For the Previous Chapter, see: The Devil Inside
Alternatively, to view the series'Index, see: Set Out!
Wake up Coyote
Narrowing his eyes, Silas stared at the purple haired man that stood above him with a somewhat proud smirk carved onto his face. His eyesight still blurred, he slowly got up, noticing that his stomach was still wounded from the attack at the arena. Standing on his feet, the red head began to wobble, toppling backwards back onto the table that he had been sleeping on.
Placing a hand on Silas' shoulder, the purple haired man somewhat chuckled before saying "Calm down Silas, you're safe. Well actually you just died and all but you're alive and that's all the matters right?"
His head throbbing, Silas absent mindedly nodded his head before standing up once again but this time aided by his apparent ally. Groaning from the pain he had from the various wounds and bruises sustained during the course of the tournament; he nearly stumbled but the purple haired man picked him up, steadying him with an arm around his waist.
Thanking him for the help, Silas asked "Hey...where's Mithra and Tethe'?"
"Well...Mithra's a blind girl and Tethe' is basically a white tiger"
Raising an eyebrow, the man casually looked behind Silas, somewhere he couldn't see and then said "...you mean those two over there?"
Frowning at the man's statement, Silas managed to crane his neck, sending waves of pain down his entire body. Within the darkness of the room, the bleak scent of copper became apparent. A ray of light from the opened door revealled a bit of the scene behind of him; the unmistakable frail hand of Mithra, lying in a large puddle of blood.
Eyes widening, he turned to the man beside him, to once again see the smirk etched upon the man's face. Fury overtaking him, Silas lashed out with a punch to the purple haired man's stomach, sending him flying into the wall. Without a breath of hesitation, he jumped up and lashed down with his right heel, missing by a mere centimetre. Taking advantage of the missed shot, the man grabbed Silas' leg and easily swung him around, commenting "People these days are so angry...why don't we all just calm DOWN" before tossing him into the opposite wall.
Placing both hands together in a trangle pattern, a small sphere of light formed in the hollow of the purple haired man's hands. The sphere suddenly erupted, generating an immense beam of light straight towards Silas.
The beam easily destroyed the wall, dragging Silas outside with another wound that further aided in damaging his body. The light began to fade and as it did so, the man casually wiped the dust from his shirt and stepped through the rubble to head outside; saying "So much for a recruitment..." as he did so.
Sitting down on the hard sand, Dante irratably sighed as he questioned Seifer's story on who this "N" person actually was.
"So...you're telling me that your boss is actually the cross breed of a unicorn and a dragon?"
Nodding his head, the white haired male confirmed the fact "That's right"
"And that he came from this place in the North East called Crystallis?"
"That's certainly true as well"
Once more sighing, the Phantom King simply said "I call bullshit" before standing up. This conversation had done absolutely nothing to enhance his knowledge about a possible enemy and it was about time he looked for Jinx anyway. As he stood up, so did Seifer, making him suspect that since the conversation was over, it was the time for a fight of sorts. Shifting his stance, Dante got ready to fight before hearing an explosion occur to his left.
Quickly glancing, his instant distraction provided Seifer with an opening, allowing him to blast Dante with a fearsome amount of raw magic. The blast sent Dante reeling back, tossing the take over mage to the other end of the arena.
As the dust cleared, Dante once more glanced to his left, this time seeing a collapsed Silas amongst a pile of rubble. Clicking his tongue in annoyance, he ran to where the Cocytus was, somehow managing to dodge another blast of magic from Seifer in his general direction. Rolling forwards on the sand, the Phantom King picked Silas up before attempting to retreat.
As he turned around, he was confronted by the purple haired man and realized with a crushing dread; he was trapped.
The pair slowly walked towards him but then stopped. Carefully observing him, the purple haired man calmly said "Dante Royard...Seifer leave him, he's a special one"
Sighing, Seifer turned around and began to leave without a word. As he did so, the purple haired man turned around as well. Watching the Phantom King in a corner, Diaros said "...I'll say this now, you're lucky to still be alive. If you weren't a point of interest for Master, you would've been killed hundreds of times over by now you know?" before turning around and leaving as well.
