|Cristophe the Griffin Rider with Acavela|
‘It’s the three of them against the four of us now,’ says Hernan, also putting his hands on Chris’ back. The Wind Spirit Eshmyria also puts her semi-transparent hands on Iris and Hernan’s backs, channeling energy all the way into the Shield of Faith.
In faith we stand.
The next thing Chris hears is Xylen shrieking, ‘SISTERS, RELEASE! EEEYAGGGHH!!’
BHLAARRRRR!!! BOOO!! HOOO!!
The black ball, so gigantic it covers one-third of the throne hall, is moving slowly towards the targets. Eerie, frightening deathly faces, human-like, skeletal and demonic all swirl perpetually on the ball.
Chris shouts, ‘This is it! Shielding Wings of Love!’
In the total defense version of this skill, Chris puts his sword horizontally right behind his large shield and channels all the energy he can gather into the shield. The next moment, BHLAGG! SWHIRR! WHIRR! The gigantic black ball hits and grinds on the shield, and Chris is as though stopping a giant snowball from tumbling down a mountain slope.
‘UUUURGHHH!!’ Chris feels his limbs numb as the pressure rolls on and on. CHRIIT!! CHRIIITSSZZZ!! And then comes pain, so unbearable, his hands are like being minced into pieces.
Iris and Hernan also feel the same. They barely stand, but they keep on resisting. It’s do or die now.
No, this is not good, Chris thinks. If it keeps going on like this, that ball will breach our protection and grinds us to death! If I counterstrike now, the result will be the same. Come on, Chris, think! There’s got to be another solution.
Before Chris runs out of time thinking, suddenly somebody, apparently an apparition comes from above him. It’s Eshmyria! And she hits the black ball with a concentrated, compacted mass of wind energy, forming yet another gigantic ball: the Pandemonium.
SWHIRRRR!! CRITT! CRITT-CRITT!!
The ball of swirling wind grinds against the dark ball, chipping shards of energy at the point of impact.
Half a minute later, the two balls become as though merged in one, swirling into each other until…
BHLOOOMMMM!!! The two giganticv balls finally explode!
Shards of extremely destructive energy spread to the whole hall!
As result, the attacks get backfired to their casters!
CRASH! CRASH! Eshmyria, the closest one to the swirling ball gets the full blast of it, her form contorts and dissolves rapidly.
Just before she vanishes, Eshmyria lets out a whislper so gentle, yet loud enough so Iris and her friends can hear it, ‘My work is done, my soul is at peace. Now it’s time for me to rest. Farewell for now, wait for my return one day.’
‘Eshmyria, NO!!’ Iris tries to reach out for her ally, partner and friend, but the force of explosion also pushes her along with Chris and Hernan. Iris flies uncontrollably and hits the ‘sloth’ statue pillar, BAMM!! There’s nothing she can do except to see Eshmyria depart from sight.
That means the Wind Spirit is injured and weakened, and she needs a long time to recover before she can be summoned again. Maybe a week, or a year, nobody knows.
Yet, Eshmyria’s sacrifice yields something.
The explosion force also hits the three succubi! One-by-one they fall off the air and CRASH, CRASH, CRASH!! Hit the floor violently.
Xylen, for one, is the only one in this room conscious and strong enough to try and get up with all the severe injuries she bears. Her one wing is broken, her left shoulder is misplaced. Black blood is trickling out from the flesh wounds all over her body. Yet, the Glaive of Chaos is firmly gripped on her right hand. Her body shudders violently as the blue she-devil finally stands on her feet.
Her mind is racing as she looks around. Nepathya is down, Katarina too… But see, the three heroes are not moving either. They’re like helpless lambs waiting to be slaughtered. This is my golden chance, and I shall not let it pass.
As she comes near the Paladins, her smile widens. Chris is really still knocked out. Hernan and Iris are also in the same state, confirming her expectation.
Slowly, Xylen raises her glaive with her good hand to decapitate the man in white armor lying helplessly on the floor.
‘Well, I admit it’s a waste to waste a divinely handsome young man like you, and I’d rather kill you in a fight, but for a worthy cause, for my devotion to the Dark Overlord, I must use all means and reap from this opportunity.
I bid you farewell, Heir of the Light.’
With her eyes fixed to the peaceful, naïve face inside the silvery-white helmet, Xylen hesitates no more.
