Chapter 43 - Beginning of the End
“What do you mean he’s still here?”
“He’s still here. I dunno why, maybe he’s not into being in the front lines.”
“Maybe, but not even his seconds? It’s weird.”
“Well, maybe he wants his bodyguards close?”
“Who gives a damn?!” Jomiko asked, pissed off.
“Yeah, hahaah “ Sanpu and Fuun’na laughed. Leaf nodded in agreement.
“Let’s get all your weapons back, and go kill him.”
“Finally!” Sanpu rose his fist, proud. “A plan we can get behind on!” Fuun’na also agreed, excited.
“Well, good luck then,” Leaf waved at them and ran off, still worried about Bellhall.
They looked around each other, as if counting how many they were. Arata, Jomiko, Sanpu, Fuun’na, Pixa and Persephonai.
“We don’t have that much of a numerical advantage,” Arata pointed out, cautiously.
“Are you saying we shouldn’t go?”
“Maybe fighting for Bellhall is our best bet,” Arata proposed, “and there, it might be more even.”
“No,” Pixa said, “whatever that bastard is up to, we need to stop it at the source. There is no way he gave the stones to someone else, and without the stones, the Reis couldn’t hope to penetrate Bellhall’s defenses.”
Arata opened his eyes, realizing that was actually very good insight. “That’s…you’re right. Something’s up here.”
“Let’s just go.”
“Wait, wait,” Arata still pulled, “we should…we should at least plan it. Who do we attack?”
“I’ll take Danatcia,” Persephonai said, “alone.”
“Yeah, I don’t think so, feather boy,” Jomiko complained.
Pixa chimed in.
“She’s of the dark. Me and Persephonai will take her.”
“I disagree,” Arata said, “that sorcerer lady also had obscuring spells. The fact is, we’re always pairing up with the same people. Jomiko with Agathon, the twins with Shinyaki.”
“Oh, we want Shinyaki,” Sanpu exclaimed, making sure there was no choice to it.
“I understand that, but we can’t…there’re four of them, and six of us. We can’t just…we can’t split, or two of us will be on our own.”
“I’ve no problem with that,” Jomiko said.
“Neither do I,” Pixa said and Arata tried to talk but Persephonai cut him off.
“Guys!” Arata’s patience flared, and so did his tone of voice. “Do we want to fight smart here, or do we want to die? If you guys just want to go in guns blazing, I swear I’ll just go off and help Bellhall out! I’m not committing suicide for the sake of all your stupid prides!”
Silence settled, which was the expected reaction to Arata, the easy going passive liar, raising his voice in honest frustration. But even with Arata being right, but it was hard for all of them, at that time, to be patient and cautious. Out of all of them, Arata was the only one not personally invested in defeating someone in particular. Not that Jomiko had any reason to be pissed other than the fact she had been made a fool off and taken lightly at every single turn of that adventure, despite the fact she never lost a fight.
“This is what I propose: we stick together,” he walked off, leading them to find their weapons, while continuing to talk as if he was giving a speech. “There’s one in a room for four rooms? We fight six versus one in each of the four rooms.” He opened cell doors meanwhile, “there’s four of them in a room? We fight six versus four. It’s a big room? We don’t let them single anyone out. Ever. We stick together, we trade focus, we switch opponents. We fight together, ’cause I have a feeling Katsuryu will need all our collected strength to beat him.”
Arata opened a cell door, and inside were their weapons. Shinyaki had been lazy.
“Sure” “yeah” “fine” “okaaay…” “as you will.”
Meanwhile, on Spellgate, the man that was providing life essence for the spell to take effect looked like he absolutely had no water in his body, and had aged quite a bit. He was humming in pain amidst wrinkly dried skin and flesh.
Ramachandra’s hologram mildly slumped in anti-climatic boredom.
“Well, this is sure taking its while.”
eanwhile, at the increasingly shorter border of Bellhall’s enchanted jungle, the President stood amidst a force that was a thousand strong. They formed a five-stacked line, plus three more lines in the trees above them. She, the President, stood a bit ahead.
