29 – Demon Lord Route – Resolution
Trying to answer Iggy’s question, it felt like a knife stabbed my brain, wrenching it apart.
Kill her. Take the power. Her power.
My heart throbbed and my vision flashed red .
Hungry. I was so, so, so hungry . A bottomless appetite.
I stood up. Before I realized it, my left hand was raised, Dragon’s Grasp already at my finger tips.
And then I saw her eyes. Innocent emerald eyes. Emerald… a shining green that reminded me of Aria.
Of the girl who trusted me that I slaughtered and-
I grabbed my left hand with my right and forcibly pulled it down.
It refused to move. Instead, mana began building up as Dragon’s Grasp started to activate.
STEAL IT! TAKE IT! DEVOUR IT! MAKE IT YOUR OWN!
I wrenched my arm down. It snapped, breaking off at jagged edges. Fragments of bone and blood splattered to the ground.
But that wasn’t enough to stop it.
I grit my teeth and squeezed .
Unbelievable pain erupted as I mangled my own limb, grinding my own flesh and bone to pulp. But that pain brought clarity, allowing me to focus on that instead of my mind splitting apart.
Finally, Dragon’s Grasp deactivated and what was left of my left arm fell to my side.
I gasped and staggered backwards, collapsing on the floor.
Blood soaked my clothes and my left arm was nothing more than a fleshy tendril in the semblance of an arm. The entire time, the pain didn’t diminish, but I forced myself to remain lucid. Regenerate would repair the damage soon enough, but I needed to remain awake to ensure it healed properly.
Iggy drifted towards me, a bright smile on her face. “You’re a good guy. Weird, but a good guy.”
I laughed, although with the pain it came out more as breathless gasps. “A… good guy? I wonder… about that…”
A hero. A villain. The person I was before coming to this world and the reasons why that person came to this world had all disappeared. All that remained of him was this insatiable hunger for power, this ability that sought to obtain anything and everything, even consuming time and space itself in its greed.
Iggy frowned and tilted her head for a moment before smiling again. “Alright! Since you’re such a good guy, I’ll give you my blessing!”
Iggy nodded. “You protected my heart, so I’ll protect yours too.” She dropped to the ground, standing for once on her own two feet. When she did, she stepped closer to me and placed her hand on my chest, over where my heart should be. Closing her eyes, Iggy said, “May you forever hold light within your heart.”
A warmth settled in my chest and then spread throughout my body. With it, something that I didn’t know was missing snapped back into place and the emptiness I didn’t know existed was filled.
Iggy yawned and stepped back. “I’m sleeepy.” She shook her head and then stared at me with a small smile. “Thanks again for protecting me, Mister Weird. Keep being a good guy, alright?”
Before I could say anything else, Iggy had vanished, leaving me alone in the chamber.
The tide of shadowy beings parted. Perhaps realizing Saphira as the greater threat, all but two surged towards the fallen dragon.
Aria saw that but didn’t have the attention to spare. One of the two remaining shadowy beings flew towards her at a blinding speed, moving so fast it caused a sonic boom while the other, armed with a pair of black blades, flew towards Titania.
The shadowy being racing towards Aria held out its right hand, wind gathering to form an invisible blade.
Aria grinned. “If it’s wind you want…” Dark wind gathered on her left hand, forming a blade just like the shadowy being’s. “…Let’s see which of ours is stronger!”
The two blades clashed, one clear and one tinged with darkness.
A sonic boom erupted from the clash and sent both Aria and the being flying backwards.
The shadowy being quickly recovered. When it did, a screeching ball of wind formed in her right hand and it surged back towards Aria.
“I know that one too! Bring it!” The youngest elf princess gathered dark wind in a sphere and charged again.
Once more, a sonic boom erupted. This time, however, the shadowy being was sent further back.
Aria immediately gave chase. Wind and darkness swirled around her left arm, spiraling in opposing directions.
