Into the Oblivion

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Nikki - Deathmatch in Death

“Do you really think you have the upper hand, little boy?” Samael mused. His eyes started to glow silvery-white. And his avroi emerged so intensely that it was almost visible in the naked eye. “It’s true that you have the upper hand. There are more soldiers than the experiments we have made. But just how many need to die first before one falls down? Feel free to join your miserable friend tonight.”

“Come down here!” I roared. My voice almost ripped my throat from the force of shout. At will, my mark expanded further all over my body. The abundance of avroi strengthened my body. “Let’s finish this once and for all!”

“Nikki!” Prince Zion urged me. He hand found its way to my shoulder. But I reflexively pushed it away. Everything around me felt dimmer, especially that we were in Asphodel. But this time, only Samael was clear in my sight. Everything else didn’t matter. “Don’t fall for his provocation. We must think clearly!”

“My mind is clear.” I snarled. My hand raised itself as my I cast my spell. The shadows beneath me expanded all over and rearranged itself into a complete ritual circle. One by one, undead emerged from the shadows. The Professor taught me how to manipulate space and matter inside Asphodel under her tutelage. And she didn’t know that I still concocted new dosages of the Alazonian Curse. The young prince stepped back in horror as a dozen wraiths appeared around us. Each was equipped with a blade. “I will kill this man. And no one can stop me.”

Prince Zion was speechless. Even his avroi had mellow down. But his hand never left the hilt of Arondight. He was ready to draw his blade if needed. Even from my peripheral view, he was daunting.

Samael let out manic laughter and disappeared from our view. I used that chance to inject the curse on the neck of a couple of wraiths. Since the professor banned me from tinkering with the curse further, I tinkered with my undead creatures instead. The ones I summoned were designed to take on the special curse. And as the foreign venom was infused with the foreign element, they started morphing into how I wanted it to be.

Both wraiths grew slightly taller. Both legs and arms had marginally more length than the average human. The muscle tone on their limbs became more pronounced. Eagle-like wings erupted from their backs, and fur started to grow. I didn’t forget the humiliation I faced the last time. These special wraiths were designed not to be reliant on their eyesights. The fur was extra sensors that could detect the slightest movement. Even if Samael pulled off the blinding magic, my creatures would be able to put up a fight.

“Find him!” I commanded.

My creatures zoomed into the sky. I was confident with them.

“I never expected that you could do something like that.” Prince Zion admitted, gawking at me from behind. His eyes darted when I faced him. But I also sensed an incoming attack. His grip on Arondight went tighter. And I did the same. “I actually thought that you’re a piece of baggage I need to protect in this. If something bad happens to you, High Magus Shiraea will kill me.”

“I won’t be slaughtered easily as long as Samael lives. And until my questions are answered, too.” I assured him. But it didn’t prove too useful based on his expression. The bright personality was gone. The young prince’s face looked severely ready to kill. “Besides, I’m still going to hunt my missing father after all this. It seems that only Asphodel has the answers for that.”

“Maybe we can talk about that after all this crap.” He commented. Sir Raea appeared from our right. Her blade was sheathed and bowed before the prince. I scanned her and noticed how calm she looked. The knight just came from a short battle, and she looked like she just finished walking in the park. Truly fearsome. “Do you have anything to report?”

“The whole city is filled with those things.” Sir Raea told us. Samael loved to plan ahead. And it looked like this was a part of his plan. He was one step ahead of us again. A trap was undoubted to be found within the city. “It was as if they made a hive out of it. This isn’t the most advantageous battleground. I think it would be best if we can find a way to drag the fight somewhere else.”

Screeching noise came from above. As we instinctively look up, a couple of creatures dashed from our side. I deflected with Haros, but the sheer strength was enough to throw my feet off the ground. With a clean strike, I was blown away by a few feet. I landed hard on the ground before slamming to a wall. I grunted in pain as I tried to stand up as soon as possible.

The other creature attacked my companions. Sir Raea stepped into her quick draw posture, and that was I saw that her blade was made out of lightning. A flash of light thundered to deflect the enemy’s attack. It was a surprise to notice that it used a large sword as a weapon. And the even bigger surprise was the creature’s size. It was a humanoid lion that’s already the size of a smaller golem. Prince Zion didn’t waste his time and assaulted the colossal body with precise strikes.

But I didn’t notice that a sword of the same size was about to rip my body in half. A chain flew out of nowhere and wrapped around my enemy’s arm, and froze it in ice. I was too fixated on the other two that I forgot the very enemy that threw me off away. My mentor would have given me a verbal beating for that stupidity.

