Hope's Bright!

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Ray sat on the stairs outside Nanna Kaden’s house, looking up at the sky. He was tired from the long day, 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 the old wooden cottage to rest and focus on healing. Pennie Kaela and Visola had fallen asleep moments after returned. Noah and Charlottea were having a long discussion while Lynx and Dimetrios were complaining about how sore they were. Mr Kaden, in particular, was in pretty bad shape. Nanna Kaden spent hours in a locked room healing him. However, even Ray knew the limits to what healing magic could do and that it was likely that Mr Kaden wasn’t going to live much longer. Cianna, who probably knew what limited time she had left with her father, refused to leave his side. Ray didn’t know why, but the whole situation made him feel uncomfortable. The room felt stuffy and he felt a strange sinking feeling in his stomach. It was part of the reason he went outside, that and he was sick of Lynx’s and Dimetrios’s constant whining.

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 off the original Toivoa spell. He didn’t know why or how 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. It was hard for him, especially since he was told that he should regain his memories in a few months.However, as of the beginning of November it had been seven years since he woke up with amnesia and he hardly remembered anything.

“I just want to remember who I am and find my family,” Ray said, placing his head on his knees. “Is that too much to ask?”

A sudden image flashed in Ray’s mind and he felt a sharp pain in his head. The dark and fuzzy image was too unclear to make out anything besides two figures hidden in the shadows. One seemed to be human and one that had a beast-like form that towered over the other figure. Before he could analyse it further, it faded. 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. Not only was he suffering from injuries the Toivoa Destroyer had caused but when Brayden Valero began his whole speech about continuing forward his head began to pound. He had a feeling he had heard it before. It was then that the images of her began to flash before him, someone he once wanted to protect. The girl who was the very first person to reach out to him. 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 starless purple sky made him feel lonelier than before. He had really messed everything up and he had no excuse for his behaviour. He found it funny that his recent actions would have pleased his mother. The whole reason she abandoned him in the first place was because he wasn’t the cold-blooded assassin she wanted him to be. In fact, she was often quite verbal about how he was a failure. His mother was a horrible criminal and he never got along with her, but Blaze didn’t take her abandonment very well. The members of Twilight Heart at the time disliked the fact that he was a member and were often quite nasty towards him. Although Blaze probably didn’t help matters since he behaved like a tyrant at first, violently acting up whenever someone would insult him. As he got older he behaved more appropriately, and instead of causing trouble he distanced himself from everyone. However, it didn’t improve their opinion of him. Everyone just saw him as a monster, nothing more, nothing less. He swore to himself that he would never become the monster they thought he was and wanted to save the world, so no one had to suffer anymore. However, he managed to become the very evil he once wished to destroy. With every passing moment guilt began to consume him. Everything he had done was pointless, and he could never fix the bonds he once had. Angry at himself, Blaze felt as if he didn’t know what he wanted anymore.

“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 that 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. He was a tall slender man dressed in a long black trench coat with his long white hair pulled back into a pony tail.

“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. His mind flickered to the one he wanted to protect/ The girl with long brown hair that fell to her waist, the one who was cold yet kind. With his memory a little hazy her face was still not much more than a blur, but he could remember every moment with her and the close friends he once had. Which made it more difficult to forget their deaths and the hand he couldn’t reach.

“Why do you hesitate? This is the perfect opportunity to destroy those who took everything from you. Don’t you want to punish Twilight Heart for their weakness and ignorance?” Sabra asked with a horrid grin on his face. “You see there is someone I want to destroy but first I want to make them suffer. To do that I need to deal with Twilight Heart and Brayden Valero. 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 are you planning and who is this person?”

“Oh, have I failed to mention that?” the old man sneered. “Well, I suppose it’s time for me to tell you about it. You have been following my command for many years now, even if it was reluctantly. Once this person is dead, I’ll grant that little wish of yours.”

“Who?” Blaze asked with a snarl.

Sabra whispered the name so that Blaze could barely hear. His eyes went wide with shock. It was a name he knew well, it was the name of one of the friends he thought he had lost.

“You seem surprised, but I suspect now you understand my intentions,” Sabra continued to smile. “The society of today is a joke. My revenge comes first, then I will destroy everything the MLC and CSOG has created. Ever since that meaningless and stupid Peace Treaty, Le Alba has been filled with weak swine who do nothing but complain about how difficult life is. I will create a world full of war and kill off anyone who is too weak to fight. Only those I deem worthy will survive.”

“But that’s complete genocide!” Blaze yelled. “Don’t you think that’s taking it too far?”

