Warnings: Violence. Blood. Gory scenes. Murder scenes. Lemon scenes.
Disclaimer: Part of this story will have settings and events taken out from various anime like Get Backers and Jigoku Shoujo, but I do not own any of them, nor do I own Naruto or any characters in this story save for OC characters
Chapter Forty Five: Ragnarok
The air of oppression is obvious to everyone, even the non nin-users.
It is difficult to describe it, but it is like something is weighing them down, trying to prevent them from walking freely. And there is just something screaming at them to just hide away until everything is over. Hence, even the wildlife couldn't be seen anywhere. Even the birds that could normally be seen at all hours of the day were missing all of a sudden.
Thus, Ragnarok, Sumaru and even the remnants of the ANBU (or former ANBUs) could all be found in a tent at their base camp at three o'clock in the morning, all surrounding a map of some sort as they go over their battle plan for the next day, or rather, a few hours from now.
Sasuke sighed, pinching the bridge of his nose. "Let's face it. We may well be walking into certain doom," he stated.
"Yes, but we have no choice." Ren sighed. "We have only one chance to stop him or die trying. If we fail here, then we might as well just hand over our world on a silver platter to him. And if we die trying, well…" He shrugged. "Then we are just going a few days earlier than the rest of the world."
"At least Isaribi and the others managed to evacuate most of the civilians to the underground shelters." Haku spoke up. "The only ones that still remained are the more stubborn ones who refused to believe what they're saying, and claimed that the Demon God is a god that is here to rid the world of sin." She has a scornful sneer on her face as she said that. "How can anyone be as stupid as to believe that?"
"Well technically, they aren't wrong." Temari told Haku. "It's just that the Demon God's way of 'cleansing' means 'to eliminate'."
"Okay. Onto other business." Shiki sighed, looking from face to face as she looked at the map that they were all surrounding on the table, an oil lamp on the table next to the map to give them some light. "Did anyone withdraw out of the battle?" She asked, looking at Neji and Sumaru.
They both shook their heads. "No. No one did." Sumaru told Shiki. "I wasn't really expecting for anyone to do so. They're no cowards. All of them knew what they're getting themselves into when they first joined the battle."
"I'm surprised." Lee commented. "In the ANBU, whenever there is a battle, we'll at least get one person chickening out before a battle."
Ren's eye twitched dangerously, and he looked as if he is about to throw the pen that he is holding at Lee's head. "Don't compare us to you ANBU cowards," he growled menacingly, and Shiki gave Ren a warning look. "There is not one person here in this camp who is a coward and would rather abandon ship to save his own skin."
"We aren't cowards!" Kiba shot back, getting quite enough of Ren and his cutting remarks. Sure, he understood why Ren is doing it, but it isn't exactly easy to hear it. "We'll gladly die for our own country!"
"Did I call you cowards?" Ren shot back. "And there is quite a difference between dying like a fool and dying because you're doing the right thing. Being alive is a luxury in itself. If you have ever lost anyone important to you, then you already know how it feels. And if you haven't, then you cannot possibly imagine it."
"Look, enough is enough already!" Shikamaru lost his temper. "I get it. I know that what we've done cannot be forgiven, but we're trying to make amends, and had even went as far as leaving our friends and being branded as traitors to do it. Isn't that enough?"
"Not. Quite." Ren hissed. By now, everyone was looking from Ren to Rendoku and back again like they were watching a tennis rally. "You think you've done enough? I don't think so. You think you're special? Well, you're not. Everyone's the same inside. Everyone lies. Everyone hides things. No one makes it through this life being completely honest."
Everyone watched with wide eyes as Ren got to his feet, his eyes blazing with anger, dark blue eyes like cold pieces of burning ice in his head as he glared at Rendoku. Sasuke and Shiki exchanged looks, and both shrugged. It might be better for all parties involved to just let them get this out of their system.
"You think you're a bunch of heroes for killing the nin-users. Let me tell you this, you're nothing more than murderers! Ragnarok might be killers, but they're not murderers. And yet you ANBU, you carry it in your pack like the plague. With you and your accursed organisation, it's always just one thing or the other: you either destroy the enemy or you destroy yourself. This is just a game to you. And for what purpose? How to die like a human being, how to die by the rules – when the only important thing here is how to live like a human being."
