The Reaper

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Urliel pressed his hands against the window when he saw the creature that came out of the doors. Terror gripped his heart, both for Siel and for himself, since the creature inspired fear. “No…” Solomon whispered, and Alicia began banging on the glass. “Siel!” Urliel was so busy watching the creature spread its lips in its signature grin that he didn’t notice the black and navy-clad man standing off to the side of the arena, leaning against the wall. If he had, he wouldn’t have been so angry.

Solomon, however, was angrier. He turned on the woman who was supervising them, “what the hell have you done?” He growled. The woman looked just as afraid as any of them. “I… I didn’t... I don’t choose the creatures….” Solomon whirled around and stormed towards the entrance of the arena. Urliel knew he couldn’t get in; the doors were sealed until the fight ended. Alicia began to cry, “he’s such a gentle boy, why would they do this?” Urliel, for once, had no response.

“It’s a test,” a new voice said from behind them. Urliel looked over his shoulder to see a young man with honey blonde hair smiling at them. He was wearing the uniform of the Order. Urliel, however, had no room for respect with the fear that plagued him. “A test? He’s going to fucking die,” Urliel had never cursed out loud in his life, but in this situation it was more than appropriate.

“He won’t die,” the boy said, walking up to the window. “Look, Master Hitachiin is there. If it goes too far, he will take care of it. This test decides if the boy has it in him to be a reaper.” Urliel blanked. “A… reaper? You mean he’s the candidate?” The boy nodded. “Yes, and I’m particularly interested. He’ll be my partner if he passes. He’s got a cute face.” Urliel looked back out the window, speechless.

The creature stalked closer to Siel, humming in a hypnotic way. Despite the human face, fear eaters could not talk, they could only make noise. They screamed, they shrieked, they cried, they laughed, they did anything that they thought would scare their victim most, but Urliel had never heard of one humming, and he thought briefly that the humming was the most terrifying of them all.

It appeared that Siel thought so too.

Siel was frozen in terror. He was dreaming, he had to be! There was no way that he could survive this encounter, much less win. The humming was maddening, and the black eyes seemed to see right into his soul. Siel saw no pity there; no mercy would come from this creature.

Then Siel heard a voice that seemed to come from his own mouth, but it sounded so distant. “What are you afraid of?” Siel thought about the question as the jaw began to unhinge, the skin on the pale face warping and turning an angry purplish colour as the endless rows of teeth were revealed.

“I’m not.” The words were out of his mouth before he realized it. Suddenly, he was snapped out of his stupor. The humming wasn’t so maddening, and the creature in front of him was more infuriating that anything. He rushed toward it, and the unhinging stopped. If he hadn’t known better, he would have said the look was one of surprise.

Siel jumped, vaulting off the face and onto the monster’s back. He landed squarely, grabbing some excess scruff, and used his knife to hack off legs while the creature spun helplessly. He managed to get three off before he was thrown into the wall. He watched as those legs just grew back, though they were weaker and were made of bone instead of spider flesh. The creature let out a thundering, furious roar and charged him.

Siel wasn’t in control of his own body anymore. It was as if there was another presence in his head that had taken over. He could only watch through his own eyes as his hand raised up and his voice, much stronger than before, commanded, “stop!” The fear eater, of course, didn’t listen. Siel jumped, much higher than he thought possible, and pushed off the wall, launching himself to the middle of the arena. The fear eater crashed into the wall.

Siel didn’t know it then, but his eyes began to glow. All he could see was that his vision brightened, but the other side of him somehow knew. He raised his hand again, and silence drowned out everything as the light spread outward from him in a dome that consumed all in its path. His ears rang, like the silence after a massive explosion before the sound hits.

The fear eater collapsed, turning to a black cloud and getting blown away to nothing more than a stain on the wall in the shape of a face with very sharp teeth and a wicked grin. Siel watched the light fade, and when his body was his own again, he promptly fainted.

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