Chapter 10: "I love remembering!"
Previously on Hell's Guard:
"WATCH THE BIRDY!"
"I sentence you to Rathuum."
"Are you perhaps Bisexual?"
Fiore, Caverns of Remembrance
It had been a while since Hell's Guard's final battle against Sivanna. And since then they had gotten more or less used to her and her… Unique ways of life, so Samuel decided they took a little nice outing to a place he kept to himself.
"Alright squads, this cavern contains many crystals capable of showing any memory you have ever experienced precisely as it was. All you need to do is pump 'em with a bit of magic and here you have it, you can all bring home one since now you can head here on your own, do you have any questions?"
Johnny raised his hand.
"When you say, "any memory."
"I mean ANY memory. Now off you go!"
And so, every member of Hell's Guard went off to find a memory crystal they could bring.
Nero had come along for a much-needed vacation and knew the trick to finding the right crystal, was gut feeling. Unfortunately that was bullshit, so he was going to have to guess like everyone else.
With Dark Horse squad
The little squadron of friends were looking around for some of the smaller crystals they could bring with them, not really caring much for exactly what memory they would bring with them.
After searching around the caverns for quite some time, Brad managed to locate several hanging from the ceiling. They were swiftly released by expert throws from Johnny and were received by Cham's swift reflexes.
The first to activate their crystal was Brad. As he pumped in some magic into the crystal, he began having a vision of a memory.
A long time ago
A room covered entirely in darkness, the only thing of note in there being Brad. In one hand his favourite pistol, and in the other a sword. Suddenly a noise was heard, and Brad reacted accordingly and blocked a strike with the blade before retaliating with his gun. Soon enough two similar noises were heard, however this time Brad bent backwards while swinging his blade in a wide arc, forcing his attackers to jump back. Simultaneously however, he fired his gun twice while sweeping. As soon as he rose back up, he heard a voice command: Stop.
And so the room was filled with light, and showed the three attackers with all of them having a paintball mark somewhere "fatal" from Brad's expert shooting.
"Well done my boy, truly you shall become one of our finest."
A voice said from the shadows.
Brad smiled earnestly at this praise.
"Thank you sir, I will not disappoint."
As the vision faded, Brad couldn't help but smile at this memory. It was of his training before he became as skilled as he was today, and even back then he was damn good. As he was busy feeling happy, Cham went next with his crystal.
Several months back
He was simply sitting in their shared barracks alongside Buzz. Before Buzz suddenly spoke.
"Hey bro, you got any light?" he said as he tinkered with a small explosive.
"Bro you are my light."
Buzz clutched his heart and let a manly tear fall. Just one, as he softly whispered: "Bro."
As the vision ended, Cham let a single manly tear of happiness fall, as he then spoke in a happy and tired tone.
Next however, they were met with a snag. Johnny didn't have any magic so he couldn't charge the crystal. He still smiled and told them his squad mates that they had given him all the memories he could ever wish for. However, Brad would not have it.
"Place your hand on mine."
"Just do it."
Johnny did as ordered and placed his hand atop Brad's, while Cham did the same and placed his hand atop Johnny's. Soon enough, the two mages started focusing their magic into their palms, and attempting to get it into the crystal. They somehow succeeded and allowed all three of them to view a memory.
A few weeks back
It was a massive battlefield, from not too long ago. All around their allies were fighting hard and well, Rey and Raina were chopping anything close into pieces, Jack, Zhuue and Ancheindo were assisting any wounded allies, all the while getting cover fire from Jacob and Ilyana. Both whom were making fun of Sensō for being such a small child in a massive fight with a bow instead of a real gun. He was still enjoying showing them up with his amazing marksmanship and magical power. During this time Krytus was teleporting around the battlefield slicing at his opponents' weak points, only for them to be steamrolled by his twin sister and her rage fuelled "general form", and the poor saps that weren't engaged by the previously mentioned merc were battling Alex, who was literally ripping them apart and Sivanna who was slamming and breaking her enemies into the ground with unrelenting efficiency.
Finally, engaging a massive beast was Dark Horse and his squad. They were doing magnificently, Brad's pinpoint accuracy made vision nearly impossible to the massive green creature while he was hitting several other areas that were crucial for the beast's success. Cham was making use of his abilities as a scout to point out critical points that were struck expertly by his leader, while he fired his rifle into the thing's leg to bring it closer to it's imminent demise. Finally, Johnny was granted the opportunity to give the finishing blow, as the beast howled its war cry. He managed to shove an exploding knife into its jaw, which cause it's head to explode.
"Eat up fatty!"
The explosion knocked the boy down onto the ground covered in green and red liquids, sitting completely still in shock.
The battle had ended after the big guy got wasted, his allies ran for the hills and Hell's Guard gathered around Johnny who was still sitting in the gooey mix, all was quiet.
Until the silence was broken by laughter, Brad was laughing at how ridiculous it looked with a goo pile that had a large pair of eyes, soon enough Johnny joined the laughter, and then Cham, and then the rest of the guild started laughing. Save for Sivanna, she didn't get it.
"I love you guys!"
Johnny exclaimed as he was pulled to his feet and carried back towards the base for earning: "Play of the Game!" by killing the large beast.
As the vision ended, all three of them were smiling while Johnny put the crystal in one of his pockets as they all left for home. Happy with the little mementos they had earned.
With the Medical Support squad
"And that is why I am banned from any cemetery in Fiore unless I am to be buried."
Zhuue nodded at this while having a curious facial expression, Ancheindo however needed to ask a question.
"But how did you come to acquire a 50. Calibre machine gun and a steamroller inside of the cemetery?"
Jack merely gave her a cocky grin, not that she would notice anyway.
"I know a guy!"
Meanwhile. In central Fiore.
A man in a rather exotic shop sneezed as he was doing inventory on a massive multitude of wares.
As he wiped his nose with a handkerchief, he spoke to no one in particular.
"I feel as if my skills are being used in an amusing story starring impossible odds…. Nah, probably just my imagination. Now, where did I put those draconic testicles?"
And so he returned to his business, only slightly delayed by this distraction.
Back in the caverns
The three then found themselves in an area full of different minerals providing natural light; it was quite a beautiful sight to be sure. Soon enough, Jack managed to find a trio of crystals on the ceiling.
