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 Chapter 22: The Will to Fight

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Red Blizzard

Posts : 164
Join date : 2011-05-30
Age : 25
Location : Elsewhere

PostSubject: Chapter 22: The Will to Fight   Wed Jun 22, 2011 1:10 pm

Author: Red Blizzard

Three years. It had been three years since she had last seen that shadow of a human, red aura glowing brightly as he appeared to rescue her from the demon that possessed her. In those three years, Sera vowed to take arms against the demons who plagued this world, so that no one would ever have to suffer as she did. The demon had slowed down her growth in order to control her more easily. Thought she looked to be only ten when Kobi sent her against Requiem, she had been closer to thirteen. Once that curse had been lifted, she grew like a tree, growing taller and gaining strength each day. With that growth spurt came a growing thirst for knowledge. Sera went from town to town, selling apples just to survive. But what she really wanted from this constant traveling was to raid every library she came across, scouring each one for knowledge on demonkind, demon habits, notable demons, demon wars, and…demonslayers. This last topic fueled her thirst, which became a passion that she could not let go of. She tracked down all demonslayers still alive, questioning each one until their patience ran out and they sent her to the next one. She took up swordfighting, and was able to out-duel her master in just three weeks. Having pushed herself to the limits of physical capability, she began to pursue magic, going through one mage after a next, learning over the course of just one year six times the amount of spells that an average mage learned in a lifetime. To hide her former identity as one of the most powerful mercenaries in the world, Sera earned herself a new name from the light and dark mages that she trained under: Soluna, daughter of the sun and moon. Armed with these new, frightening capabilities, she went off in search of demons, armed and armored with the very latest and best equipment. That was a year ago. Now, she had a collection of demon horns that filled two warehouses, from the smallest imps to the largest monsters of the abyss, a good three times the size of the one that had possessed her.

What irked Soluna was that the demons she faced all seemed too easy for her. None of them had the brains to even tell the difference between a damsel in distress and a huntress come to kill them. Three years after she started, the career was getting boring. And she had changed. One couldn’t recognize her from the tiny, ragged little girl who begged for help and watched entire cities get devoured by flames right before her eyes. Soluna had grown into a young woman of sixteen with looks that dropped jaws wherever she went. She tried dragonslaying for a while, ostensibly because dragons weren’t distracted by the curves under their opponent’s armor, but she quickly learned that unlike demons, all dragons could fly. She gave up in annoyance after her neck started hurting from craning her head skywards, and went back to hunting demons. That was, until a week ago. She had seen a large reward offered for the removal of a particularly nasty demon plaguing a nearby village, but when she got there, the only demons she found were the multitude of goggling at her. After beating up half the town’s male population, she left, and seriously began to reconsider her life. At that point, thoughts drifted back to the clan who had freed her from years of slavery, giving her the second chance at life that she had enjoyed up till now. Without any doubts, she made her way towards the clan’s base, following verbal directions from the people who lived nearby. And that led her here.

Soluna did a quick analysis of her opponent, memorizing its weapons, body build, and movement patterns in seconds. Direct human possession by demons was never pretty. She had once seen a human girl who, once possessed, grew twelve extra pairs of arms and spat out green gobs of acid. Twelve exorcists had died before she put the girl out of her misery, removal of the demon having been impossible without destroying the girl as well. The possession before her was far worse than that one. Though it resembled the form her savior had taken when he had attempted to free her with demon magic, the eyes, streaming red energy, and the wild, violent aura told her that the demon had complete control here. It almost pained her to see a vaguely familiar face contorted into a visage of utter rage and insanity.

Jake’s demon snarled, then rushed forward, becoming a blur. Soluna raised her sword over her shoulder and parried a barrage of savage axe blows aimed at her back. Her giant blade, made of colorless crystal, absorbed the shock, glowing slightly. Soluna spun around as the demon continued to beat upon her blade’s flat side, each strike speaking of hidden strength. An uppercut, and the demon leapt backwards. Then, seeing an opening, it dove right back in, trying to land an attack early on. Soluna expertly reversed her blade, deflecting two axe blows, then settled into a defensive stance. A rain of attacks ensued, as the demon refused to give her a moment’s rest, slowly driving her back towards the lake. Soluna cleared her head as the attacks, though erratic, became bearable. Seeing no end in sight, Soluna sighed, cleared her throat, then spoke the first word.


