CHAPTER 45 - Shot Heard Around The World (2)
“What do you mean, she ‘left’? Is she out on a patrol or something?”
“She means she will no longer be traveling with us, Master.”
Alex looked over at the door. Celia stood there, her normally pristine attire covered in soot and streaks of blood. Seeing her like that really made it sink in just how bad the damage was to the village.
“You did everything you could, Alex. A lot of people survived because of your intervention.”
Even as Celia nodded in agreement, Alex wasn’t convinced. His dream of the ones he had killed in the past still haunted him. His grip around ALICE tightened as he spoke.
“Right, nothing can be done to change the past. Next time we’ll just move faster and save more people. We need to get Treya back. She’s tactically minded, and I never underestimate the power of being able to trust someone. Maybe if I borrow power from Wrath again, I can hurry and-“
“I do not think that would be wise, Master Jaeger. It is because of your contact with this ‘Wrath’ that she left in the first place.”
Alex blinked in confusion.
“Wait… What? If it weren’t for his help, I might have died back there. Why would she leave over that?”
Celia averted her gaze and suddenly looked quite uncomfortable as her feet shuffled beneath her.
“What is it? He can really help us if we get into a pinch like before. I even think I know how to control the power a bit, now!”
“What? Why do you look like that, Celia? Will someone explain why Treya left?!”
“Alex. Stop. I will explain, but you need to calm down. Taking things out on poor Celia won’t help at all.”
He shut his mouth, suddenly noticing the wetness in Celia’s eyes. Eyes that held… fear. A small glimmer of realization hit him like a brick, and his voice dropped low, almost a whisper.
“What did I do?”
Celia still wouldn’t look at him, and it seemed like she wanted to run from the room for some reason.
“You broke your promise, Fenrir.”
Alex furrowed his brow, trying to figure out which promise ALICE was referring to. He didn’t have to wait long.
“You turned into a monster.”
Treya reached Quinn a few seconds ahead of Aundell. Celia was shouting as she approached, but Treya didn’t register her words. His attention was entirely stolen by the man she respected as he stood over the body of someone who looked remarkably similar to him. Three others were in the distance, just this side of the burning village.
Alex wasn’t moving. He was just staring at those three, and she could tell something was wrong. Beside her, Quinn was recoiling as if in fear. He growled like an animal being threatened by a predator. Even Aundell, when she arrived, gasped and looked like she was having trouble breathing.
Black flames began dancing along Alex’s outline, sinister-looking embers floating into the air from his body. He let out a scream, bone-chilling and filled with unfathomable rage. Every instinct in the combat-trained elf’s body told her to run away. To put as much distance as she could between this being and herself.
Alex began walking towards the trio, and the two with swords rushed at him. He barely seemed to notice them as they came, only looking away from the woman in the distance once their blades cut into his flesh. By the time he reacted, he had cuts all over his body.
He grabbed one of them by the arms and Treya heard bones crunching even from this distance. The guard cried out in pain and fell to the ground as the one who was once Alex turned to the other and kicked out. Legs crumpled from the sweeping blow, the man flipping in the air from the force and landing headfirst in the dirt.
His neck bent at an awkward angle, and he was no longer moving. Treya knew he was dead, but Alex didn’t seem to care. As everyone watched in horror, he began to strike the immobile corpse over and over. Blood began to fly from his knuckles, but he still didn’t stop.
The other guard called something out. A name, perhaps. Alex stopped his assault and turned to the other guard, who began begging for mercy. Treya shook her head in disbelief as an otherworldly and wicked voice emerged from her friend.
“Mercy? Did those children not ask for the same thing as you moved to slaughter them? Mercy is wasted on you, boy.”
He moved with such astonishing speed. A hand crushed the man’s throat, while the other ripped his uniform open. Fists flew once more. Limbs were grabbed and twisted. A burst of flame struck Alex’s back while he ruined what was left of the guard’s body. Alex looked around and Treya caught a glimpse of his eyes.
Celia had arrived at that moment, and she fell to her knees at the sight of his face.
“We’re too late…”
His sclera had turned pitch black, and the red of his irises were glowing ominously.
What scared them the most was the malicious smile that rested beneath those eyes. A smile that would surely invade their worst nightmares in the coming days.
Alex stood and began walking towards the last lookalike.