"Zhuue, could you be a dear?"
She smiled and nodded at him and used her spear to grasp the crystals with the ornate edges on her weapon, and people told her it was impractical. HAH! As they were pulled down, Jack noticed they were all of varying sizes. One was slightly larger than normal, one was slightly smaller and the final one was regular sized. The largest went to Jack as he had found them, Zhuue took the smallest since she found it cute, and Ancheindo didn't really are so she simply received the regular one.
They all simultaneously poured their magic into the crystals and had their memories relived.
First off was Ancheindo.
Many years ago
A young Ancheindo was sitting in a rather lavishly decorated room, it had some fine carpets, curtains and some rather beautiful furniture. Sitting on two chairs was an older woman watching the young girl sitting right next to her. Young Ancheindo was playing the cello in front o her teacher; she was quite skilled for being so young. However, soon something strange occurred. She suddenly had a vision of her father coming in with a pipe, and asking how the lessons were proceeding before tripping slightly and dropping the pipe so that it would fly and hit the teacher in the face leading to an apology. As soon as her father entered and tripped as was foreseen Ancheindo rose from her seat and grabbed the pipe. She turned towards her father and said: "Father, get mother. I have something to tell you." Sufficed to say, her parents were elated to hear their daughter had such a gift. "You are gonna do great things, Ancheindo." They had told her.
As the vision ended, she gave a tired sigh. While this was indeed a happy memory, she realized she would probably never be able to live like this ever again. She soon felt a hand on her shoulder and realized it was Zhuue, she didn't see it but somehow she knew that Zhuue had a concerned facial expression. She merely smiled and patted Zhuue's hand with her own.
"I'm alright Zhuue, it was just a rather…. Emotional memory."
She then felt herself get embraced by Zhuue, it was a surprise at first but soon she accepted and returned it in full. Soon enough, she felt additional pressure around herself from behind. Jack had decided to join in.
"What, I enjoy hugs?"
The three soon split from their embrace as Zhuue charged her crystal.
Several years back
Zhuue was standing in a very open field harvesting crops, and she couldn't be happier. Her mother said that this was the best harvest they've had in months! With this many high quality vegetables they'd be able to buy more land, more seeds for planting and maybe even those fancy new scythes, hoes and pitchforks she's been eyeing. As she continued to work hard, she noticed her mother was out by some of the trees, she had to admit she was happy to have received her mother's genes rather than her late father's. Her mother had gorgeous emerald eyes, smooth and beautiful raven coloured hair, average and quite enjoyable to watch curves and toned, muscular arms from working hard in the fields. She was wearing a lightish blue shirt with dark blue overalls and a pair of black boots. As she looked closer it seemed her mother was having a happy discussion with a man in dark clothes, a large and thick collar of his coat alongside a hat that obstructed his face. Her mother seemed delighted to speak to the man for some reason, she had a wide smile on her face as she listened and occasionally spoke. Soon however she heard noises from behind her, as she turned she saw a few individuals clothed in dark leathery clothes with hoods and cowls covering their faces. They were all wielding small weapons such as daggers and knives and were walking rather menacingly towards her. She was, of course, shocked at first, but soon gave a wry smile as she readied herself for (sorry about this) a "hoe-down". She brought up the hoe she was going to use to shape the fields, in order to shape some asses into her choice of object. As her new enemies advanced on her, she began spinning her impromptu weapon around before engaging her foes. Zhuue displayed surprising competence with her weapon as she swatted away weapons and struck her enemies rather brutally with the farming tool; she dodged just barely several times only to retaliate with a brutal strike to her enemies. This continued on for a few minutes until she found herself between two of the masked strangers and blocked their blades with the gardening tool, the tool was however worse for wear and would break at any moment, so Zhuue did something… Radical. She did a split while holding the weapon upwards with her hands, it blocked the blades a last time before splitting in two, and she used the momentum of her hands to strike her assailants right in the family jewels. Both gave a silent and very high-pitched scream before falling down on the ground, unconscious. As Zhuue rose with a slight smile, she heard clapping coming from behind her, as she tuned around she saw her mother looking giddy over something. Standing next to her was the mysterious man giving her applause with less vigour than her mother, as he removed his clothes they showed a man with black back slicked hair, a pair of glasses, a smile, a doctor's coat with black pants and matching shoes he also had the insignia of the Rune Knights on his right shoulder.
He then spoke to her in a happy tone.
"You must be Zhuue, right?"
"I am Jack Cobar, medical officer of the Steele Division of the Rune Knights. And I am here to offer you a place as my assistant/bodyguard. What do you say?"
Zhuue was silent as she thought about these surprising news, she decided to gather some more info about this.
"Oh, well while hanging around in a bar we heard rumours of a young woman beating the crap out of tons of dark guild members that were attempting to force a good price for wares or usage as a hideout. So I came here to confirm the suspicions with my underlings. And from the look of it, the rumours were completely true."
As he said this he gestured to the men and women on the ground that gave a thumbs up while still moaning in pain, at least the ones who weren't unconscious.
Zhuue sweat dropped slightly at the news that they weren't really assholes.
Jack chuckled slightly before reaching out his hand.
"Of course, you would be able to visit your mother whenever you'd need to. And I will cover your living expenses due to you being practically my bodyguard. But you will also receive salary that you can perhaps send to your mother here, what do you say?"
This visibly surprised Zhuue, she turned to her mother to get her opinion on the matter. As she did her mother hugged her in a tight embrace.
"Honey, no matter what you choose to do, know that I will always be proud of you."
Zhuue felt tears start to flow from her own eyes at this, her mother love her enough to let her go. They stood like this for a while, merely having a tender family moment. While behind them, the people Zhuue had defeated where crying tears of joy (and pain) at this, Jack was wiping his eyes with a small handkerchief. They soon separated and Zhuue dried her tears before saluting Jack with a wide grin.
"Private Zhuue Vaclava reporting for duty. Sir!"
Jack shone with glee at this!
"Ha ha! Marvellous! Now, mind if we stay for a cup of tea? I need to patch up my underlings before we are off."
Zhuue's mother nodded understandingly.
"Of course, this way."