It didn’t take long for my other wights to join the battle. They jumped on the hulking creature and started driving their blades in the mound of oversized muscle and flesh. The creature roared in agony, but it could not move because of the icy chains that froze it in place. When I checked the other end of the weapon, it was Sir Sylva who had saved me. He simply looked at me with a bored expression.

“Thanks!” I groaned painfully.

But when I attempted to stand up, my other knee gave up. I fell back on the ground again. A sharp pain exploded in my lower back area. Then I noticed that I tasted blood at the back of my throat. I lifted my shirt slightly to see a gruesome bruising all over my torso.

“Hey, kiddo. Are you okay?” The knight asked.

“I’ll be fine. It’s just a little internal” bleeding.” I winced. If the Professor didn’t teach me any Life Magic, I would have internally bled to death. The pain slowly expanded throughout my lower back. And my breathing became shallow. A sharp sting was on the lower side, too. “Just give me time to heal myself.”

“Internal bleeding is not fine at all. And it doesn’t look little.” Sir Sylva objected harshly. Then more of the lion-man creatures showed up. There seemed to be a pattern with those creatures, but I couldn’t figure it out yet. Sir Sylva’s eyes widened as he shot his dagger and chain to my side. “Get to safety! Quick!”

“There are no safe places here!” I grunted excruciatingly. Then I stomped on the ground to summon more undead creatures. I injected another dose of Alazonian Curse on one of the wraith’s neck before it could even emerge entirely from the ground. Then I injected another more dose to a wight. “Looks like we need to disable first before delivering the killing blow.”

A wight has a physical body. A wraith, on the other hand, is like a specter and had magical capabilities. But thanks to the Alazonian Curse, their physical and magical abilities would grow exponentially in a few seconds. Like the creatures that went ahead of them, they underwent a rigid transformation. This time, they didn’t turn into over-sized brutes.

Both creatures unleashed their attacks on the enemies that had surrounded us. As the enemies were distracted, Sir Sylva helped me to get to safety. Under my shirt, I’ve started to enchant my mark and rearrange it. It would help me create the necessary ritual circle to jumpstart my Life Magic. It would take a few minutes before I could recuperate. The knight helped find a corner where I wouldn’t be caught blind-sided by the enemies.

He nodded at me as Prince Zion approached us. His battle armor didn’t look worn out. But he looked funny in it because it was probably tailored just for a boy his size. He was an awful late-bloomer, after all.

“I was almost impressed with you, Nikki! Almost.” The young prince sneered as he ran up to me. Sir Sylva rejoined the female knight in battle. “What you did was too careless! Why on earth would you take your eyes off your enemy!”

“Sorry, I was too busy watching your back. If I didn’t look after you, you might die tonight.” I grumbled. Then I suddenly coughed up blood. The boy’s eyes widened for a short moment. Pain roared inside my body and demanded to be felt. It was foolish that I prepared particular curses for my summoned creatures, yet failed to prepare a simple anesthetic. “Trust me, it’s not as bad as it looks! I’ve already started to heal.”

Within the next few minutes, the young prince guarded me against any incoming enemies. It was also an excellent opportunity to observe their fighting styles. Sir Raea and Sir Sylva battled together in perfect harmony. The female knight’s fighting style was the quick-draw technique that overpowers the opponent with sheer speed. She was virtually a lightning bolt that strikes through the target. And she could also do it quickly and consecutively. Sir Sylva focuses on disabling enemies so Sir Raea could easily land a free-hit. His weapon also had a farther reach because of his chains. But his estimation of distance was spot-on. He could twirl the dagger at the end of the chain. Then he would speed up the spin with frightening force before swiping the target’s head off completely.

But Prince Zion showed more superiority in his finesse. He was using multiple sword-styles and transitioning smoothly from one form to another. What makes it fearsome is Arondight’s unpredictability. Most of the enemies would take a second guess in their heads because they didn’t know how to react against the Bladeless Blade. The young prince was an agile fighter and took advantage of his small body frame to its fullest. He had flexible maneuvers and was very quick on his feet. I also noticed that Prince Zion could probably change Arondight’s shape and length. The boy’s perfect battle sense, coupled with a weapon’s unpredictable nature, was a dangerous foe. If he was my enemy, a sword-fight was the last thing I would engage him with.

It didn’t take long to shred down the number of enemies. Pools of blood were everywhere. Soon, all three of them gathered where I sat. My internal bleeding was almost healed, and the pain already subsided. I tried not to wince in front of them, or else they might treat me as a person they need to protect.

“What now?” Sir Sylva asked. “This isn’t really a safe territory.”

