The Darkness Within

The Destruction - Act II

"The line between justice and vengeance is nonexistent."

-Doccy Larsson Seraphim

"AAAGH!" I screamed as my eyes opened once more to the face of the world once again. The smog-covered sky was above me, the sun's rays were blocked out and everything was eerily dark. My breathing was heavy and uneven, and my vision was blurry.

Soon, my vision began to unfold, revealing the scene I was standing in. I was standing in the ruins of the Chessary Corporation factory in New Domino's Factory District. In the distance, I could hear the unmistakable sound of fighting, explosions, and shouting.

...Help! Please, help!

I recognized that voice. It was Luna! "Luna?! Luna, where are you?!" I shouted, trying to make her hear me.

Jay, please! They're after me, and they... No! No, please! GET AWAY FROM ME!

"HELP!" I then heard her shout in the distance, and I turned around. I could hear shouting, and I stormed forward towards where I heard her shout.

I was running past the tents, past the knocked over containers and wagons towards the noise, and eventually, I made it to where I heard her cry for help.

And I was horrified. In front of me stood a mob of people, all shouting and yelling at something above them. That thing above them was Luna, dangling from a noose.

"GET BACK!" I shouted as I jumped up in the air ans severed the rope, snarling at the mob to get back or die, as Luna fell down a foot and I grabbed her before she hit the pavement underneath.

And so I did my best to save her. I breathed into her mouth, compressed her chest to try and restart her heart frantically, but nothing happened.

"DAMNIT!!!" I howled, hammering my hands into the ground beside the dead form of Luna in despair, the ground shaking slightly with every smack into the ground.

Then I stopped, and buried my head in my hands, as I wailed into the air, ignorant to any other noise around me as I cried my eyes out.

Then I felt something hit my shoulder. A rock or something similar. I raised my head and I saw the mob again, and they looked angry. I stood up again and I met them face-to-face.

"You brought this on yourself!" I heard one shout, and others yelling variants of: "Get out of here!", and "You ruthless murderer! Psychopath! Madman!"

I grit my teeth in response. Why would they do such a thing?! Why would they kill an innocent girl?! She had nothing to do with this! This wasn't her fault!

"Go away and die, monster!"

"You're nothing but a murderous destroyer!"

"You animal!"

"Shut up..." I began to mutter, but they didn't stop. They began to throw more things, yell more cruel things, they never stopped! "SHUT UP!" I roared, and stormed forwards, grabbing a young man by his neck and tearing his head off. The rest of the mob screamed and began to run away, but I hunted them down and killed them all.

Luna was dead. For that, I gave no quarter.

A few minutes later, the camp was empty. I had exacted bloody vengeance, with no one left to harm those I cared about anymore. Why did they have to do this? What had she done wrong?

But I had someone to save. Akiza had shown me light, she had given me hope when I had none. I had to save her.

And now I knew where she was. Having absorbed Snow's power, instead of shedding light upon the past, I delved inside and found Kroe's location.

He was near, he was. Close. Just a few miles away, outside of the city was his hidden laboratory. I now knew where he was, and I immediately brandished my wings and flew towards the lab.

I arrived to the location after a minute or two. It was a few kilometers out of New Domino, and almost entirely underground, with only a large steel gate in a cliff to betray its location. With just a single punch, the gate cracked into several pieces and fell back inward, allowing me entrance inside.

The room after the steel gate wasn't very big, actually. A few cardboard boxes here and there, the occasional random terminal thing, stuff like that. However, in the back of the room was the solemn entrance to an elevator. In a blur, a button was pressed, doors were open, and I was descending down into the reaches of Doctor Kroe's lab.

Doctor Kroe's Hidden Laboratory

The elevator doors slid open to reveal a large white chamber. Everything was completely white, walls, ceiling, everything was absolutely white. My footsteps echoed throughout the room as I walked around in it, confused over what this was and where the hell the exit was so I could find it and get out.