“This is where the madness will stop!” She yelled, raising a staff that had the symbol of Bellhall at its tip. “This is where they pay for the evil they’re doing.”
“Do not take one step back. We do not have to fear them! WE DO NOT!”
“Now stand at the ready and heed your superiors,” she said, turning around to face the advancing flames, just yards from getting to them. “This Rei foolishness ends now.”
She sunk her staff on the ground, and from it, roots shot from the ground to envelop and raise her into the air. From there, she would be able to see the advancing force.
“Come on, you bastards…” she said under her breath, trying to concentrate her anger so she wouldn’t choke up on the nervousness and fear the advancing flames and hordes of Rei were making her swallow. “Come at me.”
Then, from out of nowhere, surged an arrow, flying straight at her. A vine whipped out of the flora enveloping her, though, blocking the arrow. It then whipped again, throwing the arrow out as Layryn glanced at the source.
A Rei bit his lip in frustration the moment he processed he had missed. She clenched her teeth as she watched him jump away. But vines shot out from all sides, intercepting his flight.
He was carried to her front, so she could look him in the eyes. He just looked at her, with those dead Rei eyes of theirs, not showing much concern for his situation, nor deeming to show her much of any emotion.
He was a tall and lean Rei, still sporting the pointy ears from his life as a Fea, though his left eye-socket was stitched closed, that one eye missing. His complexion was darker but his hair was white.
“What?” He asked, patronizingly.
That unnerved her even further.
The vines took him over her, and placed him behind her, for everyone behind her to see. She then frowned, concentrating, making the vines pull in different directions.
She didn’t look back to see him being dismembered. It wasn’t for her to see, after all, nor did she want to witness one more second of that filth.
“The first of many…” she coldly stated, first in almost a whisper, but then she repeated in a louder voice, so that all her men could hear her: “THE FIRST OF MANY!”
“WUUU WUU WUU WUU WUUUUUUUU!!!!” And to the sounds of the cheering, she readied for battle.
Arata and the rest walked into the room that held the throne, where they had first been welcomed, and then sent to prison. They walked with purpose, like they owned the place, and were met only by Shinyaki.
He was sitting on the throne, with his head leaned on his right fist, which arm was leaned on the arm of the throne. His legs were crossed and his smile amused.
“Ah, so you freed yourselves?”
“Where is he, Shinyaki?” Persephonai voiced, impatient.
“Fighting the war,” he jokingly said.
“We know neither of you actually left this place, you idiot,” Sanpu accused.
“He is fighting the war on Bellhall, little Jun. But he’s also through there,” he pointed behind him, “four rooms and three corridors away. But I’m afraid he can’t be disturbed right now. That is why he has laid us out like this,” he opened his arms.
“No stones, one at a time, more to delay, than actually win a fight. Contingencies after contingencies…our little doll is quite the ingenuous little tactician.”
“We can’t interrupt him?” Pixa asked, cunningly, “because he’s fighting remotely. If has to fight here, he has to drop the fight up there.”
“Well well…looks as he isn’t the only one,” he said, eyeing Pixa with interest.
“Why would you tell us that?”
“Because it makes no difference, you fools…” he uncrossed his legs and bowed down, grabbing hold of his scythes, which were at each side of the seat.
“We have to split up,” Pixa said.
“No,” Arata protested.
“It is cast, as they say,” Shinyaki said, standing up, “and I have little part to play in what comes next, anyways.”
“If we make Katsuryu fight, we will already have won. We need to prioritize getting there.”
“That makes sense,” Jomiko said, stepping forward.
“I’ve only stuck around so I could spank some respect into those snotty irritating brats,” and at that, he rushed them.
They all drew their weapons but weren’t ready for such a quick rush. The twins blocked each scythe respectively, but the force of it pushed them into sliding several feet back.
“RAH!” they pushed, stopping the advance, and Shinyaki landed, his eyes locked on his prizes. The twins.
“GO!” Sanpu yelled, “we got the over-achiever here,” Fuun’na added, excited and anxious.