“Where’s Sir Coren and Sir Ysverin?” Prince Zion asked. But he didn’t look worried at all. The boy had such high expectations of his retainers. “They should be back here now.”

“They’re probably slacking off.” The oldest knight commented.

“Sir Coren might do that.” The young boy jeered. His eyes were thoughtful and serene despite that tart remark. “But, I really doubt that Sir Ysverin would do something stupid.”

As they talked, I silently sat down on the floor, Indian-style. I closed my eyes and focused on the creatures I sent out after Samael. It seems that he could move quickly, or else my minions would have caught up already. Their fur could also sense traces of avroi in the air. They were meant to be my perfect hunters.

“East! One mile from here!” I barked at the two beside me. But before I could make another word, one of the bat-like creatures lunged from our side. Like before, Sir Raea stepped in between. A clap of thunder boomed, and the enemy was ripped in half. My eyes failed again to follow her lightning-speed movements. From afar, a flock of the same creature was flying towards us. “We can’t run after Samael with those things on our tails.”

“Go ahead of us!” A loud voice came from behind. I turned around to see Sir Coren with bloody claws on his hands. He was a knight, but I just couldn’t picture him fighting against enemies with a couple of Katar daggers. But I trust Prince Zion that the man was selected for his proficiency with his chosen weapons. “Take Raea with you. We’ll take care of those.”

I stomped on the ground to re-summon my shadow ritual circle. A couple of undead horses emerged from the earth. I also kept undead animals just in case they could be handy. Prince Zion just looked at it with a disgusted face.

“Do you really expect me to ride that?” He pouted. I didn’t realize that he could behave like a spoiled brat every once in a while. “Learn to summon a better steed next time. This is disgusting.”

“They’re completely harmless unless I tell them to kick you. “I shot back as I got up on the horse’ back. It was a lot easier since I had complete control over the creature. Thanks to Necromancy, anything that was once alive can be resurrected as my pawn. Even people. “Quick! Beggars can’t be choosers. Unless you want to run for a mile.”

They didn’t complain any further. As soon as Raea and Prince Zion got comfortable together on the other undead horse, I willed the horses to run as fast as it could. It would take a lot to strain them since they are consuming my avroi as energy. Even if the muscles get torn from the exhausting work, it can still be repaired by magic. We didn’t waste any time, and I forced my creatures to go beyond their top speed. Thankfully, neither Sir Raea nor Prince Zion fell off from the rapid movement.

The Asphodel-version of Gyroseus was silent. It didn’t take much distance until the sound of battle could be heard. My creatures were un-killable because of the curse. Any inflicted wound can easily be regenerated back even if a limb was torn off. I even tried tearing them in half one time, and they can grow back. However, the other half would automatically die. Only one can regenerate at a time.

But I was already pissed at how Samael seemed to enjoy playing with my undead creatures. He was moving through the shadows, and Asphodel’s dim nature wasn’t a big help. However, I already noticed how he could use his magic in this other realm. He was supposed to have some sort of limit like before. If he could do more, then beating him would be more challenging than expected.

With one quick strike, Samael sliced wraith’s head away from the neck. Then I closed my eyes to mentally command my two other creatures to attack him at once. But before I could take another step, one of my creatures dragged me into the air. I looked down and saw a spear that punctured itself to the ground. But it was more of an over-sized arrow than an actual spear. Thankfully, I had telepathically imprinted to all of my creatures to protect me as their highest priority. My creature helped me down a few meters away from them.

Then another spear-like arrow cut through the air. This time, it was from another direction. Sir Raea still won against its speed and deflected the incoming projectile meant for the young prince. Her sword-technique was immensely superior when it comes to swiftness. And it proved to be crucial in defending against attacks like these.

When I looked at Samael, he was already gone. The creatures were down on the ground with no heads. Slowly, it reformed, and they already sensed where we went to. After a few more seconds, they flew off.

“I will take care of this nuisance, Your Highness.” The female knight said with a short bow of the head. Her reverence towards the young prince was still present even in the heat of battle. She spoke an inaudible spell and carried the prince. The next thing I saw was both of them beside me. Even my creature failed to react from the speed. “You won’t be able to handle a long-distance opponent. Let me fight this one for you.”

“You’re kidding, right?” Prince Zion shot back at her. He looked pretty insulted for some reason. “I’ve faced worse enemies than this one.”

“It’s playing with us.” I interrupted. Both of them looked at me with vigor. I was not surprised to see their faces as if I had set up a challenge for them. “Based on what my wight could sense, there is only one enemy. It could move fast and cover quite a distance.”

“I see. It’s my younger brother’s team of Kingsblades who can fight effectively against range opponents.” Prince Zion said. “But I’m fully confident in my team that a different playground wouldn’t really hamper their fighting styles. They are just as strong.”