The shadowy being recovered and tried imitating Aria.
She lunged with her left arm and pierced the shadowy being’s body.
Wind and darkness drilled into the shadowy being’s body. The force of Aria’s attack drew in everything it touched, grinding it into oblivion. The being’s shadows were no exception.
Aria stared, curious as to the identity of the one who attacked with similar powers.
The shadows were peeled away, layer by layer, until at last she could see the face of the one beneath.
When she did, Aria froze.
Before she could finish her sentence, a roar filled the air and white lightning surged.
In the corner of her eyes, Aria saw that Saphira had taken care of the swarm of shadowy beings. She also saw that Titania had cut down her own opponent as well. While the fight must have been a harder struggle than her own considering how Titania’s favorite lacy blouse and dress were ripped apart, Aria’s sister was relatively unscathed.
“That just leaves the first guy.” Aria turned to look at the original shadowy figure. Like before, it hadn’t moved. As if the destruction of its forces didn’t matter, it floated there unmoving and unphased.
Titania flew towards Aria and said, “Is that the last opponent?”
“It should be,” Aria said.
Saphira flew over as well. Because she had turned back into her divine dragon form to defeat the swarm of shadowy beings, her hair was a pristine white again and her eyes were once again pure sapphire. “Do you still have enough energy, girl?”
“I should be asking you that, has-been.”
Saphira’s left eye twitched, but she turned her attention to the shadowy figure. “Then let’s go. It’s better to take care of this before anyone else gets involved.”
Saphira flew through the air, white lighting crackling around her right hand.
Aria flew by Saphira’s side, dark wind spiraling around her left hand.
The two women thrust their hands and shouted, “ATTACK!”
White lightning and dark wind surged towards the shadowy figure. The two separate attacks coalesced mid-flight, the fruit of their extensive training.
The figure didn’t move. Whether it was because it didn’t register the attack or found the attack not worth dodging, no one would ever know.
A barrier formed before the shadowy figure, one made of an energy more dark than darkness, more chaotic than chaos. As if a fundamental aspect of reality, the moment it emerged it erased the combined attack of Aria and Saphira.
Beside her, Saphira did as well.
A girl in an elegant lacy black dress appeared next to the shadowy figure. Milky white skin like the pale moon, violet eyes twinkling like amethysts sealing away the stars, short hair the color of the night sky, delicate features that could rival those of a goddess… Rather than a mortal, she looked like an immortal fairy descending from the heavens.
She turned towards the shadowy figure and pulled it into her arms. When she had, she gave the shadowy figure a tender smile.
Then, her gaze turned towards Aria and Saphira.
The tenderness vanished in an instant, replaced with nothing more than cold disdain. Those violet eyes narrowed, as if the girl was looking at a pair of worms, and she spat out a single word. “Traitors.”
With that, the girl turned around. Again, that energy darker than dark, more chaotic than chaos emerged and enveloped the girl and the shadowy figure.
When it faded, only the blue skies remained where they once were.
For a while, Aria simply floated there, staring at the empty space where the girl and the figure vanished.
Saphira was the first to break the silence. “Girl. Do you think that-“
“Don’t say it.” Aria shook her head. “Whatever you think that figure might have been, don’t say it.”
Saphira was silent, but she nodded. “Very well.”
At that time, Titania flew towards them. “Ari, Lady Fear. Is it over?”
Before Aria could answer, a voice called out towards them.
“My baby girl! My honeybun!” Aultry flew through the air, wielding the twin swords of Yggdrasil. “Don’t worry! Daddy’s here!”
“…Girl. Should I take care of him?”
Aria paused to think about it.
“As much as I’d like that… I guess you can’t.”
Saphira nodded. “Very well.”
Finding out that Tani had been intimate with Nowun, fighting a shadowy figure who summoned a swarm of shadowy beings that may or may not have included an alternate version of herself, and then having her father embarrass her in public… Oh, the things Aria would put up with for love.