Her blade’s crystal edge turned a cold, silent black, followed quickly by the rest of the blade. The crystal lost its colorless, transparent nature, absorbing all light into its inky black depths. Around Soluna, a darkness began to form that quickly enveloped her and the entire area immediately around her. Jake’s demon paused for just a second in its attack as the darkness swallowed it, dimming its vision. Then, it swung both axes again. They hit against nothing but air. The demon snorted, head turning left and right as it tried to sniff out its enemy. Then, Soluna stepped out of the darkness behind it and dealt a heavy blow. The blade didn’t quite penetrate the demon’s thick, black skin before it spun around, both axe singing through the air. They scraped against nothing as Soluna merely evaporated back into the darkness. As it paused for the second time, another attack hit it from behind again, leaving a slash parallel to the first one. This wound began to bleed, driving the demon into a fury. It lifted its head up and roared, shaking the very ground it stood on. The darkness muffled its cry at first, but as the demon continued to shout out loud, the magic binding the darkness together quivered, then dissipated. As the shadows went away, Soluna came into view, blade embedded in the ground, fingers stuffed in her ears. She hadn’t expected her first element to be brushed away so lightly so soon. As soon as she felt the ground stop vibrating, she yanked the blade out of the ground, pointed its tip at the demon’s eyes, then spoke the second word.


A beam of light hit Jake’s demon straight in the eyes. The intensity of the glare was such that the night became lit as if it were day, and Soluna’s black sword became a beacon, flaring with sunrays and moonbeams and starlight. But the demon did not fall over. Instead, its stood its ground, red light flaring from its eyes, countering the beams from Soluna’s sword. She could see the demon’s silhouette outlined against the glare from her blade, knew it wasn’t doing much good. Reverting to her original plan, she kept the light pouring from her blade as she charged forward to meet the demon in battle. Jake’s demon looked up, saw the blade swinging down, parried it with an axe while swinging from the side with his other one. Soluna jumped over the swinging weapon, rolled out of the way as the demon aimed a vicious kick at her, then spun her blade sideways in a diagonal slash. It caught the demon by surprise, knocking an axe out of one hand. She reversed direction with the sword, coming back to strike while it was still vulnerable, but the other axe was raised, stopping her blade cold. The light, still flaring, wasn’t doing anything constructive for the battle. As the demon picked up its other axe and raised both into a more protective parrying position, Soluna spoke the third word.


The light was gone in an instant, plunging the world back into the darkness. Soluna’s eyes barely had time to adjust as her blade became transparent and silvery, wisps of energy floating through it like ghosts. The sword passed right through the demon’s parrying axes, slashing vertically downwards to leave a single, red line across his chest. Jake’s demon roared in pain, then dove in after her, going wild with its axes. Soluna leapt out of the way of the axes as they passed right through her silvery blade, coming uncomfortably close to her face. Then, she kicked off the ground, floating above the demon, aiming a slash from above. The demon looked up at her, trying to parry once more with both axes, but the blade merely passed right through them, crashing down perfectly in the middle of the demon’s forehead, not quite piercing its skull, but leaving a deep rent that drew blood boiling and hissing out of the depths. The axes were upon her in an instant, forcing her to float away. Soluna scowled as she remembered why she disliked this element. Among all forms, this one sacrificed all defense for offense. No armor, blade, or barrier of any sort could block her blade’s attacks, but at the cost of her own ability to parry against any attack herself. The tradeoff made battles riskier, but she needed to wear down this demon before it got another chance to attack. She rode the current of air swirling around her blade, floating around to behind the demon, then soared downwards for another strike. The demon was prepared this time, dodging out of the way, becoming a red and black blur, ending up behind her in an instant. Soluna spun around, instinctively trying to parry, only to remember at the last second. She pulled back, but not before one axe slammed against her left gauntlet, cracking the steel plating there. She sped away to safety near the forest’s edge to examine her armor. The steel plates she had equipped herself with were well made, otherwise her arm would be gone by now. Still, one attack from the demon’s weapons were enough to ruin them. She took off her gauntlet, not wanting to risk getting metal shards embedded in her arm. But, after feeling off-balance with only one gauntlet on, she took off her other gauntlet as well. Her forearms felt vulnerable with the night wind blowing over them, raising goosebumps across her bare skin.