Gritting his teeth at the humiliation, Dante roughly woke Silas up with a flick to the head, asking "Where's Mithra?"
Barely awake, a half conscious Silas managed to point towards the building with a weakened hand before falling asleep. Sighing, Dante quickly walked over to the half destroyed building wondering what the blind girl was doing in there. As he came closer, he began shouting "Hey Mithra! I'm going after those three guys so can you go look after Silas?"
Within the darkness of the room no response emerged. Frowning, Dante walked into the building and instantly discovered the scent of blood. Clicking his tongue in annoyance, he quickly grabbed around in the darkness, eventually finding Tethe' and Mithra before dragging them outside.
The pair of them both had a vicious looking cut, running from their left shoulder all the way down to their hips. Grimacing, he called for Jinx in a dead serious manner. After a few seconds of waiting, the Familiar Spirit came bounding from the distance before taking a fairly large leap, managing to land onto Dante's shoulder. Without another word, Dante dragged them over to where Mirone was laying down on the ground, still injured by Seifer's dramatic display of magical pressure. Dropping Silas, Mithra and Tethe' next to the axe man, the Phantom King suddenly broke into a dash, headed towards the exit of the citadel.
The pair travelled in silence as they crossed the great city, faintly recognizing the unconscious forms of Florence and Serum as they did so. Taking a turn, the Phantom King and his Familiar Spirit silently observed the destruction, the smoke and the death that was present within the citadel. From his shoulder, Jinx could easily sense his rage but kept silent, knowing that talking would be a fairly bad decision. As the pair came closer to the gates, they saw that it had been blasted open, no doubt by the actions of Seifer and his companion.
Running outside, Dante quickly caught the sight of two fallen people, one with a hammer and the other with blonde hair. The two of them were splattered with blood and seeing them only increased his fury. With Dante's current speed, less than ten seconds after leaving the citadel it had already become a small town several meters behind of them. Picking up the tingling feeling in her bones, Jinx silently called out "...Dante" before getting a murmur in response. The Phantom King braked for a second, now in the middle of a large plain with a forest in the distance.
Taking a deep breath, Dante calmly closed his eyes before wrapping himself in magic. As Jinx leapt off of his shoulder, Dante's body began to shine a bright white light before morphing his body into another shape. As the light began to dim, it became apparent that the Phantom King's skin had turned completely into metal, his head had somewhat distorted, the back becoming sharp ends of the same metal and his wardrobe had changed as well, his jacket having been ripped open to reveal his muscular, metallic chest. Taking a second to flex his body and another to breathe in, Dante stared at the sky...before releasing an almighty howl of rage.
At the sound of his fury Jinx slightly cringed, the sound so loud that it almost burst her eardrums. When she opened her eyes once more, she stared around in surprise, seeing that Dante was no longer beside her before realizing that he had already started running, spotting a figure becoming much smaller in the distance by the second. Frowning in both annoyance and anxiety, the Cat began moving at an immense speed, using her worry for Dante as a source of fuel. There would be no way she could catch up to the Phantom King however, that didn't mean that she couldn't help at all...as long as he was still alive by the time she came close.
Jumping from branch to branch, the silence between the three of them somewhat caused a sense of annoyance within Diaros. Clearing his throat, he asked his Master "Master...why did we run? We could've easily destroyed the rest of the citadel within the rest of the hour"
Taking a glance at the Corpse, Seifer answered in the place of his companion "Idiot, we didn't run away, we retreated, there's a difference you know"
Sighing, the purple haired man said "Diaros, you told me that you had fun fighting Dante yes?"
Surprised by his Master's words, the Corpse replied "Well...yes, why do you ask?"
Amused by the fact that as soon as he had begun speaking Diaros' speech had become somewhat formal, "N" said "The word Retreat...you can also break it up into "Re" and "Treat", did you know that?"