“Nothing is too much when destroying what I hate,” Sabra claimed. “I will claim victory and create my perfect world. Once I have control of Le Alba, I will declare war on the entire world.”

Blaze realised that he had put his faith in the wrong person. The old man was nothing but a lunatic. At that moment Blaze knew that everything he had thought of and had done in the past few years weren’t his own ideas. When he first met Sabra, all Blaze wanted was to avenge his friends’ deaths and end the suffering their absence caused. However, Sabra had managed to slowly corrode his mind, making him think that destroying the world for the old man was Blaze’s only option.

“Find someone else to engage in your barbaric plot,” Blaze growled through his teeth. “I will not help you, and I won’t let you use me anymore. 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. After all, you have managed to kill hundreds of people and permanently injured many others. You are just like me,” Sabra smirked.

“I’m nothing like you. The only people I’ve killed were monstrous villains like you. I’m going to bring peace to Le Alba, so the people I cherished didn’t die in vain. You’ve been tricking me into do your bidding but that ends now,” Blaze said, beginning to walk away. “It’s over Sabra.”

“Oh? But you are like me. Admit it, you enjoy watching others suffer,” the old man said with a sly tone. “You are filled with rage and hate, why else would everyone leave you? I mean it’s your fault the friends you once had were killed.”

Blaze stopped and clenched his hands into fists. He turned to Sabra and snarled at him.

“What did you say??” he barked, glaring angrily at the man.

“Now, now. There’s no need to get angry like that,” Sabra sneered. “Surely you remember what happened, how you just stood there and watched as your friends perished one by one.”

“You’re lying!” Blaze said, gritting his teeth.

“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,” Sabra explained. “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.”

“Sh-shut up…” Blaze stuttered the images of the Sabra’s words filling his mind.

“The only was someone was able to stop you from wreaking havoc was knocking you out and altering your memories,” Sabra continued, smiling at Blaze’s reaction. “You are nothing more than a sadistic monster, though what else would you expect from a filthy reincarnation? You are empty, Shario Aliené.”

Blaze remained silent, staring at the man with wide eyes. Everything Sabra had said was true and it shocked him that Sabra knew so much. He somehow even knew Blaze’s real name and what he actually was.

“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.”

“Even so…” he trailed off, turning away from the old man to hide his despondent expression. “I refuse to do anything you say. I refuse to fall to your level.”

Sabra began to laugh. It was a deep and hollow laugh that sent shivers down Blaze’s spine. However, Blaze did not stop moving, he wanted to get away from the deranged man as soon as possible.

“Did you really think it’s going to be that easy to disobey me?” Sabra asked in a deep and vicious tone.

Blaze tried to ignore the man and kept walking. However, aster taking one last step a sudden pain shot through his head. The hazy murkiness that filled his mind nearly made him fall backwards. Against his will, his body began to turn back towards Sabra. He tried to fight against it but his body merely shook violently. Once he was completely facing Sabra, Blaze’s body froze. He couldn’t move, it was difficult to breathe, and words couldn’t escape his mouth.

“Wh-what…” Blaze barely managed to mutter.

“You’ve left yourself open and your mind vulnerable,” Sabra laughed. “You are now under my control. At last you have fallen under my possession spell.”

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. The magic that penetrated him felt cold and heavy. It made Blaze’s head feel numb and dizzy, causing his vision to blur and his breathing to stagger.

“I’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time,” Sabra claimed, walking towards Blaze. “The resurrected Earl of Aria Shario Aliené. I have many uses for you, despite being nothing but an empty shell of what you used to be. Since your resurrection was incomplete you don’t have any memory of the cold and monstrous personality you had in the past life. Regardless you are still the perfect candidate for a cruel dictator that I can manipulate from the shadows. Now, fall into the nothingness and become my perfect puppet.”

Memories of every battle and the countless of victims he created since his resurrection 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 believed he was nothing but a failure. He failed to be Shario Aliené, he wasn’t the perfect son his mother wanted for her evil plans and he failed to save the lives of his friends. Their deaths were entirely his fault. Blaze’s eyes became blank and emotionless as Sabra’s spell completely took over him. His arms fell loosely to his sides. He just stared out in front of him, completely in a trance.

As Sabra’s laugh echoed in his ears, Blaze’s vision disappeared, and darkness began to consume him. There was nothing there for him anymore and no one there to save him and pull him back into the light. However, he no longer cared, hr no longer felt afraid. He felt nothing.

He really was empty.

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