Shadows.

All I could smell is blood. I slash at the shadows blindly. My heart beats so loudly in my ears, but I hold onto the sword I picked up from a corpse tightly.

Lante, stay where you are. I'll keep you safe. I will, even if it costs me my life.

My surroundings are a blurry red. I attack haphazardly, mindlessly, thinking of Lante hiding deep inside the forest. Could he hear the sounds of battle through this distance? He hates loud sounds.

"Die, demon!"

One of the figures that fell stood once again and came my way. I swung the sword through its neck and it never rose again. But more came my way, an endless flow of shadows that fell like flies at my sword. I wondered if this would ever end, and if my sore arms would ever rest.

I would never forgive Kian for this, for throwing Lante and I as sacrificial lambs to an army of hundreds of men. But Lante would forgive me, won't he? I had to protect him. I must not let them get to him.

"AHHHHHHHHHHH!" I hold my head in my hands. My head feels like it's about to split open from the sudden jab of pain.

I wait for more of the shadows to come, but they are for once still.

"Dante! Dante, it's over! It's all over!"

That voice…

I am snapped out of the darkness so abruptly I fall to my knees. I become aware of the bodies around me for the first time, of the earth beneath me stained red.

I search for him with my eyes, until I find him standing at the edge of the forest, shaking.

No, no, no. I told you not to come out.

"Lante," My voice is at a mere whisper. He's safe.

He slowly walks through the battlefield towards me, holding his arms to his chest. My pure Lante—

I throw away my sword and stand. I walk the long distance that separates us.

The moment I reach him, he puts his arms gingerly around me and rests his hand at the back of my head.

"Why did you come out? I told you that I would come for you for sure."

"I've been so worried, Dante. Oh, gods. All alone—you—"

"Don't cry, Lante. I'm alright," I move to brush away the tears on his face when I notice that I stained his clothes too. I lower my hands and pull myself away from him.

"Let's go. The smell is making me nauseous that I could barely think. I feel so incredibly angry right now, Lante."

We walk in silence. Once we're in the forest, I could hardly breathe until I feel his hand holding mine.

"I am not a monster, am I, Lante?" I try to find his face in the newfound darkness, but all I catch is the shape of his face. I feel a terrible fear gripping my heart those seconds I am waiting for his answer.

"Whatever people may say, you are not a monster, Dante. Not to me. Don't fear the darkness that you feel within your heart. I have it too, but you're the one who keeps it away. I'll keep yours away too."

I could feel his smile on my lips, and I could feel the darkness shying away from his light.

Yes, I'll trust in you to bring me back every time, Lante.