"Okay. Enough." Shiki stepped in just then, placing a hand warningly on Ren's arm. "Ren, you've said your piece. Enough is enough. Now is not the time to fight amongst ourselves. So let's leave it as that. Okay?" She looked at Rendoku who looked as if they would like to say more, but Sasuke glared at them, daring them to say another word. "Anyway, let's just—"
No one knew what Shiki is about to say, as a loud explosion rocked the place, with the alarms going off immediately, and Ragnarok looked at each other. Shiki looked worried before exchanging looks with Ren and nodded.
"Shiki?" Hinata asked.
"He's here." Shiki told them, and everyone looked tense. "Hinata. Shino. Locator!"
"On it. On it." Shino mumbled, his fingers flying across the keyboard on his laptop for several moments. "The highest power source reading is near Lake Kagami." He shut his laptop. Unlike the past week, this time, both Hinata and Shino will be heading with the main assault team.
"Lake Kagami, huh?" Yugito mused, pulling on her gloves and tightening it around her hands. "So this is it."
Shiki nodded. "Let's go."
We got there a step too late, as the Demon God was already in the Lost Cave when we got there, with hundreds, if not thousands of his undead legions waiting for us just outside it. When we'd arrived there and saw that waiting for us, all of knew instantly that not all of us could go in to deal with the Demon God.
Only the strongest amongst us could enter and handle the dark god, whilst the rest of us have to hold his army back. Even the underground shelters of the civilians won't hold if the Demon God's army decides to attack.
It wasn't a hard decision to make.
Maybe, in our hearts, all of us knew just who is going in to face the Demon God in the end.
Day 7 is the Final Battle.
It is the battle of all battles.
And once it had ended, all of us knew, for the better or for the worse, that battle will change the world.
"This is crazy!" Itachi protested, being the first one to object when Shiki had made that 'suggestion'. "Just two of you against the Demon God? There's no way you'll survive."
"All of us know that we might not come out alive, if at all, when we'd chosen to fight against the Demon God and his army, and when we got ourselves involved in the battle against the Demon God." Shiki told him coolly, not feeling disturbed in the least by his outburst, talking about her own death like she's talking about the weather.
"Are you guys going to just let this stand?" Itachi demanded, turning towards Ragnarok.
Haku shrugged, readying her weapons. "It's Shiki. She always has a plan," she responded. "Besides, if Shiki and Ren are together, there's no way that they'll lose."
"Yes, against a human opponent, they might not. But against a god?" Itachi demanded. "Aren't you concerned in the least?"
"Why are you so concerned anyway?" Sumaru got irritated. "Worry about yourself for a change!" He nodded to Shiki and Ren. "We trust in you. Do what you have to do. Leave his army to us."
"Thanks." Ren patted Sumaru's shoulder before taking off after Shiki who is heading towards the direction of the Lost Cave.
"Why are you guys doing this? This is suicidal!" Itachi demanded, turning towards Ragnarok.
"Itachi, cool it!" Kisame hissed. "There's no point getting so upset! They made their decision. We have to respect it."
Itachi brushed Kisame's hand off his shoulder. "There is no guarantee whatsoever that you will even return alive!" he hissed.
"Then what else do you want us to do?" Gaara snapped, and everyone turned towards the normally impassive teen who is now glaring daggers at Itachi. "Right from the start, even years before we knew about the Demon God, we already knew that probably, someday, we would die in battle. Everyone dies someday. It makes no difference to us how we go. It is how we die that will matter. If you can't live for something, at the very least, die for something."
"You ANBUs won't understand this." Haku told them. "It is only if you'd lived the way that we did that you could understand. It is only in pain that we can find the true meaning of life. We've come too far to stop now. Furthermore, if something is worth fighting for, then it's worth dying for." She muttered. "Shiki taught us that."
"Shiki once told me something." Sumaru told Itachi, seeing the Uchiha about to open his mouth to argue. "When you are in danger of becoming nothing, you fight for everything." He recited. "I've lived in the underground my entire life, and I see many things. The light can easily turn people into cowards. It's too easy, living in the light. Thus, from time to time, a life in darkness can give you courage." He looked from face to face. "You've lived too long in the light. Thus why you can't open your eyes. But we've lived in the darkness for a long time." He gestured towards himself and Ragnarok. "We've all been fighting for a long time. Now… It's time to put this to an end."
"Furthermore, this is our fight." Hinata told them. "We're in it until the end. Until the very end. Fate has a way of changing when you don't want it to after all."