A thin smile appeared at the corner of Sir Raea’s lips. Then it vanished right away. The moment was interrupted when another spear came slashing through the air, and this time, my creature caught it by the shaft. However, there was a follow-up from behind us that went through the creature’s chest. I didn’t even notice until it punctured cleanly through my creature. Thankfully, the female knight didn’t let her guard down and deflected it again.

The wight fell to the ground like a ragged doll. But after a few seconds, its regeneration ability kicked in, and started to move again. The heart was obliterated entirely from the attack. It seems that my creatures cannot recover that fast when specific organs were taken out.

As soon as it stood up, I commanded it to run after Samael. With one last look, the wight flew off into the air. It can move fast in mid-air, but I have not yet optimized the best wings for it. Since I finally got a blood sample of an eagle, I might be able to re-visit my experiments later on.

“Master Nikki, please protect the young prince.” Sir Raea beseeched. Her eyes were sincere, and I couldn’t really turn her down. The Professor would be furious if Prince Zion and I failed to protect each other. “Please don’t engage the enemy until all the Kingsblades are back here. We do not know the extent of his abilities yet.”

“Wait a sec! That’s not right!” The young prince whined loudly. But he also seemed excited and pumped up. It was really confusing if I should treat him as an actual teenager due to his certain perks. “I think it’s the other way around.”

“Looks like the enemy can launch only two spears at a time. But it can come from different directions.” I said to Sir Raea, ignoring Prince Zion. She seemed to acknowledge that. But I couldn’t be sure. She was the queen of poker faces. “Take advantage of that.”

“That’s noted, Master Nikki. Please do wait for me, Your Highness. I’ll be back shortly.” The female knight requested. She wrote a glyph with her finger, and it was the same thing High Shiraea usually did. And that surprised me. “Rych Rohybius!”

In a split second, Sir Raea zoomed in to one of the towers and did a zigzag through the high buildings. She was like a ninja and a knight at the same time. Her weapon was speed and power. I ended up wondering if the other Kingsblades were as strong as her.

“Sir Raea was a feared knight in Sevel. She hailed as the Lightning Bolt of the Northern Star.” Prince Zion informed me. Pride was in his voice. Not for himself, but for those who serve him whole-heartedly. Usually, noblemen do not really care for their servants. The young prince was somewhat different. “And her blade, Lionel, is called The Storm’s End. Call me bias, but I think that she’s the strongest of all the Kingsblades. Some would say Sir Dagon would be the best, but there’s no point of your being strong if you could not even hit the enemy.”

But I ignored him and chanted on the ground. I commanded my shadows once again to rearrange itself and create a ritual circle. Another undead horse came out of it before it started to sprout bat-like wings. If I had a blood sample of an eagle before, I wouldn’t have to fuse the undead horse with a bat. But it works as long as it could fly. Thanks to the Professor’s advance lessons, I could pretty much tinker with any carcasses. Or maybe mix them together, too.

“Wait! Where are you going?” Prince Zion asked as I hopped on the undead creature. It started to stretch its wings. I felt in my mind that Samael was still playing with my creatures. He seemed to be having fun for some reason. “We’re supposed to stay here and wait for the others.”

“My goal here is to kill Samael, not babysit you, Your Highness.” I stressed his title to make a point. I was not sure if I would consider him a friend. He’s a warrior who needs no protection. I have a goal in mind. And it didn’t include him. “Feel free not to follow me.”

But before my flying horse could take off, I felt the weight on my back. Prince Zion hopped on it as well. He looked determined to press forward. And it bugged me even further. Thankfully, I didn’t find a boner behind me. But I secretly wished that I did.

“Don’t forget to protect me.” The boy-prince pouted. It was irritating. Especially that I found it too adorable. The young prince was beyond cute. But I had no more room for weakness in the meantime. I already had the lower-hand against Samael because of my unexpected internal bleeding. Even if it was healed, the pain was not yet totally gone. Making movements in the middle of battle should be unhindered. Or else all might be lost. “You don’t want to see Sir Raea mad, do you?”

“I never said ‘yes’ to her.” I said to him. However, based on Prince Zion’s personality, I doubt that he would give up right away. He was really stubborn. But it was a trait that got him far. “You don’t have a personal reason to fight Samael as I do. Stay out of it.”

“Don’t tell me what’s personal or not. That’s not for you to say.” He retorted back. I commanded my undead horse to fly, and we zoomed into the air. I sensed my creatures found him a couple of miles away. I started to worry about how he could cover considerable distances in mere minutes. “This is personal for me, too. He’s a threat to Altimeraea. Who knows when he will set his eyes on my kingdom?”

