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|-|-| Prologue |-|-|
Testament I: The Slayer's Arrival
Her gaze was lifted to the skies, where she felt her soul being carried beyond Hell. She felt as if all of her sins, her avarices, her worries and doubts, her fears and nightmares, were all purged from her.
She felt a heavenly light lay itself upon her like a soft blanket, dispersing any lingering doubts she carried.
She was enveloped in complete, utter bliss.
Soaring past clouds of white fluff, she floated towards a distant light, the clouds circling around in a tunnel-like fashion as she was beckoned towards the Gates of Paradise…
It was truly a blessed feeling, one she had never felt in all of her existence. The feeling of complete, full reassurance; It was the very manifestation of selfless love had been granted to her by God, to be allowed such a wonderful and fulfilling experience that transcended all mortal pleasures.
It was...pure, calming bliss.
She could only sob in relief as she floated ever further towards the light, as if she were finally being granted solace from all toils and plights.
But in the midst of her journey, she felt a violent tug, one that sent shots of mortality into her.
And as she felt these shots of sin course through her body, she began to see the distant light fading away.
"Wait...no…" She cried. "No, no no no no please!"
The clouds closed around the light, and she began plummeting downwards, back into the mortal abyss.
"No! No! No, no, no NO! NO, PLEASE, GOD!" She sobbed, cried, and wailed, unable to stop the plight of her downfall as she fell from the heavenly light, back into the claws of mortal toil.
Back into the mud.
And in a flash…
...She was now here.
"No..." She cried, falling to her knees and vomiting onto the pearly white surface below her. "Oh, my god…No...please, God...Please..."
It was like the very atmosphere of this place was attacking her. Skin boiling, stomach churning, short breath. Above all, she felt weak. As if the very air was sapping her strength every second. She could hardly push herself to get up onto her knees.
Beyond that, there was a gentle raining and thundering that erupted from the skies of which she could hear, even if she was unable to raise her head from the pearly white ground she was looking at.
After a few moments, she managed to calm her vertigo and violent vomiting enough that she was able to take a look at her environment. Her eyes widened at the sight before her.
In the distance, marbled buildings of pearly white rose above the landscape. Streetlights lined the pathways to and from each building and abode. Plants and beauteous decorations populated the sidewalks, verandas, balconies, and more.
It was a beautiful sight. Or rather, it would have been. The skies were alight with an ominous red aura, and floating above the city, far into the distance, was a bright-red halo reminiscent of a sun. Stars twinkled behind and around it, as if hinting to skies of a more beautiful past.
If she were in a better state, Charlie would have found the sight to be strangely beautiful, unlike anything she had seen in the hellish landscape she had lived in before. But it mattered not, when only moments ago, she had experienced pure tranquility and bliss that trumped anything she had felt before.
Now...everything felt like she was really in Hell.
As her eyes swept to the left, she noticed something standing next to her, and in a panic, she scurried away with the little strength she had.
"...Doom Slayer?!" She huffed.
Before her, the six foot menace stood, covered in blood and gore. On his left arm was a long blade, which was also caked in blood, and in his right hand was an Argent energy sword, which Charlie believed to be the Crucible, though she had thought that to have disappeared in the fight with the Icon of Sin. His visor was trained forward, as if he were in a constant state of battle rage. Charlie was afraid to try and provoke him, especially since he carried that same dangerous aura as when she had first met him.
No sooner had she muttered his title before she saw him holding the edge of the blade only centimeters away from her throat. His visor was trained on her, and she could just barely make out the distinguished features of his furious expression.
This tense confrontation carried on for an agonizing 10 seconds, as Charlie wondered every second if this would be her end.
Eventually, the Slayer's expression softened as he recognized her face. He withdrew the blade, sheathing it into the arm socket device. He stood up, then lowered one hand to Charlie.
Charlie tentatively took a hold of his gauntlet, and he hauled her up onto her feet, though she stumbled heavily, still being sapped of strength. She looked around, expecting to see her friends, and finding none.
"Wha...Where is everyone?" She muttered.
"It would seem we are the only three here."
Charlie turned back to the Slayer, hearing the all too familiar voice of VEGA.
"What...What do you mean? Only we were sent here?!"
"It would seem so." VEGA droned. "My readings detect absolutely no demonic presence...including from you."
Charlie looked up at him with confusion.
"Wait, what?! What do you mean by that?!"
"Exactly what I've said. In the last universe, there was a constant demonic essence seeping from you at all times. Now, there isn't a trace of it, nor anywhere else within my detection radius."
Charlie, shocked, looked down at her hands and herself. She seemed all the same, aside from the horrible feeling she was still enduring. But now, she had received this shocking news from VEGA.
"So...I'm no longer a demon? Is that what you're saying?"
"I haven't a clue what it means, but I don't believe that is the biggest concern of our situation. Clearly, we have both been brought to yet another unfamiliar spacial anomaly, after all this time."
Charlie was perplexed by his statement.
"'All this time'? What do you mean? What happened?"
"Our Earth was ravaged by demonic forces. They had invaded from Mars while myself and the Doom Slayer were trapped in your universe. We spent countless hours slaying them and finally purging the Earth of the Icon of Sin."
Charlie's eyes widened.
"WHAT?! What do you mean?! Didn't we destroy him in Hell?!"
"It seemed not." VEGA spoke. "And yet, we defeated him once more, this time I believe for good. But as we were just about to finish purging the Earth of the rest of the demonic forces, we were suddenly engulfed in some sort of light and brought here."
Charlie held her head in worry. How much time had passed since she had last seen him? Where were her friends? Where was Vaggie, Angel Dust, Husk, Niffty? What had happened?
Too many questions flew through her mind that she could not answer.
"Again, I think we have much bigger concerns." VEGA noted. "We should consider exploring this civilization and finding out where we are first."
"...I...I agree." Charlie spoke. "I think we should-"
Before Charlie could get a word out, the Slayer had darted forward at several miles per hour, breaking the pearly street he had been standing on.
"...explore it together."
The Slayer seemed to realize that he had left behind Charlie, as a few hundred yards away, he turned around and darted back to her. He was moving a lot faster than before, Charlie noted.
"Many apologies, Charlie." VEGA said. "We are used to moving very quickly, as there were nothing but hostile demons in our last universe. We shall try and take a more slow approach."
And so they began walking, looking over the pearly city before them. Charlie was discomforted by the atmosphere. It was as if the entire landscape was looking to give off some sort of image of paradise, and yet it failed to do so, instead leaving an ominous after-feeling and a bad taste in Charlie's mouth.
Eventually, they happened upon the main pathways, streets and roads, which were lined by the most lovely domiciles. And yet, these same houses had barricaded windows and doors, showing no signs of life inside. As they continued on, a sense of dread continued to build up in Charlie.
"This place is too...eerie." Charlie muttered.
"Not only that," VEGA added. "But the energy levels of this place are completely unknown. There is no oxygen in the air, yet we are able to breathe. There is no Argent energy, no hellish presence...all of these compounds, molecules, the very atmosphere itself is entirely unknown to me."
Charlie did not feel much better from hearing VEGA's analysis. She really wished her friends were here. They had a way of making her feel comforted, even in unfamiliar surroundings.
Then again, she was ever grateful that she had the Slayer by her side, of all people. She could not have felt safer.
"I am sorry to inform you both, but I am completely useless in this place." VEGA admitted. "My lifesign scanner is not detecting anything, including the both of you, nor anything else within this place. It is likely broken or has been rendered useless by whatever environment we are in. From here forward, I would advise heavy caution of your surroundings."
"Wait, I see some people!" Charlie exclaimed, pointing up the road they were walking. In the distance, a squad of patrolmen seemed to be making their way down the street. Even from a distance, Charlie could tell they were highly armored and well-equipped. She turned to the Slayer.
"Should we...go talk to them?" She asked. The Slayer grunted.
"The Slayer does not like the look of this situation, it would seem. Nonetheless, he is willing to go confront them if it is to gain insight into this place." VEGA spoke.
Charlie nodded, allowing for the Slayer to lead the way.
When they began to get closer to the guardsmen, she then noticed them prepare their weapons in alarm, all of which were spears that looked to be highly decorated and well-kept. They marched up to the Slayer and Charlie, until they were only a dozen or so feet away.
"Halt, foreigners!" One of them spoke, seeming to be the one in charge, indicative of the insignia on his helmet and breastplate, which was a pair of wings with a spear running through the middle.
The guards lowered their spears, pointing them at the Slayer and Charlie.
"From where did you come from, foreigners?" The same guardsman asked them, suspicion in his eyes.
"How do you know we're foreigners?" Charlie asked, trying to remain polite.
"Your filthy scent was tangible from miles away. I could tell you were not one of us the moment you stepped foot in this paradise!"
Then why did you only now seem to detect us? Charlie wondered.
"Well, it's kind of hard to explain, but-"
"That matters not at the moment." The guard cut her off. "You will come with us so that you may speak to The Princess directly, and explain yourselves there!"
The Princess?, Charlie thought. So there's a societal hierarchy in this place, then?
"Um, is it possible we could get an explanation of where we are?"
"You do not ask the questions around here, foreigner!" The guardsman chided. "Now, come with me, both of you, or we shall strike you down where you stand!"
One particular guardsman brought his spear up to the Slayer's visor as the guardsman turned his head to him.
"I would advise you remain docile, beast." The guardsman lectured. "These spears are of pure heavenly energy. They will vaporize you without any-"
The guardsman's face went slack as the Slayer grabbed the spear shaft and broke it in half with one hand, sending bolts of energy shooting out from it, before quickly dissipating as he threw it to the ground.
The Slayer yanked the rest of the spear out of the guardsman's hand and walked up to him, staring him down. The guardsman, shivering violently, backed up as the Slayer came ever closer, falling to the floor. The guardsmen around him pointed their spears at the Slayer, though they were shaking as well.
"How did you…" The guardsman muttered. "How did you break a Divine Spear?!"
"I suggest you readjust your attitude." VEGA spoke.
"Slayer!" Charlie shouted. "I...we shouldn't start fighting right out of the gate."
The Slayer turned his head slightly to hear what Charlie was suggesting.
"Maybe...we should go with them and speak with their princess, so that we can understand where we are...don't you think?"
The Slayer switched his gaze back to the guardsman once more, staring at him intently, leaving the guardsman to shiver violently as he stared into that visor, seeing the face of wrath.
Eventually, the Slayer leaned away.
"Lead the way, then." VEGA spoke up.
The guardsmen, who were now properly frightened of this menace before them, led the way to the palace, keeping their on the Slayer the entire time, almost entirely ignoring Charlie's presence, which dismayed her.
"Guess I'm not much of a threat…" She muttered.
They were led into a grand palace with many spiralling towers and protruding balconies. The grand doors opened up to reveal a pristine-white lobby, where decorations of beautiful armor, decorated weaponry and large portraits of unfamiliar faces resided. They walked through hallways of luxury and decadence, walked up stairways of refined wood and oak, stepped on silk-red carpets.
The whole building simply radiated an aura of purity, and yet Charlie had never felt more sick,.
Finally, they arrived at a twin set of giant, shiny doors, decorated with jewels and other ornaments. The head guardsman walked up to the door, grabbing one of the large pull rings and knocking it against the door loudly.
(Begin Playing Music: "Kneel Before the Crown" by HDSounDI)
A few seconds passed, and then the massive doors began to open, to reveal a beautiful throne room, where there were several knights and guards standing at attention, spears and swords in hand. Marble columns lined the sides as a purple carpet led all the way up to a throne at the top of a set of steps.
A small female sat atop the throne, a pointed, white crown on her head. She was dressed in an all-white gown, with evening gloves and a purple half-cape that draped elegantly from her left arm.
To her left and right sides were six individuals, just as elegantly dressed.
On the close right of the princess, a man wearing immaculate white armor, with wavy blonde hair and a determined expression, with a green-blue cape that draped behind him.
On the close left, a woman with flowing, white-blonde hair, wearing pristine knight's armor with red traces, and having a red cape drape behind her.
On the middle right, a man with long, red hair, wearing black and silver armor with a dark-blue cape that draped behind him, his eyes looking down upon the Slayer and Charlie as he sneered.
On the middle left, a woman with white hair tied into a bonnet, wearing the outfit of a divine priestess, with a glistening staff holding a glowing orb in the middle, her eyes filled with curiosity.
On the far right, a man with black hair that was greased back, with a scar running diagonally across his face, wearing night-black armor, with a grey cape draping from behind him.
On the far left, a smirking woman with short, blonde hair tied into a ponytail, wearing the same knightly armor, resting one hand on the pommel of her sheathed sword, a white cape draping behind her.
