The Origin of Evil
Having had enough of her ice demon appearance, Alenia reverted back to her alluring blonde form. “Ah, that’s more like it,” she said, sounding as if she had just removed a binding article of clothing.
“Who’s this person you’re talking about?” asked Sage. “Who did you come to this world for? Is it one of us?”
“Why, I came to the world of the living to take James back with me,” said Alenia. “Who did you think I wanted, that flat-chested little girlfriend of yours?”
“For James?” asked Jaycee.
“What do you want with James?” asked Aiko. “He doesn’t even have his memories back. He doesn’t know anything about this.”
Alenia let out a boisterous laugh. “Are you really that naïve?” she asked. “Since James has failed to acknowledge you, then that must mean he doesn’t remember you, is that right? You fools. He doesn’t acknowledge you because he doesn’t want to!”
“That’s a lie,” said Jaycee.
“You of all people should know what we’re dealing with,” said Alenia. “The James you knew is gone. You saw it yourself. He’s become something far more desirable, something that would fit in quite well where I’m from.”
“Well, you’re not getting your dirty hands on him,” exclaimed Aiko. “He’s our friend, and if he’s going anywhere it’ll be with us, you got that! So back off!”
“So, the reason we’re here is because of James?” asked Jaycee.
“Exactly!” exclaimed Alenia. “And what an interesting trip it’s been. I’m glad someone finally brought that up.”
“You’d better not be getting ready to tell some kind of story!” exclaimed Aiko.
“Oh, I’m afraid it’s too late to stop me now,” said Alenia.
* * *
The ice demon Alenia traversed the many corridors of her dreary new home. Regardless of where she went, Alenia was tormented with the most ominous of sounds. If she wasn’t being subjected to ghastly wailing, then Alenia was forced to listen to the growls and roars of her fellow inhabitants. The air was also stagnant, giving the realm a most unpleasant aroma.
“I have to free myself from this prison,” said Alenia. “I don’t belong here. I don’t deserve to be in a place like this.”
Using her tenacious charm, Alenia was able to earn an audience with her master in his chamber. And quite the chamber it was. The king resided in a darkened room large enough to fit even the grandest of coliseums.
Alenia stood terrified in the middle of the chamber.
A pair of glowing red eyes, each much larger than Alenia, opened at the far end of the room. This was soon followed by a growl.
“Yes, my lord,” said Alenia, who immediately knelt.
Another growl filled the room.
“I have requested a meeting with you, my lord, to ask a favor of you,” explained Alenia. “I humbly ask that you return me to the world of the living.”
The demon king let out another growl, but a much angrier one than the first two.
“Please, my lord,” said Alenia. “It has come to my attention that a great source of power still resides among those pitiful creatures. If you give me the opportunity, I can claim this power for the kingdom. I can claim this power for you.”
This time Alenia’s suggestion was met with a much less volatile growl.
“Why should I be given this task?” asked Alenia. “Because I am the most powerful of all your demons. None of the others compare to me. They’re nothing but mindless animals. None of them could have come up with an idea like this.”
Another growl was directed at Alenia, one that carried unpleasant news.
“What?” gasped Alenia. “But why? What have they ever done to deserve being given the same opportunity as me? It isn’t fair!”
A roar immediately filled the room. So fierce was it that it shook the walls.
“Please, my lord,” said Alenia, pressing her face against the ground. “Please forgive me. I spoke out of haste. If this is your will, then I will not question it. I thank you for this opportunity. And I will not fail you.”
It was shortly thereafter when Alenia found herself standing in the middle of a wide open area. Standing opposite her was a one-time comrade. The shriveled little old man and his ever faithful cat were the first two obstacles standing in Alenia’s way.
“It’s been a while since last we spoke,” said the little old man. “We really should have tried to keep in better touch.”
“Save your breath,” said Alenia. “Just because we were once on the same side doesn’t mean we were ever friends. To be honest, I never liked you. I couldn’t stand how you and that cat were always together. No matter where you went, there was that cat. Even now, everyone here is talking about it. They all want to know what kind of relationship you two have.”
The little old man’s cat let out a hiss.
“It’s a shame that you won’t be around long enough to make any more of those comments of yours,” said the little old man. It was shortly after the cryptic message was made when a group of black, winged demons appeared overhead. Their collective attention was focused squarely on Alenia, who showed absolutely no signs of fear.
“I should have expected something like this from you,” said Alenia, summoning a sword of ice. “You don’t have any real power, so you manipulate others to do your work for you. A shame that I have to waste so many demons. They would have done well in the army I’m going to command once I come to power.”
“Enough talk,” said the little old man. “Kill her!”
“I’ll spare you the embarrassment of not reminding you that everyone here is already dead!” exclaimed Alenia before beginning her assault. With incredible precision and speed, she cut down all of the demons.