As they walked Zhuue couldn't help but be excited, not only would she be able to help her mother with their finances, she would also become stronger and tougher so that she could beat the crap out of the dark guilds for good!
Today was a great day!
Zhuue came back to the present, with a smile. She really needed to visit her mother again. She would understandably be shocked by the loss of voice but would be proud of how much she had accomplished. With a determined look in her eyes she then turned to Jack and gave him a nod to continue with the crystal.
Following Zhuue's confirmation, Jack charged his magic into the crystal.
Several years ago
There was a truly massive mansion with a lovely garden located in the vicinity of mountains, it looked remarkably similar to the old Heartfillia mansion with a few changes such as being far more grey and militarized rather than fancy and a large statue of a triangle pointing downwards with the left side missing a small piece in the very centre.
In front of two massive doors stood a pair of misfits, we know them as Samuel Steele and Jack Cobar, They are notably younger than we usually see them, and Jack is fiddling nervously.
"We can probably just run off and say we were ambushed and were forced to retreat and couldn't visit today, right?"
Jack said this and gave a quick look to Sam who was giving him a deadpan look.
He then sighed and rung the doorbell.
A man wearing what could best be described as a leather overcoat that had a slightly open collar that showed a white tie and two small emblems similar to the statue outside on the very edge of his coat's collar opened the door. The coat reached down to his knees revealing a pair of finely shined boots and expensive looking black trousers. On his left arm he had a red band with a small icon resembling a black pie chart divided into three equal pieces. He was slim yet projected authority, his appearance made him look as if he was in his early 50s, with his slightly wrinkled, pale complexion and white hair.
He had a bored and disapproving look on his face as he saw Jack.
"Ah, it must be Christmas for such a RARE pleasure to appear at my door. Tell me son, were you hoping to claim inheritance now?"
Jack merely looked down and gave a tired sigh.
The old man's expression changed abruptly as soon as he saw Sam standing next to Jack giving a small wave.
"Samuel, my boy! How are you doing?!"
Samuel gave a small smile and shook the man's hand.
"Hello Mr. Stahl, I am doing fine."
The old man laughed slightly.
"We've talked about this, call me Jorhan! Now come on in! Good to know you had the manners to bring my son with you when visiting."
Jorhan, as we now know him, opened the door wide and ushered the two men inside. As they entered they paid little attention to the grand hall that they walked through and ended up in a rather fancy parlour with leather couches, a fireplace and several well-made portraits of the various family members and other important people.
As they all sat down, a woman entered wearing similar clothes to Jorhan, she was carrying a tray with several teacups and a small container of sugar. Her face was that of an angel, completely faultless and practically shining with youth and motherly care and her hair was an alluring silvery colour similar to Jorhan, yet shining with more happiness and life.
"My, my. It is always such a joyful occasion when Jackie decides to visit, and he ever brought Sammy. This really has become a wonderful day. Wouldn't you agree Jorhan?"
He merely grunted slightly.
"It would be more "wonderful" if he actually decided to MARRY before we kick the bucket, Janna."
Jack started to sweat slightly.
"Well dad that was what I wanted to talk about."
This caught Jorhan's attention.
"You see I'm already engaged to someone… And we're planning a marriage."
His mother shone with happiness.
"That's wonderful dear! Who is it."
Jack fidgeted slightly.
"Look behind you."
His parents turned and saw Samuel, who was inspecting a strange looking dagger in a case named: Nettlebane.
They were completely silent.
Jack was sweating buckets.
Samuel was looking at the dagger.
And suddenly Jorhan spoke.
"So you are saying my son, heir to Stahl Arms, is engaged to a MAN, who also happens to be a highly respected colonel of the Rune Knights?"
Samuel finally looked back at them and answered: "Yes."
He wished he hadn't
Staring at him with sparkles in their eyes was Jorhan and Janna Stahl, looking positively elated.
"Our son and our favourite guest are marrying!"
Janna gave an impressive squeal.
"My boy, you managed to snag the fiercest beast out there! Well-done son! I am so proud of you!"
As he said this, Jorhan had his arm around his son's shoulders as he kept complimenting him.
"Er, we're also marrying a woman… For children reasons."
Jack added hastily.
His parents were however too happy to care… And became happier somehow still.
"And you are bringing us an Heir! Son I knew you had it in you! As virile as your old man!"
While Jack paled at his father's words, his new mother spoke to Samuel.
"AH! Grandchildren with blonde hair! What a blessing!"
As she said this she showed her surprising strength and lifted Samuel like a child and spun him around.
He was simply drinking his tea while thinking: "AAAAAHHH!" with the whole visit starting out as just that. A visit and ending with marriage.
Finally back in the caverns
Jack blushed slightly as he put the crystal in the pocket, but he smiled nonetheless. Imagine the guilds reaction if he hadn't changed his last name.
"Come now, we have to rendezvous with the others." As he said this he grabbed Ancheindo's hand and decided to lead her onwards while Zhuue walked ahead.
With the irresponsible younglings
"…And so I killed and ate him."
"Yes Alex I know, all your stories go like that.
"Come on Rey, let the man speak. Or would you rather tell us of one of your failed flirting attempts?"
Raina just started laughing loudly while slapping Rey on his back.
Sivanna meanwhile was just walking ahead wearing what seemed to be a white t-shirt, black jeans and a pair of black boots. She also seemed to wear a small backpack that looked like it was divided into six pockets, to upwards, two in the middle and two downwards.
"This reminds me of the time I walked alongside a battalion of my B1 units."
Everyone was quiet and looked at her.
"I am surrounded by complaining and the wining little children that do not know when to be quiet without someone berating them."
Everyone was quiet until Raina broke the silence.
"Wow Siva. Way to bring down the fucking hammer."
"I do not own a hammer… Oh wait, you were making a joke. Ha ha."
And so they all continued on until they finally reached several crystals on the ceiling.
"I shall handle this."
And so the lower parts of Sivanna's "backpack" opened and released a pair of long stilt looking "feet" that carried her upwards.
The others stared in bewilderment.
"Gotta say, your cousin is damn cool Alex."
"I know right!"
"Well Rey, you always did have a thing for tall women, eh?!"
As she said this she rather violently jabbed him with his elbow, forcing him sideways slightly.