All of this grandeur was shown at once, almost commanding Charlie's respect, as the other knights and guards came to attention, pointing their swords and spears diagonally towards the roof.
"And who, pray tell, are you two?" The Princess spoke sharply, her eyes searing into Charlie. "Who have entered through the Pearly Gates and intruded upon the Heavens?"
Testament II: In The Garden of Eden
(Queue Baroque Music)
"That's 'Pardon, Your Majesty', you ingrate!" One of the nearby guardsman berated Charlie. "You are addressing the Princess of Heaven and stand-in ruler of all the lands here and below!"
Is everyone here so intensely rude? Charlie thought anxiously. She felt as if the entire atmosphere were hostile towards her and the Slayer.
"As I was saying…" The Princess continued. "How did you two manage to enter through the Gates and come upon this holy land?"
"Erm...Your Majesty...We're not actually sure of that ourselves."
"What do you mean, you're not sure?" said one of the knights standing by the Princess, the red-haired man with the dark-blue cape. "Are you saying that you just happened upon this blessed space?"
The Princess seemed slightly irked as the red-haired man interrupted her.
"Er...yes, what he said." She stated. "And what exactly do you-"
"You two must explain how you got here." Another knight spoke up, the female with the red cape. "Surely, you didn't just find a way to skip past the entrance."
The Princess was gritting her teeth by this time.
"Yes," She seethed. "But what we want to know is what your-"
"By God!" Another piped up. "Your very presence here is a violation of the-"
"SHUT UP, I'M TRYING TO SPEAK!" The Princess shouted in a fit of anger. All the guards and vassals turned to her in confusion, and for a moment the hall went silent. Charlie noticed how there seemed to be baroque classical music playing faintly in the background, as if she were at a fancy event.
The Princess re-composed herself, adjusting her arm-cape and laying her eyes on Charlie and the Slayer once more.
"What we want to know are your names, your intentions and where you came from. Could you...please provide that for us?" She huffed.
Despite the hostile atmosphere, Charlie had an innate feeling that the Princess before her was more cordial and willing towards dialogue than her fellow cohorts. She decided it would be best to appeal to only her.
She bowed before the Princess in a curtsy, as she had been taught by her mother.
"Greetings, Your Majesty. I am Pri-"
"This is Priscilla, our companion and follower." VEGA interjected. The room's many eyes turned towards the Slayer, who was still standing in a menacing manner. "And I am VEGA, a voice module for the gentleman I am attached to."
The Princess furrowed her eyes in slight confusion.
"What does that mean?"
"It means that this man in green armor is...not inclined to speak. So I shall speak for him."
"Is...that so?" The Princess drawled, narrowing her eyes.
"That is so."
Charlie was confused as to why VEGA had interrupted and called her by a different name, but she felt that he had done so for her protection. She suddenly felt chills run down her spine, as if she had narrowly avoided a catastrophe.
The Princess blew air from her mouth in annoyance, slouching back in her royal throne. That single expression changed Charlie's viewpoint of her suddenly, and in fact, she now found herself taking a more thorough look at the Princess.
The first thing Charlie noticed were her blue eyes and dark oak-brown hair, of which was mostly tied into a single ponytail. Two strands of hair hung from both sides of her head and draped just next to her chin. She almost seemed like a beautiful doll with how brightly her blue eyes shined, like they were filled with a pure form of energy. Her hair had no frizziness to it, no stray hairs jutting out. It moved around like silk everytime she adjusted herself.
She was drop-dead beautiful. And yet, the hostile look in her eyes now only served to intimidate Charlie.
"Lots of interruptions, maybe we should all stop doing that, hmm? Anyways...go on...Priscilla." The Princess remarked, raising one hand and waving it in gesticulation.
"Er, so…" Charlie began. "We've come from, uh..." She hesitated, her heart beginning to beat rapidly as she was realizing just now as to why VEGA had given her a fake name. She was a demon in a land presumed to be Heaven. If this was where the Exterminators went, and she was not supposed to be there…
Then again, this was what she had assumed from VEGA's sudden interjection, and had an idea that this was what he might have been thinking.
"...a good land." Charlie asserted, trying to recover from her stumble.
By this point, The Princess looked as if she were getting tired of this tirade, idly rubbing the bridge between her right eye and nose with her index finger.
"...A good land, you say?" The Princess mumbled, beginning to lose interest in this whole affair.
"It's Your Majest-ygh!" The nearest guard began, reaching his hand to point accusingly at Charlie. However, he was interrupted mid-rant by the Slayer grabbing his throat and forcing him to his knees as the guard clawed at his armor, having dropped the spear.
I'm getting a bit tired of you, sir." VEGA rasped. "Might I request you keep 100% of your mouth shut to preserve the remaining integrity of this situation?"
The other guards had their spears pointed at the Slayer, seemingly out of shock and fear. Charlie noticed The Princess herself was disturbed by the sudden turn of events. However, she tried to hide her surprise with a grim expression.
"Take your hands off my guard, mortal." She warned.
And yet, her tone only seemed to anger the Slayer, who tightened his grip around the guard's neck, which caused the Princess to leer back in horror, her vassals unsheathing their swords. Charlie panicked as she realized how volatile the situation was becoming.
"Slayer, please!" She pleaded. The Slayer turned his mask slightly to the right, hearing her plea. He let go of the guard's neck, the guard crumpling to the ground and gasping for air.
The air was tense as the whole room waited in anticipation for something to set off a battle. Charlie felt her nerves on edge. She was usually confident in her fighting abilities, but she was feeling especially weak in this place, around enemies of whom she had no idea of their combat capabilities.
A few more agonizing seconds passed, before the Princess raised her hand, calling off the pointed spears and swords. Her face was set in a hostile expression.
"I hardly appreciate you harming one of my subjects as your first impression." She rasped with a scathing tone. "And I don't appreciate your silence, Slayer, as your name would seem to be. What exactly are you the Slayer of?"
Her questions fell into silence as the Slayer did not respond, his visor still directed at the Princess, as if analyzing her. Her eyebrows furrowed in anger.
"I asked for an answer, mortal." She demanded. "Do not just sit there and feign silence!"
Her demands fell into silence also as the Slayer once more did not respond.
"Again, Your Majesty, I must remind you that the Slayer does not-"
"Shut up, you stupid voice machine!" Catherine complained with a red face, slapping the arm of her throne in frustration. Charlie was dismayed by her suddenly dropping her professional demeanor. "How dare you embarrass me in front of my subjects! Is his tongue cut from his mouth?"
"Not so." VEGA responded politely.
"THEN GET HIM TO SPEAK, DARN IT!"
To Charlie, it seemed like the Princess wanted to curse so badly, but something was preventing her from doing it.
| CHILDISH NONSENSE. |
The voice was without noise, and yet everyone heard it. It sent a low rumble throughout the room, before settling shortly. The Princess had turned white in the face as she heard the face.
"With due respect," VEGA began. "The Slayer is growing weary of the unnecessary conversation. He would like to know where he is and what happened to this realm."
The room was silent once more. Charlie noticed the Princess gulping, her face still pale.
"Well...um…I...I told you before...You are in the land of Heaven."
"By making this declaration, you assert that this should, by reference to religious scriptures, be a bright paradise of pure and divine presence, yes? So why does the landscape not reflect this?"
The Princess' mouth was agape, as if she was trying to process the situation.
Charlie subtly noticed that the control of the situation had switched towards the Slayer and VEGA. It was like watching a grizzled war veteran deal with a mouthy child.
"Why, yes, the landscape. Of course, there are a countless number of anomalies that have to be addressed in the alleged 'land of Heaven'. The concept of a class society, as this throne room and your outfits suggest-"
The vassals and Princess, along with a few guards, subconsciously looked at their clothes in bewilderment.
"-would be bewildering and massively unsettling to any kind souls born in poverty-stricken conditions. After all, what is the point of escaping to Heaven if there is simply more of the class-based hierarchy on Earth? This suggests discrimination on basis of wealth or some altruistic value, which one may find horrifying if they were to discover this in their final destination. But to avoid hours of explanation, I shall simply address the landscape. It does not fit the aesthetic that one might expect in a paradise such as Heaven. And it seems as if things have...broken down. Boarded-up windows, derelict buildings, things looking as if they were tossed about- This is more reminiscent of a city that has been sacked, wouldn't you agree?"
The Princess clenched her teeth.
"...Very well, then. You've gotten your clues, detective." She mocked. "I'm sure you already have an idea of what's happened, so what are you trying to get at?"
"We did not choose to come here, Princess." VEGA responded coldly. Charlie noticed how he had dropped the polite mannerisms. "We want to leave this place as soon as possible. But we must be informed of the exit."
The Princess slouched back in her throne once more, releasing a sigh of resignation. Her vassals looked to her for an answer.
"Fine. I'll show you the Pearly Gates."
A long walk began as the Princess, the Slayer, Charlie, VEGA, and seemingly the entire guard retinue of the palace began making their way on a fixed path of marble, which began to become more gray the closer they got to their destination.
Charlie was discomforted. She was walking by the Slayer and surrounded by dozens of heavily-armed guards, all of whom were giving her the evil eye. The Princess was only a few feet away, and she decided now was a great time to try and make some conversation.
She sidled forward a bit in the marching formation to try and speak with the Princess.
"Hey, so, uh-"
Before she could get a word out, the vassals walking behind the Princess blocked her way with swords.
"It's fine, Legatiel, Gwynel." The Princess said, and they uncrossed their swords. "What is it?"
Her tone had somewhat softened on the walk, and Charlie felt a bit more encouraged to continue on.
"So, uh, I just wanted to know what your name was...Your Majesty."
The Princess sighed.
"You don't have to call me that. Just call me Catherine."
As she said this, Charlie noticed her eyes darting to her nearby vassals. Catherine seemed dismayed when they hadn't responded, only looking forward and marching. Charlie was off-put by it, but decided it was no cause for alarm.
"Alright...Catherine." Charlie said tentatively. "Um...is this actually Heaven?"
Catherine gave her a look of offense.
"By what could you mean?! Of course this is the land of Heaven! Can't you see- er…"
She stumbled over her words as she looked out at the gloomy landscape. The blackened sun still hung over the sky, accompanied by the red stars and ambience that lit the endless night, and threw an ominous shade over everything.
Catherine seemed to become openly forlorn at the sight.
"It's...just not...in a good place right now." She mumbled.
Finally, a few minutes later, Charlie sighted what seemed to be the destination: A giant set of white metal gates, imprinted into a fog-like wall, which ran from one end of Charlie's vision to the other in the distance, as if outlining the fence of a gigantic yard.
However, as they got closer, Charlie noticed that the gates were smashed nearly off their hinges, with huge bends in both gate doors.
"What...happened?" Charlie muttered. Catherine's face contorted into a grimace.
Charlie's eyes darted towards Catherine in worry.
"They came in one giant horde, with a titan-like demon leading the charge." Catherine continued.
The group came upon the behemothic gates, gazing at the tragedy.
"These divine gates that protected us for countless eras," Catherine said somberly. "Collapsed at just a few mere punches from the titan demon."
Charlie was curious as to this situation. She knew of no 'titan-like' demons in her Hell, but that really depended on the actual size of the demon for her to get a better understanding.
Stifled for answers, Charlie moved her gaze over to the Slayer. She was alarmed to see him thinking, and she could just barely make out VEGA's voice talking within the Slayer's visor. She assumed they were coming to a conclusion about this story as well.
"What are those grey-colored fellows over by the gate entrance?" VEGA suddenly spoke up. Charlie, perplexed, looked to where he was referring. She turned pale in the face.
"Oh," Catherine began. "Those are known as 'Exterminators'. They go through a ritual every human calendar year down to Hell and purge it to prevent it from overpopulating."
One of the Exterminators looked up from their work and straight at Charlie, who turned her face away at the last second out of fear of being recognized. The Exterminator got up from its work and began flying over towards Charlie.
"Well, rather, they were going through a ritual." Catherine prattled on. "But after the Pearly Gates were broken open, we had to stop the ritual to tend to our own mess. Unfortunately, most of them were killed during the invasion, so we left the remainder of them to guard the gates."
The Exterminator's face began to contort in wrath as it gripped the spear in its hands, flying quicker towards Charlie.
"Still, even after the invasion, there are still hundreds of them left, all elite warriors that are capable in combat and- WOAH!"
The Exterminator had suddenly lunged at Charlie once it had gotten close enough, but before its spear could impale her, the Slayer's hand had grabbed it by the side of its skull and crushed it with a sickening crunch. The Exterminator fell to the ground.
Catherine was shocked by the event.
"Wha...why did he…"
"Your Majesty! We need to go!" One of her vassals shouted, pointing his sword at the Slayer. Meanwhile, all of the other Exterminators at the gate had turned their heads and were beginning to fly over towards the Slayer and Charlie.
