Shizuka ran, survival her only purpose, survival her own method.
Shizuka ran, the only thing she could do when faced with the master of spiritual arts that was this maniac which hunted her.
As she raised an entire landscape of blood-red crystal spikes, changing what was once a forest into a field of crimson glass.
“Come out, come out, little one.” Hayato’s voice would come around, like a breeze it would sneak up on her, filling her with a chill.
As she held onto Thea’s body, dead set on protecting what was left of her.
As she hid, four long dreadful moments she hid.
Quinn’s senses, as she followed the younger Falcon, and the landscape which now surrounded them the only thing keeping them alive.
“You cannot run forever now~” Hayato whistled, chuckling wickedly as they felt his voice get closer.
But Quinn knew better, as she rested her hand on Shizuka’s shoulder to stop her from dashing off.
It was a trick, he wasn’t anywhere nearby and she knew it.
But she couldn’t blame her either…Seeing the fright and fury mixed in within Shizuka’s eyes, she couldn’t blame her for wanting to run.
She also knew that he was right.
They couldn’t run forever, one small mistake on her part and he’d be upon them like a falcon onto mice. Then there would really be no running away, not anymore.
(“He’s enjoying this…”) Quinn thought in frustration, (“He likes the hunt.”) as she clenched her hand into a fist. Glancing down at Shizuka once more, a thought then came to her.
It was a crazy thought, but a long time coming too.
As she crouched down to whisper into Shizuka’s ear, “Listen to me, we can escape but only if you trust me okay?” Quinn told her quietly, as her voice unnaturally flowed directly into Shizuka’s mind.
Shizuka shook her head as if asking, ‘What?’
“The area he had opened the rift at before, it should still be volatile. I can use that to open a rift of my own and also use the still lingering connection to reach your allies.” Quinn explained, “I need you to lie in wait while I do this because it will attract him to me. I’ll be the bait and the hook, but I need you to be fast.”
Shizuka’s eyes widened as she shook her head much more fiercely now, (“No, No bloody way we’re doing that!”) she thought, knowing that speaking could mean their demise.
“It’s the only way,” Quinn assured, “I’ll open the rift, and he will come. At which point, you will encase him in these spirit crystals, that will give us the few seconds we need to step through to the other side.”
Shizuka’s mind lay in deep thought as she considered this option. As she glanced at her surroundings, her gaze passing by Quinn who seemed calm and collected, then falling upon Thea’s cold corpse which lay in her own arms…
Her trembling, shaking hands.
(“Why?…Why did this have to happen?…”) Shizuka thought, as despair and fear swirled within her.
Quinn sensing this as she stood by her, and knowing that if she could sense it, then so could he. “W-We’re out of time.” She said, “It’s now or n-never, be ready.” Then seeing Shizuka’s horrified expression rise to meet her gaze, Quinn also knew that this would not do.
She was too calm, and next to this mess of fear and anger…She knew which one Hayato would go after.
Quinn had to do something about this, she had to confuse Shizuka and light up some strong emotion like fury, hate or…pride within herself, so that Hayato would go after her instead.
Quinn resolved herself, she knew who she was facing, and she knew what she had to do.
As such, she put all her fears and misgivings behind her.
As she leaned in, and pulled a now utterly flustered and confused Shizuka closer.
“Don’t die.” Quinn said after stealing her lips, then immediately turning about and dashing off.
Leaving Shizuka behind her, an expression of brighter crimson than the crystals which surrounded her.
Quinn ran, as fast as she could she ran. A bright flame burning within her. Pride, terror and embarrassment all mixed in together, they formed that flame.
And she fed that flame, Quinn let those emotions burn, she stoked them and let their heat overwhelm her.
And as she reached an opening in the field of red crystal.
Like a moth, to that flame.
“Found you, sister.” Hayato appeared, grinning widely, wickedly so.
Her heart sank, he was standing in between her and the volatile space.
(“He knows…He’s figured me out…”)
She knew, there was no snowball’s chance in hell she could get through him alone.
But as Shizuka’s crystalized spirit suddenly engulfed him, entrapping him.
Quinn still ran, surrounding herself with emerald winds, she flew.
As the crystals cracked and shattered, as with that brief second of bought time, she managed to get around him.
Stopping right there, and ignoring all else, Quinn opened her arms wide.
Hands stretched out and clawing at the space around her, she focused.
She focused on the warping of reality before her, she focused on the connection that still lingered.
And as Hayato’s hand clenched around her throat, she willed her spirit through that small lingering.
“Sneaky little s***…You really thought you could out do me? I taught you every single little f****** thing that you know.” Hayato hissed, as he raised her off her feet. As he choked her.
“E-End…T-Thi-This…” Quinn managed to mutter out through breathless moments.
