Another brick wall exploded.
“Shit.. Guys..! Is everyone okay?!” Azrael yells as he wipes the blood running down his forehead.
Silence.. None of them responded to Azrael anymore. June and Evelynn had passed out on the floor due to getting hit by a powerful impact. Normally June wouldn’t pass out from something like that, however this time they had been caught by surprise..
Behind Azrael was a huge hole on the wall, from which you could see the forest in which the rundown castle was located. In contrast to earlier it had also started raining and the sky had turned a gloomy dark color.
By holding back the mutated people luckily Owen had managed to get away, though the Demon was not having it, thus angering them even more. Even though they helped Owen get away to get help, Azrael didn’t really put his trust into him, because of his meek and weak attitude.
“Distracted, I see?” The Demon suddenly appeared in front of him, “Don’t worry, I shall put you to sleep with your friends!” Its sentence was accompanied with a malicious laugh.
“..!” Azrael didn’t have any time to react and got sent flying outside.
The Demon kept laughing and laughing, slowly walking towards Azrael who was pitifully struggling to get off of the muddy ground.
“G-grrh…” Azrael grunts, “What is it you are even planning here!?”
The Demon stops a few feet away from him, “What do I want?” it asks, “What I want is to start some trouble! ‘What a wack excuse..’ You might think, but honestly what I am doing here will be a gateway for all us demons to finally get out of that damn small pocket dimension!”
Azrael looks at the demon with a suspicious look, “A pocket dimension..?”
“Yes, yes, you know, those small fabricated worlds? Why do we have to stay hidden and locked away in a smaaall, littlee, tinyyy, mini dimension while every other race gets to live freely on these planets? Haven’t you thought about that, Human?” The Demon asks.
“Haven’t I thought about that…?” Azrael shakingly gets up and lets out a scoff, “Why should I if the answer is so obvious? Your kind has stirred trouble year after year, there is no reason for the Gods to open the gates of your pitiful dimension!”
That answer deeply angered the Demon, it sped up with full power and landed a powerful blow on Azrael’s stomach, making him fly even further into the forest.
It suddenly started pouring rain harder. Cyrus stops to look up to the crying night sky.
They sniff the air, “Crap, I need to be faster, the rain is really covering up the smell of the fire.”
Cyrus resumes running and speeds up their pace. Pushing all of the branches away from their way and pushing themselves through the wet green leaves.
“Ah!” Cyrus’ foot suddenly got stuck onto a tree root that was sticking out. They crouched down to try and pull the leg out.. but somehow the laces of their shoes had gotten really tangled up with the root.
As they were focused on their feet, a sudden cold wind breeze hit their face.
Something.. or it appears that someone had been thrown against a tree next to Cyrus with full strength. Panicked, Cyrus instantly gets up but trips again because of the tree root. Being in a hurry to check on what happened, they click their tongue and take off their shoes. Running towards the person who was now lying on the muddy ground against the tree they got thrown to.
“Hey.. Are you okay..–” Cyrus lifts their eyebrows as they noticed the person who was groaning in pain was Azrael..
“Azrael!? Hey.. wake up!” Cyrus shakes the stunned Azrael.
He opens his eyes and slowly straightens his back. Azrael’s vision was blurry but as soon as they were able to make out the silhouette of Cyrus, he quickly retracted backwards, hitting his head against the tree once again.
“Wha..–” His words were all over the place, not really able to understand how a person who had jumped off the 5th floor of a castle was now in front of him in one piece. He reaches his hand to Cyrus’ cheek with a teardrop under their eyes and pulls it.
“H- Hey??? Stop pulling my cheek!” Cyrus cries as they pull Azrael’s hand away, “What happened? Did someone throw you against that wall??” They try to focus on the topic.
“..A demon?” They ask.
“Mhm.. We don’t have a lot of time..” he says and pulls a Emerald handed dagger from his pants side pocket, and hands it to Cyrus. He looks to the way where he got thrown from, “Brace yourself, we’re going to have to fight.” Azrael tells them.
“???” With a dagger suddenly in their hand, Cyrus senses as the air is getting heavier. They knew that something or someone bad was coming their way. Behind them, Azrael gets up with his face getting paler and paler.. Like he was about to pass out from blood loss. Cyrus didn’t know what to do and just held him straight to avoid him falling over.