Unfortunately he had built up a direct counter reaction and punched her backwards after the jab, leading to her knocking into Sensō who was standing next to Alex while complimenting Sivanna, who then was knocked onto Alex who reflexively turned his hand into a claw which then, as he fell, sliced through one of Sivanna's "legs" leading to her losing her balance. And crashing headfirst into every crystal, so that they all fell down before she smashed into the wall! And finally fell to the ground with a pained groan.
Everyone was frozen in fear.
They looked at eachother, and then at Sivanna before rushing towards her and helping her up.
Rey broke the silence.
"Siva you, uh, you good?"
Everyone stared with slight worry.
"I am Sivanna Metrac."
There was a silence.
"So, she can joke… Great."
"Shut up Sensō, let's get the crystals so we can check her head in case something is off."
Sivanna got up from the ground and turned towards her comrades with a small smile.
"Do not worry comrades, I check my head in the mirror everyday. Everything is still on."
Alex and Raina looked at eachother.
"Er let's just get this done."
And so Alexander went first
A few weeks ago
Everyone was sitting at a dining table, as Samuel had demanded they all share a meal after many risky and well-handled missions. Alex was sitting there bored out of his mind as he was surrounded by some grunts that usually guard the base so they had nothing to speak of. After approximately five excruciating minutes Samuel came out with a large bowl of spaghetti and a pan of Bolognese. At first, Alexander looked at Sam as he was served the dinner. He saw an old man, worn out by war with experience, faltering hair and wrinkled skin. Then he tasted the food. Suddenly he saw Sam as a man in golden armor with long flowing golden hair, a flaming sword strapped to his hip and a pair of angel wings majestically extended behind him. He was stared at with a kind smile and beautiful blue eyes. Alex had a facial expression of a man receiving an epiphany from god's personal archangel. Meanwhile Samuel and the others stared at him confused and slightly worried as they carried on with conversations and eating.
Back with delusional warrior
Alex had a face set in grim determination. He will deserve that spaghetti if it is the last thing he does!
Raina scooted over a few steps from his sudden determined attitude, she was pretty sure he'd be on fire if he could. She then looked at the crystal and activated it.
Some time ago
A pair of vicious looking blades blocked a massive claymore, before shoving against it trying to push it back.
"Remember, strength isn't the only way."
The user of the claymore proved this by disarming his opponent by simply twisting his blade swiftly. He then pointed his sword at his opponents exposed throat.
"See Raina, strength is important but proper technique can easily outdo it."
Raina was panting but nodded none the less.
"All in all you did good today, your grip however requires some work. You are a bit easily disarmed."
As she began walking away she saw her brother train with their mother, their swords were clashing as Rey attempted to gain an advantage by slicing with speed but his mother easily countered him at every blow. As she turned towards her father she saw he was engaging Nero in a friendly spar, which is why Nero was using a spear and her father was using a large flail. As she saw Nero get disarmed and engaged her father in CQC she had a revelation. The flail was free from a grip with its weapon part, but it was still within reach thanks to its chains.
"Father! Father I have an idea!"
Back to lightning corpse-eater
Raina gave a smile as she extendedblades and inspected her chains. Best. Memory. ever.
She had to remember to thank Nero next time they met, and ask him about that lightning bolt he sometimes throws.
While Raina and Alex were either inspecting their weapons with a fond smile or staring at nothing with a determined look I their eyes, Rey and Sensō just shrugged and used their crystals.
A lifetime ago (Not really)
Sensō was in a dark room with his parents along with a small bundle of joy.
"Remember Sensō, your brother shall be the peace offering between the two villages. You will need to care for him and help train him for many years. While he may be the gift of peace, he is still going to be your brother for quite some time. So be the best you can be."
Sensō nodded at his father's wise words and stepped towards the little bundle held by his mother. There he saw the "Peace Offering" or Heiwa Teikyō as he was named.
He smiled at the little child who smiled back.
"Don't worry Heiwa, I'll be the best big brother ever. Just you watch."
The little child giggled and gurgled adorably and reached out its fat little baby arms to try and grab Sensō. He decided to reach out with his hand to sate his little brother's curiosity.
Heiwa gurgled and seemed to try and speak.
Sensō and his parents leaned closer and examined the boy curiously.
"S- sas- eo- semso- Sensō."
Sensō's parents both gasped lightly at this, while Sensō smiled incredibly wide.
A child's first words are always a precious memory, and his brother had chosen his name.
Truly this was going to be an amazing brotherhood!
Back with the Red reminder
Sensō gave a sad sigh as he put away the crystal, some brotherhood that was. Ended before it could get great. He swears he will find those who did this and end them, and with Hell's guard as his comrades that goal is closer than ever before. He clenched his fist in front of him as he thought these dark thoughts while Rey was activating his crystal.
Bout a week ago
Rey was sleeping soundly in his bed and was dreaming of success, respect and the love and adoration of his comrades through his actions.
His sister rushed from her side of their shared room, picked up his bed and slammed him and it into the ground several times before running back to her bed, while sleeping.
Meanwhile Rey was lying in the shattered pieces of his bed with a serious frown as he waited for the morning.
Back with family punching bag
He now had that very frown upon his face as the crystal showed him not such a good memory.
"Of fucking course."
As he put it in one of his pockets he trudged over to Sivanna and took Sensō out of his funk since they still had to get back to the others.
Sivanna was however using the crystal and saw a very recent memory.
Few weeks and months back
Sivanna was sitting in a penthouse while eating cereal out of a white bowl in a white tank top and dark blue shorts watching television, the large amount of blood and corpses around didn't bother her very much. The cleaning lady could surely handle that. Besides there was an awesome movie on and she loved everything about it.
There was an intimidating robotic general, and old gentleman with duelling skills, and old man with lightning and a badass man with an intimidating breathing condition. What aught her attention most however, was the army of the bad guys. Legions upon legions of robotic soldiers marching forward without question or fear for their own demise.
The spoon fell out from her mouth as she finally got the inspiration for her revenge. And it would be faultless.
Back with first cyborg
"The plan was flawed, faulted and illogical."
Rey asked as he approached.
"Nothing let us leave for the rendezvous point. The others are surely waiting."
Sensō just nodded and helped pull Alexander and Raina who were still stuck in their "moments".
