.. I will take away a chunk of reality by causing a paradox! Are you ready? Because I am going to destroy the meaning and the existence of our current fight! Even though we are already not existing in our main timeline, I shall completely shatter that chunk of universe and create a new timeline! When Zerneger... Zeitgreindner never had the chance to be used for combat by us! Where only the two of us are the anomalies in space and time... Let’s go to that point of time! Let’s travel to that moment before this madness began!”- A rippling shock wave marched throughout the world and then everything suddenly stopped around us.. The moving leaves of the trees.. the falling drops of water.. Animals that were running around and even people that were doing their basic routines suddenly became trapped in the moment as the time around us has been completely stopped. And the colors of the world suddenly blurred out, leaving only darkness around as everything lost it’s colors and only black and white remained.
-”He completely lost it...”- Zerneger sighed. Siegmund then took a deep breath into his lungs and appeared right in front of me.
-”What the!? How! Such speed...”- I became shocked.
-”Hah.. I don’t care anymore.. I don’t want to play by the rules.. I can skip through time if I want.”- He grinned and pointed his blade right at my face. I attempted to slice him first, but the blade slipped out of my arms and it was captured in his free hand. Both blades suddenly started to glow and energies began to pulsate uneasily.
-”Fuck this! I can’t control my powers!”- I shouted out of confusion.
-”Hahaha! Let’s visit a certain someone! To the moment of time when you were about to escape Atreia in a quest for more power!”- He grinned and the energies from the blades seeped out and collided against each other.. rippling in the air and releasing shock waves across the sea in the horizon... The things and living organisms around us suddenly started to disintegrate and vanish.. until everything whited out and a colossal black hole torn itself into reality and swallowed both of us inside. We were falling in the darkness where countless of spatial windows were showing us the way of both past and the future.. where each and passing moment seemed like an eternity... everything merged into one huge spiral and bashed us right into complete nothingness.

Someone left a scar in the time.

I found myself laying on my back in the middle of nothingness. Everything around me was white as snow.. I quickly got up and looked around the place, but nothing was present around me. I attempted to scream and shout, but no echo went off.. no reflections were visible in these walls.. although those were not the walls around me.. absolutely nothing existed. I attempted to contact Zerneger but he was not responding at all.. actually I realized that Zerneger was not even on my back.. and I was completely naked myself.

Did I die?

Did we erase the universe?

Was I erased?

No... I am still existing right?

Those thoughts were flying across my head on repeat.. I looked to the side and noticed Baltasar hill village, still blooming in it’s brightest colors.. Sandvika was running around her bar happily, sweeping the fallen leaves around the place. She was indeed a cheerful one, even Azure was there... happily standing and looking to the starry sky. I tried to reach them.. I tried to talk to them, but no one seemed to hear me.

Huh...? Don’t they know me...?

Can’t they see me?

-”Hey! It’s me Simon! I’m glad that you are alive guys!”- I shouted it out loud with all of my heart. But no one responded to me.

Strange...

This is so fucked up...

The scenery of the village before me suddenly vanished and the whiteness flooded in again. I sat down on what was supposed to be the surface of this blank space and lowered my head, I was able to feel that tears were building on my eyes, but I tried to remain strong..

After all.. it has to be a dream..

Maybe even a nightmare...

Suddenly I heard footsteps approaching me from behind, I turned my head back to face the direction from where the sound was coming. I instantly noticed black high-heels and black robes, which were covering those fine feminine legs, I tilted my head upwards a bit and then I noticed that it was the very same girl from before. I instantly jumped backwards and prepared for a defense.. although I looked like an animal, a wolf or a tiger, standing on his fours and preparing to charge at his prey. The girl smiled and sat in front of me.. At the very same moment I realized that I was completely naked and a blush dyed my face, I covered my MOST private part with my hands and sat down on the surface. She appeared to be harmless for some reason.

