I couldn't wait ^^;; Besides what better way to spend my 2600th post than on my chapter
Battle setups take a long time to write and consume a lot of pages. But consider this as a way to make up for some short chapters ^^
This is going to be an extremely slow chapter, focusing just on background info and character development. However, the creepiness factor will still remain and hopefully, any questions will be answered especially ones that concerned my last chapter.
FYI, Parts One, Two, and Three take place a little bit before the battle. The rest are in accordance to the chronological order and I’m sure you can match the events of each part up accordingly.
Chapter Eighty-Seven: Like Lambs Led to the Slaughter
”I’m telling you, we’re going the wrong way!” exasperated Rinvak as she chased after the two exorcists in front of her. Rolling her eyes, she wondered why she bothered to waste her saliva when her words were falling on deaf ears. The girl couldn’t help but feel overwhelmed with the responsibility assigned to her by Madeline. Delay the brigand was all that her friend had asked. And the girl was trying her best to fulfill the nun’s wishes but it seemed that Zane was always a step or two ahead of her. “Besides, we should rest; there is no point to ride these horses to the point of exhaustion.”
The two quarter horses in front of her stopped abruptly which almost caused the girl to get thrown off hers. Gripping the reins tightly with her hands, she looked up at her comrades and snapped, “What was that for?” Without turning around, Zane answered in his deep voice, “You said that you wanted to rest so we’ll do that for your amusement.” He jumped off his steed, petting its face gently. He did not want to admit to Rinvak that she had raised a valid point—there was no reason to work these horses to death. They all needed to rest for the coming dangers he predicted they would face.
“We’ll rest here for ten minutes before starting up again,” he continued as he led his horse to a stream; he could hear the gentle ripples as they crashed against the water surface. “Do whatever business that you need to do.” By this time, Daniel had also gotten off his stallion and began rummaging through his belongings for some food. Zane had driven them so hard that he was famished.
Tossing some beef jerky to Rinvak, he offered, “Eat this. You’ll need this for strength.” Not expecting this, the female exorcist juggled the food before throwing it back to the boy. She was still angry at him for his betrayal even if it was for the Black Order’s “benefit”. Daniel looked surprised and hurt, muttering aloud why his friend was being so difficult and stubborn. Didn’t she realize that they were in the same boat, he thought. They may have different ideas on how to help Madeline and the others out but they all were concerned about them.
“I’m not hungry,” she curtly replied as she covered her growling stomach, causing the boy to sigh in resignation. She turned her attention to the man whose heavy black coat stood out against the water reflection. “Why on earth are we heading in this direction? There’s nothing but forest and mountain here. Wouldn’t it make sense for the others to go east and escape abroad?” Rinvak bit her lips, hoping that this logic would work against Zane. He was far more calculating and difficult far from the other exorcists that she and others were used to encountering.
Zane dipped his hands into the water, noting how refreshing it felt against his skin. Without acknowledging the girl’s presence, he explained, “The Noah camp would be in an area that would make it difficult for enemies to attack. Surrounded by mountains and dense forest would make it hard for attacking armies to convey on an area. That renegade and her misguided followers are heading there, right? It would make sense that they would go here for a kamikaze mission.” He splashed the stream violently, startling the horses that were relaxing in its tranquility.
Cocking his head arrogantly, he laughed and added, “I guess I would rather do that than get court-martialed by the Black Order. Death is a better answer.” Pissing off Rinvak was becoming quite a fun hobby. Like any woman, she’ll spill her beans once someone has rattled her enough. The exorcist felt someone throw something past him and frowned. If he was head of the North American branch, such behavior would be severely punished. Lione was a truly weak leader…
“They’re doing a lot more than you’ll ever do in your crummy life,” hissed Rinvak. She felt Daniel holding her back, whispering that she should calm down. The boy stopped as he noticed that Zane held his hand up, telling him that it was okay. “The girl is just frustrated that’s all,” the man said as he climbed back onto his saddle.
“Let’s go!” he commanded as he pointed to the north. Daniel immediately got onto his horse, followed by a reluctant Rinvak. “We’re going the wrong way,” she complained as she chased after them. She prayed a secret prayer that maybe Madeline and others were okay and that maybe these boys will get lost in the forest. She would laugh if these events came true.