With the irresponsible adults and their babysitter
Esmeralda, Ilyana, Jacob and Nero all had their crystals almost instantly as they separated from the group. First to go was Emma.
Several years ago, Councillor Sheev's estate
The entire interior was fucked up, the damn place was full of bullet casings, shattered blades and cracks all over the pavement and the walls were covered in slice marks and holes. And sitting around the centre of the room on a broken table was Esmeralda with a tired expression; she was wearing a long, seductive, crimson dress, with a pair of matching high heels. Emphasis on was since what she now wore was the same dress only it had been mostly torn apart by blades and other dangers so it looked more like a rag she found to cover her modesty. Meanwhile Samuel was standing not to far from her was Samuel standing in what was once a full tuxedo attire but now had massive rips, slices and splotches of red around it. As they both were doing fuck all they were approached by Councillor Sheev himself, the kind old man was wearing a rather finely made all black robe that covered his entire body, save for his hands as they were held together in front of him as he approached the two soldiers with an apologetic smile.
"I am terribly sorry that you were forced to work during your day off, rest assured that the attackers will be punished accordingly and you both shall be well rewarded for your brave actions. Please help yourselves to anything in this room before you leave."
As he said this he gave them a small, grateful bow as he walked off to his bodyguards. As he left, Samuel gestured for the band that still stood ready to play to start.
And soon a beautiful tune was played as he invited Emma to dance, she graciously accepted his hand and together they gracefully moved across the undestroyed part of the dance floor as the beautiful cover of perfect day. As they separated he bowed and she replicated his gesture, before she heard a ripping sound. She stood up and noticed her dress had been ripped apart; meanwhile Samuel was standing with his arms crossed with a cocky smirk. Until his clothes suddenly fell off as he noticed Esmeralda now brandishing a katana made of ice, suddenly a "Careless Whisper" (Do not own) was being played and she tackled him to the floor as they proceeded to engage in rather… NAUGHTY actions that would possibly make the author attempt to write erotica and fail, so let's just say they rocked the building as much as the battle.
Simultaneously, Nero was walking with his regular armor equipped, as he was to congratulate his companions on a mission well done, before he witnessed their actions to erotic sax music. So he did a 180 spin and walked the fuck back.
He could ask them in the morning.
Back with ice mother
She had an utterly perverted grin on her face, it had been quite some time since their last bout, and she'd need to find a way to remove everyone temporarily so she may catch up with her beloved husband.
Meanwhile Samuel felt a terrifying chill run down his spine, he shrugged it off and continued albeit a bit more alert.
Nero was looking at Esmeralda and took a few steps back before looking to his own crystal and pouring the magic into it.
Back in the old days
Nero and Samuel were both standing on opposite sides on a vast desert, they were both frowning and had their weapons drawn.
"We have our orders Nero."
"The orders don't check out Sam, this "legend" isn't hurting anyone so why kill it?"
"Because that is our job, we follow orders like good soldiers!"
"Being a good soldier doesn't mean just following orders! You have to think for yourself!"
But before they could continue four individuals who looked like they belong in the jungle hunting the creatures interrupted them.
"Oh perfect, first the old man tells us to find a giant legend that hides in the desert and now we have to kill rune knights as well. We better get a bonus for this."
Sam and Nero looked at eachother and then at their newfound enemies, Samuel brought up his new axe and held it defensively while Nero changed gear into what looked like something alien, it showed his muscular torso while his arms were covered with metallic gauntlets with small metallic "boxes" attached, armoured plating covered his legs until his knees were reached where it leaves his muscular thighs revealed much like his torso, covered by fishnet like clothing and finally a terrifying, black "eyed" expressionless mask covering his face. He also apparently had dreadlocks now. As if things couldn't get any better a pair of parallel rather stylish blades appeared from his gauntlets from the area where his wrists are.
The four newcomers all unsheathed their various weapons.
A sudden rumbling coming from underneath their feet interrupted them all, when suddenly they noticed what seemed like plates moving beneath the sand. Unfortunately, the plates were moving and they all fell down and grabbed what they could.
And suddenly more and more plates were appearing before a massive head shaped like a spear tip but curved upwards with a pair of black eyes with what seemed a mix colour of green and blue with a soulless tone to them. The massive beast suddenly lurched forward and started flying upwards as massive wing like fins were at its side and large plates that kept going up and down to regulate it's speed and a pair of massive see-through air sacs were underneath that regularly filled and emptied themselves.
The four hunters were making their way towards the front from the rear where they had been; they would have to get by Nero who was near the central area of the beast and finally Samuel somehow ended up next to the damn thing's head.
Nero had managed to get quite a good standing point behind one of the large "speed flaps" which made it easier against air resistance, as he was soon engaged by two of the crooks. One of them was a bit far back, so Nero took a small cylinder from his belt, clicked a small button on the side and extended it into a dual edged spear. Unlike Zhuue's this one was meant for throwing, and so he did and ended one of the hunter's life. The other one who was far closer happened to be the leader engaged Nero in close combat with a massive machete. The other two were much closer to Samuel's position, and let's just say he wasn't feeling happy.
He was hanging onto some small grass looking hair that covered the beast's skin and could literally stare at the massive eye, it was staring right back at him.
The beast roared.
This caused Samuel to lose balance and spin around while still clinging to the hairs on the creature.
The creature seemed to somehow smirk even without a mouth and seemed to have an idea.
This caused Samuel's eyes to widen massively as he suddenly called out:
"NERO HOLD ON TO THIS THING!"
Nero didn't question this as he held on, while the leader of the hunters did the same.
Suddenly the beast made a flying barrel roll and the two hunters planning on killing Samuel were turned into smears on the desert's wide plains.
As the hunter regained his footing he planned on killing Nero and then bag the beast. He didn't however plan on his head being impaled by seemingly nothing as his head and spine were ripped from his body as they simply floated in front of his body. Before Nero suddenly reappeared with his claws extended on his right hand, planning on adding the head to his collection.
Samuel was still hanging next to the beast's eye and made a motion for it to go down with his hand, the beast understood and started descending until it started cruising through the sand as if it were water, before it stopped and allowed Samuel and Nero to jump off, and for Samuel to release his lunch.
