Cecilia struggled to carry Cierra through the woods. Though it was likely the mysterious long-haired man was tracking them down, it would be no better if she rushed her way to the nearby escape portal. Her sister was in critical condition and any sudden movements might cause extreme pain. Looking down, a droplet of blood scattered on the floor and ill thoughts began to surface. Cierra was the only family she has left, considering what had happened in their shared past together. If she were to die, Cecilia wouldn’t know how to deal with the pain. A tear fell from her eye as she pressed onward, sniffling. The portal soon appeared in front of her and in case something unfortunate were to occur, Cecilia tried her best to heal Cierra’s wounds. Her efforts managed to patch up the injuries but did not fully heal them. Her sister slowly opened her eyes, seeing her “older” sister crying in relief. Cecilia shouted her sister’s name and hugged her tightly.
Cierra winced. “Pain. Hurt.”
“O-Oh right, s-sorry,” said Cecilia, restraining herself.
Cierra went on her two feet with Cecilia’s help, then looked around. “Man. Gone?”
“I dunno, but from the looks of it, yeah. Come on, we gotta get out of here.”
Cierra touched her forehead and went on her knee. “Dizzy… Tired….”
“You lost a lotta blood, so let’s take it easy, okay?”
The bushes rustled behind them and despite their fatigue from the recent battle, Cecilia readied herself. A person came out from the thicket and she threw a kick to land the first blow. It was to her surprise that person was their leader, Aiza. Cecilia threw her arms around and after losing momentum, she rolled across the dirt and smeared her face all the way under their leader’s feet. She immediately went on her two feet and saluted as the dirt dripped from her cheeks.
“Miss Aiza-sensei! Reporting for… uh, duty, miss!” she exclaimed.
Aiza frowned, seeing the terrible condition the two were in. “That boy… He did this?”
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“N-No. We were kicking his ass until this long black-haired guy showed up with a weird thin sword. Then he kicked our asses then we ran! We almost died back there…” Cecilia explained.
Cierra grumbled, shaking her head to ease her dizziness. “Man. Miyamoto. Musa…Musashi.”
“Preposterous. Someone claiming the name of the greatest swordsman.” Aiza sighed. “No matter, let me take care of those wounds.”
Compared to Cecilia’s regular healing, Aiza’s spell was “True Healing”. It was a category of restoration spells that healed wounds as if they never existed. To achieve such a feat would require you to have a high caliber in magic and full devotion a specific faith. With Aiza’s treatment of their wounds, the twins were back at full strength once again. Cecilia tightened her fists, feeling the surge of energy flow through her.
“Alright, that’s Leader for you!” cheered Cecilia.
Cierra nodded and clapped. “Yay. Yay.”
“Now we must see how Aifa is doing. I fear for the worst, considering what has happened to the both of you,” said Aiza.
The twins nodded and the three proceeded to enter the portal. After a couple of seconds, they were transported under a bridge next to flowing water. They climbed the nearby stairs and pressed on to Greenville’s town square. Two individuals came out from the portal before it was able to close: it was Aren and Zellius. Zellius went near the water and regurgitated since this was his second time being transported by such a method. Aren looked away, tasting something sour in his mouth. He went in his pouch and handed his friend some leaves for him to chew on.
“Command, we have a man down. I repeat, man down,” Aren joked, muffling his voice by covering his mouth. “Requesting need of mint leaves, sir! ‘Affirmative Sergeant, sending—!’”
Zellius chewing the leaves after swiping them away. He opened his canteen, emptying the water from it to wash his mouth and spat out everything. “Oh, shut up. Come on, we don’t have time to waste.
He looked up to see Aren healed from his wounds. “Can’t believe I am working with a dead man. A zombie who can talk.”
Aren shrugged. “A zombie who can talk and is very much alive like you. Anyway, we gotta move unless if you want Raynord to end up like an actual zombie.”
“Right… So, where are we going?”
“If we are back at Greenville, then we should head to the town square. I have a hunch that Raynord would be fighting there.”
Zellius nodded and they make haste to the Town Square. He felt tired after running for a couple of blocks down and begged Aren to take a breather.
“W-Wait… S**t, I’m not up for the cardio,” he said gasping.
“Well come on, we don’t have all day!” Aren squatted. “On my back, now.”
“Are you kidding me…?”
“There is a life on the line, so I suggest you can suck up your dignity and get a free piggyback ride!”
Zellius rolled his eyes and hopped on Aren’s back. He jerked back when Aren went full speed across the rooftops. He blinked and before he knew it, they were soaring up and above. Looking down caused him to quiver and he held onto Aren. His arm wrapped around the boy’s neck.
“Hey, watch it! Don’t choke me to death!” barked Aren. “Don’t make me carry you like a goddamn princess.”
“Y-You’re so f*****g high! Why do we have to—AAAH, DON’T FALL,” Zellius squealed.
“Are you afraid of heights? Wow, so much for—” Aren turned to see a giant fireball heading towards him. “OOOH SH—”
The night sky exploded into a bright orange flame. Everyone saw the explosion, causing a bigger commotion across the entire town. The soldiers responded and a platoon was sent to investigate the blast. Meanwhile, a conflict ensued around the perimeter of the Prancing Pony. The Bandits and Knights who were aligned with the Bandit King tried to cut a path for their escape. They climbed from the massive hole they were stuck in, only for them to be stabbed by the defensive line of the Elite Town Militia. The Rebellion Knights used to brute force to break their formation, but the supporting mages and healers prevented them from doing so. Archers from the back released their lines to rain down those who tried to escape by flying away. All seemed lost for the Rebellion and the Bandit Army, until a powerful ray glided across the militia, ravaging all those who came across it. That section of the town exploded, only leaving the raging fire behind.