-”Hi, we’ve met again Simon!”- She expressed a warm smile on her face.
-”Huh? Who are you? What have you done?”- I inquired.
-”Heehee! I don’t who I am for myself and even if I knew I would never tell you, at least not in this place! I haven’t done anything.. it appears that you are closer to me now..”- She happily giggled and waved with her hands.
-”Huh? What do you mean? Is this some kind of dream or an illusion?”- I had way too many of them recently and in the past even.
-”Not at all.. this is actually a reality. A new reality for us, even your other half is here.. oh wait.. I don’t know haha!”- She bursted into laughter and picked herself up back on her feet. She slowly approached me and extended her arm towards me.
-”Now now! Don’t be shy, stand up.”- She winked at me.
-”I uh... wait.. what?”- I looked around the place with a bright blush on my face, but in the end I grabbed her hand and she pulled me up to her face level.
-”What is this place anyway?”- I asked her and covered myself.
-”This is nothingness... Theoretically this place is existing, but in reality it does not exist as well. It’s just our consciousness. The gears in the universe have shifted.. I’m afraid that you do not exist anymore. Just like me.. I never existed in the first place... My existence is yet to begin in about five years from now, but at the same time it has already began.”- She smiled.
-”What I don’t understand a damn thing...”- I was just way too confused...
-”You don’t have to understand anything.. nothing makes sense.. You are just erased, one universe was completely destroyed and since you two are about to cause a paradox a new and distant universe is about to be born. Although you two have already caused a space and time paradox, but I don’t know.. I honestly don’t know anything, because I do not exist.. I’m just an observer, but your consciousness, or maybe it is my consciousness, is giving me reason to exist out of nothingness. After all, everything is in the hands of the creation power.”- She seemed to be uneducated about the situation herself, however she was pretty wise and more aware about the situation than me. On the bright side she was not intending to fight me.
-”Then what about the village? I just witnessed Azure and Sandvika hanging out there. What was that all about?”- I just begged for answers.
-”Oh that? It was just a sight from another universe that you created. A universe without you, when you never existed.. it seems those friends of yours found a way to meet in their lifetime even without your presence. They didn’t answer you, because you were not permitted to enter that universe. A non existent beign can not materialize in the reality.”- She placed her index finger on her lower lip and looked up in thought.
-”Does that mean that the thing that I just witnessed is happening right now, without me? But what about you? How did you interfered in our fight if you do not exist?”- I stormed her with questions.
-”Indeed.. Everything seems to be more peaceful without you in this new universe. Ah... even I do miss Azure, I’m dying to see him again... Oh me interfering? I don’t know how I did that.. I honestly don’t... I just did it on a whim.. those powers of yours allowed for me to breach into your territory. Actually I’ve been observing for far too long, it gets boring and lonely here...”- She frowned and rolled her eyes at the end of her speech.
-”Damn it... this is so mind bending.. I just can’t take it and your head just seems empty! You are probably hiding the truth from me just like everyone else around this world... or universe... bah whatever! How do you even know Azure? But wait... you won’t answer me this, so forget about this!”- I became pissed.
-”Don’t act like a whiny brat, I can’t answer all of your questions, but I’m glad that we’ve met in person. It warmed my heart, it’s been ages since we talked to each other last time. I just want to say to you that everything is going to be alright.. The timelines had been split already, but you are going to return to reality.. although it might be a little jumpy and bumpy, but I assure you that you are still going to fight for yourself and your own dreams. Although for you this new and alternative universe will bring new surprises and you will probably meet new faces and friends, so don’t be surprised about it. Just don’t shatter it completely and do not destroy those precious lives, which are not responsible for your crimes, boys!”- She waved with her hand and vanished from my sight.. I was left speechless.. and then the whiteness suddenly darkened until nothing but black remained.

