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04-20-2011   #42 (permalink)
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Default Chapter 17: At the Edge of Madness

I had fun with this one.

Chapter 17: At the Edge of Madness

"Vith! Vith!" Shiro called out. Vith did not reply. Shiro and Aremi gazed in petrified fear. Vith dashed down the hallway, towards the sound of clashing blades and the agonizing screams of soldiers.
Aremi coldly closed the door. She looked down in remorse, and sighed. She turned around to Lin's mutilated body and lowered her head. Shiro joined her, and covered Lin with a sheet. A blank expression covered his face. He looked emptily out the window, wondering if the rest of Lumisade had fallen under a Vesisian onslaught, like how Roman fell under a skirmish between the warring states. He imagined a flood of refugees fleeing from a city engulfed in fire and drenched to the soil with Lumisian blood.
It looked peaceful outside.
Aremi looked to Flins, who watched helplessly from his bed. Aremi, at a loss of words, blurted out, "You're awake."
"I am. But it feels like I'm in some sort of dream." Flins replied. "Now what do we do? Vith just ran to his death, Lin is completely torn to shreds, and Lumisade as we know it is ready to fall. Would contacting our ruler make any difference?"
"What are you talking about?"
"See for yourselves; one of our strongest fighters has been ripped to a bloody pulp. Besides , escaping will be nearly impossible with me, and my injured leg will only get in the way." Flins remarked. He lay down in bed. "You two go on without me."
"No way!" Shiro barked. "If we survived the attack on Roman, if we managed to beat those abominations on the Wayfarer's Isle, then escaping from here should be an easy task, Yari!"
"Think about it!" Flins roared, sitting upright in bed. "Who do you think saved us in those two battles? Heku! Look at me; when Heku was knocked unconscious, we tried to fight for ourselves, and look what happened! I nearly died!"
"So what?! Do you think you're some powerless kid?! Get a hold of yourself, Flins!" Aremi yelled.
"Get your head together, Yari! Lumisade's going up in smoke, and this is not the time to act complacent!" Shiro growled, lifting Flins by the collar. "I'm not leaving you behind. Do you understand me?"
Flins reluctantly nodded.
Flins managed to lean on the edge of the bed, and tried to stand. His injured leg did not have enough time to recover and standing up brought a sharp pain to his body. He grunted in agony and forced himself to walk. His physical exhaustion from the fight hours before left his entire body weary. His loss in blood made him feel light-headed, and his body swung left and right to simply stand. He breathed heavily and his vision became blurred.
Shiro handed him a sheathed sword, which Flins immediately took and used as a cane to lean on. He also handed Flins a small set of clothes, to replace his medical gown. Flins quickly swapped his gown for a white collared shirt and pants. He slipped on a pair of boots that have been placed beside his bed.
"Are you ready, Flins?" Aremi asked.
"As I'll ever be." Flins replied, shrugging.
The three approached the closed door. Shiro stopped the two before they opened it, warning them, "Remember, whatever lies beyond the door is out to kill us. Whatever we do, we have to get out alive."
Aremi and Flins coldly agreed. Shiro opened the door and the three bolted out the medical ward.
Outside, it seems that their surroundings showed no sign of change, except a trail of blood that Lin created when Vith and Aremi dragged her in. The three heard the sound of blades clashing and the sudden cry of a man.
"Let's get out of here!" Flins yelled.
The three jolted into the hallway and down a flight of stairs into the base floor. Flins had difficulty keeping up, for his injured leg impeded his swift movement. Nevertheless, he ignored the sharp pains from his leg and continued running.
Shiro opened the door to the base floor. Pools of blood and the bodies of dead Lumisians littered the area. The white marble floor had been stained with the crimson blood and the calm, wintry fragrance that once filled the air had been replaced with the stench of fire. The once peaceful fortress had suddenly turned into a frenzied battle for survival against a destructive enemy.
"This - This isn't happening!" Shiro gasped.
"It is." Flins replied.
"Come on! Let's get out of here!" Aremi said.
The three rushed down the hallway, and their exit had appeared. One more hallway and they could exit the fortress. The three lined behind a blood-stained door, but the loud sound of men and women screaming in pain stopped them from entering. They paused for a minute and drew their weapons.