“Impressive,” said the little old man. “But I just proved how gullible you are.”
“What?” gasped Alenia. The realization that she was now standing on the imprint of a star within a circle hit the ice demon with incredible force. Immediately, a blinding surge of blue light consumed everything within the circle.
“You shouldn’t have said such hurtful things to me,” said the little old man.
A scream burst from Alenia and her sword of ice exploded into shards. But through the ravaging pain, Alenia was able to create a barrier of ice that completely encased her, keeping her safe from further damage.
Having exhausted his energy, the little old man’s attack came to an end. What was left behind after the light had faded away was Alenia entombed within a block of ice. The sight, as macabre as it might have been, was still stunning.
With a burst that could have woken the dead from their slumber, the ice exploded.
“About trying to kill you,” said the little old man. “It was just a joke.”
“As I said before,” said Alenia. “Everyone here is already dead. But there’s no rule that says you can’t die more than once.”
Having one last trick up his proverbial sleeve, the little old man snatched up his cat and hurled it at Alenia. The demon of ice caught the furry projectile.
“Well, what a nice little trophy you’ll make,” said Alenia before blowing a mouthful of frigid breath into the cat’s face. The cat immediately became encased within a block of ice. “And now for you,” she said, tossing the cat away.
A giant dome of ice grew around the combatants. The temperature within it grew to a freezing level at an incredible rate.
“Is it just me, or is it getting cold in here?” asked Alenia.
“It’s g, g, going to take m, m, more than a little c, c, cold to stop me,” stuttered the visibly shivering little old man.
“Just what I wanted to hear,” said Alenia.
The dome then began closing in on its inhabitants. Backing into the wall, Alenia was absorbed into the ice. “See you on the other side,” she said.
“You’re not strong enough,” shouted the little old man. “Someone will stop you. No matter how much power you gain, there will always be someone stronger.”
Alenia, now outside the shrinking dome, turned her back and began her departure. “There will be no one stronger than me,” she whispered.
With the first battle out of the way, the next two fighters took to the same wide open area. This time the participants in the battle were the ever jovial skull faced jester and its much less jovial opponent made of black water.
After letting out a hideous laugh, the jester produced a bouquet of flowers from its sleeve. It wasted no time in hurling them at the creature of black water, then charging with sword now in hand. The blade cut cleanly through the black water but did no damage.
A meek laugh escaped from the skull faced jester as it timidly began backing away. With the ferocity of a wild animal, the creature of black water lunged and grabbed hold of the sides of the jester’s head. It then drove its face into its foe’s, sending its entire body into the jester through every hole in its face that it could find.
It took only seconds for the black water to fill the jester’s body, swelling its stomach to more than twice its normal size. The pressure that was being exerted upon its body forced a horrible scream to burst from the skull faced jester. It then exploded, scattering bones and shredded clothing in every direction.
Soon thereafter, Alenia and the creature of black water took to the battlefield.
Alenia was so close to her goal now that her body tingled with excitement. She knew if she won this fight, then nothing would stand in her way of returning to the world of the living. For it was there where her powers could truly flourish.
“So, you dispatched of old skelebones, did you?” asked Alenia. “I should thank you. I always hated that stupid laugh of his.”
The creature of black water did nothing in response.
“Don’t tell me the cat’s got your tongue,” said Alenia. “Because I already got rid of that dirty mongrel.” After once again receiving no response, Alenia figured it was time to prepare for battle. “You may have gotten past that bag of bones, but I won’t be so easy to beat. Now is when we find out just how strong we really are.”
A plethora of razor-sharp icicles appeared before Alenia. With a wave of her hand, Alenia sent them flying at the creature of black water. The frozen projectiles passed right through their target’s body, doing no damage.
“Maybe you’d rather try this!” exclaimed Alenia, summoning a sword of ice. She then charged and slashed the creature’s chest.
After the failed attack, the creature immediately clamped a hand over Alenia’s mouth. It then proceeded to force black water down her throat. Before a lethal dose could be administered, the creature’s hand became ice, prompting it to pull away.
Alenia fell to her hands and knees and choked out the black water. “I can’t believe you would use that tactic against me,” she said. “But by doing so, you just sealed your own miserable fate, you wretched fool.”
The creature immediately began turning into ice.
“Did you think I was such a fool to believe I could defeat you with such conventional means?” asked Alenia. “You were sadly mistaken. The icicles, the sword, they were all coated with particles from my body. If left alone they’re harmless, but once my breath awakens them, they spring to life and consume their host, just like a disease.”
It took only seconds for the creature of black water to completely freeze.
“I think we all learned a lesson from this experience,” said Alenia, making her way to the creature. “And that lesson is . . . don’t ever get in my way!” And with that, Alenia struck the creature, shattering it into thousands of shards.