Curios, Diaros questioned "Well...I was aware of that Master but is there a purpose for that?"
"Of course there is. My dear apprentice, this is my Treat to you; a REmatch with the Phantom King"
"...the Phantom King? What do you mean? He's still at the citadel isn't he?"
Smirking, Seifer said "Actually..." but didn't bother finishing his sentence for at that moment, the furious howl from Dante's Take Over: Ifrit the Berserker resounded in the air, agitating the birds and causing a visible shudder to come from Diaros.
Giving a wry smile, N simply said "Well...have fun Diaros" before continuing with Seifer, leaving Diaros behind; alone in the forest to fight against an infuriated Dante Royard
In a couple of seconds, the sound of trees becoming torn from their very roots resounded in the air and was stopped for a single second. Raising an eyebrow, Diaros turned his head downwards to see a figure in an open jacket with metallic skin. Their connection of eyesight quickly started the battle, for Dante leapt up at Diaros with a fist raised.
Drawing out his right hand and creating the red glow of light, the 'Corpse drew out a blade from the light, all the while muttering "Oh, lucky me...I get to face a Monster..."
Backing Up the King
His eyes flickering open, Serum slowly got up, groaning in pain as he did so. He hadn't sustained any particular wounds but the muscles in his body ached, to the extent that moving generated a sharp burst of pain that made him flinch. Sitting upwards, he noticed his sister unconscious right beside of him and decided to wake her up. Flicking her forehead, Serum watched as Florence stirred before dragging herself up until she stood up.
Scratching her scalp, Florence yawned before asking "So...what now?"
"...What? What do you mean by what now?"
"Well you felt it as well right? Dante running past us. He probably went to chase after that purple guy so..."
Understanding his twin's logic, Serum said "Well alright. Silas, Mithra and Tethe' are probably still at the arena...which means that one of us goes after Dante, the other to the arena right?"
"Yep so which do you want to do?"
Sighing, Serum put the situation into perspective, running a simulation on what would happen if Florence were to stay behind. The simulation didn't run all that smoothly, with Serum imagining that Florence would perhaps somehow manage to slaughter Silas if he was still injured. Looking straight at his sister, he said "Florence...I'll stay, you go after Dante. Your abilities are more suited for battle than mine, I'll catch up after I get everybody alright?"
Instantly, Florence's facial expression changed from a groggy tired one to an overjoyed expression at the thought of heading straight into battle. Heaving herself up, she wrenched Granvine off the ground and bid Serum a quick farewell before darting towards the exit. Watching the swordswoman head off, Serum sighed before getting up and heading towards the arena; he was hoping to god Silas was still alive.
Bounding towards the gate with a sort of skipping motion, Florence quickly looked around to see if anybody was watching before reverting to her true persona. Stopping her skipping for a moment, she adopted a sadistic expression on her face before taking her time walking to the gate. Just the thought of being able to fight alongside an S-Class Mage like the Phantom King made her drool.
Once outside, the Dead Queen was about to charge out but quickly stopped herself; spying the sight of two felled people admist a scene of several dead knights. Curiousity got the better of her and she quickly ran over to them, coming close enough to see a blond male and a hooded man with a hammer, both with a fairly deep cut within their bodies. Almost pouting, she began to kick them, perhaps hoping that the action would wake them up.
Surprisingly, her constant movement did just that as, after a few seconds Conway grabbed her foot, used it as a vault point and heaved himself up, kicking Florence or rather...stomping her in the face. As she reared back, Gottes got his hammer and with the handle, smacked the top of her head, making her crouch with both hands covering her head in pain. "Oww...what was that for?"
Brushing himself off, Conway irratably said "That's my question! Who the hell kicks a sleeping person!"
"Sleeping my metal ass, you were about to die!"
"Die? As if, I burned our wounds ages ago, there's no way we would die of blood loss"
Rolling his eyes, the now awake and alive fire mage turned to Gottes, asking him "Well..what do you think? Magic's not all that bad right? I mean, I just saved your life and all..."