"Can you fight, Flins?" Aremi asked, noticing that he had to lean on the sheath to stand.
"I'll die fighting."
Shiro glanced at his teammates. They nodded, ready to attack whatever lie before them. He opened the door and rushed through.
Nothing in sight.
Suddenly, a body came flying through the room. It slammed against a wall, and then slithered down while leaving a trail of blood. It tried to stand up, but collapsed on its own weight.
A woman in red entered from the hallway the man came flying through, laughing maniacally. She clenched her fist, and the man had been engulfed in a hand of fire.
"Aren't you going to fight back, teacher?" She said. "Aren't you going to fight, Sir Vith?"
The man did not respond. She flung the man against the wall again, this time with greater force. The man slammed against the wall once more, and more blood spurted from the man. The man fell to the floor, but did not rise.
The woman cackled in delight, while her eyes glanced the room around her. From the corner of her eyes, she spied Shiro and the others. They looked back, completely paralyzed in fear while she devilishly smiled.
"You… You… YOU'LL DIE!" Aremi screamed, charging at the woman in a blind fury. The woman stood and did nothing to protect herself. She ran until her spear was nearly a foot away from the woman's body.
Aremi suddenly recognized the woman's face.
Cerise repulsed Aremi several feet with the flick of her wrist. Aremi crashed to the ground, while Cerise ran away to the hallway where she entered from, taunting the three while she escaped.
Aremi sprang from the ground, yelling, "That was Cerise! Cerise just attacked us!"
"Wait, if Cerise attacked us," Flins remarked, "then… dear God."
"We have to fight Heku." Shiro answered.
"If Cerise bashed all the blood out of Vith, then there's no telling what Heku will do."
"We're fighting him."
"What?! But there's-"
"We're dying anyway, Flins. We might as well defend Lumisade now, rather than run like cowards."
"Wrong choice, friend." Heku voice rang through the room. Flins and the others looked wildly for Heku, who suddenly appeared in front of them. Heku wore nothing more than a Vesisian uniform: A black turtleneck , along with black pants, and a black and white kilt. He held a single sword in his hands, instead of his regular dual blades. Even his messenger cap did not appear on his head.
"You should have ran." He continued.
"You sneaky little bastard!" Shiro roared. "I thought you were one of us!"
"I am one of you, I just want to help you by eradicating the likes of you."
"But… why?" Flins asked.
"If I don't, then I have to live forever with this curse!" Heku yelled, extending his left arm. It suddenly transfigured into a gigantic fist of ice. "I have to live this… this abomination!"
"Then why kill us?!"
"To life my curse, there must be peace in Frostig. If you do not recall, I slaughtered your leader in cold blood months ago. I have simply returned to slaughter the rest of your sheep."
"There has to be another way!"
"There is no other way!" Heku yelled. "You should have given up a long time ago. You should have just ran away with your tail behind your legs when you had the chance at the Meanderer's Isle." Heku began to encircle the three, sheathing his blade. "But then again, I have to kill each and every one of you to lift it. If there exists resistance towards Vesisade before I absolve my curse, then I cannot be free. Either way, you would all have died. The only difference is that I'll enjoy tearing your body limb from limb even more."
"What do we have to do with any of this?!"
"You…? YOU?! You stole my life! You stole my love! You stole her! You stole everything I had! Give me a good reason not to kill you right now!"
"I… I don't know." Flins grumbled.
"Well then, let have a fight!" Heku suggested. He walked to the end of the hallway, while Aremi and Shiro armed their weapons. Heku drew his sword and held his left hand to his chest. An orb of blue light radiated from his hand.
"Now then, are we ready?" Heku inquired in a sadistic tone.
They did answer. They all charged at Heku in unison and struck at him. His body vanished, leaving only specks of diamond dust. He quickly reappeared behind them and clenched his left hand, making three armored versions of himself out of ice, to attack the them. He did not injure them, only separated them. Heku lifted his hand and pointed at the three, and engulfed them in a snowstorm, then used a fist of ice to savagely throw them against a wall, like what Cerise did to Vith.
He did not kill them, yet he flung them with enough force to make them fall unconscious.
Flins collapsed to the floor, desperately trying to stay awake. His eyelids became too heavy to keep up. The last thing he saw was Heku sheathing his sword and walking away, saying, "Another day."
"Another day."