Then the demon was suddenly just there, before her, thick black smoke pouring from its nostrils, heavy red light pouring from its eyes. It lunged at her, both axes raised, and she kicked off the ground, sailing right in between the demon’s outstretched arms and into the night sky. She turned around just in time to see the demon eat dirt. Smiling, she swooped in low, adding another slash to the demon’s back. Its skin was thick, preventing her from doing too much damage to it. And the fact that it could still move so quickly meant that it was still fighting at full power. She needed a plan, fast. While she planned, the demon got up, spat out a gob of mud, and licked its sharp black teeth with its tongue until they gleamed. Soluna pulled a little more magic out of her blade, speeding up the winds and diving in with renewed vigor. Flying circles around the demon, she left scrapes and scratches, trying to induce pain all over to mentally weaken it. It was while she was doing this that she noticed something: it was healing itself. The older wounds had already knotted themselves up into ropy lines, then sunk back down into thin little red lines that merged with its tattoos. The newer ones, pouring blood less than a minute ago, were now reduced to little trickles that dried up as she watched. Even the mighty slash that had slammed into its forehead was barely visible as a tiny red ‘v’ just under the hairline. Regenerative powers was not something new to her, but on a demon of this caliber? She was used to demons that were strong, demons that were fast, and demons that could heal themselves, just not all at once. Maybe this battle was…Soluna snapped out of daydreaming as Jake’s demon retaliated with a series of carefully placed, savagely delivered slashes. She pulled back and floated upwards on a current of wind, safely out of range. But the demon, hot mad in its pursuit, crouched down, tensed both legs, then leaped off the ground. Soluna watched in awe as its contorted, snarling visage appeared as a black blur just inches from her own face. Then, she felt a blow hit her straight in the chest, sending her plummeting back to earth.

She hit the ground hard, the impact jarring her so hard her teeth rattled. The sharp pain in her chest stayed with her as she slid backwards at unstoppable speeds, dredging up grassy earth as she sped towards the forest. Her body slammed straight through a tree, coming to a violent stop with the second tree trunk. Stars in her eyes. Soluna couldn’t think for several seconds as her head slowly cleared. The blurriness left her eyes just in time for her to see the tree she had crashed through land off to one side with a thud. She hurt. All over her body, from her toes all the way to her head, she hurt. She tried to get up, but winced as several muscles in her back and legs complained loudly, the pain preventing her from even twitching. Looking down, Soluna saw what had become of her armor. The twin axe blows had shattered the steel plating completely, leaving nothing but a layer of metal shards sprinkled over a brown tunic she wore underneath. The axes had even managed to touch her there, leaving two rips in her tunic that were held together by only a few strands of thread, criss-crossed across her chest. The blows were savage enough to have killed any man. Well at least she had some cushioning there. Soluna began to slowly and meticulously remove the metal armor from her body, removing all the shattered pieces and casting them aside. She found herself left with nothing but her tunic and a pair of shorts that barely reached her knees. She was lucky to be alive, fighting against something that strong. Heck, she had used up more than her fair share of luck. Why was she even fighting?

Soluna saw flashes in her head, her entire history played out before her eyes, the golden years she spent with her family, the dark years of enslavement to the demon, the dawn and the fresh hope she felt upon being freed. That’s right, someone had freed her. Soluna looked up as Jake’s demon landed a short distance away from her, wounds completely healed, hatred etched into every line of its snarling face. She was fighting to give her savior back his freedom…even if that meant killing him in order to save him. Deep down, Soluna saw the choices weighing down upon her mind like ripe fruit clinging to the branches of a tree. She let all the choices fall save one, holding on to the one choice left: to fight. Grimly, she stood up, grasping her sword in her hand, ignoring the pain all over her body. The cool, dewed grass rustled against her bare feet as a night breeze blew from behind her, waving her hair like a tongue of flame. Slowly, she could feel her resolve building, feel the will to continue this battle return to her. She raised her sword, spun it around, and stabbed it into the ground, uttering the fourth word.