In the distance however bushes were violently being pushed aside and the branches snapped in half. The rhythm of the thing approaching was swift yet soundless, no face to put yet you could see– sense the anger in it. Cyrus starts to shiver but readies themselves for an attack.
“Heee~lloooo!” The Demon arrives in front of the two. A wide sinister smile on its face, looking at Azrael and Cyrus like dinner had arrived. “I see you’ve brought a friend!” The Demon claps in joy, “More for me to feed on! You’re soo~ thoughtful!”
Cyrus’ hairs stood up in fright, “We’re going to fight that?!” They whisper to Azrael in panic.
Before Azrael could even reply back, they noticed the mutants emerging from the depths of the forest, trapping them once more.
“Shit..” Sweat drips from Azrael’s forehead. He draws his gold headed longsword, ready to attack. “On the count of three, we’ll simultaneously attack the demon, alright?”
“Uhhh..” Cyrus hesitates, “But I can’t fight????”
"YES YOU CAN?” He yells back at them, “We’ve both seen your incredible skills, so have a little confidence, will you?”
Cyrus starts to breathe heavily, “But… I’m scare–”
Azrael slaps Cyrus in the back.. but it just felt like a gentle pat since Azrael didn’t actually have any strength at the moment.
“Listen, whatever happened before, let it go for now.” He whispers, “We’re facing a danger like never before and the others have been severely injured, so it’s only me and you. Please, please, please. Like that day in my courtyard.. be a little cocky and give it your all..!
The last part seemed a little offensive in Cyrus’ mind, but he wasn’t wrong. At that time no matter the situation Cyrus kept their chin up high and tried their best, though the end results were unknown.
Cyrus looks at the emerald handed dagger. The eyes of a determined youngster reflected on it.
“Let's take out the mutants first!”
Azrael faintly smiles and nods.
Cyrus leaps in and slashes the first mutant and then moves on to another. Azrael follows after them with his longsword – Piercing mutants hearts left and right without stopping. Angered, the Demon commanded the mutants to be faster and catch the two from a blind spot. However Cyrus’ flexibility was a surprise element to which no mutant including the Demon could predict their attacks. Cyrus managed to evade every deadly close call.
“S– Shit..!” Azrael slips on mud and Cyrus hurriedly directs their attention to him.
“Azrael!” They cry out. The one second Cyrus had looked away, the Demon took the opportunity to creep on them.
“Gotcha!” The Demon laughs, “Never take your eyes off your target..!” A huge amount of magical energy gathers around the demon’s eye filled hands, and with a swing, Cyrus is flown against a tree.
“G-gaah..!” They forcefully spit out blood. Now lying on their fours Cyrus looks up, only to be surrounded by the mutants…
Azrael puts on effort to get up, “Hey..! Just focus on defending yourself!”
Azrael purely sets his eyes on the Demon with only one goal; Defeat the demon, and finally put an end to this.
“Oh my, you look quite set on getting me out of the way now.” The Demon comments, “Too bad I have the upper hand in this situation.” It grins.
Azrael gazes at Cyrus who in a corner defended themselves with the small bloodied dagger. He gazes upon the night sky that was still raining, and then back to the demon.
He gives a smirk to the demon, “I think I might have the upper hand instead.” Azrael grips the golden handle of his sword tighter and lifts his other. Eyes shut tight, he slashes a wound onto his palm.
“..!!?” Both Cyrus and the Demon’s faces became stunned.
Azrael clenches his fist, onto which he gently breathed on and lifted it up high to the sky. Muttering an inaudible chant, clouds started to gather around him and rain started pouring even harder.
“..! I see what you're trying to do..” The Demon's face got alarmed, “Summoning an Elemental.. Smart, however, that would be too troublesome for me.” From their chest the Demon pulls out a crimson red blade, “Mutants, gather!” it commands.
Water drops around Azrael started gathering and as the mutants and the demon closed on him..
Thunder struck Azrael, creating a huge impact that cracked the ground beneath him. Azrael, screaming at the pain of the thunder, somehow managed to focus all of the thunder's energy onto his hand. Closing his fist full of the thunder's energy he punches the Demon to its guts.
“G-Gah..!” the Demon cries out and all of the mutants stop moving.