After claiming victory, Alenia returned to her master’s chamber.
“I did as you commanded, my lord,” said Alenia, who had remembered to kneel. “I now humbly ask that you send me back to the world of the living.”
The demon king let out a growl.
“What?” gasped Alenia. “What do you mean I’m not finished? I vanquished my foes just as you told me. There’s no one left. I did everything that you asked.”
Another growl filled the room.
“One more?” asked Alenia. “But there aren’t any more. Unless you mean.” Alenia’s eyes then bulged. “No. You can’t mean.”
Heavy footsteps began echoing off the walls. There was something very unsettling about the time between each step. It was methodical, almost machine-like.
Alenia rose and immediately spun around. Her body began to tremble when she found who it was who had entered the king’s chamber. The new arrival was none other than Shadow Kahn’s ever loyal Beast.
“No!” exclaimed Alenia, backing away. “He doesn’t belong here! That’s Raspheet! He’s the king of purgatory! Why has he not returned to where he came from?”
The demon king’s growl gave Alenia her answer.
“They didn’t want him anymore,” said Alenia. A few laughs then made their way through her quivering lips. “How fortunate we were to gain such a powerful ally.”
The next growl was the signal for the battle to begin.
When the Beast retrieved its axe from behind its back, Alenia once again began backing away. “Wait,” she exclaimed. “I’m not ready!”
Ignoring Alenia’s plea, the Beast began its advance.
“Stay back!” exclaimed Alenia. A group of icicles then appeared before her and hurled themselves at the Beast. Using its axe and free arm, the Beast effortlessly deflected every one of them. Through the attack, the Beast lost not a step.
“Please, master,” said Alenia. “There must be some other way. I’ve changed my mind. I don’t want to go back! I want to stay here . . . with you!”
The Beast caught up to Alenia and swung its axe. So narrowly did the Beast miss Alenia that she felt a slash of wind across her face.
Having no choice but to fight back, Alenia summoned her sword of ice. She immediately let loose a barrage of strikes. The Beast was able to block every attack with little effort. With its free hand, it clenched onto Alenia’s blade and snapped it in half.
“It can’t be,” said Alenia.
The Beast then drove its fist into Alenia’s chest, sending her crashing to the ground. A spurt of blue blood came bursting from Alenia’s mouth after the assault.
Before Alenia could get back up, the Beast grabbed her by the throat and lifted her off the ground. A puff of cold breath to the Beast’s face was Alenia’s last resort. The Beast blocked the breath with its arm, which soon became encased in ice, forcing it to drop its prey.
“Not even you can withstand my ice,” said Alenia.
The Beast slammed its arm into the wall, shattering Alenia’s ice.
“That’s impossible,” gasped Alenia. She then tried to escape but was unable to get sturdy footing on her trembling legs.
The Beast brought a swift end to the battle when it drove its axe into Alenia’s back. The demon of ice crashed to her knees. She fought as hard as she could to stay alive, but the blade had penetrated so deeply that Alenia’s organs had been decimated.
The demon king gave a parting growl to his most ambitious of followers.
“I can’t be this weak,” whispered Alenia, falling face first to the ground.
After vanquishing Alenia, the Beast removed its axe from her back, then made its way to its master. The demon king let out a growl, prompting the Beast to turn back around. Alenia’s lifeless body was nowhere to be found.
A boisterous laugh began echoing off the walls. This was followed by the rolling in of a heavy mist that filled the entire room.
“You didn’t really think a lady such as myself would go down that easily, did you?” asked Alenia, whose location was a mystery.
The mist grew so thick that it became impossible to see through it. The walls of the chamber then became covered with sheets of ice.
Alenia, now in her water demon form, stood at a safe distance from the Beast and watched it intently. She then summoned a rock hard ball of snow and hurled it at her opponent, striking the Beast in the back of the head.
When the Beast spun around, Alenia had vanished.
“All the strength in the world can’t save you when you can’t find your opponent,” said Alenia. “But feel free to try, my cumbersome little friend.”
Another rock hard ball of snow crashed into the back of the Beast’s head. So ferociously had the projectile been thrown that the Beast was sent stumbling forward a few steps.
“I belong in the world of the living,” exclaimed Alenia. “I’m the only one suited for such a mission. And I won’t let anything stand in the way of me getting what I desire, or what I deserve, especially not some mindless dog like you!”
After Alenia delivered her message, a number of razor-sharp icicles appeared hovering in the middle of the room. They then hurled themselves at the Beast. Each one sunk deep into their target’s body, leaving the Beast unable to move.
It was unclear to Alenia as to whether the assault had accomplished its goal. The water demon received her answer when the Beast crashed to its knees.
“Let it not be said that I would allow someone to suffer,” said Alenia. An icicle then drove itself into the Beast’s face, sending the defeated crumbling.