Catherine had a look of confusion and worry in her eyes.
"That's the Princess of Hell!"
The entirety of the guard entourage's jaws dropped, and Catherine's expression went from shock and horror to hostility in only a few seconds. The Exterminators howled in fury as they saw one of their companions dead on the ground.
"You...you...filthy demons!" Catherine shouted in anger. "You invade my land, kill my angels, then come back again to mock us?!"
She raised one finger and pointed it at the Slayer and Charlie.
"KILL THEM BOTH!"
"Oh," VEGA voiced. "This situation devolved quite rapidly."
Testament III: Invited Undue Wrath
(Queue 'The Only Thing They Fear Is You')
The next minutes were filled with a high-intensity panic as the Slayer picked up Charlie and began running towards the gates, where the bulk of the Exterminators were.
"WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING, SLAYER?!" Charlie screeched in terror, seeing herself being rocketed towards a gory death.
"If these are the gates in and out of this place," VEGA quickly assessed. "Then this must be the way out. We plan to evade the Exterminators and make our way through the portal in a matter of seconds."
The Slayer tried to speed up, but felt as if he were constrained by some invisible shackles. He growled in anger as he pushed himself to zip past several surprised Exterminators, who had tried to launch their spears at him, only to hit marble.
Finally, he was within view of the exit, or so it seemed. As he launched into the cloud, he felt himself shoved backwards by an invisible force. The fog had increased in density, shrouding the path out of this place.
"Wh-What's going on?!"
The Slayer stood up, launching several punches into the fog. It was as if there was an invisible wall between them and the way out.
The Slayer turned around to see the swarm of Exterminators that were coming towards him.
"Oh, dear." VEGA spoke.
"We...we have to get out of here!" Charlie muttered in terror. She had never confronted the Exterminators directly. Now that she was, it was far more terrifying than she had imagined. Their faces were constantly contorting into different expressions of ecstasy and morbid excitement, their elongated spears shining menacingly in the blackened sun.
The Slayer cracked his knuckles and readied his Super Shotgun in his right hand, while arming his Doomblade.
It's been a while since he was able to RIP AND TEAR.
The closest Exterminator lunged at him with the spear, only to have its tip deflected by the Doomblade, which slid up the shaft and sliced clean through the Exterminator's head.
The other Exterminators were momentarily shocked by this death, as if they hadn't expected such a response from the Slayer. Charlie was sure that these bastards were so used to fighting demons within their league. They were about to severely underestimate the Slayer.
"Two diving in on your right, one on your left, and three from behind." VEGA cautioned the Slayer. He responded by pulling out his LMG and firing it into the swarm of Exterminators, while also propelling him around in a circle. He angled out his Doomblade during his swirling motion just as the Exterminators dove towards him, volunteering their faces for slicing as his blade cut through them like butter.
She felt a sickening sense of pleasure as she watched the Slayer hack his way through the dense swarm of Exterminators. She was seeing revenge delivered upon the very beasts that had terrorized her homeland since the olden times. It was more than exciting.
It was liberating.
"Slayer, I'm sensing an alarming fatigue in your movements."
Charlie was alarmed to hear this from VEGA. It had only been a few moments, yet he was already tired? This was not reminiscent of the terror she had seen him demonstrate to her own Hell. And yet, when she watched the Slayer move, she noticed his movements beginning to slacken, his attacks weakening in strength.
"We can figure out the cause of this later, but first you must flee."
| I DO NOT RUN. |
Once more, the voice shattered the air, as if it were interrupting the flow of events. The Exterminators hesitated in their attacks, as if stunned by this voice.
"You must." VEGA urged. "At this very moment, your strength is being sapped from you by the very atmosphere. You are suffering all the signs of fatigue. This shouldn't be possible, considering the Seraphim's blessings, and yet…"
The Exterminators began to recover from their stagger, and were resuming their merciless attacks against the Slayer, who was finding it more and more difficult to fend off the attackers.
"Slayer, I am heavily advising you to break past this swarm and lose them. You will have to find a place to rest somewhere in this land."
Charlie could feel a furious energy radiating off the Slayer, as if it were some sort of radioactive aura. He brought out the BFG-9000 and powered it up, aiming it at the area he intended to escape through, where a dense cloud of Exterminators were covering.
"I suggest you cover your ears, Charlotte." VEGA advised. "This weapon is quite...loud."
Charlie just managed to cover her ears with her hands right before the BFG shot out in a bright-green wave.
It annihilated almost every Exterminator in front of it, and dozens of wings and spears clattered to the ground in their place. The rest of the Exterminators screeched in terror and rage at the sight, but the Slayer had already zoomed out of the little killbox he was trapped in, heading for the horizon as he was closely followed by the horde of Exterminators, who were shooting beams of bright energy at him with their spears.
"...I believe they have curtailed off now, Slayer."
The Slayer finally came to a stop, and Charlie suddenly felt herself dropped to the ground as the Slayer himself tumbled forward, rolling over several times as he came to a sudden stop from running 50 miles an hour.
In fear, Charlie looked up and around at her surroundings, relieved that there were, indeed, no Exterminators in sight.
She got up on her legs, disoriented from having been put through 50 mph's worth of G force against her body.
"What...the hell happened?" Charlie muttered. She wanted to know the answer to every part of this situation. She didn't even know this place was connected to her Hell until she saw the Exterminators. If that were the case, did that mean this was the 'Heaven' to her 'Hell'?
She took a better look around at her surroundings. It still looked just as gloomy as when they had first arrived, if not more so. Except now they were in flat grass, which expanded in every direction, except-
"Slayer, look!" Charlie shouted, pointing at a distant grouping of house-like figures to the west, a clear, cobblestone path leading towards it. "We should go over...oh."
She saw that the Slayer was lying on the ground, visibly huffing, his armor plating rising and falling with the crescendo of his heavy breathing.
This disturbed Charlie. She had never seen the Slayer tired before. It was almost surreal, seeing a literal force of nature lying on the ground like this.
And yet...it served to humanize the Slayer to her. It felt as if she was seeing a different side of him, a side she had never seen before.
"Slayer, do you need help?"
She extended one hand to the Slayer. At first he didn't notice, but once he did, his visor tilted slightly as he looked at her hand, then up at her.
He reached one hand up, gently grabbing onto her hand. Charlie was intimidated by how huge his gauntlet was, clasping entirely around her arm. She managed to help him up onto his feet and steadied him.
She found herself looking up into his visor, and for a moment, she saw past the menacing orange tint and into his helmet, seeing the outline of his head once more. She found it to not be as intimidating as it had before.
"Now," VEGA instructed. "I suggest we find shelter within that distant settlement you've spotted, Charlotte."
"Can we take a moment to get our bearings?" Charlie muttered.
(Queue Dr. Samuel Hayden music track)
"No." VEGA responded. Charlie was thrown off by VEGA's sudden change in tone.
"I'm not sure you quite grasp the situation we are in, Charlotte. Not only did we (The Slayer and I) become estranged from our original objective of rebuilding humanity on Earth, but we are now trapped in some space-time anomaly of which the Slayer's combat capabilities are severely limited, along with his endurance, of which has likely been applied to you, as well." He explained, his tone harsh and cold. "For all we know of, the demonic forces could have planned this as yet another ruse to subjugate humanity while keeping the Slayer away. It was and still is my primary objective to ensure the existence of humanity and prevention of its harm as much as possible. We cannot stop if it is not completely necessary. We cannot allow the demonic forces to have a single inch of victory. We must annihilate them."
Charlie was disturbed by this sudden, cold change from VEGA. The informative, funny and somewhat charming AI she had come to grow attached to before was far different than before. As if he himself had been jaded by something, like the Slayer.
"...Okay, then." Charlie said. "Let's...go to the settlement."
The Slayer offered his hand to Charlie, who was appreciative of the gesture, yet dreading another 50 mph run. She placed her hand in his, along with her trust in him.
It was only a few minutes before they got close enough to the settlement to properly scout out the place. It was derelict and empty, same as the houses in the city. Except here, there seemed to be minor signs of pestilence. The grass was a bit frayed, though everything else seemed relatively fine. In fact, in a different light, Charlie could see the beauty in this place.
She and the Slayer cautioned themselves as they walked around the small community. It looked just like a modern-day town, except it had the aesthetic of a rural settlement with modern infrastructure.
"We should consider searching through these domiciles." VEGA advised. "We may find literature, scriptures, or otherwise written information that could assist us in understanding this 'Heaven'."
"I agree with VEGA. What do you think, Slayer?"
The Slayer turned to her, as if thrown off that he was suddenly asked to give input. He nodded in affirmation.
"I would suggest the large building in the center of this community. It seems to resemble some form of an administrative center, which is very likely to contain information pertinent to this investigation."
And so they went, with the Slayer entering the building first in case there were any enemies waiting. Thankfully, the first, large room they entered, which resembled a sort of lobby, was empty. However, everything was in absolute disarray. Furniture was broken and tossed around, the floor, walls and ceiling had several holes and dents, and nearly all of the lights were shattered, leaving glass across the room. The only light source was a partially-hanging chandelier, of which a few still-burning candles just barely illuminated the room.
"...What happened here?" Charlie mumbled, intimidated by the aftermath of whatever incident occurred here.
In each room they went into, it was more of the same. Broken, beaten, battered.
Finally, they came upon the last room, which was on the third floor of this building. It was a large, single door, made of a material that none of them knew of. Even VEGA had no answers as to what elements made up the door. It was the same with everything else in this land.
The Slayer tried the handle, but it was locked.
"There might be a key lying around this place." VEGA surmised. "We should consider-"
"...Or we could kick open the door, that works just as efficiently."
"Woah, woah, WOAH, DON'T KILL ME!"
As the dust faded, the Slayer, Charlie and VEGA saw a person crawling up against the windows of this room, which overlooked the community.
The first thing Charlie noticed were the bright, luminous white wings that were folded behind him. Beyond that, he had golden hair to match an extended goatee and bright, blue eyes, which were locked onto the Slayer, who unsheathed his Doomblade menacingly. The angel's fearful gaze shifted to the blade.
"Wait, please! I'm not a threat! You're not one of those demons, are you?!"
"Hold on, Slayer." Charlie pleaded. The Slayer glanced over at Charlie for a few moments, before sheathing the Doomblade. The angel let out a shaky sigh of relief.
"Okay...okay…" He muttered. "I...assume you two are...not demons, then?"
"Well…" Charlie started, then quickly shut up. It probably wouldn't help the situation if she said she did. "No."
The angel seemed to notice her hesitation, but let it go.
"Um...okay...so...why are you here? Are you foreigners? How did you get into-"
"Pardon the interruption," VEGA interjected. "But you are not the one who should be asking questions currently. We would like some of our questions answered before we give any ourselves."
"Priscilla, do you have any questions before I begin requesting such?"
Charlie was surprised to hear VEGA use the fake name he came up with. Then again, it didn't hurt to be cautious, in case this angel happened to be deceiving them.
"Er...not off the top of my head."
"Then I shall begin. First, I want to know what happened to this place."
The angel sighed.
"Before I answer any of this, do you mind if I grab my ambrosia?"
"What is ambrosia?'
"Well...I'm assuming you know what 'Earth' is?"
"Then you should know about alcohol."
"Ambrosia here is basically alcohol on steroids. It can regenerate wounds, enhance your mind, and it makes you feel like you're in Heaven. Which...is ironic."
"I see. Where is this 'ambrosia'? I might acquire some for analysis."
He pointed to a pristine white-gray crate that was lying on a desk on the far left of the room. The Slayer walked over to the crate and threw away the top. Inside the crate were several milk bottles with a golden, shining substance inside them. The Slayer grabbed one out of the box, inspecting it.
"Keep that, Slayer. I will analyze it and potentially produce something beneficial from it."
"Uh...mind if I have a bottle?"
The Slayer glanced back at the angel, then grabbed a bottle out of the crate and tossed it towards the angel, who grabbed it mid-air. He tipped his head in appreciation before opening up the bottle and downing it.
"...Ah." He sighed with relief. "Fantastic. So, you wanna know what happened here. Well, it's not a complicated story. I'm sure you might've seen what happened if you went by the Pearly Gates. Demons from another universe broke through, demons we didn't recognize."
He looked out the window behind him, as if reminiscing.
"They were far more demonic and horrifying than the demons in this macrocosm's H...eck. Heck. It's...argh, how can I say this?!"
"Do you mean Hell?" Charlie asked. The angel pointed at her while nodding.
"Why didn't you just say that, then?"
The angel chuckled somberly.