"Well Nero, you were right. Had we just followed orders we'd have lost our new friend."
As Samuel said this he petted the massive beast's "face", feeling bonelike substance while it stared and flapped its massive tail part creating shockwaves on he desert floor.
"Er, yeah Sam how do we get home?"
"A new friend indeed."
"Sam please, we have no idea where we are."
"A very, very nice friend."
"We're gonna die of dehydration."
Back with underappreciated babysitter
In the end they made it back thanks to the massive beast giving them a ride to the closest outpost, Sam named it Phalanx. Nero wanted to call it something else, but he wasn't about to mess with a several ton beast capable of levelling a city by going through it. He put the crystal away and looked towards his comrades. And thought perhaps he should introduce them to it.
Meanwhile Jacob was having a trip.
In ye older times
A young boy no older than 10 was being held at gunpoint in the centre of a small desert themed town, looking as if it came straight out of a western movie.
There were three men in the centre of town that were all being observed by the distraught townspeople. One was in the back holding the child at gunpoint while two in front each had a rifle aiming at the sheriff that stood at the opposite side of them.
"It's simple sheriff, surrender. Put your gun down, and brings us that there bank's currency and we'll let the kid go."
The sheriff didn't move, but he had started to sweat from the thought of his son being killed.
The hostage taker in the back was smiling cruelly as he tightened his grip on the boy.
"Limited time offer, Sheriff. Answer now or the kid will have a hole lot of pa-AGH!"
The boy had bitten down on the hand that keeps him in place that let go temporarily before it came back with a harsher grip than ever.
"Kiddo, you just made the biggest mistake of your far too short li-DUK!"
Suddenly, a large white armoured figure with an equally large shield and axe combo burst right through the house wall next to the hostage, punching him in the face with his axe hand, and blocking two shots fired by the hostage taker's cohorts with his shield covering the boy.
Meanwhile dropping from the roofs behind the other two bandits was a figure covered in grey and silver, with what looked like a ski goggles shaped red visor and small hexagonal hardened pieces were visible on him as he incapacitated them via kicking one into a building, before tanking a shot to the head shrugging it off and slamming the other guy into the ground
"Tactical mode disengaged."
The people looked confused at his statement.
"He means we're good."
The people gave a united "Ah" of understanding before applauding as the sheriff and "Metal man" hauled away the crooks while "axe man" was walking with the child towards the station.
The boy looked up at his saviour, wonder and awe apparent in his eyes.
"Got a name?"
He shoo the awe out and answered his hero, albeit uncertainly.
"J-Jacob Smith… Sir!"
The axe man removed is helm and revealed his shining blonde hair and burning orange eyes, he then looked straight at young Jacob with a smile.
"Well Jacob, you were very brave today. I'm proud of you kid, but promise me you'll practice a bit before taking on the criminal underground. Give us a chance, am I right?"
He laughed along with Jacob.
"Oh, and call me Sam! Samuel Steele! Corporal rank in the rune knights serving under Sergeant Nero over there."
As he said this he gestured towards Nero who had once again his regular white and red armor on.
He picked up a brown Stetson that had been knocked off by Nero's takedown, dusted it off and placed to too large headwear atop the young lad's head.
"When you grow into this thing, come find me. I could always use a "pardner" like you."
The boy's eyes shone with excitement.
As he watched the two men walk away, Jacob vowed to become as strong as the hero he had seen today and someday pay him back for the favour.
With Jacob the Man
"Hell, that was a long time ago."
As Jacob said this he tipped his hat slightly downwards and gave a cocky smile before putting a cigarette in and setting his sights on Ilyana who was smiling while she was viewing her crystal. Must be one of those nice memories.
Less than a decade ago
A battlefield full of warriors from two powerful sides, one that fought for peace and freedom siding with the council. And the dark guilds, which dreamt of tyranny. The entire area was blanketed in fire by several powerful mages, whose side they were on no one could tell as they both fired "Danger Close" to their respective allies. Spells were flying everywhere and people on both sides were getting hurt from both sides, some wounds were mere scrapes while others had entire parts of their body ripped asunder. In the middle of this shitstorm that happened to occur during a large international meeting between Fiore and it's neighbours, leaving them defenceless in the face of this sudden uprising of dark guilds. Was a squad of rune knights and mages that were looking to regroup with the main force as they had been cut off during the massive fire strike.
Out of all these people, the one who stood out was a young girl with long blonde hair and orange eyes, who was running behind all of them due to not being able to keep up. The rookie, they named her pup.
"Come on Wolf Pack, almost there! Pup, pick up the pace!"
She was struggling to keep up, carrying the squad's supplies and intel was heavy work, and all the while the smoke was making it hard to breathe. Coughing, trying to breathe, keeping the pace. All in all it was just a manner of time before she tripped. As she did, the two rear members helped her up and assisted her in catching up with her other squad mates.
"Come on! Almost there!"
As they caught their breath and continued on, they were intercepted by something really, really bad.
The words they dreaded were heard from their leader and the squad was beset by an enemy assault combination of spells and mages. It was a goddamn slaughter.
"We need backu-"
His pleas were answered with a blade to the throat, soaking the ground in the blood of a begging man.
Pup was the only one remaining, as she had been knocked onto the ground, believed to be dead, until she struck one of the men who was commenting: "I bet she's still warm" as he walked close to her. Her hand shot out, and with it, a beam of energy that cut into the man's body, but it only served to piss him off as he proceeded to stomp on her arm, HARD.
"I'm gonna make you a woman, lass."
She paled at his words and desperately sought an escape, but it was futile as her captor's comrades surrounded them and laughed at her predicament.
But before he could remove her clothing, Salvation arrived.
A figure wielding a large war hammer crushed and utterly destroyed the hostile soldiers with no sense of mercy. As he stood there, his armor caked in their blood and intestines (KOTE DARASUUM 2nd song for better understanding), pup had thought fast and put on a helmet to conceal her features before the figure turned towards her.
He stared at her as if awaiting something.
She merely made the "Ok" sign with her hand.
He nodded before speaking out to most troops in the surrounding area.
"All troops, Steele has arrived. Converge towards the central area and regroup. Lieutenant Nero will be ready to give you orders. I will open a path."