Suddenly, the horses reared upwards upon hearing a loud explosion in the distance. Smoke and flames were spotted 50 miles (80467.2 meters) away. Startled, the girl wondered out loud, “What was that?” The exorcist estimated that it would take 4-6 hours for get to that location even if the horses were moving at their fastest speed. By that time, whatever was happening was either nearing its end or finished. She turned to see the man’s smirking. “So are we still going the wrong way?”
The girl winced in pain as she squeezed the pillows for support. His visits were becoming more frequent, his stays longer. And every time he came, he had one thing in mind and each time he got what he wanted. Today, he was quite forceful, causing the bed to rock and she wasn’t sure if her body could handle his demands.
Despite her best efforts to keep silence during the whole ordeal, she could not suppress the cry that escaped her lips as he bit her neck. Stephanie heard him chuckle as he towered over her with that clownish smile. The girl recalled the first time she saw that grin and she shivered.
.::. flashback begins .::.
It was cold that night but it wasn’t the chill that had awoken her. Stephanie felt like someone was trying to smother her entire body and she opened her eyes in a daze. Her vision still blurred, she at first thought that she was still in a dream with Blade looking over her. Confused, she reached out for him only to realize her mistake; the Noah had returned but he was in an irrational state of mind. She could smell the alcohol on his breath and noted his glazed eyes.
Frightened she tried her best to push him away only to have him become more violent. Pleas of “Please stop” and “Don’t do this” had no effects on Amaterasu and soon the girl felt extreme pain shooting through her body from her lower extremities. Blood stained the sheets and her white dress and continued to spread. As she stared in horror at her bloody hands, she noticed that smile bearing down on her. It was at the moment she knew that all of her efforts were in vain and that she could not have stopped the inevitable—she was now his.
.::. flashback ends .::.
“That a girl,” he whispered in her ears as he stroked her face. The Noah admired how the blood was rushing to it, giving her cheeks a healthy red glow. In the back of his mind, he scolded himself for not trying what he had done sooner; if he had, perhaps he would have tasted the fruit of his victory much earlier. Amaterasu lifted his body slightly and looked at his trophy’s face. She refused to look directly at him, appearing ashamed yet resigned to her fate. He kissed her forehead and laid his head onto her chest.
As he held her, he closed his eyes and focused on her heartbeat. The sound was therapeutic to him, fascinating him with its hypnotic rhythm. In the awkward silence, he held the girl’s bare body tightly, refusing to release her from his grasp despite her attempts to slip away. At that moment he experienced a euphoria that he thought he would have never experienced again.
When he was a child, his mother would embrace him tightly and he felt like he belonged and loved. He was quite happy back then but Amaterasu made the mistake that every child makes—he assumed that his family was also content. At the young age of five, his mother would be thrown out of the mansion and replaced by a much younger mistress who was just fifteen years older than he. Apparently, his father had grown tired of his wife and like his son in the future, had an affinity for young girls.
After that incident, he felt isolated and confused—feelings which still echoed today with his new “family”. Despite his stepmother’s attempt to befriend him, the young British aristocrat hated her and his father and blamed them for the dissolution of his perceived happy family. The rage inside him grew as he matured and he decided that the best way to get back at his father was to exact his revenge on the young blond half-sister that his new parents had conceived long before their union became official.
Amaterasu had no idea how long he laid there, reminiscing of his past but he figured that it was probably too long for any of his siblings’ liking. He hadn’t heard from them in a while but that could be partially his fault; he was too busy taking care of his needs and ignored their orders that the akuma messengers had sent. The Noah jolted off the bed and began dressing quickly. From his mirror, he noticed the exorcist wrapping herself with the red sheets, her maroon dress lying somewhere on the floor. White was no longer appropriate for a girl of her stature.
“You got what you wanted. Fulfill your end of the bargain,” Stephanie angrily said, her eyes looking down at the bed. Even though she tried to make her voice sound strong and determined, it cracked, undermining her message. She felt dirty, embarrassed, and violated as she recalled all the adult activities she had committed on that bed. Her skin tingled at the thought of her actions. The girl hated that Noah for everything he had done to her. However, she hated herself more for allowing all these things to happen to her.
