The Darkness Within

The Rose - Act III

"It's all a lie."


"Why… why are you doing this…?" Lance coughed, as he became progressively weaker and weaker, his mental state faltering before me. He was breaking down, he almost couldn't even speak or breathe anymore. All he could do was croak his last words.

"Any last words before I can leave so I can undo what I've done?" I said impatiently. Lance laughed.

"It makes me… so sad to see… how blind you are… to your own actions…" And then he faded away. Lance Éclair was no more. Kroe's maniacal and psychopathic right hand was gone. His evils erased, and now there was only one opponent left for me to fight before I could take on Divinius Divinia himself and achieve my redemption.

But I was so tired. The sheer amount of energy it took to perform Burning Soul and defeat Lance was exhausting. The power was incredible; god-like even, but I felt the toll it took upon my body. My criminal mark had begun to bleed. The black line on my face started to become slowly red, and my body started to ache everywhere.

It doesn't… it doesn't matter. I'm close now, and if it means that my body will collapse at the end, then so be it. I don't have time to rest.

As I finished that train of thought, I turned my head towards the rest of New Domino, or what was left of it. I could see it all; the entire ruined skyline was within my sights. Skyscrapers were precariously leaning to the side, small fires burning here and there, and for a moment; I thought that perhaps someone besides me, Divinius and his last Dark Signer might still be in the city.

I hoped that someone had survived, hoped that someone had weathered this storm caused by Kroe and his damned Engine. I felt my anger flare again for a moment when my thoughts turned to that awful man. He started this all because he desired power. I never got to know why, but that smile I saw on his face as he found it… it told me everything I needed to know.

His motivation was greed. Lust for power. I shuddered for a second, imagining how the world would have looked if his evil plan had come to pass. And Lance… I felt a pang of sympathy for a second for him, seeing as the guilt over all the atrocities he had committed had caught up with him and would not go away. The only way out for him then would be through death, and death I gave him.

But then that one ounce of sympathy went away when I remembered what he had done. I remembered seeing the dead forms of Leo and Luna… and that moment when he pushed Akiza down towards the cold abyss… any sympathy was gone now. He had taken from me what I cared for most, and even tried to trick me into believing that I was to blame for all this, even going as far to make me think that Leo and Luna thought so too!

Such underhanded tactics. No wonder Lance decided it was to be a good idea. But now he was no more, and I breathed a sigh of relief for a moment. I was relieved of the fact that now, I was so close. Just one more Dark Signer, and then I would be headed straight towards my goal; redemption.

A faint glimmer of purple in the horizon that quickly expanded in width emerged from the ground signaled my next task. I breathed in and let the energy flow through me and spawn my wings of energy again, and I slowly began to hover off the ground.

The crimson energy began to wash over me, and formed the aura around me I had when I encountered Lance a few minutes ago. I felt it wash through my soul and remove all my weariness and replace it with strength and calmness, preparing me as much as possible for what was to come next.

"HAH!" I exclaimed as the energy flared and sent me flying across the ruined New Domino, the wind ruffling my hair and clothes as I zoomed across the enormous city high above it. Though after a few seconds, I began to see my destination.

The Satellite.

As I neared the broken-off piece of landmass, the pillar of purple energy faded to reveal a building that I recognized immediately. It was the facility. The epicenter of all this, the place where I had been tortured for days upon end by the Dracomorphic Engine at the hands of Professor Kroe.

The sense of déjà vu was all too clear as I landed at what was once the entrance, now a small crater. This was… when Akron took over for the second time after I got out from the Engine. He went on a rampage, and then I was wanted immediately. I could still hear his laughter deep in my mind.

With my enhanced strength, flinging away the rubble that covered the way further in was all too easy. It came naturally; a little focus and it felt like cardboard in my hands. A minute or two, and the way inside was open. Sector Security hadn't entered for some reason. Chessary had likely taken every precaution to avoid the discovery and stonewalled Security.

When I entered and walked down a long hallway, I found myself in what looked to be an arena. What's more, I saw two young children Dueling down there! They were continuously attacking and activating cards, neither letting up at all. I broke into a sprint in an attempt to stop them, but when I got close, they both dissolved into sand and faded away right in front of me!

I looked around the room, trying to see if anyone else was there, but I saw no one. It was empty again. I shook my head and took a deep breath in order to calm myself, and regain my focus. The hallucinations were beginning to become more numerous, and I needed my focus in order to secure my win. When I was up against Lance, the hallucinations were a major distraction, and could have cost me the victory, which I could not afford. I had to win, and I had to be done before Divinius could gather the rest of his power. The faster I could fight him, the better chances against him I would have.

And so I continued to walk on, walking through the arena, and into the cell blocks, all barricaded by their solid steel doors. They were all locked, but within them all I could hear the sound of crying. The sound was muffled and quiet, but it was just audible. I slowly walked through the corridor, headed for the chamber where the original Dracomorphic Engine had been placed, as I assumed it would be the logical place for the Dark Signer to await me.

A few seconds later, I arrived at the gate to the room where the Dracomorphic Engine had been. I focused my mind for a moment, pulled my arm back, and slammed it into the steel gate, blowing it down onto the ground. It was quite the solid door, and even with my immense strength, I could feel its weight.

I stepped inside, and the sight was almost as I remembered it. Lacking the bodies and blood, the room though was still absolutely torn apart, and the remains of the Dracomorphic was surrounded by machinery likely to be used to remove it for disassembly and destruction, to ensure that no sign of their research would be exposed. The civil war happened to early for that, and forced the process to halt. And here it was, as ruined as the day I had escaped.

I looked around the room, looking after any clue of the Dark Signer, but I saw nothing. The room was strangely empty of anything apart from ruined consoles and machinery, with scattered documents and tears and holes in the ground, signs from when Akron had taken control and went on a rampage in this room, and sparked the escape.

A gust of wind distracted me, and something landed behind me. I quickly turned around, but I saw nothing in front of me directly. No one. The moment after, at my feet, I saw something strange. A black rose… oh no.

The click of shoes with raised heels behind me brought my attention. I whirled around, and the sight shocked me out of my mind. Any semblance of calmness and focus went out the window that moment when I laid eyes upon my opponent.

"No. No, it- it can't be you!" I exclaimed in horror, as I took a step back, my breathing turned irregular and sharp, agitation and fear making me tremble ever so slightly. "You- you can't be a Dark Signer! The Dark Signers have a vendetta, this isn't possible!"

The figure in the shadow of the Engine laughed at she took a step forward, her robes dancing along with the wind as her burgundy hair emerged from below the hood of her robe and revealed the person to be the one person I didn't want to fight. The one person I wished for anything to not be seeing right now as my mortal enemy, and the final obstacle I had to get through before I could get my redemption.


She cocked her head to the side, seemingly enjoying my pained and fearful expresson. "And why is that a problem? I have likely the biggest vendetta against you of anyone, Akron."

"My name isn't Akron!"

"Akron, Jay, it doesn't matter anymore. You're both the same."

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