Ray sat outside Cianna and Nanna Kaden’s house looking up at the sky. It was a long day, and he was tired, but he couldn’t sleep. After the Toivoa Destroyer fell to pieces, they had to search for Cormac, who completely vanished from the battlefield. However, after searching for hours, they couldn’t find him. If Ray had to guess, Cormac must have escaped just before Ray cast the traditional Toivoa. After giving up the search, they returned to Cianna’s place to rest and to focus on healing. Mr Kaden, in particular, was in pretty bad shape, even Ray could tell that it was likely he wasn’t going to live for much longer.
Ray sighed, he was glad it was finally over, mainly since everyone kept asking him questions he didn’t know the answers to. It actually surprised him that he was actually able to pull of the original Toivoa spell. He didn’t know why he was able to do it; he just assumed the answer was most likely hidden in the memories he lost. In fact, his entire time in Valo left him with more questions than answers.
A sudden image flashed in Ray’s mind. The dark and fuzzy image was too unclear to make out anything besides to figures hidden in the shadows, one human and one that wasn’t. Before he could analyse it further, it faded, and Ray felt a sharp pain in his head. He blinked when it disappeared as quickly as it appeared. The pain was completely gone without leaving any traces of it.
“What was that…?” Ray muttered.
He sighed, thinking it was nothing but exhaustion. However, no matter how many times he told himself to relax, he couldn’t get rid of the tightness in his chest. Ray could help but think that the Toivoa incident was just the beginning and something bad was about to happen.
Blaze stumbled through the outskirts of Lurra. Unable to walk any further, he slumped himself against the cliff side and sat down. He was in a lot more pain than he thought. His head had started to pound when Brayden Valero began his whole speech about continuing forward. He had a feeling he had heard it before. It was then that the images of her began to flash before him. It had made everything hazy. As the pain worsened, he began to laugh, pulling back his hair.
“You idiot, why did you go and erase yourself from my memories like that?” he said. “Couldn’t you have erased everything. It would have made things easier for me…”
Blaze frowned. The dark purple starless sky made him feel lonelier than before. He had really messed everything up. He had managed to become the very evil he once wished to destroy. With every passing moment not only did is memory flood back but guilt began to consume him. Everything he had done was pointless. He had broken many promises, and he could never fix the bonds he had because of his actions. Blaze felt as if he didn’t know that he wanted anymore.
“What am I supposed to do now?” he muttered.
Blaze knew he had always been slightly sadistic. After being abandoned by his mother, he behaved like a tyrant. Whenever someone would insult him, Blaze was always quick to jump on them and continue to beat them until someone would pull him off. No one in Twilight Heart ever looked out for him; he even felt distant from his adoptive grandfather. Everyone just saw him as a monster, nothing more, nothing less. Blaze always swore to himself that he would never be the monster they thought he was. However, for some reason those last few years he had done precisely that.
“Destroying the world?” he snarled at himself. “Why did I think of doing something so stupid.”
“Well isn’t this a sorry sight.” A man from behind him laughed.
The sudden voice shocked Blaze. He had been so lost in thought; he didn’t sense another’s presence like he usually did. He slowly got to his feet as the man he had been in contact with, walked up to him. The man was older than Master Isaac; his long white hair pulled back into a low ponytail. He was a large muscular man despite his age, and he wore a long black trench coat.
“What do you want, Sabra?” Blaze snarled, narrowing his eyes.
“I’ve come to collect you. You are to return to my side at once,” Sabra barked. “My plans are about to come into motion. I need you to follow my every order, and together we’ll destroy Twilight Heart and take over the world!”
Blaze closed his eyes and sighed. Since the holes in his memories were slowly being filled in, he remembered there was someone he wanted to protect. He wanted to protect the very first person who reached out to him, who treated him like he was just like everyone else. Blaze wanted to save her from the curse she had to bear, but all he could think about was the hand he couldn’t reach.
“Why do you hesitate? Destroying the world is want you wanted, wasn’t it? Don’t you want to punish Twilight Heart for their weakness and ignorance?” Sabra asked with a horrid grin on his face. “I believe you also said you wanted to get revenge on Brayden Valero for interrupting your plans. There is also someone I want to destroy eventually, but first I want to make them suffer. Follow me and both of our dreams will become a reality.”
“Stop putting ideas into my head. Just what are you planning?” Blaze growled. “What does this person you speak of have anything to do with Brayden Valero or Twilight Heart.”
“Oh have I failed to mention that?” The old man said continuing to smile.
Sabra whispered the name that Blaze could barely hear. His eyes went wide with shock. It was a name he knew well; he didn’t know how to reply.
“You seem surprised, but I suspect now you understand my intentions,” Sabra stated. “I will do whatever it takes to destroy everything the MLC and CSOG have created. Peace is meaningless and stupid. Ever since creating that stupid Peace Treaty, Le Alba has been filled with weak swine who can’t do anything but whine about how difficult life is. I will create a world full of war and kill off anyone who is too weak to fight”.
