V. Come Ice
When Ice opened his eyes, he found himself in a different world.
He was standing in a strange forest. Ice touched the trunk of the tree nearest to him. The tree was different from the usual trees of Taiga forest. The trees of Taiga Woods, where he and Sara lived, were dense and thick. The trees of this forest were almost triple the height of trees in Taiga woods and had a darker shade of green in their leaves. They were sparse and he could smell the difference in the scent of air. The most important was the silence. Taiga Woods was rarely silent.
The sky was clear blue, but there was no sun up there.
‘This is not the river of time.’ Ice thought in his mind.
Ice looked at his hands and felt the same thing he had felt all those eons. The feeling of intangibleness. Being there, but at the same time, not being there. Being away from a physical body, just in the form of a soul. He hated that feeling. More like that feeling induced the trauma in him.
‘What the hell is that bastard planning now?’
Unable to find the reason, Ice explored around. After walking for a short while, he noticed the minute and refreshing smell of water in the air. He could also hear faint sounds coming from a certain direction and he went there.
When he walked further, he could hear a water stream. He hurried there and found a crystal clear river. Fishes and reptiles were swimming in the river playfully. Birds were fluttering in the sky while the butterflies were jumping around on fresh flowers. Squirrels were biting the nuts and insects were buzzing around in a low voice. Ice could see a lot of different life forms around that river.
That serene scene was heartwarming, but Ice couldn’t feel joy in his heart. Because on the river bed, a few meters away from water, there was a woman. She was lying down with her eyes closed on a black polished cuboid stone, around a foot and half in height. The grey ground beneath the black stone was leveled flat in the form of a circle. At the edge of the circle, tall grass was growing. It was like the flat ground was man made in that natural habitat.
Ice walked towards that woman and stood near her.
“Yavie...” He gently whispered her name.
Ice bent down and touched her face again. Even though it has only been a few minutes since he was holding her in his arms, he felt like it’s been years. His face was inches away from hers as he gazed upon her. Her skin was as white as snow. Her long golden hair strands were falling down the black stone, as if they were some waterfall. Her nose was perfectly shaped. Her thin lips were slightly curled in a smile, as if she was seeing a sweet dream.
When he saw her long pointy ears, Ice remembered how she was ticklish around there. He remembered how he used to play with her hair. He remembered how he sometimes used to nestle against her soft body. And he only felt love and affection as he remembered those things.
‘I will definitely bring you back.’ he thought to himself and he silently sat against the black stone. He felt peace but that peaceful moment didn’t last long.
‘Come Ice’ that deep voice said again. This time, he could that the voice was coming from the skies. He knew he had to go. He finally stood up and glanced at his lover for one last time, and then he started flying towards the sky.
His speed of flight was neither fast nor too slow. He stopped when he reached half the length to the clouds. And there he felt as if there was some barrier in the sky. But he crossed that barrier without any resistance. And as he flew ahead, whole of the scenery changed.
The surroundings darkened. The blue skies changed their colour to red. The white clouds appeared to be deep crimson as if they had absorbed blood of thousands of beings. Shining red bolts of lightening, some as thin as a strange if hair while others a few meters wide, flashed around in those clouds, never dissipating. They appeared so alive, as if they were dragons who would engulf everything.
Ice felt as if his body had turned heavy and it became harder for him to breathe. He felt like someone invisible was choking his neck. When Ice looked back, he saw a dome shaped transparent barrier covering a few hundreds of meters. His wife was in the middle of that barrier, lying on the top of a black stone. The trees, the rivers, the animals, all had disappeared. The ground beneath had turned to similarly transparent base that was covering every corner of the earth.
‘What is the soul realm doing in the river of time?’ Ice was surprised when he gazed upon the barrier. He looked intensely but his gaze didn’t give him any insight. He turned his sight towards the crimson clouds again.
“So you finally broke the seal and came back home.” A voice came from the clouds. A voice deep and strong enough to instill fear in the heart of bravest of men. A voice that would reverberate through the very soul of the listener until it shatters.
Ice stood proud and fearless, as if that frightening voice didn’t intimidate him, but his heart was already annoyed after hearing that voice.
“Home? This wretched prison? It’s your home, not mine.” Ice replied with no emotion.
“You suffered so much and sculpted that body for countless eons. Yet you could not even live through one. Don’t you think it is unfair to you?”
“It is worth it.” Ice smiled, recalling how he got to meet Yavie again. He was sure he would find Sel too soon.
Two bolts of red lightning formed in the clouds as if the smile of Ice had irritated that voice. Before Ice could do something for self-protection, those two bolts had stricken behind his knees and made a small hole there. Ice felt a sharp pain in his legs. As the hole in his knees widened, his bone and flesh disintegrated, and the pain he felt only increased. The pain from the wound to the soul was always much more than the pain to the physical body.
Even though it hurt, Ice didn’t show it. He was already used to even worse wounds. As if supported by his strong will, the injury on his legs started to heal.
“Is that all you...” Before Ice could finish his words, another small bolt of red lightening hit on his neck. His voice box instantly disintegrated to dust.
“Come Ice... Accept the fate you so rightfully earned.”
‘Do your worst.’ Ice used mana to speak. His last words echoed throughout that world, before they were thoroughly suppressed by the loud rumbling of the lightning.
This time, the lighting wasn’t as small as before. The lightning that descended was hundreds of meters wide, engulfing the whole of that transparent barrier and falling endlessly. It looked like the lightening was a giant pillar of red light connecting the earth with the clouds. Ice’s whole body started to disintegrate. Ice knew that if he let go because of pain, his very existence would vanish...