Jake’s demon growled for one moment. The next instant, it was two feet in the air, roaring in pain as a green blade, tinged with solid brown runes, stabbed upwards between its legs, gently jabbing it. Soluna withdrew her blade from the ground and charged forward. Behind her, the ground rumbled, and a wave of compacted dirt rose, following her sword’s tip. The demon had only a moment to look up before it was buried by dirt, completely over whelmed and overcome. Soluna paused for a moment, stabbing her blade repeatedly into the ground, watching its tip pop up inside the mound of dirt that covered the demon, poking it full of holes. Then, she gave the mound a mighty slam, sending the entire mass flying. The demon slowly emerged from the dirt as chunks of earth crumbled away from the mass, revealing the damage Soluna had caused. A great hole had appeared in its stomach, spine clearly visible inside, along with a wound to its shoulder. Still, the flesh had already begun to creep together around the stomach wound, and the shoulder wound looked shallow. It wasn’t enough. Soluna charged forward, trying to catch the spot where the demon would land. It didn’t. Instead, the demon stabbed an axe into a tree, swinging itself up onto a branch, where it glared at Soluna through twin red slits for eyes. She paused, considering the situation. If it wouldn’t come down, she would have to go up. She pointed her blade at the tree, saying the fifth word.


A jet of flame erupted from her blade as it became translucent and dark orange, glowing embers and flickering sparks dancing around inside. The tree caught fire, forcing the demon to leap off. Soluna charged forward, catching the demon before it could hit the ground, and slashed upwards. She caught an arm, charring it to the bone. The sweet smell of burnt flesh filled the night air, as the demon howled in agony, left arm dropping its axe as it lost all its strength, shriveled and useless. Soluna then battered the demon with slashes from the left and the right, forcing it to parry with only one weapon. The flames licked outwards, heated by the intensity of her will to fight, awaking inside the demon an emotion that it wasn’t accustomed to, an emotion that it should never have felt: fear.

The flames flickered and roared, sparks flying each time weapons clashed, leaving little burns wherever they touched the demon’s skin. What made it worse was the fact that the burns somehow stopped its ability to regrow its flesh. Its left arm still dangled useless by its side through ten minutes of solid battling, with not a speck of life to be seen on it. But it was not yet conquered. The demon called upon its hidden reserves of strength, making up for the loss of one arm with doubled strength in the other and doubled speed throughout the whole body. It could take down this newcomer, whoever she was, especially now that she was unarmored and vulnerable. The demon parried two more slashes, ignoring the flames spreading throughout the battlefield, and became a blur, speeding around the battlefield, putting out flames before they could take hold. Soluna watched her fires die out, charged up a bigger wave of flame in her blade, and came at Jake’s demon with death in her heart. The demon grinned once more, regaining confidence. The next moment, it disappeared. Soluna brought her blade behind her for the familiar block. There was nothing there. She hesitated for just one moment, unsure if…

The demon bit into her side. Black teeth sliced through skin and muscle, before its momentum carried it past Soluna and off to swallow its mouthful of flesh. It tasted good. Jake’s demon licked its teeth dry, savoring every drop of blood, while the sweat flavor of meat soaked its throat and filled its belly with a lust for more. The demon turned around to face Soluna again, eyes glowing with hunger. Soluna collapsed to her knees, one hand covering the gaping wound on her right side where some of the flesh that covered her ribs had been ripped right off. Her grip on her sword weakened as pain wracked her body, blood drenching her left hand and running down her side. The demon dove right back in, leaving axe behind, aiming to beat its prey into submission. A splayed hand slashed across her right cheek, leaving four parallel lines of red. Then a kick to the chin lifted her skyward, while the other leg spun around to kick her straight in the stomach, smashing through the arm that clutched her wound. Soluna could feel bones crack beneath the force of the blow as she was cast all the way to the edge of the lake, sword tumbling out of her hand beside her. Her left arm was broken, she could feel it. Her side-wound was draining her of too much strength, and even if she could manage to stand, she probably couldn’t walk for several minutes. It was just physically impossible at this point. She glanced to her right. Her sword lay on the ground, a lifeless, colorless crystal sharpened into a weapon that she had once wanted to use to end the pain and suffering of every person afflicted by demons. In doing so, she had brought all that pain and suffering back upon herself, to hide behind a smiling face and a beautiful body and a list of wonderful deeds. She reached out to the sword. A clawed foot came slamming down on it, pinning it just beyond her reach. Then, another foot rammed down on her chest, trying unsuccessfully to crush her ribcage. Soluna looked up, fighting the pressure on her chest, staring straight into the eyes of Jake’s demon. She gazed into their merciless depths, searching for any glint of humanity there. She found none, only hunger, greed, lust, and hate. A horrifying thought struck her. Those were human thoughts. So humanity must be…Soluna shook her head. Where had her will to fight gone?