Amaterasu turned to face her, smirking. His trophy had not spoken to him in a while after their first night together but in spite of coldness, she allowed him to enter her without any resistance. It was nice to know that the girl was still a rebel and not a docile maid; he could still have fun breaking her. As he buttoned his shirt, he cried out, “Why should I fulfill my end of the bargain? As far as I know, I had to initiate our relationship and everything else that followed. Besides, why would that Bookman want you? You’re technically impure to him now.”
He continued to eye the girl with his mirror of his vanity; she was clutching the sheets in front of her legs as if she was trying to prevent entry. What a silly girl, he thought as he walked past the bed. It was unavoidable after all. “However,” he persisted, “if you are good with the art of persuasion, I might reconsider.”
The boy sat on the bed and began crawling towards her. He was hungry and his siblings could wait for a bit more; it wasn’t like there was an emergency or anything. Amaterasu watched in amusement as Stephanie backed away until she hit the headboard. When he moved over her, she shuddered, knowing what was going to happen in the coming minutes. His hands were pushing down on her thighs as he inched closer, his breath stinging her face.
She enveloped her arms around his neck and kissed him; there was no point in resisting since it only caused him to be more aggressive. She would have to bear with the pain and guilt a bit longer. As she brought him down with her to the mattress, the Noah smiled to himself as he moved down her neck. Maybe he had successfully broken her.
”Lord Amaterasu!” cried the akuma as she entered the Noah’s tent. Earlier in the morning, strange noises had been heard coming from his chamber and everyone knew that it would be best not to disturb him. The consequences would be deadly. However, this was not the time to care; after all, war does not wait for the unprepared.
Much to the akuma’s relief, she only walked into a boy laying on the bed, a girl clinging onto him. His shirt was unbuttoned, revealing a sculpted body which was not as chiseled as his brother’s body but was adequate enough. It appeared that the akuma had only disturbed his sleep since his eyes opened while his trophy did not stirred.
“What do you want?” angrily demanded Amaterasu as he stroked the girl’s midnight hair which flowed down her thin, scarlet dress. He wanted to relax and enjoy the quiet moments but his brother just had to ruin it. Big brothers really know how to make their little brothers’ lives miserable.
With a straight face, the akuma answered, “Lord Jacques and Lady Magier wish that you would leave your whore and assist them in their current situation.” Her eyes kept observing the scene, keeping mental notes that she could give to her mistress. The scene before her was similar to the mess that Magier had created whenever Jacques visited at night. However, it was best if the akuma not mention these similarities to the two siblings. Such things were best left unsaid.
Amaterasu laughed and admonished, “Is that what you call your own sister? Such description is quite derisory even if she does her job well. How bad could this situation be if my siblings need my help?” He looked down at Stephanie who was still sleeping, her head resting on his chest; it’s been a while since he had been entertained and had felt needed.
The doppelganger made a stern face; it appeared that the Noah had been successful and had grown attached. The other akuma and human followers have gotten hold of his obsession and circulated rumors about the unholy relationship between Amaterasu and her sister. She had taken heat from a few who accuse her of promoting it in order to move up in the Noahs’ favors or have mocked her for her sister’s promiscuous ways. These thought sickened her and she angrily replied, “The apostles of the Black Order have infiltrated the camp, you ass!” “Stephanie” raised her ribbons, aiming them at the boy. How could he be so selfish and think only of himself in these circumstances? Had he forgotten his purpose in North America?
The Noah looked at the akuma and frowned. He sometimes questioned her loyalty and wondered if her sisterly instinct still remained. She had attacked him earlier when it was rumored that he had slept with Magier’s then trophy; now she was threatening him again after she had perceived what had occurred “behind closed doors”. Yet another reason why he was upset with her dealt with the fact her outburst had done what he feared the most. When she made that announcement, he felt the exorcist’s body stiffened, alerting Amaterasu that the girl had heard the news—her friends had come to rescue her and the others.
He cursed his bad luck and rolled off his bed. “Tell my brother that I will be there in a few minutes,” he muttered as he made himself presentable. The akuma nodded and left though her anger was not quelled; her body language disclosed it as she left in a huff. Stupid akuma, he thought as he watched her leave from the corner of his eyes.
Amaterasu quickly buttoned his shirt and fixed his hair. He was always taught that appearance was of utmost importance; one must never let his enemies see him looking like shit. Besides, if the exorcists were here, it would mean that his cat’s original owner would be present. The boy couldn’t wait to meet her.