And Hayato chuckled, “Oh, I shall.” Amused by her challenging eyes, seemingly refusing to give up hope…
He didn’t understand, Hayato did not understand what gave his sister so much hope.
He didn’t, until a burning sensation of pure hatred burst into existence from behind him.
Quickly he let her go and spun about, his eyes widening at the sight now before him.
While Quinn lay kneeling on the ground next to him, coughing as she tried to regain her breath. “I-I wasn’t…talking to you.” She said, her gaze rising to also meet the source of manifested hatred.
As the two Spirit Beasts were once again faced with the White Dragon.
A blurry rift in reality, showing each side to the other, but also keeping them apart…
Until, an emerald hue suddenly surrounded the Dragon.
Engulfed in Quinn’s spirit, he raised his hand through the rift…
And it passed through.
Turning Hayato’s expression into a pale paper white, as Erik’s hand clenched into a fist.
As he then stepped through the rift, and came face to face with him again.
Hayato chuckled, when Erik’s expression became clear to them.
Wide, blue eyes, frozen still with hate.
Hands clenched into reddened fists, as they shook and shivered with rage.
Hayato then found that…could not move, his body would not move before this manifestation of anger.
As Erik’s gaze turned to Shizuka, while she stepped into view, heaving Thea’s body within her arms.
His eyes twitched as he saw her, pale and cold, laying still and lifeless.
Long, dreadful moments passed, as everything lay still.
As Erik gazed at Thea, the trembling in his hands coming to a stop.
The hate in his eyes, dimming into an emotionless stare as they narrowed.
“Bring her back.” The Dragon said, his voice reverberating through their very bones.
Nobody responded, nobody answered.
“Give her back.” Erik hissed once more.
And right then Hayato noticed, it wasn’t fear which held him in place, but time all around them seemed to have suddenly stopped flowing.
Everything, had frozen. All but the Dragon before him, and his eyes which allowed him to see.
“G-Give…” Erik continued, as rage once again filled him.
“I shall not.” When a voice, suddenly filled their minds. Toneless and emotionless, the voice was neither feminine nor masculine, neither loud nor silent. The voice, seemed like it was everywhere at once, but also nowhere.
“Why? What difference…does it make you?” Erik growled.
“Life, ends. That is true, and shall remain so.” The voice said, “I cannot bring her back, I will not even if I could. Her time has passed, Erikathyr, but yours still longs.”
“Even…Even if I vow here and now to lay waste to every single stone and drop you’ve ever given creation to, if you do not?” The Dragon threatened, as lightning and flame raged within his eyes.
“I will not.” The voice still said, “And I know, that you shall not do so either. Empty threats will gain you nothing.”
The magic within Erik’s eyes dimmed, returning them to their clear blues. He sighed, a weak sigh full of despair as his gaze remained frozen upon her face. “Remember, what you told me?” He then asked, “To accept my guilt, which I have. To find my purpose, which, I, have…To find my hope…”
Again, Erik’s eyes widened, as his hands clenched and arms began to shake. “She was my hope.”
A long, drawn out growl, reverberated through Hayato’s body.
As the Dragon’s dreadful gaze turned to face him.
“This one…took that away from me.” Erik said, as time suddenly continued all around them.
Shizuka and Quinn both taking deep startled breaths as it did.
“Go, leave us.” Erik told them, and Hayato was too focused on Erik to stop them.
Confused, but acceptant of the situation, the both of them rushed around Erik and into the rift.
As Erik watched after them, his eyes following Thea as her body sunk into the blur in space.
His gaze then, returning to Hayato.
As the Spirit Beast dared not move.
Frozen where he stood, Hayato’s mind was still catching up with all that had occurred.
He heard it, a voice so detached from reality it couldn’t have been anything other than a Void. It confused him.
He felt it, hate so pure course through Erik that turned his own bestial instincts against himself. It excited him.
He also…sensed something else.
Within that brief moment, as Thea’s body was carried out of the Spirit realm, Hayato sensed the exact second it occured.
Knowing not what it was, still, he sensed it…
And Erik felt it too, as it had happened within himself.
He sensed cracks quickly grow across it, as Erik’s emotions ravaged through it.
He sensed it shatter, like fragile glass suddenly smashed apart.
Hayato sensed something deep within Erik’s soul…suddenly break.
And out of it, Hayato also sensed something else emerge. Something so warped, that it chilled him down to the core.
As golden lightning surged across Erik’s body.
As crimson flame burst about him.
As pure white shimmers of light, shone through him, while veins of bright light grew all over his skin.
Pulsating with brightness, shaking his body with every beat.
Hayato watched, as the warped energy met the light within him.