The priest turned to Conway, touching his chest and feeling the burned over wound that he had received from the purple haired man "...It's alright..."
Scoffing in amusement, Conway sniffed the air, realizing that he could detect a familiar scent "Oi, that guy...the guy that cut us went towards the forest"
Raising an eyebrow, Florence asked "What the hell...are you a dog or something?"
Shaking his head, Conway replied back "Naa, when he cut us I chucked a few of my vials at him. These vials..." the fire mage gestured to his infamous vials that had earned him the title of Feueranzünder "Are explosive but I've used them so many times I can smell them for a mile away" Now pointing towards the forest in the far distance, Conway said "I know the guy headed that way"
Silently staring at the direction Conway pointed towards, Gottes got up and started walking. After a few paces he looked over his shoulder and asked "You coming?"
Surprised, Conway answered with a teasingly sarcastic tone "Yeah sure but be careful, you might die if you over exert yourself you know"
Clapping her hands together, Florence brought the attention of the two towards her, saying "Well while we're on that topic, I'm headed in that direction as well...how about I help you two? I can get us three there within about...I'd say four minutes at most"
"...Alright?" The pair agreed in confused unison.
Trudging through the ruins towards the arena wasn't hard at all. But dragging Silas, Mithra and Tethe' back was. In addition, it didn't help that Mithra and Tethe' were still bleeding, ruining Serum's trademark red coat...after this was over he would have to take it somewhere professional and get it washed...maybe a river would do the trick.
From underneath his left arm Silas stirred, waking up and asking Serum "...What the hell do you think you're doing?"
"Well that Mirone guy was sort of on top of you so I thought you were getting assaulted...sexually"
Raising an eyebrow, Silas shrugged himself out of Serum's hold and stood on his own two legs. Helping Serum with the burden, he took Mithra out of his grip and hoisted her onto his back in a piggy-back motion, resting her head onto his shoulder. Walking in silence, the pair kept quiet as they headed towards the gates.
Once outside, Tethe' began to stir and realizing he was on Serum's back, quite literally clawed his way off until the swordsman put him on the ground. Sighing in annoyance, Serum asked him "...Are you happy?"
Slightly growling at Serum, Tethe' replied "Very." before turning to Silas. With a simple nod from Silas, Tethe' understood the message and bounded away, occsionally sniffing at the air as he did so. Raising and eyebrow, Serum asked "...What is he doing?"
Chuckling, Silas started walking once more, commenting "He's going to where the guy who stabbed me is. From the way he's acting I'd guess a couple of strong people are headed that way as well...so Serum, are you going?"
Drawing his blades, the swordsman simply nodded before asking "Do I just follow that Tiger of yours?"
"Of course. Go for it"
Watching Serum dash at an inhuman speed towards Tethe', Silas simply shook his head in wonder at how eager they were to get to his opponent. Jumping up so to test if his grip on Mithra was firm or not, Silas began his journey towards the forest, taking his sweet sweet time. Afterall...feeling Mithra's legs wasn't so bad...even if it did demoralize his image...
Phantom vs Corpse
Skidding several metres back on the forest floor, Diaros quickly regained his footing before dodging another attack from the Phantom King. His metal fist blindly swinging, Dante's take over easily tore through another tree trunk before picking it up and tossing it at Diaros.
Sighing in both annoyance and exhaustion, Diaros clicked the fingers of his left hand, generating several blades to appaear out of thin air. With a mere motion of his finger, the blades flew towards Dante, something that he carefully observed. Calming down a bit more, the Phantom King dodged all the blades, keeping a careful eye upon his opponent's hands. Once the blades had already been sent, Diaros summoned the red light to his hand once more, this time generating a blade that had a yellow and white pattern along it's edge.
Raising an eyebrow, Dante dodged the strike, watching as an Electric Snow burst from the blade and was sent flying towards where Diaros had struck. Having a faint idea of what Diaros' magic now was, the Phantom King leapt backwards, removing his Take Over as he did so.