“They finally came,” mumbled a voice as the Noah headed towards the exit. Hearing such a shocked voice disturbed him and he turned around to see Stephanie leaning against the bed post. Her body was full of mixed emotion ranging from stunned to anger. If they had come earlier, if she had known that they had not abandoned them, she would not have endured what she had gone through. She clenched her fists in anger. Why couldn’t she have waited a bit longer?
Seeing such a transformation displeased Amaterasu and he rushed towards her before she could react. He slammed her down to the bed with his body. The boy berated, “Don’t think that I’ll let you go that easily. Your friends can’t save you since we will kill them before they get the chance.” He tightened his grips around her wrists in order to hold her down. Before he entered the battlefield, he had to extinguish any hope that she had—that was the first fight he had to finish.
Her shouts echoed throughout the tent and he slowly got off her. Amaterasu tightened his belt as he walked away. Stephanie laid on the bed, gasping for air; it was just like that one night again. She struggled to sit up, pulling her skirt down with one hand and covering her chest with the other. The girl looked like a mess with her disheveled hair and torn dress. Staring at his back, the exorcist screamed, “I hope you die today.”
She noticed the black ribbons laying on the nightstand next to the bed; they appeared to be calling for her, tempting her with the idea of revenge. When his brother was out and she laid on the bed in a dazed state of mind, the head Noah sneaked in to check on his brother’s progress. He must have known the damage that Amaterasu had done for he smirked as he examined her. Unlike his brother, it appeared to the girl Jacques was gentle and charming; he didn’t take advantage of her weakened state. Instead, he comforted her and assured her that her suffering would be over if she heeded his words. Still, it puzzled her why he would return her Innocence and more importantly, why would he believe that she would join him.
Stephanie quickly grabbed the ribbons and activated them. This was not the time to question the Noah’s actions and if she could kill her captor, she would at that instance. Her Innocence felt different as if it was denser, more bloodthirsty. However, she believed that it was because she hadn’t used it in a while. At that moment, she just wanted to kill him for everything he put her through. Unfortunately, Amaterasu expected this and he grabbed the ribbons in midair. As he grasped them, the boy realized what his brother had done and smiled—Jacques was ingenious at times.
He pulled them towards him, causing the girl to slam against his body. Holding her tightly to his chest, he muttered, “Now, now. It’ll take more than a dirty trick like that to defeat me.” The Noah pushed the girl to the bed and quickly tied her up with her Innocence, lying on top of her during the process. As his body grinded against her, she yelped in pain only to have him push harder. Amaterasu lifted himself off her and cupped her cheek. He ripped her dress, leaving only enough to barely cover her as he groped her as she lied helpless. Stephanie tried to struggle only to have him become more aggressive, more forceful; he had to put her in her place after all. As he licked her ear, he whispered, “Get used to these bedsheets.”
Quickly satisfied, he kissed her for a long time to ensure that her taste will linger on his tongue before heading towards the exit. The boy chuckled as he opened the tent flap. That girl was quite unpredictable, being malleable one day, unruly the next. However, that quick session had rejuvenated him and at the moment, he felt invincible. He turned slightly and sinisterly countered, “Don’t worry, my dear, about my safety. When I come back, we’ll celebrate my victory.”
The walk was treacherous, with danger lurking around every twist and turn. Still, this was the best way to get back to the camp; no one would expect them coming from the mountains after all. As he carefully watched his step, Flames hated to admit that the Noahs did pick an ideal location for their base—surrounded by rocky plateaus and dense forests, traveling was nearly impossible for those who were not familiar with the terrain.
He heard “Ooooooooooo” and turned just in time to catch Eny who had slipped from stepping on a loose rock. “Careful now,” he kindly admonished. “The last thing we need to is alert the enemies of our location or to injure ourselves.” The exorcist gently placed the girl on solid ground and scanned the area. The wind was blowing his hair in all directions, distracting him a bit. However, he could adequately see the location of the camp, which appeared to be buzzing with activity. It appeared that some people decided to shake things up early.
“Damn it,” Flames cursed under his breath as he jumped down from his ledge toward Eny’s location. “Why did they attack so early? They should have waited for us since there is strength in numbers.” From what his comrade had told him, there were only two exorcists, three Finders, and a defector from the Noah side; that wasn’t enough to battle an entire camp full of the Earl’s most loyal and strongest supporters.