Xylen lowers a deadly hand on Cristophe Deveraux to end the biggest threat for the Dark Forces once and for all. All the efforts to protect mankind and all the good things in this world, all the love, tears, sweat and blood spilled, all the fallen heroes, soldiers and individuals to open the path all the way to this point will be gone in vain.
The world of Eternia, as we know it, will be engulfed in eternal darkness with no hope for the light…
Comes a sound to bring a change to it all.
Xylen is shocked. This is not the sound she expected! It must be the CRASSSH, sound of a severed head! She takes a closer, clearer look at the target and catches a sight of an object she is clearly familiar with: a kiliji.
The rare curved long sword whose owner is the man she framed into killing her back when she was Xylen Felicitia, the girl wonder who held the highest esteem as a Pope, leader of all Vadisians in the world.
Looking to her right, she sees a handsome face that’s cold as ice, a face that once brought the warmth she’s longing for but she tried to obtain through wrong means. The eyes which were once so warm but now so cold and determined, the eyes which once stared to defend her from the accusation of being a cheat who trapped and wasted many lives in Enia’s Sanctum but now stared to defend the world from this she-devil’s menace.
A man called Robert Chandler. Ex-hunter. Ex-fugitive. Knight. Paladin. Hero.
Xylen is as though stunned on seeing this stunning stud. He still has his untidy white hair, blue eyes and the other sword Grimlock. Yes, the man who would make a better Heir of Vordac than the other one…
‘I won’t let you do that, demoness,’ says Robert curtly.
‘Humph, once again you interfered with my plans,’ Xylen snorts, ready with her glaive on guard in one hand. ‘I’ll defeat you all, even with only one hand.’
A moment later, Adler, Carolyn, Eidos and Dejan enter the vicinity through the broken door. The battered wall is still holding on after being hit by such godly force.
Suddenly, Rob’s face changes into surprise, saying, ‘I’ve never seen you this close before, but your face seems familiar. No, this is impossible… Are you, perchance… the Pope?’
Xylen smiles warmly, replying, ‘You guessed right, Robert, but not entirely true. You see, I’m not a Pope anymore. This is the true me, Nelyx the Succubus Queen. Finally, someone does recognize me, and I’m glad.’
In response, Robert points his kiliji straight at Xylen while holding his other sword Grimlock in the other hand.
He says, ‘Sorry, but I don’t share the same sentiment. After all you did: seducing me, framing me into murdering you, slaughtering the griffins and fighting to spread terror all over the land, do you expect me to embrace you with a smile? No, I’m not glad. I’m upset.’
‘Upset? Is that all you can think about me? Not hate, not vengeful? Just… upset?’
‘Yes, Xylen. I’ve been wronged and hurt so many times by so many people, by time and circumstances. Even my closest friend and student invaded my country just to get revenge upon me. But do I hate him? No. I was just upset because he was lost, and I forgave him. And now that he walks the right path again, I’m glad.
The same goes to you. I don’t hate you, and I forgive you for everything you did to me in the past. However, as you’re already lost in darkness without hope of return, I must stop you from doing what you’re going to do to this world.’
‘Just save your preaching. If you want to stop me, you just have to kill me,’ Xylen shouts.
Hearing this, Robert puts Grimlock back into the scabbard and shows a finger at Xylen.
‘One chance,’ he says.
‘What does that mean?’
‘I give you one chance to strike me first. Just one.’
‘You’re underestimating me. Are you being lenient because of my condition?’ Xylen snorts.
‘Take it or leave it, it’s up to you,’ Robert waves his kiliji aside.
‘Fellow Paladins, please don’t interfere. This is a personal matter between me and her.’
Even Adler doesn’t comment to that. He just keeps a close eye at the two other succubi who’re just getting up.
‘I warned you, Robert. Now take this and DIE!’
DASSSH!!! Xylen charges forward, thrusting her glaive with one hand and all the strength she can muster.
She gets close to her target, thrusts and…
The Glaive of Chaos slices the air!
‘Your chance is up.’
A whisper, a crouch, a spin…
The kiliji finds home in the she-devil’s stomach, penetrating through her back.
‘UURGGG!!’ Xylen lets out a muffled scream in pain. Robert is about to take the sword out to finish the job, and the victim explodes the last drops of her aura, BHLAAMM!!
