“Oh? Ms. Hero has finally led her army to my door?” The Shadow Empress's crimson eyes lit up upon hearing the news from her subordinate. The thought of the coming bloodshed made her nearly squirm with joyful anticipation.. She quickly dismissed the messenger with a wave of her hand, and stood up from her throne.
“I guess I should play the gracious host and go greet them,” she sighed, but none of her servants were convinced by the show. Her excitement radiated off of her. After all, it had been quite some time since she last had toys of this caliber to play with.
Without a word of goodbye to the staff, she quickly melted into the shadows, reappearing on the walls over the main gate of the Capital. Before her ascension, the capital had been known as Fragos. Now the commoners referred to it as the Capital or the Shaded City.
Looking out across the plains in front of the gates, she watched as the Light Goddess's army marched forth. They were led by the Empress's favorite enemy, the Hero. That damned menace was as resplendent as always in her shining silver armor, golden hair flowing behind her.
'I'll break her this time and make her mine,' The Empress thought with a smile before she stopped restraining her blood lust. The sudden pressure of her aura pushed back the few guards that stood beside her on the walls. The enemy stopped in place, many freezing in fear at the sudden oppression.
As she observed the enemy's reaction, she placed a pair of gravity magic circles on her feet and jumped into the air. She flew a suitable distance from the walls and began casting her Demonic Shadow magic.
'Just a small taste for them to start,' she thought as a few dozen magic circles formed. Though she was proficient in nearly every element, the Empress was not called the Shadow Empress without reason. Her Demonic Shadow magic was the strongest in the world, as it had been for nearly a half-century.
Though a few brave souls among the Army of Light managed to cast shield spells, her magic still came crashing down without mercy. Their own shadows turned against them, stretching and spiraling up into the air, and forming several roiling balls of darkness.
Thousands of soldiers slumped to the ground as exhaustion and mana deprivation struck them from the loss of their shadows. Then, the orbs of darkness morphed into Shadow Dragons, a psuedo-dragon formed from Demonic Shadows. They were deadly with how they could snatch years off your life simply by passing through you.
The Empress decided to let her pets play as she simply observed. The Hero sprang into action without delay, cutting down her precious Shadow Dragons one by one. The Hero's Divine Light element helped her protect the army, but only to an extent.
Looking to her system log, the Empress sighed, most of these soldiers were just not high enough level for her to gain any real progress from killing them. Forming a chair from the darkness, the Empress reclined, watching the Hero work.
As she relaxed, the Hero finished defeating the Dragons, and began casting a spell. Having never seen a spell quite like this, the Empress sat up. Her ability to sense danger wasn't going off, so she was sure she would be okay to observe. As she did, the Hero's finished the cast, and a blinding light grew from her magic circles.
The Empress averted her eyes from the light, and when it finally faded, what she saw impressed her. Every soldier she had just killed was standing back up, injured, but alive.
'Oh? That's a new trick. A wide range resurrection spell was quite a formidable ability, but how many times can she cast it?' The Empress was enraptured by the Hero's newfound powers, but still managed to stand and summon a sword to catch the charging Hero. It would be a clash of will and strength, but the Empress was not fazed. The pair had fought similar bouts before, and the Hero had never managed to beat her.
“Oh Hero, you have grown so much since our last fight, but it still will not be enough,” she praised her opponent as their blades locked together.
“I will beat you this time Empress, and then your soul can seek atonement for the horrors you've committed in this life!” The Hero pushed off, opening a gap between them. The Empress laughed coldly before stepping into the shadows and reappearing at the Hero's side, but the Light Goddess' champion was ready.
“Soul? I gave that up a long time ago dear,” she taunted as she swung her sword at the Hero again. The Hero parried the blow. Using the momentum to her advantage, she was able to separate from the Empress once more as a sudden barrage of magic came flying in.
“Tch, pests,” the Empress clicked her tongue in annoyance. She dodged the first wave as she waved a hand. The magic circle formed and executed the spell almost instantly, conjuring up a shield to absorb the rest of the incoming spells. The sudden distance from the Hero also allowed her to cast one of her largest spells. The massive high-tier magic circle manifested above the army as she clasped her hands.
'She's trying to eliminate the army first! I can't revive them again! I'll have to use the Goddess's Relic early,' the Hero thought seeing the massive spell forming behind her. Throwing a flare of light into the sky with her magic, the Hero pulled out a relic, a crescent moon seemingly forged from silver. Magical power pulsed from the item, blindsiding the Empress before she even sensed the danger.
The impact of the relic's magic shattered her own spells, including her gravity-defying flight spell. She plummeted from the sky, but did not panic, she simply needed to recast her magic.
However, when she attempted to access her Mana Gates, she found every one of them to be sealed. With her greatest strength suddenly barred from use, and the ground rapidly approaching, the Empress felt real fear for the first time in decades.
She wouldn't die from the impact, but it would bring her health tremendously low. Just as she realized the dire nature of her situation, her fall was stopped, and she felt a pair of strong arms wrapped around her from behind.
“What did you do to me?” The Empress forcefully questioned the Hero who was holding her aloft. Though she struggled, she could not break free from the Hero's embrace.
“My beloved Empress, I locked away your magic, not permanently, but it will be enough,” she explained, nodding towards the army. The Empress followed the motion, and stared as thousands upon thousands of spell circles formed. The sheer, raw mana being concentrated made her realize it was over. After all, this was how her life was inevitably going to end.
“You're prepared to go down with me then? She asked of the young Hero, though she already knew the answer. It was part of why the Hero intrigued her.
“It's what I was destined for. We'll go on to whatever happens after this life together,” she stated with resolve.
The Empress could only sigh. She had hoped that whoever defeated her would ascend her throne. Now that wasn't going to happen. Oh well, hopefully the rest of the army would fight over it. That bit of spite would carry her through the trials of the next life.
She turned away from the army as the spells began firing, looking into the eyes of the Hero. First the world turned white from the sheer power of the mana around them. Then just as suddenly, it all turned dark.
As the Hero and the Empress perished, a woman watched the scene from her own realm. She was a being garbed in a dress of radiant light.
Before the souls of the pair could depart the world, she reached forth and pulled them from their bodies, carefully bringing them into another separately prepared realm each.
She had been working toward this moment for decades, ever since that damned Demon God had meddled.
'With my protection, hopefully he won't find them before they're ready,' she thought as she stepped into the other realm to greet one of her new guests.