"Heaven censors your words. Won't allow you to use profanities, and it somehow knows when you are trying to say something with vitriol. I'm not even sure how it keeps up with what are curse words, but somehow it does. I physically cannot curse. It's...the worst."
"How intriguing." VEGA said.
"Funnily enough," The angel continued. "The invasion almost seemed like it was planned, and they were organized- gosh, they were organized. Someone was directing that attack. They held a siege outside the gates for God knows how long, beating on those Pearly Gates with so much force you could feel the shockwaves across the land."
He took another swig of the ambrosia.
"Finally...they broke through. And they...they did horrible things. Things far worse than anything I had seen on Earth. It was almost like they were getting revenge, and yet I'd never seen those beasts. They slaughtered everyone in this place, but they made sure to rape and torture many of them beforehand. To be honest, I was kind of impressed with the brutality."
Charlie was deeply disturbed by how he spoke of such horrible tragedies with such little emotion.
"You…" She started. "You...seem like you didn't...really care for these people."
The angel's eyes shifted to Charlie, and she was shocked to suddenly see that his eyes were sunken in, with bags below them, as if he hadn't slept for a long time.
"You'd be right." He muttered, taking another drink of the ambrosia. "I could tell you all about these sycophants. I could tell you the countless years, or whatever passage of time that exists up here, of all their sins. Believe it or not, in this assumed land of 'Heaven', this Garden of Eden, these people were sinners. They drank ambrosia every single day, getting high off of it, and they...fornicated-"
"This happened in this Heaven?" VEGA inquired. The angel nodded morosely.
"Yep. Ironic, isn't it? I thought the exact same thing. But that wasn't the worst part."
He looked back out through the window.
"This place took away your ability to curse or vent, your ability to hurt people and kill, but left all the flaws that came with being human. You know what that does to a person? Can you imagine all the feuds, conflicts, squabbles and disputes that were left without a resolution? They hardly ever talked things out. And you can imagine all of the hatred that circulated in this place."
He chuckled harshly, almost choking.
"My fellow angels were the worst. And when I say angels, I mean the ones with wings, like myself. We're like...how do I put it...the elite species in this place. You can only get wings if you were one of the originals that fought in the War against Heck's forces, back when the Earth was just beginning to shoot volcanoes from under the sea. You can also get wings if you were 'sainted' on Earth as a human, by basically doing wonderful and benevolent things and all that."
"But everyone else? They weren't angels so much as just...souls. Souls that happened to be lucky enough to get into Heaven. I'm not really sure what one has to do to get into Heaven, but regardless. The angels were complete elitists, in mind and body. They could hurt and kill, they could travel from here to Earth and Heck. And they were psychopaths."
He turned his gaze to the Slayer.
"If you don't know what Exterminators are-"
"I know what they are." Charlie said.
"Then you know that they go down to Heck to purge the place from overpopulation or whatever. Did you know that's actually a myth?"
Charlie's face suddenly went slack.
The angel nodded, grimacing.
"Completely fake. I mean, how ridiculous is the idea that Heck can get filled up? That place has demons on an infinite number of layers. Kind of like...pocket dimensions or whatever. You could send a billion evil humans into that place every day for 10,000 years and you wouldn't put a dent in it."
Charlie stumbled backwards, as if she had been hit in the face.
"You mean…the Exterminations…."
"Yeah." The angel muttered. "Completely unnecessary."
He emptied the bottle down his throat, leaving the atmosphere in silence for a moment.
"I...hate...this place." He hissed. "I don't believe this is actually Heaven. It can't be. This is just a fake wannabe of the real deal. I've never seen God, or Jesus Christ, or Joseph or the Immaculate Mary or any of those other characters I keep hearing about. For some reason, I know God exists, but he's just...not in this place. He doesn't run this place. Somebody else does, or did."
"I see." VEGA said. "Do you know anything about those Exterminators?"
The angel chuckled.
"Yeah. I know about them. They're souls in Heaven who committed grievous sins, or supposedly did. They're offered a choice between getting kicked into Heck...or shedding their 'holiness' and being converted into those gray ugly sons of b...ritches. God, I wish I knew what it felt like to cuss. I'm sure it feels great."
"But yeah, they send the Exterminators down to Heck to purge them. And you know why? Because secretly they're trying to prevent the demons there from rising up and launching another invasion on Heaven, like they did in the oldest days."
Charlie was getting bombshell after bombshell from this long-winded explanation the angel was giving.
"Sometimes, the angels disguise themselves as Exterminators and go down during the yearly purges to get their rocks off. Literal psychopaths. They caused a whole slew of trouble in this place. In fact, I had reason to believe that half those Exterminators you saw were framed by the angels as having 'committed' some sort of sins, just because they might have made the angels angry, or because an angel wanted to fornicate with one of their wives or husbands. Sick mother...truckers."
"And...how exactly are you still alive after the invasion, considering everyone else is dead?" VEGA inquired.
The angel bit his lip, hesitant to answer.
"...By locking myself in this room and letting the bodies stack against the door as they clawed to get in."
"What a morbid answer." VEGA replied. "And yet, we saw no bodies anywhere around this place."
"Yeah, I have no clue why that is."
"Wait," Charlie said. "So you just...let them die?"
The angel turned his eyes to her, and she was disturbed by the vitriol and hatred set in his face.
"You want to hear one more story?" He rasped. "I've been in this land for eons. I can't remember when I was immaculately birthed into existence, nor can I ever remember being a child. I've seen almost every type of person to exist. I can predict what people are going to do or say or are thinking just by looking at them. I've spent so much time around these idiots that I can't remember the last time I had a decent conversation, or when I could let loose."
"You see, the angels and the souls don't get along with each other that well. Considering the angels just tromp all over the souls like they're pests, because they have such bloated egos that they think they're gods. Ironic, when they work under one. So I was alienated from the souls right off the bat. I mean, I got along with them rather well, because I didn't treat them like gutter trash. But that decayed, like everything else in existence."
He gestured to the various buildings and houses outside the window.
"They all lived in their little homes, with their little families that never aged, with their pets that never got sick or hurt or died, with their little lives and their little gossip. That's what this place was. Just one big gossip pit. Believe it or not, when you're sitting in Heaven for God knows how long, and there's simply no external conflict to be had, you just have to make your own conflict."
"And so they did. They gossiped about each other. They gossiped about the angels, about the Exterminators, about the Princess and her vassals. They even gossiped about God, if you can believe it. Ungrateful selfish little p...icks. And eventually, even with my good reputation among them, they gossiped about me."
"Funnily enough, having a good relation with the souls alienated me to the angels, who saw me as some sort of traitor for fraternizing with these people. So once the gossip on me picked up, they took it to the next level. And eventually, they managed to get me unseated from my position as one of the top leaders against the forces of Heck. I saved their ungrateful as..hes, and they just deposed me. Of course, they wanted to make me an Exterminator, but the Princess directly intervened and said she wouldn't allow that. That's probably the only thing I'm grateful to her for."
"No, instead they got me demoted all the way to the lowest rank an angel can be, and sent me to this little 'troubled' community and put me in a guard tower to oversee this place. And this is where I've spent the last 50 years, I think. They don't have any clocks in Heaven, it's so dumb. They also don't have family portraits, paintings, photos, and almost no written information. I guess they assumed this place was the final destination, so there was no need for memories and such."
The angel leaned back against the counter, laying the bottle next to him.
"You know what the reason was as to why they deposed me? You're gonna love this...My name is Beliel. Cool name, right? Well, it just so happens that another name for the Devil is...Belial. With an A."
He huffed in outrage.
"I nearly got banished from Heaven and toppled from my position, which I had held for eons, just because my name was similar to the Devil's. So yes, Priscilla, which I know is not your name; I locked the door and I let every single soul and angel in this community die right outside my door, so that I could keep myself alive. I don't know what happened to them, and I never want to."
"It sounds like you have told us a sufficient amount of information regarding this place." VEGA said. "Thank you for your cooperation, we will leave you to your-"
"Wait!" Beliel interjected. "I...I don't want to be here, staying in this dead land. I abandoned all of my principles, my morality and my duty to this land. Please, let me come with you. I am very good at fighting, and I can tell you more about this place. Just please...let me come with you, so I can finally leave this place for good."
Charlie turned to look at the Slayer. His fingers were rubbing across his thumb, a sign that Charlie had to come to recognize that the Slayer was thinking.
"The Slayer will allow this." VEGA replied.
Beliel bowed his head, tears dropping to the floor.
"Thank you...Thank you so much."
"But aren't you capable of leaving this place yourself?"
Beliel's eyes drifted back up to him.
"Well, to be frank...I was afraid they were still out there. I've been in this tower for a while."
"Very well. Where do you recommend we go next? There is still more I must find out about this place, including the way out."
Beliel rubbed his chin.
"Well, I can tell you whatever information is pertinent to Heaven, but I do not know a definitive way out. I always used the Pearly Gates. I suggest we go to another community, called Pharies. It's modeled after the city of Paris, in France, and I know that's where a lot of activity was prior to the invasion. There might be some clues there."
"I see. Then we shall make our way there, with you as our guide."
Beliel nodded, grabbed the crate of ambrosia with gusto, and made his way out the door. He stopped at the entrance, peeking around the corners in paranoia, before continuing down the stairs, followed by the Slayer. Charlie was still staring at the ground. There was so much to unravel from what Beliel said. She hoped there wouldn't be any more bombshells being dropped on her, or she was afraid her entire reality might break and she would go insane.
It already hurt her to the core that her quest for redemption of the demons was fruitless, when the purges were going to happen regardless, and since Heaven seemed like such an awful and xenophobic place. And she never got to go on a journey that she felt she would have had in the hotel if the Slayer hadn't come along.
"Slayer, why are you waiting here?"
Charlie looked up to see the Slayer standing in the doorway, looking back at her. She felt her mood lift significantly. He was waiting behind for her.
She smiled, skipping up to him.
"Thanks, Slayer." She said cheerfully.
To Charlie, the Slayer wasn't so much a friend to talk to as much as he was a companion she could trust. He was so determined, so forthright in his goal, that it kept Charlie sane. She never dwelled too long on terrible things when he was around, which was something she had been doing in Hell after seeing so many of her friends die so brutally.
The Slayer to her was a sort of shield that constantly kept her safe. She never felt that she was truly in danger when he was around. And that was a wonderful feeling.
So at the end of the day, even if her whole world was crumbling down around her, at least she had the Slayer to keep her.
Testament IV: And Revealed A Plague
"You know, I never understood why the communities were so spread apart. I mean, don't get me wrong, I don't mind the walks, this place is beautiful (or, it was), but man, I'll tell you, messages travel so slowly around here-"
Beliel had been talking for the past 20 minutes during their walk to this 'Pharies'. Even Charlie, who was the usual suspect for talking for long periods of time, was beginning to self-reflect as this angel rambled on without pause.
Occasionally, VEGA would interrupt to ask questions or for explanations.
"Did you all not have any means of transportation? Vehicles or otherwise?" He inquired.
Beliel sighed, shaking his head.
"Nope. No one is allowed to 'technologically advance' things here in Heaven. Now that I look back on it, I suppose it was to prevent an uprising from the souls incase they happened to invent something to fuck up us Angels, though I would have preferred that."
He turned around, walking backwards while casually talking to Charlie, the Slayer and VEGA.
"But, no." He asserted. "There were no planes, no cars, no space ships or boats, not even horse-drawn carriages. Anything that was important and needed to be relayed would be done through angels, who could fly really fast across. That, and-"
He hesitated, seemingly about to have said something he did not want to disclose.
"Finish the sentence, Beliel." VEGA said, with a cold tone.
"...We...can...teleport." He muttered.
Charlie's eyes widened.
"Are you serious?" She asked.
"Why did you hesitate to tell us this?" VEGA asked.
"Well, if we're being entirely honest here," Beliel began, placing one hand against his chest as an implication for the others to sympathize with him. "You can't blame me for wanting to keep an ace up my sleeve in the case that you all may have wanted the chance to take me out?"
"If the Slayer wanted you dead, you would have never left that room in the building we found you in."
Beliel faltered upon hearing that morbid statement, his hand falling from his chest.
"But the Slayer did not bring harm to you, because the Slayer only kills demons."
Beliel lifted his head, slightly comforted by that following statement.
Well...that's good to know."
Eventually, they arrived at the community of Pharies. The only reason it was called a community was because this was the way that Beliel referred to it. Rather than a city, a dwelling or otherwise, he said these types of words were meant to inspire coexistence within the souls, as a unification of several separate identities.
"At the very least," Beliel said. "They didn't take away our individuality."
The 'community' was huge. It closely resembled the city of Paris, at least according to Beliel. The Slayer had never seen Paris and Charlie had never seen Earth, so it was an interesting experience for the both of them.