Then I noticed another sound. The sound of another set of footsteps. I turned around and saw a man I had dreaded and hated for so long. An old man with long, flowing gray hair and a small pair of glasses. Doctor Kroe. The one who started Project Akron. We stood there for at least a full minute, just staring stoically at eachother, neither saying a word. Kroe broke the silence. "Alkain," He said simply. My lips twisted in a dissatisfied manner. "That's all, Doctor?" I questioned. "It's been so many years, so many years of agony, and that's all you have to say?"

"What, you expected a fanfare for your arrival, Alkain? Perhaps a cake, or maybe even a party?" Kroe said sarcastically. "Your arrival tells me that Snow failed. Doesn't matter, really. She was just a liability now, so I guess I should thank you for relieving of that," Kroe said, a sneer glacing his face. "Maybe I should-" Kroe began, but I cut him off.

"Shut up, Kroe! Where is Akiza?!" I yelled. Kroe just 'tsk'ed. "Now now, Alkain, don't get ahead of yourself. You've only just arrived, don't be so hasty," Kroe sneered as he began to walk around in the room with me glaring angrily at him by every step. "I mean, Akiza is probably the best conduit for the Dracomorphic Engine since you, and with some reconfiguration, she's quite the amplifier for the signal that the Engine sends out. Allow me to demonstrate just how effective it is, Alkain," Kroe said as my hand suddenly moved on its own! It began slowly moving upwards, then downwards again. I tried to resist, but nothing happened! I tried to move the rest of my body, but nothing would respond! It was like I was being controlled like a puppet!

"Do you see, Alkain? This is the failsafe I made to Project Akron! Anyone and everyone who possess any sort of psychic ability is under my control through the Engine! Not even you can resist this power!" Kroe boomed throughout the room, and I began to fume. "So all this fighting… you're the one influencing the psychics to rebellion?" I questioned, half growling, and Kroe just nodded. "Correct," Kroe then said. "New Domino has seen far too much of what they shouldn't, thanks partly to you," Kroe said. "I am simply taking the necessary precautions, Alkain. Precautions so something like last time won't happen," Kroe explained as I growled as my body refused to move. I wanted to end this cynical bastard right then and there, but I was being forced to do nothing, no matter how much I struggled.

"You have no idea just how much trouble you saved me, Alkain," Kroe began, and I didn't respond. "Your duel with Akiza generated just enough psychic energy for us to detect where you were hiding. If you hadn't activated that card, we likely wouldn't have found you," Kroe said, and I felt like a massive fist had just been rammed into my stomach. The card Kroe was talking about was Rekindling Memories, the card that enabled me to stop the duel and pacify Akiza. Akron… Akron had been right. It was my fault that they had seen us, my fault that Leo and Luna were dead, and Akiza had been captured… My hand twitched, and I felt my fingers slowly moving. Perhaps, the hold from Kroe's signal was weakening on me because of my persistent resistance against it? I decided to be everything, and jolted my arm forwards with all my strength, and to Kroe's surprise, my arm moved. I slowly began walking towards him, though slowly and straining as I felt the signal trying to make me stop completely. "You… won't… control me!" I growled as I slowly walked towards Kroe.

"What? This is impossible!" Kroe muttered, shocked as he stepped back, away from me. "The signal is at its strongest, you should be a mindless slave now! Why isn't it working?!" Kroe yelled, continuously walking backwards as I slowly made my way towards him. "I… have been through… way too much… just to stop here! WHERE IS AKIZA, KROE?! WHERE IS SHE?!" I roared, as Kroe began sweating and his old body began to shake at the idea of his upcoming demise. He continued to walk backwards until he touched the big, white wall of the room, and the moment he touched it, it faded to reveal that we were in fact, standing on a metal platform, without any sort of barrier or railing to guard the edges. And beyond the edges was the entrance to a dark, deep abyss. A hole leading far down into the ground, so far that no light reached down there. If one slipped, it was game over for you.