The mist began to gather in the middle of the chamber as if having been summoned. And it was there where Alenia now stood. Once the mist had been absorbed into her body, Alenia once again took on the form of an ice demon.
“Next time you kill someone,” said Alenia, “make sure they’re really dead.”
The demon king let out another growl.
Alenia knelt before the gargantuan red eyes and waited for her master to hold up his end of the bargain. “I’m ready, my lord,” she said.
The demon king’s next growl prompted Alenia to rise.
Before her very eyes, Alenia’s skin turned from a powder blue to a more natural tone. Her hair, which had been a white as pristine as the snow she had come from, became blonde. The final touch was Alenia’s blue eyes taking on a more human shade of the color.
“My reward . . . is to become human?”
After the demon king directed a final growl at Alenia, an excruciating pain began ravaging her body. Alenia lurched over from its ferocity.
“What’s happening to me?” asked Alenia. It was shortly thereafter when a pair of black wings emerged from her back, bringing Alenia to her knees and forcing a horrendous scream to burst from her bloodied mouth.
After taking a few moments to collect herself, Alenia shakily stood. She then came to realize the magnitude of the gift that had just been bestowed upon her. She wrapped her new wings around herself and began laughing a most boisterous laugh.
* * *
“Well, would you listen to me,” said Alenia. “I’ve spent all this time talking about myself. How rude of me. I think it would only be fair for me to spend some time to talk about the three of you. Don’t you think?”
“There’s nothing you know about us,” said Aiko. “So save your breath.”
“Oh, I don’t?” asked Alenia. “You three don’t think you just fell asleep one day and woke up to find yourselves here, do you? Your lives didn’t come to an end that fateful day. Would you care to see what I mean?”
“It’s a trick,” said Sage. “She’s trying to catch us off guard.”
“Show us,” said Jaycee. “I want to know.”
Sage and Aiko were more than a bit surprised to hear what Jaycee had said.
“Ah, so the voice of reason finally speaks up,” said Alenia. “If I’m going to show Jaycee her past, then I might as well show you two yours.”
A puddle of water appeared between the parties. After if stopped rippling, the vision of a woman standing atop a hill appeared. She had medium length black hair and had her back turned. When she turned around, her identity was revealed.
“That’s me,” said Aiko, face now blushed. The vision of her own beauty left Aiko at a rare loss for words.
Someone just as familiar stood beside the vision of Aiko. It was Sage, who had also grown more attractive with the passage of time.
As the two were losing themselves in each other’s eyes, a little girl with many of the same features as Sage and Aiko ran to them, eager for their attention. Sage picked his daughter up and carried her on his shoulders.
Seeing such a thing caused Aiko’s eyes to glisten in the moonlight. “I’m . . . a mommy,” she said. She then gazed at Sage, who was already looking at her. “That’s our child.”
“I had a feeling you were going to like that,” said Alenia, making a sweeping motion with her arm, bringing the vision in the water to an end.
“Wait,” exclaimed Aiko.
“Sorry, but your time is up,” said Alenia. “I did say that I was going to show everyone their past, did I not?” Alenia then directed her glare at Jaycee. “That means you’re next, my dear little Jaycee. So let’s see what became of you.”
The puddle once again began to ripple. When the water calmed, the vision of an adult Jaycee standing before a large pond appeared. The beauty of the moonlight dancing in the pond was exceeded only by Jaycee, whose exquisite form could be matched by none.
“How beautiful you were,” said Alenia.
Looking as if under a spell, Jaycee walked into the pond. She stopped when the water reached her waist, then drew a dagger from her hip. With eyes shining in the moonlight as she gazed at the sky, Jaycee then used the dagger to slit one of her wrists, sending herself falling face first into the now cloudy red water.
“No,” gasped Jaycee, shaking her head. “It can’t be.”
“How dare you show her that,” said Sage.
“You heartless bitch,” exclaimed Aiko. “You had no right to do that! We all know that what you just showed us was a lie! Jaycee would never do that!”
“Really?” asked Alenia. “It doesn’t look to me as if Jaycee thought it was a lie. Besides, I’m not in the business of showing people lies. But if you’re so insistent on accusing me, then take these words to heart. If what I showed Jaycee was a lie, then what I showed you was a lie. Are you willing to accept that?”
Aiko was unable to come up with a reply
“I can’t say that it was a pleasure to meet all of you,” said Alenia, “but I must be on my way. But don’t worry, we’ll be doing this again.”
Alenia then spread her black wings and rose into the night sky. She then flashed a devilish smile at the others before flying away.
Having more pressing issues to deal with than to curse Alenia, Aiko focused on Jaycee. “It’s not true what she showed you, Jaycee,” she said. “None of it was.”