I then found myself standing in the Baltasar hill village, near the holy tree.. next to my feet a badly injured and defeated Azure was laying.. the rain was pouring.. I instantly distinguished this scene.. it happened during those dreams of mine. But I realized that this was the event of the past.. the aftermath of Triniel’s assault. His armor was dent and some ribs of his were carved out through the steel. He was unconsciously praying for revenge, muttering those words over... and over again.. he was cursing me for being weak.. and then a hooded man beside me lifted his blade and placed it on his back, turning to the other side he began to approach the exit of the village.
-”Hey wait!”- I extended my arm towards the man and he momentarily stopped on his tracks.
-”Hmm..?”- He turned his head over his shoulder for a peek, only a part of his face was visible, his sole visible eye was bright blue and the tears were building on top of them.
-”Are you Simon by any chance?”- I wondered.
-”No.. not anymore at least.. I’m just a someone, who doesn’t deserve to stay in this village anymore. Who are you? You look familiar.”- He replied in a husky tone.
-”I see.. so you are indeed the man that I was looking for. I’m just a friend.. an ally of yours.. a fake copy of yours to be more exact.”- Just like him... even I was not strong with the introductions.. I had no pride and glory in my name anymore.. because that man was more real than me.. I was not even supposed to be in this timeline.. I was not supposed to even meet him. But the very same man in front of me.. held all of my memories.
-”What do you want from me? Are you my evil half by any chance?”- My appearance sparked an interest to his eyes.
-”Nah.. not at all.. I just have his body.. listen... you don’t have to leave this place.. You shall never leave this place. Without your presence here things will change drastically. Azure will die again and you must not leave his side at all.”- I tried to warn him.
-”I don’t know what are you babbling about. Even if you look like me, you seem to be full of shit. I have to go.. in order to get stronger. I need to leave this place for my own redemption, because one day I have to bring justice for Azure’s injuries. But not today, because on this very moment I am far too weak.”- He turned away and continued to move.
-”Don’t you understand! Even though I know nothing about you.. I know your future! It will be grim and full of dangers! You must never leave this place! You must protect Azure by being here!”- I was shouting all over the village, almost pleading for him to stay.
-”I see... I think I know who you are.. you are Simon. Because only Simon would care for Azure’s well being... because Simon would take care of the village. Although the very same Simon would search for power.. but if your words are true then I have to go even further.. I must become even stronger than I seek to become. However.. I think.. I can trust you.. until I return again.. protect Azure for me.”- He stopped on his tracks just to say this and gave me a nod afterwards.. He then turned his back to me and slowly went for the exit.

I was left standing besides fallen Azure... gazing at this man, who was actually me from the past, leaving the village. I wanted to grasp his image with my hands, but it was meaningless.. Although I did give him a nod too. I agreed to take care of Azure.. because it was the only thing that I was able to do. However I never wanted to see this man leave the village, because he was not aware yet of what kind of dangerous road will follow him. Even though I agreed to his terms... I could not just stand there and wait.. I shook my head instead and began to run straight at him.. But then.. my movements suddenly stopped.. as everything around me froze.. the motion has stopped and the image of him leaving the village cracked and shattered like glass into millions of fragile pieces. Darkness followed and then I was forced to open my eyes in yet another place, which was about to enter the phase of finale in this grand clash, which was spanning for eternities.