I didn’t reply to his rhetoric. The horses tried to speed up, but bat-wings were not really for that. I had to stop myself from getting impatient. My revenge was almost at hand. I no longer need Samael’s antidote. The High Magus was confident that what we prepared for the past months would be more than enough for my mom to recover from her comatose. But Samael must die for all what my mother suffered through,

“Why is it that your eyes both turned blue when we got here?” The young prince asked out of nowhere. “It’s peculiar.”

“I don’t know.” I replied softly. The boy seemed to be contented with my vague answer. “It’s a mystery I have yet to discover. I’m not really sure how deep my connection to this place is. Besides, you have weirder eyes.”

“No, I don’t!” He answered back. For some reason, he sounded flustered. But I just let out a chuckle to annoy him further. And it worked perfectly. I could sense he had a comeback but didn’t say anything. Then something caught his eye. “Found the bastard!”

We ended up in the middle of a vast open space. It was surrounded by tall buildings. Nowhere as tall as the ones from my dimension. But it was still impressively high for a medieval city. I checked around to see that it was some sort of Townsquare. People must have gathered in the area for various purposes.

But in the meantime, it would be a battleground. A final resting place.

The horse landed on the ground. I saw Samael waiting for us from quite a moderate distance. That was when I noticed all the creatures on the floor. They were all lifeless. No movement at all. They must have burned out their souls already. That was my trick. I convert the soul into avroi thanks to an ancient binding spell I found in one of Isis’ books. And that avroi becomes the fuel for continuous regeneration and physical strength of my minions. That was the Necromantic Principle behind the Alazonian Curse. For the creature to keep fighting until it completely burns out from within.

It would be total hell for them. Conjuration of the dead requires a body and a soul. But Isis’ resources were ancient and advanced compared to most books in the High Magus’ library. Since the reanimated body still had ties to the original soul, it can pull it back from wherever paradise they were stuck in. And their souls would be consumed for the purposes I have given them. To keep fighting even if they don’t want to, their souls would be on a pathway of disintegration.

But I no longer care. As long as I can achieve my goals and the knowledge I see, I am willing to sacrifice many souls. My mother was waiting for me. Phineas needed to be freed from the Necronomicon. Samael must die. And I still had to find my mysterious father. I just didn’t care anymore how much I need to pay for them.

High Magus Shiraea did not know that the bodies I summon contain the souls used to inhabit it. And I made sure that they were undetectable even by the best of mages. It seemed that she didn’t notice it either way. Even if she did, she would not have any evidence.

Necromancy is genuinely a frightening power.

Prince Zion and I walked towards the center of the Townsquare. That was when I noticed that Samael did have numerous wounds all over his body. But none of them were lethal. There was a random scratch or a bleeding wound here and there. But that was it. I could sense that my side was completely healed. It should be more than enough for me to make flexible movements.

“I must say, you have quite tenacious creatures.” Samael said. He almost sounded like he congratulated me. The new breed of creatures was made for speed, but they were still like animalistic brutes. Their fighting style was mostly driven by instincts. But being surrounded by multiple almost-immortal beings should still be challenging even for him. “It was fun killing them over and over again. I’ve lost count of how many times.”

He was a few feet away when I summoned my blade. Like me, Prince Zion gripped Arondight tightly. Ready for battle. The tension in my head skyrocketed as battle drums played inside it. If this was a game, it felt like the final boss fight. Except there was no Game Over screen if I get killed. It was the moment to test what I had learned over the past months under the Professor.

I gave no more room for talking.

My first move was to dash towards Samael with a quick assault aimed at his legs. Prince Zion seemed to follow through and imitated my movements. But just as I expected, Samael jumped to avoid my sweeping attack. The young prince took the open opportunity to make a lunge while the opponent was in mid-air. There was just no way to prevent that. Yet in a blink of an eye, Prince Zion was knocked back a couple of feet away by some unseen force. I didn’t hesitate to follow through with my attack with a powerful strike. But he took it as a chance to guard himself. I gave too much force, and he got deflected away. It looked like it was what he wanted.

Before I could make my next step, I noticed that there was a shadow beneath me. It was as if Samael’s shadow separated from him. But thanks to my quick reflex, I stepped back as a black spear shot upwards from the shadow. He almost caught me off guard. Thankfully, the young prince already recovered and didn’t waste time. I just saw him preemptively attack Samael as they locked in a clash of blades. I was unsure how knowledgeable Samael was, but Prince Zion immediately took the upper-hand in their heated battle.