Enveloping it whole, warping it too.
He watched, as the bright white veins of light…turned a pitch black.
He watched, confused, as the crimson flames which raged ferociously, turned into a sickly green.
As the golden lightning dissipated briefly, then reappeared as a dim violet.
As the black veins, rose up to the Dragon’s eyes, turning them dark too.
Erik spread his wings wide, sending forth a volley of the lightning, sending tendrils of the volatile energy at the Spirit Beast.
Hayato spread his wings too, flapping them forth and blowing a blast of air at the surging lightning.
The two magiks then meeting mid-way, and something unexpected occurred.
As lightning clashed with blades of air, Hayato’s expression turned to fright, as he watched the violet electricity turn his own attack to ice. And through that wall of frozen air, the energy passed still, flowing out of the other side and suddenly lashing out at Hayato.
He tried to evade, but the magic was too quick, striking his side and filling him with a piercing agony as his skin and flesh froze over.
It confused, and terrified him.
“What is this? What is this warped magic!?” He bellowed in question, as a world of green flame appeared before him.
Engulfing the wall of ice, he watched as it melted as if faced with a sun.
Yet he felt no heat, he sensed no fire before himself.
Yet…there it was, a wave of bright green flames falling upon him.
Giving him nowhere to run.
And as the flames melted even the blood-red crystal terrain, he knew he also had nowhere to hide.
Hayato screamed out in fury, willing raging ember winds rising to surround him. He enveloped himself in wind, hundreds of blades of spiritual air whirling around his form like a ferocious hurricane.
The winds, forced the flames to change direction. And the hurricane, absorbed the fire into itself.
As Hayato cackled, “Do you forget fool? Air is to fire as it is to all living beings! You won-” He stopped.
Horrified at what he was now seeing.
As the green flames burned even the hurricane.
He watched terrified, as his winds dissipated.
The winds he had summoned, he sensed them…melting.
Not with heat, but as if acid was burning away the very air that made them up.
“No…impossible…that makes-That makes no sense at all!” Hayato exclaimed as the walls of flame rose all around him, entrapping him.
All but one side, as it split open for Erik to walk through.
Darkness engulfing his hands.
Yet it wasn’t like any other kind of malleable dark magic.
The darkness, somehow, gave off its own light.
Erik did not answer, as he raised his hands forth.
And when Hayato saw those hands engulfed in dark-light energy, he realised what it was.
Hayato realised also, what within Erik had broken.
“Let turmoil take over as your mind breaks under the chaos of your own imagination.” Erik began to chant.
“W-Wait! I can fix you!” Hayato exclaimed, now recognising the warping in Erik’s mana.
“Let agony define you, as your body’s senses reach new heights of pain.” But Erik ignored him, continuing to chant.
Hayato, seeing that there would be no reasoning with him, sent forth another wave of furious winds.
“Hell is a terrifying place, yet what you are to witness, is beyond even it.”
Winds which, were met with lashes of green flame, dissipating the attack completely.
“Dark Arts;” Erik said as a misty blue wisp of light shot out of his hands, trailing dark-light energy behind it.
“Dreamweaver School;” Having nowhere to run, no way to hide…The wisp collided with Hayato’s chest, the bright darkness then enveloping him whole.
“Personal Abyss.” Erik finished his curse, as it overwhelmed the Spirit Beast.
As he suddenly began to scream his lungs out.
Terror like no other, filled him. A crazed fear that left no space for reason nor relief, it permeated Hayato’s mind.
Erik dispersed the wall of flame, as he approached the now kneeling Spirit Beast.
As he held his head whilst stuck in a continuous horror-filled scream, his eye-lids laying wide open yet his eyes had rolled back into his head.
“You will die,” Erik said, his tone void of any emotion. “This spell, is the worst of my known Dark Arts. And the only way to escape it, is a cleansing of the mind. But, that cannot be done, if you do not have a mind to speak of. You will die now, but your mind shall forever be trapped in a nightmare of your own making. Constant fear, a constant chilling terror enveloping your every thought.”
And as Erik said those words, sickly green flames burst out of his mouth. Erik engulfed him in a single breath of flame.
As he screamed.
As he fell to the ground which also melted around him.
As his entire body dissipated away. His skin turning to liquid before evaporating, then his flesh too, then his organs, then his bones.
Nothing remained of Hayato.
Only an ethereal spirit taking his form, his soul, still stuck in a perpetual shriek of pure torture.
Erik remained, for a few moments he stayed, listening to the cursed beast’s howling.
But it affected him not.
The empty void that now lay within his chest, remained hollow.
Sighing, he turned around and left.
Walking through the rift, Erik left Hayato’s soul to forever exist.
To forever be, drowning in never-ending torment.