Chapter 18: Pushing the Limits
The fact that he would never see them again made his blood run cold.
Yuri closed his eyes, waiting for death.
But death never came. Had time frozen simply to let the fear slip inside Yuri and flourish faster than slipping on ice? No, that was silly. Yuri opened his eyes briefly, and felt gravity shift. The figure, or rather, creature, had lifted the car high into the air, and was crushing it slowly between its hands. A yank on his shirt told him that Xion had grabbed hold of him and was pulling him out of the car. Xion landed on the ground with a thud that made his knees buckle.
Nevertheless, he stood up immediately and placed Yuri upright on the road. The other traffic, if there was any as it was difficult to tell in the midst of all the snow, had halted completely in their tracks. Yuri heard distant shouting but could not attach the voices to anything. The creature, still covered by the darkness of the night, and now having finished crushing the car that now resembled a soccer ball, threw it away and retrieved its arms. Yuri stared into the storm, trying to make out the figure. He saw glowing white eyes look inside him. Not at him, but it felt as though the figure was analyzing him.
Without further ado, the thing came bounding towards him on two legs, moving fast. Yuri barely had enough time to swerve out of the way and shift his hands into a metallic shield as the creature slashed at him relentlessly. Even so, each slash knocked Yuri backwards inch by inch, until he realized he had no choice but to attack. Sacrificing half his shield, Yuri morphed his left hand into a long, sharp scythe and aimed for the creatures head. The creature screeched, ducking out of the way. But it wasn't fast enough to avoid having what appeared to be an ear cut off. Clutching the side of its head, the hand that the creature wasn't using to hold its head started to change.
It was a deliberate change, the creatures arm slowly took form of an iron mace. Still crying, the creature swung the mace around and around until it swung dangerously close to Yuri. Panting, Yuri switched both his hands into a shield again in hope to defend the hit. The mace gained speed, and knocked Yuri, shield and all, several feet backwards.
Yuri lay on the ground, struggling to get to his feet. He saw the creature approach him casually, as if this was child's play for it. With a guttural yell, Yuri used the last of his strength to form his right arm into a battle axe, while his left took the form of a double edged sword, and attacked with all he had. The creature brought up a single hand, and blocked every strike with ease. Then Yuri stopped fighting, and it cocked its head to the side for a second in mock interest.
Without warning, the creature kicked Yuri hard in the stomach, knocking him back to the ground. Yuri coughed, pushing himself back up. The creature placed its foot upon Yuri's back, and squashed him into the dirt. Yuri simply lay there, too weak to fight back, and stared coldly at the ground.
His breathing quickened, and he felt the first tear escape down his cheek. The creature saw this, scoffed, and shifted its arm into a simple blade. It brought the blade closer and closer to Yuri's neck, until he felt the cool metal brush against his flesh. Yuri squeezed his eyes shut.
"Yuri!" A voice. No, not a voice, but that voice. That voice that was always chipper. That voice that told him all of its secrets. That same voice that gave him a home, and a friend.
"H-Hikari...?" Yuri sobbed. The creature growled, and made a noise of disgust. Immediately it turned to face the boy done up in a jacket, who's scarf was flying madly in the wind. The creature lunged, and Hikari screamed. But another figure stood before the creature, pushing against its blade with a pocket knife.
"Go!" Xion ordered. Hikari ran blindly, tripping over to where Yuri lay.
"C'mon. You have to get up, let's go!" He pulled on Yuri's arm, but that arm fell half limp.
"I can't! Just go, I'll be fine!"
"Like hell you will be! You almost died right when I got here!"
"That's why I had to leave! That.. Thing, whatever it is was after me or something. I didn't want to get you mixed up in this, that's why Xion had to take me tonight and-"
"But why couldn't you say goodbye?" Hikari wiped his face of the tears that kept streaming back down again.
"How would you be able to?! Xion even told me I couldn't say goodbye!"
"And who is he to tell you what you can and can't do?! I'm your best friend!"
"You're my only friend, and you're the only person I've ever valued in my life... I don't know... I don't know!" At this point Yuri hid his face in his knees as his sobs grew louder and louder. Hikari wrapped his arms around Yuri, and whispered something almost inaudible.
His words were also torn by the hiccup that sent more tears.
"Boys! Get out of here! Run!" Xion's struggle brought Yuri back to reality, as he looked from the creature to Xion. The sense of danger rushed through him again, sending adrenaline through his brain. He shakily got to his feet, stumbling around. Hikari offered a stabilizing hand and gazed into his eyes worriedly. Yuri nodded, grabbing into Hikari's hand.
When he started to run, however, another bloodcurdling cry thundered in his eardrums. He knew he shouldn't, but Yuri looked back at the horrifying scene. Three overlong, jagged claws were sticking out of Xion's back. The creature withdrew its claws, which were now coated in a layer of blood, and sent Xion to crumple lifelessly into the pavement.
Did time stop? Yuri didn't really have a clue, but as he saw the creature crack it's neck and look at him, he forced himself to yank Hikari by the arm. They dashed off the road, through the cement streets desperately. The creature gained on them fast, getting a foot closer with every step.
Then, Yuri had an idea. Wrapping his arms around Hikari, he willed his body to shift. A searing pain spread itself on his back, as if molten lava was being poured in between his shoulder blades. Yuri yelled, and with a push of his painfully grown wings, he was in the air. He felt Hikari gasp in his arms, and cling on tighter. As speedy as he could go, Yuri flew over buildings, power lines, several cars, and didn't slow down until looking ahead of him once more. A forest was visible, so Yuri took his chance and dove into the trees. What he hadn't thought of was landing. With a bumpy crash, Yuri and Hikari found themselves covered in leaves, and, in Yuri's case, blood.
Hikari shook himself off, and crawled to Yuri.
"Are we okay?" He picked leaves out of his hair.
"To some degree." Yuri coughed. Hikari smiled.
"At least we're alive. I don't think that thing is nearby."
"Yeah. We should keep moving though." Yuri grunted as he sat up, brushing the grass off his body.
"Moving? Yuri, you're injured."
"I can still move."
"That doesn't mean it's a good idea."
Yuri rolled his eyes, burying his head in his hands.
"Then what do you suggest?"
"We could ask for help."
"From who? We're the only souls out here."
"And that guy." Hikari pointed to a shadowy figure that was hidden in the trees. From what Yuri could tell, the figure was wearing some sort of white suit. Something clicked in Yuri's memory as Hikari approached the figure.
"Hey, can you help us? My friend is injured, he needs help!"
"Hikari, don't! Don't trust them!"
Hikari shushed him aggressively, and returned to the figure.
"Sorry, he has trust issues. We just need a little medicine and we'll be gone. Can you help us?"
The figure looked at Hikari, then at Yuri. It stepped from the shadows, wearing a white masquerade mask.
"Come with me." A woman's voice spoke from the suited figure. Hikari smiled, spinning to where Yuri sat.
"She can help us, Yuri!" He bounced over to him happily. Yuri felt the world rotate around him. Blinking, he managed to still protest.
"No, she won't."
And then he passed out onto the damp grass.