“But that’s complete genocide!” Blaze yelled. “Don’t you think that’s taking it to far?”
“Nothing is too much when destroying what I hate,” Sabra claimed. “Destruction is everything; I will claim victory and create my perfect world. Once I have control of Le Alba I will declare war on the other realms until the entire world is mine.”
Blaze snarled at the old man. He hated the man’s view. He had come to realise that he had put his faith in the wrong person, that the man he looked for guidance in achieving his goals was nothing but a lunatic. He realised that everything he aspired for wasn’t his own ideas. When he first met Sabra all Blaze wanted was to avenge his friend’s deaths and end the suffering their absence had caused. However, Sabra had managed to slowly corrode his mind, making him think that destroying the world was his only option. If he thought about it, destroying everything could potentially save the one he wanted to save, but that would have also meant that all the hard work and suffering she went through would have become meaningless.
“Find someone else to engage in your stupid plot,” Blaze growled through his teeth. “I will not help you. Your barbaric ideals don’t interest me; I do not need a war filled the world. You’re in my way, so I suggest you move before I get any angrier.”
“Peace is pointless, surely you of all people understand that. The desire of rage and despair strive within you. After all, you have managed to kill hundreds of people and permanently injured many others. You are just like me.”
“I’m nothing like you. All this time you’ve been tricking me into doing your bidding, but that’s all coming to an end right now. I will bring peace to Le Alba, for all the people cherish and so that the ones who can’t be here anymore didn’t die in vain. I quit, find someone else to do your dirty work.” Blaze said, beginning to walk away.
“Oh, but you are. You enjoy watching others suffer.” The old man said with a sly tone, “You are nothing but rage and hate. Why else would everyone abandon you? Even that person you claim you’re going to save. She left you alone to die on that night because she couldn’t stand how empty you were.”
Blaze stopped in his tracks. He clutched his fists. He turned to the man and snarled at him.
“How did you know about that?” He barked.
“Oh what a scary face,” Sabra sneered. “Surely you remember what happened by now. You just stood there and watched as your friends perished. One by one.”
“Y-you’re lying!” Blaze stuttered his eyes going wide with shock.
“No, you’re the one who’s lying to yourself. You could have done something to save all of them; you had the power. A cursed power perhaps but one that could have done something to stop that disaster. But you just did nothing, didn’t you? You even went as far as to go on a little rampage and began to blame others for your incompetence.”
“S-stop…” Blaze stuttered the images of the old man’s words filling his mind.
“Surely you remember the way she looked down at you with disgust as you attacked her.” Sabra continued, smiling at Blaze’s reaction. “The only way to stop you from wrecking havoc was erasing your memories. You are empty Blaze Tooronga-Aliené, you are nothing more than a sadistic monster. Though what else would you expect from a filthy reincarnation?”
Blaze remained silent, staring at the man with wide eyes. To make matters worse everything Sabra had said matched his memory.
“You get to live while all of those innocent people you manipulated were left to die,” Sabra snarled. “You aren’t fit to be a hero. If it’s peace you want, then a failed experiment such as yourself is better off dead.”
Blaze clicked his tongue in rage and clenched his fists once more.
“Even so…” he trailed off, turning away from the old man to avoid him from seeing his despondent expression. “I refuse to do anything you say; I refuse to fall to your level.”
Sabra began to laugh, “Do you really think it’s going to be that easy to disobey me.”
“What do you…” Blaze began turning to face Sabra one more time when a pain shot through Blaze’s head.
A sudden murkiness filled his mind which nearly made him fall backwards. It also became harder to breathe as words became unable to escape his mouth.
“Wh-what…” Blaze barely managed to mutter.
“You’ve left yourself open and your mind vulnerable.” Sabra smiled. “You are now under my control.”
Blaze could do nothing except stand there with wide eyes. He tried to struggle against the old man’s power, but he couldn’t break free.
“I’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time. The resurrected Earl Shario Aliené I have many uses for you, despite being nothing but an empty shell of what you used to be. Regardless you have a cold and monstrous personality, which makes you the perfect candidate for a cruel dictator. Every army needs a leader and the way you used to treat your pawns even makes me look like a saint. Fall into the nothingness and become my perfect puppet.”
Memories of every battle and the countless of victims he created flashed in his mind. He finally saw what everyone else had seen. He was a monster. He had so much blood on his hands that he could never turn his life around even if he wanted to. Blaze realised that he was to blame for the death of his friends and that knew nothing but destruction. His eyes became blank and emotionless. His hands fell loosely to his sides. He just stared in front of him completely in a trance.
His vision of Sabra disappeared and was replaced by darkness. His nightmare continued as the darkness began to consume him. There was nothing there for him, no one to pull him back into the light. But he no longer cared, he no longer felt afraid. He felt nothing.
He really was empty.