Robert loses grip of his sword, flying uncontrollably and crashing into the floor.
Still, the result is imminent.
‘Tee hee… what a wonderful feeling… To die by the sword of the man I love… Wonderful, how wonderful…’
Xylen gasps for breath as her blood and her life are slipping out from her fatal wound. Robert tries to get up to grab his sword back, but the impact from Xylen’s energy burst made his body numb for a while, and he collapses again.
All he can see is Xylen starting to melt and his kiliji along with her, dissolving into nothingness.
‘At least, I now have this sword as souvenir. Now I know that my love is for you, Robert, not for the Dark Overlord. I am nothing more than a minion for him, and he spends more time with that little blonde than with me.’
Robert’s eyes widen on hearing this, saying, ‘What? A blonde? You mean, Eloise is here, and she’s still alive?’
‘Eloise… Yes, that’s her name…
Just get rid of her… for me…
Go ahead… Seek her out in the highest tower…
The key… to get out from here… is where the dead piled up.
Good-bye, my love… Robert…’
Breathing her last, the Archdemoness of Desdemon, the Succubus Queen Nelyx or Xylen falls. Her body melts on, and along with Robert’s kiliji become a wad of liquid on the floor. No trace of her can be recognized anymore.
‘Oh, no, Nelyx…’
Dismayed over their sister’s demise, Nepathya and Katarina immediately break off from their fight with the Paladins and fly to flee through the open ceiling.
‘Look, they’re getting away!’ Dejan points at the enemies and is rapidly turning into an eagle, but a hand comes in his way. It’s Robert’s.
‘Don’t,’ says the white-haired man clearly. ‘We don’t chase over enemies who have lost their courage. Let’s focus on the more important matter at hand.’
Looking at the remains of what used to be his kiliji, which now one with the floor, Robert can’t help but smile. You finally fulfilled your final feat. Take a rest with my father, old friend. Thank you, and good bye.
Taking a last glance, Robert turns back and comes near the knocked-out Paladins now being treated by Eidos Crydias with potions.
Naturally, Iris is the first one to come round, and Rob squats and talks, ‘Any clue on how to get to the next area?’
The elf replies feebly, ‘I think so. I heard Xylen said that the exit to the next area is here in this room.’
‘Oh yes, I remember now,’ Robert replies. ‘On the place where death is piled up… Piled up?’
‘I think it must be the throne made of bones there. It looks ‘piled up’ enough for me,’ says Carolyn, pointing at the seat that was built on death of many.
‘Of course! Let me take a look at it,’ says Eidos, walking up the Throne of Bones, sitting on it and search every nook and cranny of that accursed object.
CRRREAAKK!! GRRGK! GRRGKK!!
Comes a sound of clamoring metals. Eidos has activated a switch on that throne: a pointy bone on the right-hand side of the yellowish-ivory seating.
Slowly, the walls on the right and left side of the hall open up, revealing the dark sky of endless night outside through the glassless windows.
Seeing this, Adler retorts, ‘Eidos, you old fool! That’s the wrong switch! It’s only to open the windows!’
Eidos argues, ‘I’ve searched thoroughly and it’s the only switch on this pile of dead bones…’
‘Let me check outside first,’ says Dejan the Animorpher, instantly morphing into an eagle and flying out through the window. The Paladin wait for a while, and the scout flies ack into the room.
The eagle then turns back into Dejan and reports, ‘The windows ARE our way out! We must walk through the path on the citadel terrace to reach the main tower!’
Adler speaks out at once, ‘All right, then. We move on at once. Iris, you stay here and take care of Hernan and the Heir until they’re awake. The rest of you, follow me!’
Seing that, Robert shouts, ‘Lord Adler, wait! We must follow Dejan instead…!’
But Adler won’t listen and is already out of sight.
‘Just let him be,’ says Eidos who knows his partner best. ‘He needs to be always in control, until somebody scars his pride – permanently.’
Robert just sighs on hearing that and silently goes out of the window, following his fellow Paladins.
188.8.131.52. The Mindbender’s Grudge
Tentative Illustration Image Source:
Griffin Rider by E-tane - http://e-tane.deviantart.com/art/Collab-Griffin-Rider-273914223
Note: Script Check pg 361/487 next chapter