"What should we expect to find here?" VEGA asked Beliel. Charlie was starting to feel more useless by the second.
"Uh…" Beliel hesitated. "...I'm...not actually sure. I mean, you found me in that little community back there, so I supposed you'd use your sleuthing abilities and figure out something more."
Charlie was shocked to see the Slayer facepalm his helmet, something she had never seen before.
"Then let us use these 'sleuthing abilities' and dig for more information." VEGA responded.
They began searching through houses, buildings, small shelters and little hiding spaces. They stumbled upon several notes and small journals, where they found startling information.
"What's the deal with all of these notes and stuff?" Charlie asked, sifting through stacks of parchment, all of them filled with rough scribbles, all of which had been hidden away in small compartments and hiding holes.
"Allow me to analyze them," VEGA requested. "Hold them in front of my scanner."
Charlie held one of the notes in front of the Slayer's left breastplate, where VEGA was speaking from through a receiver. A small, green light flashed over the note for a few seconds, before dissipating.
"This is covert written communication between two infiltrators." VEGA summarized.
Charlie's eyebrows furrowed.
"Infiltrators?" She asked. "What do you mean by that?"
"The authors of these messages were not originally a part of this place. They describe events scribing their infiltration into the 'Garden of Eden', in order to 'tear down the false Heaven'."
Charlie suddenly felt the notes swiped from her hand by Beliel.
She watched him read through the notes with anxiety and fear clear on his face. His eyes ran down the page fervently, as if desperate to find out the truth.
"Wha…" He muttered. "Infiltrators?! What the f...lick is this about?!"
"I am not entirely sure as to the origin of these infiltrators," VEGA said. "But I am confident they originated from the Kadingir Sanctum."
Beliel looked up at him, trepidation outlining his body.
"It's our version of demons. They come from a place we consider to be a sort of 'Hell', though from what data I have gathered on them, they are most certainly more formidable foes than the demons you're used to."
Belial was silent as he processed this information, his facial expressions becoming more grim.
"That makes no sense." Belial insisted. "Heaven doesn't just let in whoever wants to come in. It only allows souls who have passed through the trials of humanity and arrive at the Gates with humility!"
"Charlie," VEGA said. "If you could read some of these messages aloud, so that the Slayer and Beliel may gain an understanding of what I am speaking of."
Charlie nervously sifted through the notes, afraid to set off Beliel with the transcripts. She gulped, and began reading various passages.
(Queue 'Incantation', by Mick Gordon)
We got in. We uzed the ritual like you zaid, but we have problem. They no uze writingz here..."
Charlie felt herself light of breath, and had to inhale for a moment. She continued reading from the notes, leading to Beliel's face turning more pale the more she read.
They don't keep photoz, drawingz, portraitz, no memorabiliaz…"
Idiotz. You almozt got found. Lucky that I changed your writingz at the lazt zecond. Zcribe your flipping wordz carefully. Do NOT uze the taboo wordz and letterz. You have the zheet, read it…"
I took over da villaj wit my character, now what?"
The more notes she read, the more dread that built up in her stomach. She was reading the demise of this place through each scripture she came across. She was increasingly confused by the things she read, as if they were speaking in a code language.
We are cloze to our goal, focuz on taking out the vazzalz and we can finally move on to the real prize."
Charlie read this line several times over, utterly confused.
"Wha- The real prize? What-"
"Clearly," VEGA interjected. "They had a bigger target intended than this plane of existence."
"But what are they talking about? I don't-"
Beliel suddenly snatched the notes from Charlie's hands, much to her shock, reading over them, rife with rage, his hands trembling as they gripped tightly the stacks of parchment.
His hands suddenly caught fire, sending the parchments into a fiery blaze, much to Charlie's outrage.
"What did you do?!" She screeched. "We could have used that to find out what was going...on…"
Her sentence fell flat as she stared past Beliel to see dozens of misty figures emerging from the luminous dark, various melee weapons glinting in hand. Their eyes shone with dangerous intent as they slowly approached the trio.
"Well," VEGA surmised. "I believe we may have found a better clue."
Testament V: That Defiled Their Paradise
(Queue 'Deep Cello Meditation Music: Dark Meditation Music' by Greenred Productions on YouTube)
The misty figures were silent, and almost seemed to blend into the background. On the contrary, their weapons were solid, and gleamed menacingly in the red, glowing light.
The Slayer stepped in front of Charlie, his Doomblade unsheathing from its holster. The figures seemed to recoil at the threatening gesture, and for a moment Charlie could catch a glimpse of their faces in the moonlight.
They had human features: eyes, mouths, ears, noses; Furthermore, not one of them was physically unpleasant or what could be considered 'ugly' by any standard. Overbites, crooked noses, acne- all of the physical flaws making up many human beings were not on any one of their faces. The only startling thing about them was how short they were, all of them seeming to be five foot or shorter.
The only ethereal feature of theirs was the slight translucence of their bodies, how Charlie could very slightly look through them. Each entity seemed to have varying forms of translucence, with some being almost see-through while others were solid. They were all wearing different types of garments from different eras, from the Roman Age to the modern-day.
"Who are these people?" Charlie whispered to Beliel.
Charlie's eyes widened. These were the remnants of tenants left in this land.
"They seem to be kinda hostile." Charlie said, glancing at Beliel. "Can't you say someth…"
Her words faltered. She saw the expression of horror, of complete guilt on Beliel's face as he stared at the mob of souls, his lower lip trembling.
"I...I didn't know...I didn't know…" He whispered, tears falling from his eyes. "I thought you were all dead…"
One of the souls' eyes glanced from the Slayer to Beliel for just a moment.
Chatter began to build up as the souls began to see the angel standing behind the Slayer, one they seemed to recognize.
"Beliel? Is that you?!"
"We are saved! Oh, Lord, I knew you didn't abandon us!"
"Beliel, please! Deliver us from these demons!"
The souls seemed to completely ignore the Slayer as they flocked to Beliel, hugging and reaching out to him, falling to his feet and sobbing.
"Wha…" Beliel muttered in shock, as dozens of voices cried out to him.
"Beliel! What has happened to the Garden of Eden?! Why has God forsaken us?!"
"I can no longer prance about in joy! My body has taken weight like lead, and I feel fatigued everytime I take a step!"
"Why do I feel mortal, Beliel?! Please, spare me from this awful feeling I had shed hundreds of years ago!"
"Where is my daughter, Beliel? I couldn't find her after the invasion, surely she is still somewhere in the Garden?"
"I-...I…" Beliel choked, unable to speak at the sorrowful sight before him. Charlie was concerned by his expression.
"What happened to the 'I left the souls to die because they looked down on me' thing?" She muttered.
"He was lying."
Charlie's eyes widened, turning her gaze to VEGA, then turned away and blushed. She kept forgetting that VEGA's voice was emitting from the Slayer's chestplate.
"What...do you mean by that?"
"I could see it in his behavior. He was highly drunk, but he could hardly look at us half the time he was speaking."
"But why would he lie to us?" Charlie asked, looking back at at Beliel, who was tearing up as the souls gathered around him.
"I do not know that, but based on a formulated assumption, and considering that the outside of the room at the time had subtle scratch and scuff marks angled AWAY from the door instead of towards it, as one might expect of people trying to get INTO the room; it would seem that someone was trying to protect Beliel. There were no marks on the door, oddly, as one might expect from people scratching, kicking or beating at it to get in. I assume it was the souls that brought him to the room, locked him in there, then either prevented the demons from getting in there or led them away."
"But...by his story, that would make no sense. He seemed so real about it."
"If you would like to pitch your own thoughts, I'd like to hear them."
Charlie didn't appreciate his sarcasm.
"But my idea," VEGA continued. "Is that when you take into account human behavioral patterns, someone who has spent thousands of years around people would very likely be able to hone their acting and mimicking in those departments. He was very likely putting on an act, a very good one."
"Slayer," VEGA suddenly spoke once more. "I am detecting a large demonic presence from...my internal compass is not working properly. I will ping in your helmet the direction of the incoming presence."
The Slayer turned his head to the right. A large alleyway exposed a few silhouettes in the distance, shambling towards him and the others.
(Queue 'Kill Everyone' by Mick Gordon)
"Oh, God…" One of the souls muttered in terror, noticing the approaching silhouettes. "We have to get away from here!"
Charlie looked to that soul with furrowed eyebrows.
The soul turned her head towards her, fear shown harshly throughout her trembling body.
"They...they're souls that attack other souls. It's like a disease that spreads around and infects us, turns us into mindless, walking zombies..."
"Must be Possessed." VEGA asserted. "They should not be a particularly challenging enemy, Slayer."
The Slayer was already making his way over to the first one he saw. A four foot, shambling, groaning, dilapidated-looking human.
| I WILL FREE THEIR SOULS FROM THEIR ENTRAPPED BODIES. |
"Why do I hear heavy metal playing?" One of the souls by Charlie muttered. She sighed.
"There's no point in questioning it." Charlie replied wearily.
The Possessed soul's head craned up slowly to see the Slayer-
The souls around Charlie and Beliel cried out in horror as the Slayer's fist punched straight through the Possessed's face and out the back of his head, before being retracted from the giant hole. The body collapsed to the ground, and the Slayer looked up to see more of those Possessed shambling towards him.
He put his fists together, cracking one knuckle at a time, and made his way over to them. He had a lot of soul-freeing to do.
"So," Charlie started. "Where do all the tall people in Heaven go? Hehehe…"
She noticed no one paying attention to her as they watched in horror while the Slayer was brutally crushing the horde of Possessed with his fists and legs.
"Oh, yeah, I guess this is kind of not normal to you guys…"
By the end of it, the once-immaculate streets were now coated with blood, gore and corpses. The Slayer was using a ripped-off shirt to clean his gauntlets as he walked back to the group.
"That was...horrific." One soul commented. Beliel had been throwing up profusely on the side of a building for the last few minutes, much to Charlie's disappointment.
"Come on, it wasn't that bad…" She mumbled.
"I wasn't aware that Possessed souls could bleed." VEGA noted. "Very interesting."
The Slayer came up to the group.
"Now that that problem was taken care of," VEGA began, speaking to the crowd of souls. "We would like to know if you all have a form of domicile."
"A...A what?" One soul asked.
"A shelter, a place you all use to stay safe."
"Oh…" Another began. "Yes...we do. We'll...we'll take you there...if that's what you want…"
It was not lost on Charlie that these souls were now more visibly terrified of the Slayer than they already were before, especially after the display they just saw. While she didn't want to intimidate them for information, she felt that it was important for their safety if they got to the bottom of this whole thing.
And so they were on their way, with the Slayer occasionally decking a stray Possessed soul that happened to wander in his path. Even in this grim atmosphere, Charlie admired the beautiful architecture around her.
Rows of apartment buildings, lined neatly with plenty of balconies overlooking the streets. Marble columns, steep roofs, long and wide streetways. Lamplights evenly lining the sidewalks, though the lights were not on.
Finally, they came to a stop at a small alleyway, which they turned into. One soul then went up to a square piece of wood sitting against the side of an alleyway. He pushed aside the wooden board to reveal a small hole, which he gestured to while looking at the Slayer.
"Erm...we need to get through here but...it's kind of small though, I'm not sure how-"
The soul yelped in fright as the Slayer kicked a bigger hole in the wall, sending bricks flying inward. He walked through the broken frame into the tunnel, and was followed by Charlie and Beliel, then the souls last.
The tunnel carried on for a few seconds, turning various corners and receding down a set of stairs, which went underground.
Once they reached the bottom of the stairs, a single door was immediately to the side, and the soul walked up to it nervously, looking back at the Slayer.
"Erm...I wanted to ask if I could open this door? Instead of...kicking it?"
The Slayer nodded, and the soul knocked on the door in a rhythmic pattern. After a few seconds, it opened up to another soul.
"Hey Ed, what's-"
He almost instantly noticed the hulking Slayer's figure standing a few feet away, and immediately slammed the door closed.
"Wait, Frank, it's not what you think!"
"Nice flippin' try Ed, but I'm not gonna die because you wanna go out and lead the flippin' demons back here!"
"No, they're not demons! I swear!"
"That's what a demon-loyal soul would say-"
| I DON'T HAVE TIME FOR THIS. |
The Slayer suddenly stormed towards the door, grabbed the round doorknob, and crushed it, breaking the lock. The person on the other side shrieked in fright as the Slayer pushed the door open.
The first thing he saw coming in was a large common area, where several souls were huddled under blankets and on small furniture. They all screamed in fright as they saw a 6 foot green menace walk through the door, leering back in terror.
