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Thursday, December 25, 2008 The Armor of Righteousness - Part 5

Ish'kandr the Efreet (Tentative Image)
from the artwork "Efreet" by Moai

The fireball comes into the maelstrom and gets sucked like a drowning ship. Carolyn collapses due to internal injury, and her lightning power still lingers in the whirlpool.

The efreet laughs. ‘Haha! Nice combination, very powerful! But, even if you block half of my fireball, the other half can still scorch you all to smithereens!’

Like the efreet said, the three elements collide on and on and finally explode! Most of the Great Fireball gets neutralized, but the rest thirty percent rains down on the fighters. Despite of their protections, the fighters take considerable amount of damage.

Shards of water and lightning energy shoot up as well. Ish’kandr already anticipates that and moves here and there to avoid and block the shards. Just then, another energy shard, larger and the rest and spiraling like a drill – or more like Alexis’ skill Griffin Noble Sacrifice – comes. The efreet warps aside. The energy shard turns and comes even faster like a homing heat-seeker. Panicked, the efreet shoots a Fireblast and hits the energy shard, making it disperse.

The efreet sighs with relief, but after that comes extreme pain. Before he knows it, flashes of light slice all over his body. The next thing he sees is Alexis the Red Prince, floating in front of him and slashes with his black sword. Ish’kandr is half-stunned by the last attack and can’t do another hyperspeed move, only barely avoids the black sword... and finds the white sword piercing into his torso, all the way to his upper back.

With a wound like that, nothing can save his life now. Being naturally immortal and powerful, Ish’kandr has lived long and knows no defeat. Both he and Alexis go down, and the efreet lands on his own throne.

‘Ahh... So this is what death feels like... Sweet and bitter in the same time. Painful, but after that comes rest. Defeated by a skill as quick as my own, I have no regrets. I can now rest in peace, away from this job and this place.

But pray tell me, why? Why did you kill me? There must be another way to make my job complete, why this?’

Alexis answers carefully, ‘Because there’s no other way. We wanted to ask your permission to borrow the Armor of Righteousness. We were willing to be tested in any way, but no. You didn’t give us a chance! You attacked us on and on until we die, then you’ll sit back and relax on top of our remains, and waiting for another victim so you’ll be satisfied again.

Archangel Avariel has made a poor choice by making you a guardian. Now you can rest in the depths of hell where you belong.’

To Alexis’ answer, Ish’kandr the fire efreet laughs most loudly. ‘Know you what of proper? Know you what of holy? Who are you to judge from my appearance?

I intended to stop the attack and give the armor to YOU if you survived the Great Fireball, but no, you didn’t give me a chance and decided to kill me. If only you waited instead, we can settle this without anybody gets killed.

But hey, we genies shall turn more powerful after we die – as spirits, of course. So I don’t know whether to thank you or curse you after what you’ve done. One more thing I must say to you is, never-ever doubt Avariel. He didn’t make a poor choice. He took my Great Fireball as whole, and he only smiled and offered me this job instead – entrusting me with the armor. I may look like a devil, but he saw goodness, righteousness in me, and for it I am eternally thankful.’

With his dying breath, Ish’kandr looks around towards the fighters, saying, ‘The greatest virtue is to find goodness in anything and anyone, even in the slimmest chance and the obscurest place.’

The great efreet rests his head back against the throne, and with a smile he is no more. His body turns to dust like burned out, and goes in flow with the magma. Alexis puts his swords back in their scabbards, thoughtful.

Suddenly, a stone wall opens like a sliding door on the back of the throne. Apparently, Ish’kandr pressed a hidden switch on his throne just before he died, activated the mechanisms and opened the doorway after a while.


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