All those present noticed a woman hovering in the air. It was the Zyna, who had cast such a devastating spell. The archers and mages did what they can to bring her down, only for their efforts to be for naught. The Witch countered, manipulating a blazing tornado to incinerate her foes. The company who had the lead on their assault were reduced to ashes. Zyna came back to the floor, meeting up with the Rebellion Leader.
“Take everyone and leave to the evacuation route. We cannot risk any more lives here. Go,” she commanded.
She soared to the air, glancing around. She spotted the Town Square to see Raynord holding Aifa in his arms. She made her way there and saw her Elite Phantoms approaching the area as well.
“Let go of sis’ you piece of s**t!” Cecilia shouted, landing a kick on Raynord. The young man flew to the side and Aiza caught Aifa before she was able to land on the ground.
Everyone gathered around Raynord, looking down upon him and realizing he was unconscious. They saluted to Zyna and waited. The Witch used her True Healing to mend Aifa’s wounds, and the fighter girl woke up, confused to what had transpired.
“Lady Zyna!” Aifa bowed in shame. “I am so sorry. He got the best of me in combat and I… underestimated him.”
“At ease, it was an unfortunate outcome. We must make haste and prepare for what’s to come,” she told her and made her way to Raynord. She knelt and put her hand on his cheek. “He’s still alive. Come, we shall use his body for the upcoming ritual. I doubt that foolish brother would—”
Several arrows of light came down to Zyna and her Elite Phantoms. They evaded the attack as the arrows circled around Raynord, forming a shield around him. A black-robed man came from the rooftops and landed in front of the Onion Knight. His mystical yellow eye shined from the darkness of his hood.
“So… You are the infamous ‘Nyx’ my spies have been talking about,” Zyna said. “A man dressed in black with a golden eye. I now know you are as strong as they say.
Aifa squinted. “M-Madam. I don’t see any mana from him.”
The Witch shook her head. “Only the strong can contain such amount of mana flowing out from them. Many would at least sense a fragment of energy, but in this case…”
Nyx raised his head and dark clouds formed in the night sky. Heavy rain started to pour and when he threw his hand to the side, lightning flashed, and a blade appeared next to him. He grasped the weapon’s long handle and swung it. Electricity sparked around him and he stood in defiance.
“Leave the boy. I won’t stop you from running away. He is essential to change the fate bestowed upon this world,” he said.
Zyna laughed. “Looks like we are at odds to one another. I need him as much you need him. So…” Arcane symbols manifested around her arms. “Whoever you are, you must die here. My Phantoms, go!”
The four Elite Phantoms immediately began their offensive against Nyx. Aifa sent a flurry of strikes to keep him busy. When she backed off, Zyna followed with a barrage of spells. Aiza used her chains to keep Nyx in place while her comrades did their best to take him down. While the three were fighting, the twins hammered down the spell protecting Raynord. Cecilia threw her punches and lunged her sword, but it was unfazed. Cierra tried to open a portal inside and recover Raynord from there, yet it did not even manifest at the slightest. Cierra used Dispel to remove the barrier, but like their other attempts, it did not work.
“What the hell, how strong is this thing?! It’s a spell that counters spells!” ranted Cecilia. “Gah, not even a scratch!”
“Harder. Stronger,” urged Cierra. “Quick. Hurry!”
Nyx slashed his sword and Aifa ducked. Her fists lit up in blue and she landed an uppercut to his face. Her eyes widened when he was unfazed by her attack. He slapped her body with the side of the blade and within a split second, she broke through a wall of a nearby building. She screamed in pain as the electricity shocked her. Aiza called her name and chained up Nyx. With him restrained, the blue-haired maiden touched his shoulder and grinned. Aiza looked up to see Nyx’s golden eye growing brighter than ever.
“What are you doing…?” he growled.
The chains broke instantly, and he grasped her neck, pommeling her to the ground. The ground around them cracked and he tightened his grip. Aiza started to choke and tried to get him off from her. She jerked and her consciousness soon faded. He threw her to the side and sighed. Zyna distorted the space around Nyx, but he somehow broke through the time-stopping spell. The mysterious man turned, approaching the twins. Cecilia and Cierra shivered in fear and were too afraid to fight him.
“Take your brethren and leave. I won’t say it again,” he warned them.
Cecilia and Cierra nodded nervously and did what he asked. The Phantoms regrouped and Zyna gritted her teeth. “This is far from over, Nyx. Your mercy will not be repaid,” Zyna snarled.
“It is not your fate to fall by my hands here, Witch. Go before the authorities come,” said Nyx.
Cierra summoned a portal and the group left the premise. The town was finally silent, only the sound of rain was to be heard. Nyx looked up, enjoying his only time of peace. “You’ve aged quite a bit Zyna… His reaction would be priceless to see. Oh, that day would be soon alright.”
A white spark flashed through his mind and Nyx held his forehead, feeling a bit dizzy. He regained his composure and sighed. “The original fate of this world has changed. Now, the Path of Destruction shall begin here, at this very moment.” He heard Raynord grumble and soon, voices in the distance. Lightning flashed again, making his blade disappear. “So, they’ve come. Farewell, Onion Knight. Will we cross paths again.”
Aren and Zellius managed to reach Raynord, and the boy checked if the knight was still alive. A platoon of soldiers soon arrived and helped them to safety. Zellius saw a figure at the corner of his eye, but when he turned to see who it was, only a trail of wind was left behind.
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