Balancing on a branch, Dante said "Am I right in guessing your magic has something to do with Requip?"
Amused by the Phantom King's deduction, Diaros confirmed the fact "That's right however...that's not all there is to it"
"True. Your left hand can only summon ordinary weapons however, you can manipulate them at will with just your fingers. On the other hand, your right hand can summon weapons with magic in them however, you can't move them without physical contact and you need a red light to summon them...am I right?"
Staring at his opponent, Diaros simply commented "...you're a scary one, you know that?" before charging once more at the S-Class mage. With his right hand behind of him, Diaros summoned another blade, this one the White blade with the Red hilt he had summoned in the citadel. Eyeing his opponent, the Corpse duck below Dante's raw fist and with his right hand clutching the blade, swung upwards, intent on ending the fight with the swing.
Luckily, Dante predicted the movement, leaning back and with the momentum, kicking Diaros' chin with his toe. Following through, he watched as the Corpse flew backwards before he jumped forwards, giving a right hook that connected. Dante then grabbed Diaros' arm with the same arm that delivered the hook, before dragging him in and socking him in the stomach with his left fist. Twisting his body, the Phantom King brought his right heel up and smacked Diaros in the face before altogether letting go, sending him crashing into the forest.
Free Falling down to the forest floor, Dante quickly widened his eyes as he spotted several blades flying towards him. Clicking his tongue, he braced himself for the pain of the blades but not even a second later he heard a familiar voice ring out in the distance "Use Plasma Spear and your Fire Wall!"
At the directions of the voice, two voices cried out in unision.
"Fire Make- Wall!"
A torrent of blue lightning rained down from behind Dante's shoulder, managing to quite literally obliterate all the swords flying towards him. A mere moment later a wall of fire erupted in front of him, one that burned all the remaining blades to ashes. Still falling down though, a hooded figure ran in and saved the Phantom King from being reduced to a pile of ashes. Landing on a branch, Gottes took off his hood and quite simply nodded before hoisting up what Dante recognized as Prayer Beads.
Before Dante could offer a word of thanks, Gottes held the beads in his hands and began chanting "Signa tulit Dominus et liberabit..."
With the arrival of more opponents, Diaros began summoning several blades by the second and flung them around in a mad frenzy, intent on somehow escaping. He wasn't prepared for a fight against the Phantom King, much less a 4 on 1 fight when he was already heavily injured. A heavy number of the blades were sent towards the man with the prayer beads however, they were all deflected by an entity of fire.
The Ogre deflected the blades, reducing what was left to ashes as the man continued his chanting. Clicking his tongue, Diaros ducked as a blade swung from behind him, intent on decapitating him. Once the swing had missed, he heard a female voice cry out "Shock Step!" before hearing a crackle of electricity. A moment later blood spurted from his torso as a vicious cut appeared, with a woman in a metal dress stood crouching in front of him.
Now furious, Diaros raised his left hand and aimed it at the female, intent on filling her body with several hundred blades. Just as he was about to do so, the voice of the man earlier rang out through the air "eos mortales potestate diaboli ad salutem!"
A blade shot out from the Corpse's arm however, the moment it was released it vanished into a wisp of smoke. Wide eyed, Diaros cursed before feeling and hearing a voice from his right shoulder "I don't know what you were thinking" Reacting to the voice, he saw the purple cat from earlier perched on his shoulder. Reacting, he swung at the cat as she said "staying behind but...woops!"
As Jinx leapt off of Diaros' shoulder, Dante swung in and with a deep breath, transformed into his signature Take Over- Take Over: Phantom King. Internally satisfied with the "Oh Shit" expression on Diaros' face, the Phantom King compressed his magic into the centre of his palm and with out wasting any time, hit Diaros with it, releasing the magic at the exact moment that he made contact. As he did so, Dante shouted out "Giga Impact!" releasing a deadly shockwave of energy as he did so.
From the blast, Diaros' eyes rolled backwards and time seemed to slow down. Blood spurted from his nose and mouth and as soon as it began to speed up again, Diaros was sent flying backwards a brutally long distance away, crashing into several trees as he did so.