In a secluded place with tall walls made of marble, where a high roof was standing firm above my head.. I appeared to be laying on my back. Uh.. what a familiar place it was.. was it not located somewhere in Abyss? one of the divine fortresses if I was not mistaking? A couple or three years in the past? Yeah.. I quickly picked up with the scenario.. There was a man standing before a portal, which was leading to another world.. His back was turned to me.. He had spiky shoulder pad on his right and his arms were cladded in metal, with sharp, edgy spikes erected across. He was all dressed in black and had a spiky great sword on his back, connected by the shadowy leeches. A hooded persona he was.. that’s right it was me! Indeed it was that fateful moment when I was about to leave this world. A rippling sphere of light was shot at the portal and then it was trapped in a barrier of light. The man, who was in front of the portal stayed there motionless and sighed.
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-”You shall not pass..”- A snickering and vicious tone from behind him came out, I looked to another side and noticed that the voice belonged to Siegmund.. Was I just spacing out? Did I pass out after we emerged in this moment of time?
-”Hmm..? Who dares to threaten me?”- The mysterious man removed his hood and exposed the very same silver hair and azure-blue eyes with rather young facial features.. it was him.. of course..
-”I do... I came here to prevent you from entering inside that portal!”- Siegmund declared.
-”Oh...? And who might you be?”- He asked him and then slowly started to turn himself to our side.
-”I am Siegmund.. or rather the real Simon, you faker...”- Siegmund grinned and bashed his knuckles against each other.
-”Oh... but I’m not a Simon.. I’m just a mere someone.. a passenger in this world.. you can call me ‘S’ for short.”- He looked at both of us.. it appeared that Siegmund was just beside me. He was not surprised at all.. not in the slightest at least.. Was this really me from the past? It appeared that I had such a calm behavior.
-”Hey.. look at you now.. you freaks keep multiplying in seconds.. Now there’s two copies of me, who want to prevent me from leaving.. and I thought that you would stay by Azure’s side.. what a disappointment.. I just left you at Baltasar hill village three weeks ago and now you are here with an ally, laying on the floor like some low worm.”- S just mocked me... but it appeared that I was not spacing out at all.. I was there and I was talking to him before...
-”Huh? You two have met already?”- Siegmund looked down to me and wondered.
-”It appears so... somehow I transcended the time and momentarily appeared in the Baltasar hill village three weeks ago it seems...”- I was confused myself... but if he was able to remember me.. then it was the truth.. was this the cause of me not existing anymore? Did I somehow interfere with the flow of things?
-”Weird.. but whatever...”- He casually shrugged.
-”Excuse me, but weren’t you two trying to prevent me from entering inside the portal?”- S just asked and folded his arms against his chest.
-”Oh yeah... absolutely! That place is forbidden for you. You shall die or stay here, I don’t care... Only the real Simon will visit this place!”- Siegmund proudly declared.
-”The real Simon? Don’t make me laugh.. I’ve dealt with him already.”- He merely grinned and the sword on his back began to extend itself, crawling around his feet and then the whole body like a snake, with crimson glowing metal and sharp dragon-tooth blades attached on each side.
-”WHAT?!”- Siegmund was shocked to hear him.
-”It’s all thanks to your ally over there.. When he approached me three weeks ago I instantly picked up on the fact that something fishy was about to happen. So instead of taking my leave right away I lured my evil half out, beaten his ass to a pulp and sealed him inside a powerful barrier filled with boiling magma. I can’t kill him, since the bastard is pretty much immortal, but if he’s burning and regenerating all over again he can’t pretty much escape from the barrier.”- He sighed and then his blade scattered to the sides floating around the air and was spinning rapidly, dark mist was evaporating from the parts of his scattered blade.
-”No way! What have you done to me? What have you done to my body!”- Siegmund became enraged.
-”Holy shit this is bad news... but what a smart move..”- I smirked for myself.. even though S mistaken me for an enemy my occurrence in the past did change the history. What a smart move.. I appeared to be quite smart in the past huh.. but what was up with his blade? What was with all the dark mist in the air?

S merely took one step forward and sighed again.. He was pumped up for the battle.. but I was not his enemy... Siegmund was the real threat here. I had to warn him that fighting Siegmund would turn out to be useless, I extended my arm and pointed my finger towards S.
-”Be careful Siegmund can stop t..-”- Without showing any mercy he stopped my speech midway as one of the spinning blades of his hit my throat and left me hanging on the wall. It almost sliced my head off, but gladly it was still hanging.. the blood of mine was dripping across the sharp and spiky edge while I was struggling for another breath.. I was unable to say another word... I was unable to warn him.. The only thing that I was able to do was to choke on my own blood.
-”Shut up, scum. You can’t trick me with your devious words.”- As nonchalant as before S not only spoke with words.. he was actually doing things.. with firm and merciless choices of his.. although those were faulty, because I truly was not his enemy.
-”Ahahaha.. nice one, S!”- Siegmund just laughed at the situation and started to approach him.
-”You’re next, golden shithead.”- Multiple of blades propelled right at Siegmund, but Siegmund was just moving ahead relentlessly as the blades just bounced off him midair and crashed all over the place, some stuck to the floor, while the others stuck to the wall and such.
-”Neat. You seem to be better than your friend over there.”- S commended Siegmund’s ability but he was not even aware that Siegmund merely stopped time to deflect his attack.
-”Why thank you.. You are not as bad for yourself, although the gap between us is huge.”- Siegmund expressed a sadistic grin on his face and was ready for the kill.
-”Talking shit in combat is not for my style. So let me show you that you shouldn’t mess with me. Though I do wonder where did you get that mask, because I’m going to rip it off you, along with that beating heart of yours.”- S actually noticed that Siegmund was carrying Azure’s mask on his chest and I was able to see how rage was developing around him. His aura and his whole presence was getting darker and darker.. the outlines of his body suddenly became black and the darkness was seeping out.. The blades that were scattered all over the place suddenly returned to the hilt, which was behind his back and connected into a whole sword again. At least my throat was released and started to heal rapidly.
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This time a real crisis was inevitable, but I was ready to stop Siegmund at any costs and to protect my past self. After all the fate of our existence was now on my shoulders.. A three way battle for a brighter future was on it’s way.

To be concluded...

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