The Slayer looked down at the soul that was at the door, who was scrambling back, eyes wide and mouth agape.
"N-No, please-please don't kill me! Please!"
The Slayer ignored him, looking around the room some more. There were several doors, all leading to different areas of this underground complex. The place was clean, though it was most definitely not decorated in any way, it was more like a bomb shelter.
A few seconds later, one of the left doors opened, and a person ran out, wearing the garments of a stereotypical 1950s investigator, with a black fedora, blue and white-striped shirt with a black and suspenders, which were clipped to black high rise pants and black shoes. A gun holster was strapped to his shoulder, which he immediately unclipped and brandished a revolver, pointing it at the Slayer. Other doors began to open as more investigator-like people came out to see the situation.
"Stop right there! You make any moves and I'll shoot!" The one with the revolver shouted.
The Slayer glanced at him for a moment, then grunted.
Suddenly, the investigator noticed the gun was no longer in his hands, looking up to see the Slayer inspecting it.
"What the- how…"
"Hold on!" Charlie suddenly said, coming in. "We're not going to hurt anyone here!"
The investigator narrowed his eyes.
"Well then why the heck did you bust in through the door like that?!"
"Let's all calm down." VEGA voiced. "And we will explain our situation to you."
After a few more moments of calming the atmosphere, VEGA, the Slayer, and Charlie managed to start holding an actual conversation with the investigator-looking individual. He motioned for the other investigators to go back to their rooms, now that he had confirmed there wasn't a threat.
"This sounds like a really weird fan fiction." The investigator muttered, upon hearing the different backgrounds from the Slayer, Charlie and VEGA, and how they came to meet. "And if you're not from the same Hell as those demons that attacked," He said, pointing at Charlie. "Then I don't have problems with you. But I'd highly recommend you don't tell anyone else in this place about that."
Charlie nodded, not wanting to tell him she had already learned that the hard way.
The other souls were still on edge until they saw Beliel, who had been previously hiding by the door frame. They flocked around him, almost completely ignoring the Slayer's presence now.
"Beliel, I can't believe that's you! Of all the angels, you're alive!"
"What happened to the other souls that went with you during the attack?"
Beliel was visibly shaking, his eyes sunken into his head. He had lost his previously-upright demeanor, instead slumped over and weary.
"So you all came down here during the invasion on this land?" VEGA asked the investigator.
"Uh...yeah. A lot went down before you guys came here, and it was very recent."
He put one hand on his side.
"The name's Red, by the way. Detective Red."
"Detective?" VEGA noticed. "I was not aware this land gave authority roles to souls, from what I heard."
Red's face expressed distaste, as if he were revisiting a bad memory.
"Yeah...well, that's true in most areas. My original job was to keep an eye on souls, in case they tried something against the angels. I told the paranoid pigs that they couldn't even have the ability to fight, but they still forced me into the role, along with a lot of other souls they picked out."
A slight grin pulled at his face. For a moment, Charlie noticed his eyes glancing over towards Beliel occasionally, as if keeping an eye on him.
"At least those pigs got what they deserved. Pretty much all of them, save for Beliel over there, got killed during the invasion, saw most of 'em die on the battlefield myself. The bottom ranks got destroyed, then the higher ranks, and finally the vassals got picked off."
He waved one hand around the room.
"I got some authoritative power when I got this job, and I was always paranoid of an invasion on Heaven, so I had this little bunker built just incase that invasion happened. I brought down as many souls as I could off the streets, and I used that revolver- wait, gimme back my revolver!"
Charlie was shocked to see Red demand something from the Slayer like that. He had to be fearless to act such a way towards the Slayer.
The Slayer handed it over, and Red took it from his gauntlet, shoving it back into his holster.
"By the way, I don't mean to interrupt your story," VEGA said. "But I was wondering how you are able to have a firearm and harm people. Aren't souls unable to cause harm?"
"Like I said, my job gave me some authoritative powers. I actually requested the gun, said it was in case any souls somehow managed to attack me, and I got it. I was surprised, because those angels were so paranoid of anyone else having power, but I guess when you work with them for 50 years as an informant, they have to trust a little bit."
Charlie wasn't sure why he was speaking at a lowered volume, but it didn't particularly bother her.
"Another question." VEGA said. Red sighed.
"I'm supposed to be the question-asker here…"
"We found notes in many buildings around the land, stuffed in hiding places. We were wondering if you had any idea where they came from or who wrote them."
Red's eyebrows furrowed.
"You guys found more of those, huh? Here, I'll show you all something."
He opened the door he had previously emerged from, and waved to the group to come in. The Slayer wasted no time, heading through the door, having to lower his head a bit to get through the frame. Before Charlie headed down, she noticed Beliel heading into a separate room.
"Hey, Beliel!" She shouted to him. He looked back, and Charlie was concerned to see an ambrosia bottle in his hand, with souls weeping a few feet away from him. Charlie had no idea how he got an ambrosia bottle in the first place, as he had left all of what remained of it somewhere along the road a while ago.
"Hey...you guys...go ahead and...do your thing."
As he headed into the room and closed the door, Charlie felt as if her heart was going to crack. Everything about him had changed when they met the souls. The charisma, the chattiness, the hop in his step- All of it had seemingly drained from him when he was flocked to by the souls. He was constantly out of it, hardly paying attention to anything. And the fact that every soul she met instantly recognized and went to him with glee made his initial story about locking them out even less convincing.
She assumed it was a coping mechanism. To point out all the flaws in the souls, to denigrate them like how he did; She felt it was a way to steer from having to confront the reality that they died to protect him, if that was what happened. She felt a very similar way when the demons had come to attack Hell, and she saw her subjects and friends getting slaughtered.
Whatever the case was, she wouldn't prod him about it right now. She began heading down the stairs, idly noticing one of the other investigator souls was knocking on Beliel's door before she receded down the steps.
Another set of stairs heading downwards, and they were suddenly in a concrete room, with a single light hanging over a large table. Piles of notes were stacked on the table in organized sections.
"Right before the invasion, I found a couple of these notes lying out in the open in a lone building a bit aways from this city." Red explained, as he made his way around the table. "Once I read through them, I started to realize something was about to happen. But I was too late to ring the alarm. I went around shouting at souls to start getting down to the bunker, but by that time the invasion had begun."
He handed a few notes to Charlie and the Slayer, who read over them to see what they were saying. It was more written planning.
"After the invasion, when they finally left the place in ruins, I would occasionally go out and search for any remaining lost souls and bring them back, and also look for more notes, so I could figure out who attacked us and how we could possibly fix everything."
"Wait," Charlie interrupted. She was reading one particular note. "So this place does have a weakening atmosphere or whatever?"
"A what?" Red asked. "Oh. I think I know what you mean. Yeah, we call it the Holy Mist. It's not actually mist, just the very air itself is meant to target uninvited guests, makes them weak and nauseous and all that. Funnily enough, it doesn't last too long once you've been here for a while, even if you were initially uninvited. Dunno why."
"Oh. I see. Also, I wanted to ask: If you're a soul, why aren't you, like, half see-through, like the other souls? I noticed all of you investigator guys are not see-through at all."
"Ah, well that's because the job they give investigators has to also show other souls that we have a form of authority. So when we accepted the positions, they made us solid so we would immediately stand out to souls as authority."
They combed through a few more notes, but it was mostly planning and such. However, Charlie found one more note that revealed something new.
"Wait, this one's implying that they were camouflaged as angels here." Charlie said, pointing to the note in her hand. "How did they manage to do that?"
"Lemme read that." Red said, taking the note from her hand and reading it over. "Yeah...that...that was horrifying to first read. I mean, it's not like it matters now, since they left. But I have no idea how they would have even pulled that off."
"Why didn't they camouflage as souls? Wouldn't that have been less risky?"
"I really have no idea about that-"
"It's like because," VEGA said. "It's not possible to camouflage as a translucent being. The property that allows for these people to be half see-through is, to my guess, one of the many properties in this land that only this land can replicate."
"Oh...wow." Red said, rubbing the side of his neck. "I mean...that sounds correct, I guess. You're kind of observant, huh, Mr. Slayer?"
"It's not the Slayer speaking, it's his AI assistant. My name is VEGA."
"Oh...I didn't know that. Cool."
Charlie noticed a small note half-tucked into a drawer behind her, and opened it up to see what it was.
(Queue 'UAC Report File: Shto36u3' by Mick Gordon)
"Oh," Red interrupted, his irises dilating. "That's not a note, just some random thing I-"
"The Slayer might be able to read it." VEGA interrupted. "These are the runes the demons painted on Mars."
"Now hold on, that's not a note, so I'd prefer if you didn't-"
The Slayer took the note from Charlie and looked over it.
"Hey, that's not yours to read!" Red shouted, circling around the table quickly.
The Slayer stared at the note, connecting dots in his mind as he thought about what he had heard from Red earlier in a conversation.
...almost all the angels got killed on the battlefield...
Charlie was unsettled to see the Slayer's face behind the visor. His eyes were alarmingly wide, as if he realized something shocking. The note fell from his hands, time seemed to be moving slowly.
...first the bottom ranks got destroyed…
"Slayer, I think you need to go see Beliel, I think he's sick or something!" Red pleaded.
...then the higher ranks…
"Slayer, I noticed your adrenaline levels have spiked immensely. Is there something wrong?" VEGA inquired.
...then the vassals-
"Slayer," Charlie prodded. "What happened?"
And without even a warning, the Slayer unholstered his handgun, aimed it at a wide-eyed Red, and pulled the trigger.
Testament VI: In Undeserved Benevolence
(Queue 'Mick Gordon - Metal Hell (DOOM Eternal - Extended Gamerip))
Charlie screamed in horror as the Slayer blasted Red in the face.
"SLAYER, WHAT THE FUCK!?" She shouted in horror, her ears ringing as the sound bounced around in the small room. "WHAT THE…"
She watched, in confusion and shock, as Red turned back towards the Slayer, half of his face blasted off, his one eye having turned into a goat's eye, his teeth now fangs. His one eye turned towards Charlie, with absolute hate and derision boiling in it.
"YOU DUMB BITCH, YOU FUCKED IT ALL UP!" He hissed, pulling his revolver and pointing it at a frozen Charlie.
Just as he pulled the trigger, the Slayer pushed Charlie aside and took the bullet to the exposed part of his arm. He grunted in pain, then grabbed the revolver, ripping it out of Red's hand and cracking him across the face, sending blood splattering across the wall and table. Red fell to the ground, blood spewing from his face. He cackled crazily as the Slayer loomed over him.
"YOU FUCKS WON'T LEAVE THIS PLACE ALIVE! HAHAHAHA-"
The Slayer stomped his boot through Red's head, exploding it and sending brain matter and skull fragments in every direction.
"Wha- What the-" Charlie stuttered, horrified by what had just happened. "What the fuck was that?!"
The Slayer wasted no time grabbing Charlie by the waist, hearing commotion upstairs. He sprinted up the stairs, and right as he opened the door, one of the investigators had their revolver pointed at him, his goat eyes wide open, his mouth in a crazed grin, revealing several fangs.
The Slayer just barely managed to bring one arm up for the bullet to deflect off of it, though he still took bruising from the force behind the shot. He darted forward and slapped the gun out of the demon's hand, then punched him straight through the throat. The demon gurgled and choked as he fell to the ground, blood spewing from the hole in his throat.
The Slayer felt his rage building up. Red was lying about the atmosphere, it only stopped affecting him when he wasn't actively moving or fighting. He could feel the air weakening him, making him more vulnerable, sapping at his strength every second now.
He didn't have time to fight all of these monsters. There was a bigger issue at hand.
He rocketed past the door and over to Beliel's room, kicking it off its hinges with one boot.
"GET OFF ME! AAAAH!"
One of the investigators revealed herself to be a snake, with cobra flaps unfolding from her head, a snake tail unfurled from her tailbone and baring poisonous fangs at Beliel as she wrestled with the gun in her hand.
"DIE LIKE THE REST OF THE ANGELS, PIGEON BOY!" The snake cackled, aiming the revolver slowly towards Beliel's head.
The snake lady screamed in agony as the Slayer had grabbed the back of her head, crushing her skull inwards, then throwing her against the nearby wall and pulling his handgun, blasting her several times to dust.
Beliel looked up with wide, fearful eyes at the Slayer, his face bruised and battered.
"Wh-What the fuck is going on?! Wait, did I just cuss?!"
The Slayer grabbed the revolver from the snake lady's hands and tossed it to Beliel, who looked at it in confusion.
"Wh-Why are you giving me this-"
He looked up to see the Slayer on his way out the door, which raised Beliel's panic.