As expected, even Samael had a hard time defending himself against the young prince’s fighting style. Or should I say, fighting styles? Prince Zion played safe and studied his opponent. I wanted to join the fray, but instead, I summoned more creatures and surrounded the area where we fought.

That was when I noticed how savage Samael fought. He could quickly summon different kinds of weapons from his shadows. Both sides observed the other and checked for potential openings. But Prince Zion finally transitioned his form to an aggressive one. It was interesting to see because Prince Zion already had the upper hand, yet he still played it safe.

I made my comeback and attack simultaneously with the young prince. And thanks to hours of sparring with him before, I knew the kinds of attack he was using against Samael. I knew where he would strike next and where the enemy would most likely defend. And in the next few seconds, I found the opening and take a lunge at it.

But Samael was waiting patiently. Both Prince Zion and I were thrown away by a few meters. It was the very same attack as before. And it was infuriating since I didn’t notice how he managed to attack us at the same time. Samael didn’t make any glyphs, so it was not Rune Magic. There were no ritual circles, so it was not some sort of hex or curse either. I knew that Samael used the Dark Elemental Magic of the Vladimir, but the attack didn’t involve any of his shadows. There were other kinds of magic in Altimeraea, but no different types were used. The magic was done out of thin air.

Prince Zion and I landed right beside each other. He stood up painfully. It was the second time he got hit by the unknown attack. I gritted my teeth in frustration as Samael tried to look provocative. There should be a secret to that.

“There has got to be a weakness. A limit. All of magic has a limit.” Prince Zion pointed out. The boy dominated Samael in sheer swordsmanship skills, but Samael quickly gained the upper-hand by using an indiscernible attack. To make it worse, he still hadn’t used the dark magic that could rob us of eyesight. I need the chance to summon another wight and infuse the Alazonian Curse in it. “We need to keep attacking until we figure out what he had hit us with.”

And we did. Samael kept using it every time we try to attack an opening. It was like a defense mechanism for him. I lost count of how many times we were jolted back into the ground. I had to use the mark I placed on Prince Zion to heal him from the bruises we were getting. It was like a cheat code wherein he was invulnerable. It was also pressuring because the opponent has started to keep up with the young prince’s fighting styles. But even the prince had to step back because every once in a while, black flames would burst ablaze through Samael’s sword. The young prince chose to be more careful.

But I was still confident because there are still many forms that Prince Zion had not used. His more aggressive ones were still reserved for the killing blow. We tried attacking him once again. But this time, I converted Haros into its scythe form. Samael was caught off guard, and I manage to slice open a wound on one of his thighs. The man grunted and moved back, but Prince Zion followed through perfectly. He landed a hit by the shoulder, but it was a shallow stab wound.

Samael was too focused on the wound he got. He didn’t notice that one of my creatures was about to strike him from behind. Prince Zion and I were in perfect harmony. We both initiated a synchronized attack together, expecting ourselves to get launched backward. And we did. It was just as painful. We landed on the hard ground a few feet away, wherein I used the momentum to roll on my back. But Samael failed to see my wight from behind. The creature managed to stab him with a rusty sword through his left shoulder blade.

He roared in pain. I expected him to use the attack again. But none of that happened. Samael pulled himself away from the sword and impaled the wight with dark spears coming from the ground. He winced at the wound that we managed to land on him. It was not yet lethal, but it was tremendous progress.

And it looks like he could not use the attack consecutively.

It was time for our counter-attack. The young prince just nodded at me as I attacked first. Haros was in scythe-form for more aggressive maneuvers. I spun the weapon around wherein Samael had no choice but to defend himself with only one arm. It was too easy. I expected more from him. Yet we could not deny we had a massive advantage over him. We clashed our weapons against each other. He could still defend himself well. However, he was noticeably slower than before.

Both Prince Zion and I contributed to the element of surprise. The boy had his unpredictable forms for close-range fighting. It seemed that Samael failed to account that I would have a trustworthy ally with me. Then I was able to utilize my minions to catch him off guard. It was funny to think that the wight infused with the Alazonian Curse failed to land a fatal blow, yet a mere wight did. He was not invulnerable. We just had to think things through.

With a mighty swipe of my scythe, I disarmed Samael. Prince Zion took the chance to lunge at him. But our time was up. Both of us were thrown back again on the ground.

“You’re getting better, little necromancer.” Samael grimaced. The pain was written all over his face. The wound was no joke. The man could only stand because of an adrenaline rush. Yet everything seemed easy. It was supposed to be a final boss fight. I was sure he was about to use that blinding spell. “Looks like you’ve practiced a lot with your friend there.”