And so he charged into the fires of battle, smashing his enemies upon the anvil of war, while troops around were inspired immensely to see such a competent warrior on their side.
Pup took several deep breaths, before removing her armor and taking several different pieces from her fallen squad mates, creating a new sort of armor featuring both light and heavy defence. Along with all their dogtags.
As she reached the meeting point, she was approached by her commanding officer.
"Mage, what is your call sign?"
She was silent, and looked towards the ground before she shot up with a determined, burning look in her eyes.
"I. Am. Revenant."
Back with Trauma
Her smile promised pain for many who were still alive. She still remembered many of those who had fought her had been crying out for mercy, funny how irony works. And her dear brother's rage proved to be a tide turner as she had "dissappeared" from the safe haven near the council building. It was a slaughter and she had revelled in the chance for vengeance that her comrades deserved. There were still scumbags out there, and she would find them, and when she did. Well, let us just say red will be her new style for a while.
As the four of them got ready they all headed back towards the exit, thinking about the aspects of life they had seen from themselves, revelling in the precious memories or plotting brutal retribution. Either way this was an experience they would not soon forget. Even if some may have wanted to.
With the responsible children
Krytus and Lucretzia were both walking in one direction, as usual together with complete silence; they soon found something that literally was fate tempting them. They found a crystal that had been split perfectly in two, each of them picked up one half each, pushed them together and filled it with their united magic.
In the past, at the same time
In a massive purple expanse, showing nothing but it's purplish expanse. In the centre, stood two men. One wore old robes coloured in faded purple that showed only his glowing eyes, and the other wore fine clothing mixed with armor protecting his vital parts. But no helmet was worn, showing his white hair and red eyes. They both stared at eachother with sombre expressions.
"You know the void. You have served and used it, you have seen and heard it. And now you have been within it as it has been within you. You have done well my son."
"Yes, father. Your praise brings me joy."
His father gave a nod, as his face and body were both still cloaked by the well cloak.
"There is but one final test, prove to me that you are worthy of inheriting the void. Prove to me that your ambition and strength trumps my own! Prove to me, Krytus that you are worthy to be called Zemerik!"
Krytus gave a nod and extended his void blade from his right hand as his father's arms were revealed and showed pale skin with intricate tattoos glowing in an eldritch blue as mighty purple energy gathered in the father's hands.
And so began young Zemerik's final trial.
Meanwhile. In another part of the immaterial plain.
Lucretzia stood before three mighty warrior spirits, all whom stood in front of a woman who looked in all accounts similar to her, but her eyes were a serene azure rather than red.
"My beloved daughter, the time has come for you to inherit my mantle of keeper of these warriors, while a great honour it also boasts a great responsibility. You will battle alongside them; they will use your flesh as you use their power. Two souls in one body, two blades from one warrior and two corpses in one grave. You shall live and die together."
Lucretzia nodded at her mother's words.
"You must be weary, while they are no longer among the living they may yet feel pain and suffering. Your pain and suffering will be theirs, and the opposite is also true."
Lucretzia once more nodded and looked towards the three warriors in front of her.
The huntress: her mighty orange armor, red helm and piercing green eyes strike fear into the heart of any prey she sets her sights upon.
The assassin: His unfeeling iron mask and reflective glass eyes promise nothing short of the void for those who become his targets, his clothes would be more befitting of a royal protector than anything else.
And last but certainly not least was:
The general: a large mighty warrior wearing armor befitting his rank, looking as if he fought many battles leading samurai into victory after victory. His pale as moon skin and glowing harlequin green eyes served to inspire and intimidate ally and enemy alike, and if it was not enough his four arms and massive butterfly swords were quite a sight as well.
"I shall honour thy wishes mother. Mighty warriors, I beseech thee to aid me in coming battles for the sake of peace and glory."
She ended the speech with giving a deep bow to them, which surprised them, but made her mother give a small smile.
The huntress recovered first.
"Your words are true and your intentions clear. Very well, we shall serve you, Lady Zemerik."
And so, the three spirits bowed to their new mistress.
My daughter, there is but one task left unfulfilled."
"What is this task, mother?"
"You must end the previous accord between the spirits, you must wipe away the debt, you must end my life."
"… Yes mother. Thou wish be done."
Her mother smiled as a single tear slid down her cheek.
"My child, words cannot describe my pride. Let the old accord end and a new alliance be struck. Know that my love for you shall always be as strong as the tide and as eternal as the earth. Farewell my beloved daughter."
As her mother said this, Lucretzia brought out her extendable three claws from her gauntlet and walked up to her mother, standing in front of her. She pulled her arm back and offered a brief prayer before impaling her mother through the heart.
Back with scarred children
They both immediately pocketed their respective crystal and looked at eachother, each gaze unwavering. They each took several steps and embraced eachother in a sibling hug, comforting eachother while seeking comfort from the other. Much like a sword and a sheath they worked together perfectly when it came to battle and emotions. AS their embrace continued on, they soon stopped separated and nodded at eachother. Before moving on.
Finally time for big S
Samuel was trudging on by himself, revelling and detesting the solitude simultaneously. He looked for something, anything to remember, to make him think of something else. Something that isn't completely fucking terrible. He finally finds one after minutes of walking, it is rather regular in size, not small enough to limit a memory and not large enough to view it entirely.
He poured in his magic and hoped for the best.
Many long years ago
A young Samuel was sitting next to and even younger Ilyana, they were both eating dinner and his sister was excitedly talking about many things she learnt in school, and Samuel was happily listening. As she went on about history, math and geography, he was impressed with how much she learned and knew from a few days in school. As the hours grew late he carried his excited, sleeping younger sister towards her bed. As he put her into bed, pulled up her comfy blanket and gave her a small kiss on her forehead as she smiled in her sleep and snuggled deeper into comfort.
As he closed the door, he took deep breath before clenching his fists tightly and closed his eyes, before letting it out through clenched teeth. Before he opened his eyes with a determined fire, for his sister, he'd do this time and time again. As he walked towards the outer door, he picked up several pieces of armor and a customized helmet shaped like a gaping maw with fire inside, he then picked up a machete and a pickaxe with the word "RAVAGE" written on it. And so he set out to another night of fighting for cash, day jobs do pay, but not nearly enough for comfortable living of two children.