"This is crazy!" Nagato protested. "They're facing a god! The same one that has been terrorising our country for who knows how long! There's no way that they'll survive!"
"Shiki and Ren have a long history of beating the odds." Yugito grunted. "Ren said something once to us. 'Hell is something you carry around with you. Not somewhere you go'. If that's true, then they'll bring that Hell to the enemy."
"This will be the last battle." Temari added. "The last one for all of us. Our time as Ragnarok will soon come to an end. If we have to go, at least let us go the way we want to."
"I don't understand. Why are all of you so reckless?" Lee demanded. "Do you really want to die that badly?"
"You can't understand because you're not us." Haku wasn't in the least bit disturbed by Lee's words. "But fighting is all that we know. It is really all that we know." She admitted. "And if this is what Shiki desires, then we will be her support." Haku declared. "She saved us from a life of hell. This is the least that we could do to repay her. We only know how to fight. We continue to fight even if the world burns. Even when we know survival is not an option. We will still continue to fight. This might be our last battle, but it will be one that the enemy will never forget. That the world will never forget. We fight for what we believe in. This battle…will change the world."
"During our time as Blade, Shiki, Ren and myself have already lost too many of our friends to the cruelness and reality of the world." Sumaru added. "And even after that, we lost lots more to war, fear and even the prejudice of the people. All of them died, for the sake of our survival, the survival of their beliefs, dreams and wishes, and most importantly, they died for the survival of their hope. That same hope is what helped them to win. Just like now. You might call us fools. And you might be right. But it's better to be a fool, than to live your life knowing nothing at all."
Fight to your last breath…to fight until every drop of blood has been spilled. If this is to be the last stand, then let us make them remember this day. That this is the day when we will fight to the last man. This day will be remembered for all times. People will look back on this day and say, 'This is where we fight'.
"Stop." Sasuke sighed. "Just let them do as they wish." He ignored the protests that came his way. "Besides, this is what she has to do." He looked at his shocked brother in the eye as he said so. "I promised her this."
"Can you do this for me?" Shiki asked a stunned Sasuke who seemed incapable of speech temporarily.
Sasuke opened and closed his mouth for several moments before he sighed, running a hand through his hair, looking back at Shiki. "It's too cruel," he said.
"I know." Shiki sighed. "But in order to protect them, I will be as cruel as I can. I pulled them into this. The least that I could do is to make sure that they make out of this alive."
Sasuke sighed, pinching his nose to ease his headache. "What are the chances?" he asked. "Tell me. What are the chances of you actually facing the Demon God in battle?"
"Pretty high." Shiki admitted. "No matter how I try to look at this, the Demon God will return. We will end up facing him in battle."
Sasuke sighed. How is he going to explain this once the time comes? "Why must this happen?"
"I don't know." Shiki admitted. "If I knew the answers to a lot of questions that I want answered, then we wouldn't be in this state now, would we?"
Sasuke sighed. "…All right. I'll do what I can once the time comes." Shiki nodded to him in gratitude. "I got one question though." He looked at Shiki. "Did you ever love my brother?" He wanted to know. "Just…tell me that. Nothing else even matters anymore."
Shiki was silent. "…I don't know," she admitted. "Probably, once upon a time, I did. But feelings can change. And mine did." She looked at Sasuke. "I'm sorry about this. But I made my choice. I do not regret this."
Sasuke said nothing for several moments. "…Are you sure about this?" he asked her. The price that she has to pay…is a little too high. It's just…not fair. "If you go through with this, it will be too late for regrets."
Shiki shook her head. "I've lived a fulfilling life. I might have helped lots of people, but at the same time, I've also harmed many more. In the end, I'm still a killer," she admitted. "Besides, everything has a price. You sought truth. I sought time. It's just that my price was a little higher."
"I made my choice." Shiki told him. "I do not regret it."
Ren and Shiki stood in front of a giant stone door with dragon engravings on it, flame torches lining the sides of the door. Both looked at each other before turning their gazes back towards the door.
They don't even have to open it to feel that malicious aura emanating from behind the door.
Make no mistake.
The Demon God is just behind these doors.
"The last door." Shiki murmured, one hand on the giant stone doors. "If we go through this, will I leave my past behind?" She wondered.
"Let's go." Ren said, and Shiki nodded.
As one, they both then pushed the doors opened.