"Wait, HOLD ON! DON'T LEAVE ME HERE, WHAT THE-"
The Slayer literally ran over one of the investigator demons on his way to the front door, noticing several other investigators behind him, all of their revolvers pointed at him, as souls ran around screaming in terror while the chaos ensued.
"KILL THE SLAYER!" One of the demons hissed.
BANG! BANG! BANG!
BANG! BANG! BANG!
The Slayer just barely got out the front door, shrugging off most of the bullets as his armor deflected them, though they continually bruised his skin. He kicked the door open, rocketing up the set of stairs.
He could hear the screams and shouts of the demons back in the shelter, rallying other demons to get on the manhunt. As much as he wished to turn around and paint the place red, he had to ensure that Charlie stayed safe, and there was a much bigger problem at hand.
He made his way through the tunnel and back through the hole in the wall, only to be confronted by several more investigator-looking demons, all of them readying their firearms.
"YOU'RE NOT LEAVING HERE ALIVE, SLAYER!"
"Slayer," VEGA spoke in his ear. "I can administer a shot of Berserker energy into you right now-"
| NO. |
"Slayer, you are severely disadvantaged, both with the atmosphere and the enemies-"
| I WILL NOT ENDANGER CHARLOTTE. |
"NOT GOING TO FIGHT BACK?" One of the demons taunted. "WHAT A COWARD!"
The Slayer cracked his neck, then used one hand and slammed it into the brick building behind him. The impact sent shockwaves through the ground underneath him and the building itself, which immediately began caving in towards him and the investigators as its support had been smashed.
The demons turned their attention to the falling building above the Slayer with wide eyes.
"OH SHIT, RU-"
He barely got the sentence out when the Slayer dashed past him, clotheslining him with his free arm while he carried Charlie with the other. The demon flipped several times in the air from the force of it, while the other demons split up in running away from the falling building, others shooting at the Slayer as he dashed away from the site.
"DON'T LET HIM GET AWAY, YOU FUCKING IDIOTS!" A demon rasped. "HE'S-"
The demon was lost under the wreckage of the building as it crashed against the streetside, billowing smoke and ash in every direction.
Meanwhile, the Slayer was sprinting back down the road, though at a much slower speed, feeling physically weakened by the atmosphere the longer he continued moving and fighting.
Charlie was nearly unable to comprehend all of the action that had just occurred, all within the span of seconds. She swore she had been in that concrete bunker only seconds ago. She looked up at the Slayer as he continued sprinting, with renewed awe.
"I-I could barely understand what just happened." She muttered.
"Get used to it." VEGA replied.
As they made their way down the extended road at a breakneck pace, the Slayer trampled and slapped away stray Possessed souls that were fortunate enough to get in his way.
The sprint continued for a dozen minutes or so, though already the Slayer was feeling heavily fatigued. And it wasn't just his physical strength, but his mental strength as well. Every thought he formed, every plan, every mere observation dampened his ability to think. If it wasn't for this atmosphere, he had no doubt he would have caught the pathetic trap they tried to set for him. It made him beyond furious that he had almost been outsmarted by some fucking demons.
And yet, his persistence outweighed his physical capacities, and he stormed on, intent on his goal.
"Slayer!" Charlie shouted, trying to speak over the winds that one experienced going over 30 miles an hour. "Why are we running away?! And what the hell happened back there?! And where's Beliel?!"
"Charlotte," VEGA responded. "Please, if you would not mind distracting the Slayer, he is currently experiencing heavy fatigue from the atmospheric weakening."
"But this is frustrating!" Charlie complained. "I never get to know what's going on until it happens! Update me more on what's going on! Please!"
"I myself do not know what the Slayer's intention is. I am sure he has figured something out, but unfortunately I am finding it difficult to compute logic currently. Something is disrupting my artificial cognitive abilities, and I find it quite...frustrating."
Looking up, Charlie noticed they were heading towards a large, walled-off city. It took her a few moments, as her mind was clouded, but she eventually recognized it.
"That's the first city we found, Catherine is there!" Charlie shouted. "Why are we going there now?!"
Something had passed by Charlie's vision, but before she could comprehend it, the Slayer hopped into the air, spinning around and delivering a hard side kick at it.
There was the sickening sound of bones breaking as the Slayer's leg connected with it, then the entity flew several feet away. Charlie saw it to be an Exterminator, its upper body completely gone from the Slayer's kick.
"Oh shit, the Exterminators found us again!" Charlie panicked. After seeing the Slayer, of all people, struggle with these flying bastards, she felt far less safe.
"To the left, Slayer." VEGA warned.
The Slayer unholstered his handgun and blasted the incoming Exterminator without even looking at it. It crashed into the road behind him, a hole in its head.
The Exterminators began to grow in volume the closer they got to the city, and eventually the Slayer had to begin dodging their harpoon attacks. This only added to the fatigue he was already feeling, but with a shout of defiance he managed to get his adrenaline pumping even harder.
Finally, he got to the gates of the city, which were closed this time.
"Slayer, there's a pattern of holes in the gate you can climb, I would suggest-"
The Slayer launched off the streetside, leaving an indent in the ground, and rocketed towards the gate. He cocked back one fist as he flew through the air rapidly towards the gate.
| RRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! |
His fist slammed into the gate, sending the upper half of the gate curling backwards, creaking loudly as it was busted off the hinges. The Slayer climbed through the hole and hopped back onto the ground. He rolled onto the ground, covering Charlie's head, and got back up running.
It was at this point that the Slayer began having the occasional stumble, his energy depleted from him almost entirely. The atmosphere was sapping at everything he had, and it was starting to take its toll.
He was almost there, at the gates of the palace. He noticed a guard patrol coming his way, and once they sighted him, they began shouting in alarm.
"LOWER SPEARS!" One of the guards, presumably the leader, commanded. The line eventually formed a spear wall, aiming the tips at the Slayer.
And then they watched in disbelief as the Slayer hopped over their little formation, rolling on the ground and running once more towards the palace.
"WHAT ARE YOU ALL DOING?! STOP HIM!"
They began sprinting towards him, spears leveled, though they had no chance of outpacing him, soon fading into the distance as the Slayer outran them almost pitifully.
Another pair of gates guarding the palace. This time, the Slayer lowered one shoulder, readying himself to ram through the gate.
The gate caved inwards as he rammed into it, but did not completely give away. In absolute fury, the Slayer beat viciously at the door, caving it in until it gave way. He wasted not a second running through the opening and up the steps, where more guards waited and Exterminators circled around the area, swooping in towards him.
"STOP RIGHT THERE!" One the guards shouted. The Slayer grabbed his spear and broke it in half, much to his horror, while the other guard charged at him.
The Slayer noticed the spear was aimed directly at Charlie, and he wouldn't have enough time to use his other arm to grab the spear.
In a half-second decision, the Slayer ripped off his helmet with his one arm, and the guard was shocked to see the Slayer side-step the spear charge, then chomp down on his spear with a grunt of ferocity.
The guard watched in horror as the Slayer broke the spear in half with his teeth, then immediately continued running up the steps, putting his helmet back on as he slammed through the palace doors. These were much less sturdy than the gate doors, and so he simply sent the doors flying off their hinges as he careened through them, almost falling over in exhaustion.
He clenched his teeth and, with sheer determination, ran through the winding hallways, turning corners one after another to VEGA's instruction, and finally arriving at the throne doors. He rammed into them, but when they didn't give away, he grabbed the door iron ring and pulled back with as much force as he could.
He overestimated his own strength in that moment, even with the atmosphere draining his energy, and the huge throne door came completely off its mount, flying past him and crashing through the several rooms behind him.
Immediately, as he entered the throne room, he was confronted by the sight of several shocked guardsmen, the six vassals and Princess Catherine, who was wide-eyed in absolute disbelief.
"Wha-wha-" She stuttered, unable to form a sentence at this sudden turn of events.
The Slayer's eyes locked onto her, and he dropped Charlie to the ground, much to her dismay.
"Oomph!" She vocalized as she suddenly fell to the floor with no warning.
The Slayer dashed towards one of the nearby guardsmen, wrenching the spear out of their hands and shoving them away, then turning towards a horrified Princess. One of the vassals, seemingly realizing what was about to happen, unsheathed his sword and raised it over his head.
"YOU BASTARD!" He shouted in rage. "YOU WON'T GET THE SATISFACTION!"
The Slayer cocked the spear back, calculating the trajectory within a few seconds as several guardsmen rushed him.
"SLAYER, WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!" Charlie shouted, seeing where he was aiming. "DON'T DO IT!"
And in a single motion, he threw the spear with force.
Testament VII: He Slew The Pretenders
Time seemed to move in slow motion, as the spear rocketed seemingly towards the Princess, who could only watch as she saw the end of her life coming straight towards her.
Catherine sat there for a moment, shell-shocked. She looked down to see the spear was not impaled in her. She looked to her side, and screamed in horror.
One of her vassals, Legatiel, was hanging in the air, a spear in his stomach. And yet, she was more horrified to see that his face was not one of agony, but of rage.
"DAMN YOU, SLAYER!" He screeched, his voice taking on a deeper, more demonic tone, his sclera turning red, his irises turning into beady, black eyes. He reached down, grabbing the spear shaft and breaking it off. "JUST WHEN THINGS WERE GETTING GOOD, YOU COME AND FUCK IT ALL UP!"
"Wha...Wha…" Catherine stuttered, utterly shocked at the transformation she saw her long-time friend suddenly go through. The vassal noticed her expression and cackled.
"Stupid bitch! Did you REALLY think we were- UGH!" He pulled out the spear head from his stomach, which bled profusely. "- Your friends? This is why we conquered your 'kingdom' so easily."
He cracked his neck to and fro as he picked up his sword from the floor, walking over towards Catherine menacingly.
"We kidnapped them, beat them to death, so there wouldn't be any gashes in the bodies, then we skinned them so perfectly that when we wrapped them around our bodies, we could hardly tell the difference."
He dragged his sword along the floor, his grin running across his face.
"Your friends are DEAD, have been for a long time!" He cackled. "And you'll join them soon enough!"
"STOP HIM!" One of the guardsmen shouted in desperation.
The guardsmen that had shouted started choking, his eyes wide, blood spurting out of his mouth, one of the vassals' sword impaled through his torso. He looked up to see one of the vassals, Tariel, having shoved her sword through his gut.
(Queue 'Mick Gordon - Metal Hell (DOOM Eternal - Extended Gamerip'))
"T-Tariel…" He choked, tears streaming from his eyes. "W-Why?"
The vassal, who had the same demonic features as the one near Catherine, withdrew the blade from the body and shoved him over, laughing raucously.
"It matters not," The demonic vassal said, a long tongue lashing around her fanged teeth. "Let's kill the Princess bitch, that's all that matters!"
And within the second, chaos and pandemonium broke out in the hall. Guardsmen charged at the vassals, who cut them down one by one, dodging their spears with a demonic grace. Their faces and bodies morphed from the once-soft human skin into rough, gray flesh, their faces taking on the appearances of Demonic Hell Priests.
Charlie was watching the display of gore and betrayal with utter dread.
"Slayer, what do we-"
PROTECT THE PRINCESS. |
Her words were caught in the wind as the Slayer blasted forward, having left behind that one task, unsheathing his Doomblade and launching it at the Demon Tariel. She looked up, her tongue moving around in the air as she cackled.
The vassal's sword met the Doomblade, parrying it. The Slayer followed the path of his Doomblade as it slid off the sword, planting his hand on the ground and launching a backwards ankle kick at the vassal, who narrowly pulled her head back just out of the way of the kick.
"Nice try, Slayer!" She taunted. "But we're not the pathetic Hell Priests you threw around like toys, nor are we led by them any longer! We are Hell Deacons, and you have no idea what's in store-"
Her words got caught in her mouth as the Slayer catapulted off the ground as he planted one foot and swiveled on his ankle, then revolved his entire body around to crack the demon across the jaw with his fist. She groaned loudly as her jaw was half-hanging off her face.
"Cur-'d Hla'yer!" She gurgled, thrusting her sword at him wildly. He easily evaded the strike, grabbing the blade's flat part and bringing down his other hand on it, breaking it in half. He grabbed the vassal's skull with one hand and shoved the broken blade down her throat with the other, then slammed his palm against it, sending it through her skull.
She fell to her knees, then to the ground, blood leaking from her face, but by then the Slayer had already moved on to the next vassal, who was parrying several spear attacks from different guards. Meanwhile, Charlie ran through the throne room and up towards the throne, where Catherine was narrowly dodging sword swipes by the demonic vassal. Some of the swipes left long cuts and gashes down the crying princess' arms, legs, torso and face, and she was bleeding across the floor as she scrambled away from the vassal.