I didn’t answer. Instead, I planned what I would do once he pulled it off. But before I could make another move, Samael’s shadow expanded, and spears started to shoot from it. They flew around, and I had to deflect some that would lunge at me. Even the young prince had to do the same. Our enemy started to get serious.

Then Samael fell into his own shadow. It was as if he was consumed by it. A shadow appeared on my right, but my peripheral vision caught it. I stepped back as soon as Samael came out of it with a clean stab where my throat used to be. I was able to defend myself with a parry, and the enemy fought back. He no longer used a sword but a spear. The change of fighting style almost caught me off guard. But I also sparred with Sir Ysverin. And their attacks were practically similar.

However, Samael capitalized on his abilities. He would suddenly vanish into his own shadow and appear somewhere else. It was probably the spell he used to cover great distances. The next thing I knew was he was clashing against Prince Zion. I took the opportunity to summon a wight from the ground and infused it with my last dose of the Alazonian Curse. If he pulled that off, my ‘eyes’ to sense him out would be ready. But with his ability to summon spears from the shadows and control them through telekinetic means was a big hurdle.

The young prince managed to find an opening again but didn’t take it. I saw the boy eyeing me. He wanted support, so I commanded my summoned creature to charge at him. Since it was a lot faster, Samael didn’t really have the time to defend himself, so he had no choice but to use the attack. Prince Zion’s estimation was very accurate and stepped back slightly outside of Samael’s range. The enemy thought he would be able to repel them off in one strike. But it failed. The young prince stepped back into reach with a mighty swing.

It was going to be a fatal blow.

However, Samael was quicker. He melded into his shadow and appeared a few meters away. A dark spear came out from below and drove through the boy’s right thigh. He shrieked in pain. The shadow where it came from was probably inside Prince Zion’s blindspot. The table had been turned. With the young prince impaled, he wouldn’t be able to move anymore. Samael can deliver a killing blow within the next few seconds.

I ran up towards Prince Zion to help him. Yet, at the same time, Samael had finally let his guard down. My creature took him down in one go and pinned him on the ground. But at the last second, Samael had summoned a couple of spears that launched simultaneously. I was caught in the middle. A triangular position.

Everything went in slow motion. It was a moment of decision.

Prince Zion raised Arondight, and I was confident that he would deflect one of the spears. But the other spear that zoomed unto him would surely hit the boy. On the other hand, Samael was pinned down, and I could finally deliver a fatal blow. I was closer to Prince Zion to deflect the other spear that he couldn’t. I was caught between choosing Samael’s defeat or the young prince’s life.

And I made my decision in that split-second moment.

That was to end the bastard’s life.

As I’ve told Prince Zion, protecting him was not a part of my goal.

I charged at Samael, not caring anymore if Prince Zion lives or dies. However, he melded into his shadow underneath him. Thankfully, my creature had a firm grip on his shoulder. I made it in time as I swung my scythe from an overhead swing, and the sound of thunder boomed as I struck the man on his left side. Samael still managed to dodge a lethal wound by twisting his body underneath my creature. He was forced to use more magic to summon many spears and drove all of them to the wight’s body.

The grip loosened, and the opponent melded back into the darkness. I could strike him, but I didn’t have the momentum to do so. The blade of my scythe was buried halfway to the ground from the force I had used. Yet I still managed to cut a deep wound on him. I found the man from a reasonable distance. He seemed to be recalculating his strategy.

Samael was already wounded. He may have taken down Prince Zion, but he wouldn’t be able to move much anymore because of the wounds. Not to mention, I managed to summon another wight. The tables had turned to my favor again. And when I checked Prince Zion’s body, it was then I realized that the sound of thunder came from Sir Raea’s blade. She made it in time to deflect the spear and assisted her master.

Prince Zion was already limping and was in no condition to fight. He rested his weight on his sword like a cane. Sir Raea stepped forward with her hand resting on Lionel. I was already sure that the man will die at the hands of the female knight. I didn’t care if I didn’t get the final blow. As long as the bastard is dead. Then I’m okay with it.

As soon as Sir Raea charged with her blinding speed, Samael charged at me through his shadows. He seemed to be faster this time. Hell-bent on finishing the fight before it got worse for him. I needed the speed, so I transformed Haros back into a sword. Samael and I clashed blades. But the female knight’s speed was just insane. She made a full stop, then zoomed towards our position. Samael’s eyes immediately turned full black. That was what I was waiting for. It was his final trump card. And I was going to beat it.

Everything went dark. As expected.

Then I was blasted off into the darkness. Samael used that repelling magic again. I heard Sir Raea scream in agony. So, I closed my eyes and focused on my wight with the sensing ability. But I felt nothing. It took a few seconds before I could smell the aroma of burning hair. I just realized that my wight was on fire. The only way to sense him was immediately snuffed out.