He tells himself, her future is more important than his; she'll become something peaceful like a councillor or a hotel owner.
Back with Big Boss man
"Nope, decided to become a fucking mercenary."
As he complained he pocketed the little rock he complained about all the shit he had to go through to get here and it was fucking idiotic that shit had happened to this day. And something stupid was gonna happen soon and he knew it.
Dark Horse squad was walking and talking, and suddenly a stalactite fell from the ceiling and onto Johnny's head, which knocked him out completely.
His friends could just stare in surprise and shock before carrying him towards the area which they would meet the rest.
An unspecified amount of time later
Johnny woke up in the guild's main hall, as it was completely empty and devoid of any form of life. He rubbed his head from the pain before something popped into existence right next to him that caused him to yelp in surprise in a most unmanly way before he fell to the floor.
As he turned around and looked he saw it was Buzz, as a ghost.
"Buzz! You're here!"
"Hell yeah I am!"
"I'm the ghost of Christmas past!"
"Welp, your version anyway."
"Oh, cool. So you gonna show me some of my past Christmases to convey some message or something."
"I would… But I got no idea how the fuck I should since we never talked about Christmas so I got no clue what to do here."
"Oh… So how are things being dead?"
"Yo boys, how about you let present do his thing. The past is over and present is now and the present has got to happen. So GTFO."
They looked towards the new voice that appeared in the door, it was a slim man who was almost six feet tall with brown, thick and messy hair that curled towards it's ends, a soul patch was visible on his chin.
His attire consisted of s black undershirt, a pair of black dress pants, a pair of white shoes and most notable of all was the purple trench coat he was wearing that covered most of his body. But it did let them see his little tattoo which was a dollar sign with a cobra wrapped around it on the right side of his neck- All these things combined with his white skin and grey eyes made him a fairly fashionable and attractive man.
He grinned as he spoke.
"My name is Mammon Amon, but you may call me Avarice. I'm here to teach you the meaning of Christmas."
"You got 10K jewels?"
"10K Jewels, hard of hearing are we?"
"Ok, but why?"
"It is about the spirit of Christmas, we all gotta be good to eachother. You give me 10K jewels and I wont kill ya."
As he said this he was holding a rather tight grip on Johnny's shoulder. As he had been approaching while they were talking.
"Ah, I get it!"
Johnny said nervously.
With noises of uncertainty he handed his new "friend" the money he had in his pocked which happened to be the exact wage.
"Thank you my boy, you really feel the spirit of Christmas! Now… You got another 10K jewels?"
Johnny looked on in shock.
"Of course, you don't know it but there are some ass hats that just wanna prank you. Gimme 10K and I'll handle them otherwise I'll "handle" YOU. Do you understand Christmas now?"
Johnny was without words in his shock.
"Uh, new guy, how about I pay you and we go handle those guys?"
"Very well, Johnny relax and don't worry about anyone screwing around. We got this."
"Er, okay. Thanks I guess."
And so the two ghosts dissappeared and left Johnny to his loneliness.
"Wait, past, present… Now's future! I bet I become a badass!"
As if on cue, a figure emerged from the shadows. A figure with a most feminine form. A figure clad in cobalt, dark blue armor that was being covered by shadows save for their right side.
"Oh hey! Future right, can we skip most stuff and see how I turned out. Please?"
The figure merely pointed at a tombstone next to him.
"Ah, dramatic flare eh? He he. You are a bit cooler than the other guys from earlier."
He weakly tried humour that instantly failed.
As he read the tombstone he saw name, gender, birthdate but when he read the death date it read:
BETRAYED CANON FODDER
"CANON FODDER? BETRAYED?! Nonononono! This can't be right; the- the guys at home love me! Right?! You made a mistake! Yeah, you fucked up!"
As he said this, the figure stepped out from the shadows and revealed that they were someone he knew from recent events. It was Lucretzia with her Knightmare spirit; she did however look far more monstrous with her repulsive mutations showing around her body and armor. Pair that with her helm being off showing her red eyes shining with malice and her right hand not having any armor. Looking very similar to Alexander horrid clawed hands with smaller claw like fingers. In her left hand was the massive cursed blade.
"Wait, wait you want me to be tougher?! I'll be tougher and say what I think and not let them step right over me! I'll become like Brad and be a badass that says what he wants and thinks and stop being a little weakling so SPIRIT I BEG YOU DON'T MAKE ME DIE AS TRAITOROUS CANON FODDER NOOOOO!"
As Johnny was listing how we would improve his life "Lucretzia" had come closer and closer until she had grabbed him with her evil hand and raised him upwards while pulling her sword back. And as he cried out against fate she gave him a little tap with her sword on his head before offering a cruel smile as a Santa ha appeared atop his head.
Johnny woke with a shout and looked around to see the main hall full of his comrades as he took several deep breaths to calm down.
"Ah, Johnny you are awake. How was your nap?"
Samuel's question caught him slightly off guard, so he gathered his thoughts before he answered.
"Well I saw a few familiar faces, got a little scared and saw THE GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PRESENT!"
As he said this he pointed towards the face of Mammon who had appeared right next to Sam with a witty smile.
"Either you pay me as a ghost or someone who give presents. Both cost extra."
"This is our new member, call him Avarice. I made him an offer he could not refuse."
"He offered me 10K to join, I wanted more and he said he would kill me. So we agreed to his price and here I am."
"I see… Could we… Could we just start celebrating, I think I need some time off."
"Alright, HELL'S GUARD PARTY TIME!"
And so the celebration was in full go. Everyone was holly and jolly and had a damned good time. Everyone was dancing, listening to Christmas stories or getting completely drunk out of their minds. But the one thing they could all agree on.
Is to wish my dear readers:
A Merry Christmas!
A/N: Holy hell am I sorry this took so long, lots of stuff happened, lots of things were done and vacations were had and games were played. School was also somewhere in the corner hitting me with a baseball bat made of tests and homework here and there. I hope you all accept this little Christmas gift as a "Sorry for making you wait for so long!"
I would also like to thank the users: BETAsatchel and The Professional Holiday Man for: Giving me a new character and motivating me to hurry the fuck up respectively. Thank you all fro reading and happy holidays and free time.