The demon leaned down mouth slightly open to reveal the bits of meat stuck in between its pointy black teeth. A foul breath washed over Soluna’s face as the demon prepared for its next bite. And just because she had nothing better to do and there wasn’t much she could do at this point anyways, she raised her right arm punched the demon in the face. She felt the nose give away, the bone cracking and breaking, and the demon reared is head back, howling, hand reaching up to straighten its nose. Taking her chance, Soluna rammed the same fist into its leg, snapping the bones from the force of the blow. The demon stumbled back, crippled and hurt, furious that what should have been an easy meal was still fighting back even now. Did she not know the meaning of fear? Soluna rolled over, grabbing her blade with her one good arm, using it as a crutch to force herself to her feet. She looked dead-straight at the demon, eyes glinting in the light of the fading stars, raised her sword above her head, and spoke the last word.


Behind her, the entire lake stopped moving, becoming absolutely still. Then, it exploded out of the lakebed that held it, massive amounts of water spiraling up in a great, whirling pillar that grew ever higher, reaching for the highest star. Soluna’s blade glowed a deep blue, fringed with lighter shades, all bubbling up inside as magical power built. Jake’s demon gazed up in awe at impending doom, unable to move with only one good leg. It could only stare and cry out as the water arched over Soluna’s head, curling down, the lake’s contents floating within. The demon could see skulls in the water, the dead faces of the past heroes of Requiem staring at it with solemn defiance as they passed judgment upon it. Then, the entire lake of water, condensed so highly that it could smash through a mountain, slammed down upon the demon, drowning out its cry and washing it away.

Soluna collapsed, sword falling from her hand and clattering to the ground with a light ringing. She herself sank to her knees, then keeled over to one side, grievously wounded, utterly exhausted, pushed well beyond the limits of human endurance. As her eyes closed, the last of the stars winked out, and on the horizon, a rosy color began spreading out, warming the world. The lake water receded back into the lake, carrying bodies with it. Some were fresh, as the body of Megan was sucked back into the swirling depths. Others were older, some old as the skeletal body of Asterisk, whose terrifying skull visage had been at the forefront of the water column that had smashed into the demon. Perhaps the spirits of the fallen heroes had truly descended from their place of rest in this hour of need, aiding the next generation in their quest to open the door to their lives. Or, perhaps the skulls were just skulls.


Icy, who had been standing stock-still since Jacob had first transformed into a demon, finally keeled over, thunderstruck, dumbfounded, and overwhelmed. Priest finished treating the wounded near Requiem Castle, and moved on to find Saint and Blizzard already healed, Pixie lending a helping hand in this time of need. Dye solemnly walked out of the forest with his followers, having finally made up his mind, approaching Priest with apology written all over his eyes.

Jacob could hear the last echoes of the demon’s voice die away. So much for him, the demon was gone now, unable to bear the thought of losing to a girl. Then again, neither could he. What would Dye say about all this when he woke up, what jokes and taunts would he throw at him? What would the others think? Then again, judging from the power this girl had, they would be too busy worrying about her to even pay attention to him. Maybe that was better. He was tired of people paying attention to him, now that he had his fair share of the spotlight.

The sun rises. The curtain sets on another chapter in the history of Requiem.

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Chapter 22: The Will to Fight
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