"Legatiel!" She sobbed, fearful and in complete despair. "Why are you doing this?! Please, stop! Please! I don't want to hurt you! Stop trying to kill me!"
"You won't have to worry about hurting me, Cathy!" The demon said with faked compassion. "You wouldn't be able to do it in the first place! Now stay still and let me run this sword through you!"
Charlie felt her blood boil as she heard this exchange. She hadn't a clue what was going on, but she assumed these weren't the actual vassals, but demons that had pretended to act as vassals. She couldn't imagine the horror of one of her long-time companions and friends suddenly turning into cackling demons trying to kill her.
Whatever the case, she intended to put an end to this.
"I said STAY STILL!" The demon hissed, swinging the sword at Catherine, who continued getting cut up by the sword swipes. "Just fucking die so we can leave this shithole alread-"
A bolt of fire suddenly shot at him and set him ablaze, and he began screaming in pain as the flames engulfed his skin, boiling his flesh and blood. He dropped the blade and began rolling on the floor, desperate to put the flames out. Charlie ran up to Catherine, leading her away from the demon.
"Just come with me!" She said to Catherine. "We need to get away from-"
She was shocked when Catherine suddenly pushed her away, fright in her eyes.
"Oh, God, why are you here?! Is this your doing?! Did you turn my friends into demons, you witch?!"
"What?! No, I'm here to help you!"
Despite her pleas, Catherine stumbled away, trying to run out of the throne room, bleeding all over the once-immaculate floors and sobbing constantly. Charlie felt her heart break at the sight, as if it were a morbid scene out of a horror movie.
The Slayer finally managed to land a punch into the combatant vassal's ribcage, which led to several ribs breaking. The vassal coughed up blood on the floor, cackling.
"It'll take more than that to-"
CRACK! CRACK! CRACK-CRACK-CRACK!
The Slayer launched a flurry of blows into the vassal's face and body, breaking bones and shattering his skull. The vassal crumpled to the floor, and the Slayer checked his surroundings quickly.
There were only four more vassals left, and two of them were honing in on Charlie, who was focused on helping Catherine. He was about to launch over there when he felt a hand suddenly grab his ankle, looking back down to see the grinning demonic vassal looking back at him.
"WHERE DO YOU THINK YOU'RE GOING-"
The Slayer brought up his other boot and slammed it through the vassal's head, crushing it, before turning around and launching off at the two vassals.
"Catherine, please! You need to stay by me, or-"
"NO! Stay back, you fiend! God, please strike down this witch, where have you gone in my hour of need?!"
Charlie suddenly felt chills run down her spine as she was trying to escort Catherine away from the battle, and without planning to, she jerked her head to the side. The edge of a blade just barely whiffed her cheek, leaving a long gash, and Charlie fell on her bottom.
Looming over her was one of the other vassals, the one in black armor, blood splattered across his face, which wore a crazed expression.
"Nice dodge!" He hissed. "But I think your death would have been much less painful if you had just stayed still!"
No sooner had he finished the sentence when the Slayer tackled him from the side, bringing him to the ground. The two began to wrestle, trading punches and kicks, while the other vassal charged at Charlie, the priestess, her elegant dress now tattered and covered in blood. She raised the her staff towards Charlie, the orb beginning to glow red.
"PERISH AND COME SEE OUR HELL, PRINCESS!"
Several beams of Argent energy shot from the orb at Charlie, who rolled to the side several times as each beam blasted the floor next to her. She got up on her feet, only to get bonked over the head by the staff.
She stumbled backwards, feeling for her head and bringing her hand back into vision to find it caked in blood. Her fears shot up as she realized it was her own blood, which was beginning to seep from the gash in her head. The priestess cackled once more, throwing her head back for dramatic effect.
"YOU ARE SO FUCKING WEAK!" She taunted. "WHY NOT JUST LAY DOWN AND DIE?"
Charlie's hand balled into a fist, her mind clouding with anger. She was beginning to lose control of her temper. Her anger was apparent to the Priestess, who continued to taunt her.
"I HEARD ABOUT YOUR HELL, WHERE YOU COME FROM, PRINCESS!" She spewed the word Princess with vitriol, as if it were an insult. "AND WE DID OUR RESEARCH INTO YOUR HOME! NO ONE THERE RESPECTS YOU! NO ONE CARES FOR YOU, AND YOUR FAMILY IS SO PATHETIC THAT YOUR FATHER RAN AWAY SCREAMING UPON SEEING THE SLAYER!"
Charlie felt her anger boil over at the last sentence.
"SHUT THE FUCK UP!" She roared, her demonic wings materializing and unfurling, her horns jutting out from her hair, her eyes turning red as her teeth grew into fangs. "I'LL TEAR YOUR FLESH FROM YOUR BONES!"
She rocketed towards the Priestess, claws extended, just as the priestess aimed her staff at Charlie once more, powering up the Orb.
"STUPID BITCH!" She cackled, firing off the beams. "NEVER LET EMOTIONS GET TO-"
She was caught off guard when Charlie suddenly ducked under the beams, out of sight for only a second.
The Priestess felt a hard impact into her torso. She looked down to see Charlie's claws pushed through her ribcage, blood gushing from the wound.
She screamed in pain as Charlie ripped her claws out of the Priestess' torso, her guts spilling all over the floor. She fell to her knees, in shock, while Charlie continued clawing out her organs with mindless fervor.
Meanwhile, Catherine had backed up against a nearby column, watching the pandemonium with abject horror, and namely Charlie's short fight. She was horrified as she watched Charlie tear away at the flesh of her priestess friend, Annisel, whom she had known over thousands of years.
"Devils…" She muttered with a shaky lower lip, tears sprouting from her perforated eyes. "All of you are devils…"
The Slayer finished beating in the head of the vassal he was wrestling with, before turning to see Charlie eviscerating the Priestess. Out of the corner of his eye, he noticed a shadow moving towards Catherine.
He knew he had to move, but by this point he was so fatigued he wasn't sure if he would be able to move another step without falling over.
| CHARLIE, PROTECT CATHERINE. |
Charlie, even in her crazed state, felt the Slayer's words ring in her ears. She looked back and saw that Catherine was once again being attacked, this time by the vassal with red hair, and immediately got up, flying over towards the assailant.
"GODDAMNIT, YOU DUMB BITCH!" The demonic vassal seethed, swinging his sword at Catherine. "JUST FUCKING DIE ALREADY! YOU LITTLE RAT FUCK!"
"GET AWAY FROM HER!"
Charlie launched a bolt of fire at the vassal, who barely managed to step out of the way of the blast. He brought his sword up just in time to block a pair of extended talons, aimed at his neck and stomach. He punched her in the face with his other hand, then kicked her back.
"SO YOU'RE NOT ENTIRELY FUCKING DEFENSELESS, AFTER ALL!" He hissed. "COME, THEN, AND TRY YOUR HAND AGAINST A BATTLE-WEARY DEMON!"
The two clashed over Catherine, who shook violently in the corner, mumbling prayers, while the Slayer used his Doomblade to crawl his way over to the fight, intent on helping Charlie put an end to this whole thing.
"Where do you think YOU'RE going, Slayer?"
A sword ran through his free hand, causing him to grunt in displeasure. He looked up to see a charred face, the vassal that he had tried to impale with the spear at the beginning of this fight. Flesh hung from his skull as half his face was burned off, and even still he grinned.
"HOW PITIFUL YOU LOOK!" He taunted. "I HEARD LEGENDS OF YOU LONG AGO, AND EVEN TODAY YOUR NAME CARRIES ON IN EVEN THE LOWEST PITS OF HELL!"
"THEY MUST HAVE BEEN LEGENDS AFTER ALL, FOR I NEVER THOUGHT I WOULD SEE THE DOOM SLAYER CRAWLING ON THE-"
The Slayer moved his impaled hand up through the shaft of the blade, grabbing the handle, and wrenching it from the vassal's hand, much to the demon's shock. He leg-swiped the demon, then crawled on top of him, pulling the blade out of his hand with a loud yell and slamming it through the demon's neck. The blade went clean through and broke the ground below, leaving the demon gurgling as he choked on his own blood.
The Slayer got up slowly, stumbling several times as he staggered his way towards the fight. Charlie was losing, indicative by the fatigue clear in her movements as the atmosphere wore at her, while the vassal moved around almost effortlessly, continuing to taunt her throughout the fight.
"You shouldn't have picked a fight with any of us, princess!" He hissed. "We spent long enough here that we've grown accustomed to this air, this sapping atmosphere! You're outmatched!"
The last vassal alive, and he was just as talkative as every other one in this whole fight. A pathetic reason to make his blood boil, and yet it did so. He felt a small surge of energy run through his body, and it was just enough to allow him to put all of his momentum into a charge, which he aimed at the vassal. His speed grew exponentially, almost as if he were propelling himself every second.
"PRINCESS, YOU ARE MORE OF A DISAPPOINTMENT THAN I EXPECTED!" The vassal cackled, slicing at her skin, as if toying with her. "I'VE SEEN THROUGH EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOUR ATTACKS, YOU'RE SIMPLY TOO-"
The Slayer slammed into the vassal, causing him to yelp in shock, as they both crashed into the wall, sending debris and clouds of ash throughout the room. Charlie, who was completely out of energy, couldn't even manage a shout of worry for the Slayer as she collapsed to the floor.
Finally, the hall was silent with the aftermath of a bloody battle. After a few seconds, the Slayer summoned the last bit of his energy to pull himself out of the indentation he had made in the wall, leaving behind the gore and blood splotch that remained of the last vassal.
Catherine shook on the floor, sobbing silently, curled up in the fetal position, bleeding from the many cuts and gashes on her body.
Charlie, who could hardly summon the energy to move her head, noticed the Slayer limping towards her.
"S...layer…" She croaked. He fell to his knees in front of her, checking her over for wounds.
She had been stabbed a few times in non-vital areas. The shoulder, the side, the legs and arms. They were almost indistinguishable, however, as the litany of cuts, bruises and gashes plaguing her body made her out to look like a mutilated corpse.
"Her vital signs are not looking healthy." VEGA said, after a short analysis of her surface health. "She is not showing any signs of healing or regeneration, an ability she had shown previously. I suggest we try and bandage what wounds we can and find medical supplies somewhere around here."
The Slayer huffed heavily. He was drained, there was no other way to put it. He hadn't felt like this for so long, it was almost alien when he first began experiencing it here.
Nonetheless, he had to find medical supplies. He looked over at Catherine, who was still on the ground, sobbing quietly. He inched his way over and slapped the floor in front of her to gain her attention. She lifted two shaky, fearful eyes up to see him.
"Princess Catherine," VEGA said. "I am deeply sorry we have to disturb you after what you've endured, but we were wondering if you had any medical supplies in this palace that we could ascertain."
The Princess was quiet, almost seeming confused by the bizarre request, especially right after the bloodbath that had gone down.
"I...I don't know what you mean by 'medical supplies'." She croaked between sobs.
"Bandages, first aid, all of that."
"I...don't know what that is."
"Oh, dear." VEGA said with concern. "I suppose they've never had any injuries in this 'Land of Heaven'."
The Slayer grabbed Catherine's dress collar, much to her terror, and pulled her close, enough to where she could see the rage hiding behind the orange-tinted visor he wore.
| I NEED TO HEAL HER. |
His voice rang throughout the hall with a menacing tone, and scared the life out of Catherine.
"W-Who?" Catherine stuttered, her voice at a higher pitch. The Slayer pointed at Charlie, who was sprawled across the floor.
| GIVE ME AMBROSIA. |
"Th-There's some in the storage room, n-next to the th-throne room."
The remaining throne door opened a little, and the Slayer released Catherine, unholstering his handgun and pointing it at the door. He was surprised to see Beliel peeking into the throne room, a look of horror on his face.
"Wha-What the...What the fuck happened here?!"
His eyes looked around the room, until he noticed the three warm bodies to the side. His eyes lit up.
"Slayer, Catherine, is that you two?!"
He ran over, honing in on Catherine first, upon seeing the many wounds across her body.
"My God, Catherine, what happened to you?! And what happened here?!"
His questions were left unanswered as a low, deep rumbling shook the room, startling Catherine and Beliel and alarming the Slayer.
"How many awful events do we have to endure next?" VEGA vocalized with a frustrated tone.
The rumbling continued to grow more intense by the moment. Cracks began to web along the floor, the roof, the columns. The very atmosphere itself felt as if it were starting to break apart.
The whispers of countless souls pervaded the air, and light began to shine through the cracks that manifested around the room.
And by the next moment, the light was so blinding that no one could see anything, the rumbling so loud one wouldn't be able to hear their own thoughts.
And then, the floor gave way.
PROLOGUE: END | STORY: BEGINS