Wiping the dust from her armour, Florence casually sheathed her blade before looking around at the destruction caused by the battle. Scratching her neck, she casually commented "Well...I think that's that?"
Half the Army
Reverting from his Take Over, Dante looked around at the four companions that had assisted him and possibly saved his life. Giving them his thanks, he proceeded to ask "Well even if you saved me, I still want to know how you all found me...and who the hell are you two?"
Gesturing to Conway and Gottes, the two of them sighed in an unnatural unison before Conway began boasting "Well...if you must know, I lead us here because of my superior tracking skills"
Sighing, Dante was simply too tired to put up with some guy's own pride so he just applauded Conway, before turning to Florence, asking "It's great to see you're still alive but where's Serum?"
Surprised by his question, Florence replied "He went to go get Silas, Mithra and Tethe', didn't you know? I mean, you came from that direction didn't you?"
Frowning, Dante inquired "...Are they alive?"
At this statement, Jinx butted into the conversation, answering "The cut on Mithra and Tethe' wasn't all that bad. It just caused some blood to spill out but it didn't look all that deep. As for Silas...well he responded when you asked meaning that he would be alive"
Relief flooded the Phantom King as he crouched down, head bowed low as he laughed, muttering "Thank God...Oh Thank God..."
That blast from the Phantom King had almost killed him. If it weren't for his summoning of his blades from his right hand the moment that the shockwave hit him, there was no doubt within his mind that he would've been slaughtered. Slowly getting up, Diaros coughed out some more blood before making his journey back to where he imagined the Phantom King would still be at. It wasn't all that hard to discern where he was, all he had to do was follow the trail of broken trees and occasional puddles of blood on the forest floor.
Reaching down to the gauntlet still on his left wrist, Diaros felt the carving that his Master had given him, the carving signifying his relationship to both Fabula Nova and to his Master. Just by touching it, both a sense of pride and a bit of magic swarmed into his chest. It was a dangerous carving, one that he would prefer not to use however, with an opponent like Dante Royard and 3 other mages, there was no telling if he could survive without using it or not...
Well right now though, he couldn't care less. His Master had trusted him with the task of defeating the Phantom King and, even if it was a feat that stretched way beyond his capabilities, he would try it to his greatest effort...even if it meant that effort would kill him.
Within a few minutes of Dante realizing that Silas, Mithra and Tethe' were still alive, Serum and Tethe' arrived at the scene, with the white tiger still sniffing at the air in a bizarre manner. He was already smiling but if it was possible, Dante's smile widened even more, to the extent that Jinx thought it would split his head if it became any bigger.
Looking around, Serum casually commented "...Well...looks like I missed out on quite alot then?"
The group stayed silent, somewhat ignoring Serum's obvious comment as they all stared at Tethe' still sniffing the air. Scratching his head, Gottes asked "So...what's he sniffing for exactly?"
To the monk's surprise, the tiger easily responded on it's own, looking at Gottes as he did so "There's still some traces of that Diaros guy close to here. It's getting stronger every now and then. Just a suggestion but we should probably be on guard"
Chuckling, Conway clicked his fingers, generating a small flame which quickly developed into a small wall of fire. As he did so, he sarcastically asked Tethe' "What, like this? What's the Zombie gonna do? Jump out of nowhere and go through this fire?"
The group began to join in on Conway's laughter however, a moment later the flame was split apart by a bright red blade, Before Diaros himself, coated in blood and shredded clothes, jumped out of the forest with a frenzied yell, wildly slashing before screaming once again.
The group dispersed, with everybody mostly heading in an opposite direction. As Conway fleed with Tethe', the white tiger turned his head towards the fire mage and said "See? What'd I tell you?"
I do believe that's a record for me for fastest chapter created. Anyways, if you enjoyed or were somewhat impressed (somehow) then by all means please read the seventh and surprisingly second last chapter of the current arc: Creating a Legend.