The thunder’s energy fades away and Azrael falls over. Cyrus then quickly runs over to him.
“A-are you okay?!” What was that thunder.. thing???” Cyrus asks Azrael in distress.. The thing that alarmed them more was seeing Azrael's hands covered in blood and missing pieces of skin..
“N…– Not.. the time…” He responds as his gaze is fixated on the Demon.
“You think you’re clever huh, boy?” the Demon chuckles, “I see, I see.. You really would have killed me now, had you mastered summoning Elementals to your aid.”
In a flash the Demon calls back its crimson red sword and aims for Azrael’s head. He didn’t have anytime to react but suddenly was shielded by Cyrus’ back. Cyrus had stepped in and blocked the crimson sword with the flat side of the blade of their dagger.
“...Well this is quite unexpected.” It says in an amused tone, “But how long do you think you’re going to hold on with a dagger so little and strength so weak?”
Focused on keeping the strength on their arms, Cyrus doesn’t respond but just whimpers in pain. Azrael tried to move away.. but his hands had gotten stuck in the mud and the mutants were back in action, surrounding them once again..
After going back and forth for a minute or so, Cyrus couldn't hold on anymore and swiftly retracted their dagger. Sadly they weren’t able to succeed in that without getting slashed on their wrist.
“AAAH..!” They let out a scream. The wound started to bleed and it looked like it was continuously burning, spreading more and more every time the hand made a movement.
“Don’t move anymore.” Azrael commands Cyrus who was standing next to him in a dark tone.
“...” Though in pain, Cyrus calmly complies with his command but asks, “Is there nothing we can do anymore..?”
Before Azrael could even start his sentence, Cyrus holding their burnt hand says that they have an idea.
“I’m not sure if I can do the thing I did on that day… but If I succeed, you need to shoot the final blow!”
“Ah..?? Wha– Are you referring to the incident that happened during one the Festival?” He asks as he pokes approaching mutants away, “If so I have no context on what actually happened. However, seeing that we basically have no other options here…”
Midway Cyrus stopped listening and started to focus on remembering what happened on the day of Eristal’s Festival. From memory they remember passing out after getting beaten multiple times.. and the aftermath was hazy. Although the others had told them that they had woken up and caused immense trouble with a huge amount of magical energy. The day Cyrus fought with Azrael they had used magical energy too… but they didn’t know how to use it by command..
‘It always happened when I was either extremely cocky.. or felt cornered and.. very angry…’ Cyrus started to think… The time to think however, was running very thin as now they were completely cornered. Mutants had taken hold of them, slowly strangling their bodies to experience slow but agonizing death.
“Suh– C-Cyrus..??” Azrael shouts, “It’s now or never!??”
Cyrus yelps in panic as they are slowly getting eaten to death by rotten mutant hands. The Demon keeps laughing in the background, proudly announcing the victory it had achieved.
‘Think… Think… Think…!’ The past events started flooding through Cyrus’ mind, trying to find a way to paralyze the demon and stop the movements of the mutants..
Their thinking was interrupted with their mind blacking out because of lack of air. Slowly Azrael too, was starting to lose consciousness for the same reason. Shaking and gasping for air desperately to get free.. Until his sight was slowly disappearing.
To his surprise the hands around his neck and body were loosening up.. The mutants had stopped moving. Azrael immediately coughs and inhales air. His attention turned to the Demon who was now screeching in the hold of giant wet mud hands.
“H-How is this possible..!??” The Demon exclaims in anger.
“...!” A ray of hope glimmered in Azrael’s eyes. He turns his gaze to Cyrus who was laying on the muddy ground with his pupils gone and eyes clear white.
“It seemed like Cyrus caused this while unconscious.” Azrael muttered with a faint smile.
“Haha…Hahahaha..” the Demon started laughing mockingly, “How funny.. Yes, you might have caught me while I was–”
“...!” Azrael’s eyes froze to the Demon..
Red liquid was pouring out the Demons chest… or what was left of it. He could see right through it all the way to the back of the forest. Something.. or someone had pieced through its chest..
From the depths of the forest two figures appeared. A lady wearing worn out clothing who was supporting a sick looking swordsman came closer.
“Are you two all right?” The lady – Evelynn asks.
Azrael was stunned, but just smiled in relief
“I see we have arrived in time.” June smiles back.