In those mere seconds, I had to re-think everything. Prince Zion was rendered immobile. We no longer had an advantage over swordsmanship skills. Sir Raea was amazingly fast. But it would be useless without the eyes. And my only weapon against him was easily disabled. I heard my thump on my heart in my head. I didn’t have the luxury of time to think of every possibility. Prince Zion and Sir Raea could be killed on the other side.

Or worse, Samael can escape. I couldn’t let that happen.

That was when I realized my real strength. It would be a turning point in our fight. Mobility was his strength. And I didn’t maximize mine. If Samael could meld into his shadows, then I can travel between the two dimensions—Earth and Altimeraea. So, I didn’t hesitate further and slid back into the other dimension.

My eyesight was returned back right away.

I returned to the real Gyroseus. And everything seemed to be chaotic. Some of the buildings were burning. People were running all over the place. The skies were dark, and lightning strikes were blasting the ground. A vast smoke was coming from the west. While a loud roar came from the east. But I didn’t have the time to know what was going on.

The only thing left was to find a way how to find Samael. Then I also conceived that he was already aiming to finish the right once and for all. Like me, he was on his last ropes. He might even bet everything on the next attack. And so will I. He was confident that I was blind, and I had to take advantage of that. Samael can meld into the shadows, and the battleground became one. I was sure that he would attack the next thing that made a move.

That was the key to winning.

I summoned a wight right away. Then I placed myself behind it. Gambling is something I looked down on because I want assurance. As a person who loved the magic of science, tangible data is a must. This bet was based on my hypothesis. But I was sure that it was a good one.

In one go, I pushed the wight into Asphodel. I made sure to command it to run as if it was going to panic. Then I followed right behind it and drove Haros through behind his back. My stab was in the chest area. I felt the resistance from my wight’s body. Then I felt another resistance right after it. My blade was pulled downwards as the body of the wight fell into the ground.

Samael took the bait.

As I pushed myself into Asphodel further, the darkness was dispelled. The looming atmosphere of the dead dimension was in sight. And when I looked at Samael, he was stepping back with a stab wound right below the sternum. It was a lethal blow right in the middle of the gut. The man toppled over and started to crawl away. Even that was hard for him. He already had multiple stab wounds, after all.

I noticed Sir Raea running to the young prince as soon as she saw that the danger was gone. The female knight helped Prince Zion back to his feet, and he limped towards my direction. Samael kept crawling away as I ambled right behind him. Within the next few seconds, Sir Raea and Prince Zion were almost upon us. And the man that I hated so much was finally on his last rope.

Samael was a powerful opponent. He could easily overpower me if it wasn’t for Prince Zion’s swordsmanship. It was only through proper combination and a good strategy that I was able to beat him. But his greatest downfall was his arrogance in his own powers. My chest was ready to burst with excitement as I sped up and walked up to him.

Blood was everywhere. I raised my blade. And Samael had nowhere to go.

“I’m not going to lie.” I mumbled softly. The massive boulder in my stomach turned into a flock of butterflies. Murder should have never been done by an eleven-year-old boy, to begin with. We had all been taught of that. It was wrong to kill. But it was not unfit to deliver justice. This death should be more permissible than Phineas’ death. This suffering should be more acceptable than what my mom went through. None of them deserved that. But this one did. “This feels good.”

But before Haros fell to his neck, Samael’s face fell off. Time froze as gooey fluid drooped down from his face. Prince Zion and I stepped back from what we just witnessed. I cringed in horror as I inspected it. It was like a mask made out of human flesh. The boulder inside my guts returned immediately. It looked disgusting. My stomach turned at what it meant.

“What on earth just happened?” I shrieked. The man groaned and toppled over his back. He had dark brown eyes and dark skin. He also looked a few years older than Samael. Then he clutched his wound in agony and had a mischievous smile on his face. His whole body started to melt. “Who are you?”

“Did you really think you have met the real Samael? You people are more foolish than I thought.” The mysterious man chuckled. Then he started coughing up blood. Despite that, his smile grew even more sinister. “The writer is responsible for the direction of the story. But he is never a part of it. You would’ve heard it in our class if you were not absent all the time. Everyone played their part just how Samael wanted it. And the Black Sorceress shall finally return.”

Just like that, the unnamed man froze. Prince Zion and I were just as frozen as he was. His features melted rapidly until his whole body crumbled into clay and dust. And we were left dumbfounded in Asphodel. We may have won this battle. But it only happened because the enemy deemed it so.

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