"Above you, Alkain," Kroe suddenly croaked, and I snapped my head upwards. Above us was no longer the blank white ceiling, but instead, above us, suspended by the rock walls was a massive machine that I instantly recognized. It was the Dracomorphic Engine. And in a glass sphere, about ten metres above the platform, suspended by the Engine, was Akiza. She was being held by blue energy chains, and occasionally, a jolt of electricity shook her limp form. Her eyes were closed, as if she was unconscious. "AKIZA!" I exclaimed, but the moment after I felt something slam into me, and I fell to the ground, very nearly rolling over the edge. I lost my breath there for a moment, but the moment later I edged my head upwards and saw Kroe, who had pushed me down with incredible strength. My strength would have made most attempts like that do nothing, but Kroe clearly had outside help with him. Very likely power from the Darkstar. I jumped up onto my legs, and spread my arms out to meet Kroe when he rushed towards me, the mark of the Darkstar on his arm glowing deep purple. Our hands met, force stopping bluntly when us two began trying to overpower the other. But I was at a disadvantage; the signal the Engine was broadcasting was weakening me, and Kroe slowly began overpowering me, as we slowly edged closer to the edge of the platform. "What a shame, even," Kroe spat, "You were such a promising subject," Kroe said coldly. "I am not letting you make anyone suffer anymore!" I snarled in response. "Oh be quiet with your bravado, Alkain. You've done enough damage already. Now, FALL!" Kroe snarled as he pushed me back with all his might.

Everything after that happened in the blink of an eye. I edged slightly to the right, and the sudden movement and redirecting of the force Kroe was pushing with weakened him momentarily. I took my chance, and with a roar, pulled him to the left, and across the edge, letting go at the last moment. Kroe's eyes widened as he realized it.

"ALKAIN!" Kroe howled with all his breath, but soon he was swallowed by the abyss below us, and his howl with him, though the echo kept going for a short second before it faded as well. I fell backwards, panting harshly from that move. With a bit of effort though, I got back up on my feet again, and looked upwards, towards that accursed machine. A second later, I grew my wings, and jumped into the air fist-first towards the glass sphere containing Akiza, shattering it on contact, sending shards of glass around her. On instinct, my energy wings wrapped themselves around her to shield her from the shards of glass, and I caught her myself with my arms, and my wings adjusted, shifting so they would protect me as well.

I landed back on the platform below the Engine, Akiza in my arms. I was bleeding slightly from a few scrapes, but right now, I had a bigger problem. My assault had weakened the Engine, and it was beginning to be destabilized. And so, I ran for the elevator as the Engine began to collapse behind me, just barely making it before it came crashing down, destroying the platform behind us right as the doors for the elevator closed.

But the moment the elevator doors opened again to the entrance, I felt like a load had been taken off my shoulders. The signal the Engine had been sending out had been stopped, and perhaps now the fighting in New Domino would end. But… I had Akiza back now. She was really here; in my arms, safe and sound. Everything would turn out right now. I felt her stir slightly in my arms, and a small smile spread itself on my lips.

"Good evening, Alkain!" A voice rang out before I was thrown through the air by being slammed very hard by something huge, with Akiza falling out of my grasp and landing down on the grass. I quickly got up, and a way-too familiar person met me. With a big red flowing cape, spiked shoulderpads, an almost knight-like suit, and a vicious smile decorating his face, with the enormous figure of Star Eater behind him.


"You come by our hideout, and you don't even say hi?" Lance said mockingly. "You make me so sad," Lance mocked, as he floated down to the ground, and began slowly walking towards me. I quickly got into a fighting stance, ready to stop anything Lance was about to throw at me. "Well, it's nice to see you again at any rate. I've been itching to Duel you properly again, since you must've gotten stronger some way or another since last time," Lance spoke, as he slowly kept walking. "And now that you've killed off the Doctor, I don't really have to deal with him anymore, so thanks, knucklehead!" He yelled, his voice echoing throughout the ridge as the dark clouds began to converge around us.

"What is it you want?!" I questioned Lance, and he gave a malicious chuckle. "It should be obvious! I want to Duel you properly this time!" Lance said, and I was confused. "What? We did duel before!" I yelled, but Lance merely yelled. "I think you didn't hear me properly, Alkain. I want to Duel against the REAL you!" Then, Star Eater roared loudly, sending a shockwave across the ridge, very nearly sending me falling down to my death. "And in order to get the REAL you out, she has to DIE!" Lance's voice echoed as Star Eater let out a small blast of energy at the limp form of Akiza, and before I could do anything, she was thrown off the ridge, and into the black clouds below.






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