Eny frowned as she chased after the man who had run ahead of her. He was moving at swift speed and she was barely able to catch up. How could someone who was so injured move so quickly? Maybe he was truly a werewolf. As she followed him, she huffed, “I bet it was that Belial girl who betrayed them. I should have killed her while I had the chance.” She recalled how she was going to shot the former angel that one night only to be caught by John. If only he didn’t see her…
Suddenly, her companion stopped, causing her to slam into his rock solid body. She looked at his face only to see a stern expression. “Why did you leave Madeline and Lyra? That’s really childish of you to abandon them over one silly incident. Though I must admit, I shouldn’t place the blame on you. They should have come after you instead of rushing into battle so misguided,” He sighed and sat down on a fallen tree. This whole experience was too overwhelming and stressful. In his mind, he thought of all the scenarios that could be happening at the camp and unfortunately, they were the worst classes. Perhaps, the gravity of the situation and these feelings that were causing him to act out were the same exact reasons that forced Madeline and the others to behave irrationally.
Hearing sniffles close by, Flames looked up and noticed that Eny looked like she was going to burst into tears at any moment. It appeared that he was blaming her for the entire situation and maybe he had a point. After all, it was her obsession with finding her lost cat that helped undermine the destruction of the Black Order base and allowed her friends to get captured and hurt. Now it seemed that Madeline, Lyra, and the others were in trouble due to her outbursts. All she wanted to do was to be reunited with her cat Fermium and what she left in her wake was a big mess.
The exorcist froze and quickly went to her side to comfort her. For a girl who claimed to be mature, she acted like a child sometimes. “I’m sorry, Eny,” he began. “I’m just worried and aggravated by the situation. I shouldn’t have taken it out on you.” Most of the time under taxing circumstances, he was calm and composed. But he knew that this was different since he had experienced the Noahs’ cruelty first hand. In addition to his knowledge, Flames had heard from his captors what was happening to his comrades and their safety was his priority now. After all, he was the second in command after Lione—someone the native admired greatly.
“I’m all right, geez,” retorted Eny as she slapped his hands away. The girl quickly wiped away her tears and shot a resolved look back at Flames. Even though she was only ten, she imagined herself as a big girl; a little scolding was not supposed to affect her after all. Heck, she wasn’t going to let anything hurt her. The Bookwoman knew what she needed to get done and crying would do absolutely nothing to help her get her cat back.
Flames looked at her quizzically and smiled. “I’m glad that your fighting spirit is back. The last thing I need is an indecisive partner.” He turned in the camp direction and stared into the distance. As they both sprinted to the sea of tents, the exorcist couldn’t shake the feeling that the enemies knew that they were coming.
The camp was in utter mayhem with explosions occurring here and there. Panic ensued as the human followers of Jacques scattered in a vain attempt to escape only to be killed by their akuma counterparts. It did not matter if they worship every word of Jacques; if they were of no use to him, they served no purpose. Besides, they were human— weak and undeserving of salvation promised by the Noah.
As their blood stained the ground and their screams diffused through the area, the boy watched, his eyes fixed on the scene. It was surreal and well, beautiful and it made him regretful that he couldn’t record it. He was no artist or writer; the only thing he could do was place this in his memories to enjoy in the future.
Amaterasu sighed and collapsed to the ground; he was growing restless. Normally, he would be taking a bath to purify himself from his dirty acts but Jacques and Magier told him that they needed his help. But it appeared that the only aid they needed was someone to scout the area where the forest met the mountains. What a waste of talent, he angrily thought. Any akuma could do this job. Still, he could not complain about his situation. His siblings did tell him about the coming danger unlike last time. Besides, he preferred watching battles and strategizing them rather than getting dirty. Only uncivilized or poor people did the fighting.
He ran his right hand through his blond hair. Any moment, this fight will be over—another victory claimed by the Earl. More apostles of that false god will have fallen today or at a later time. Unfortunately, that probably meant another lame family dinner in which his brother would toast to their victory and his dumb sister would look on admiringly at Jacques. After suffering through that, the Noah could return to his chambers and continue pleasing himself with his doll. He grinned at the possibilities the night held for him.
Amaterasu lifted himself off the ground, wiping the dirt away from his clothes. It was absolutely pointless to stay in this position when he could have so much fun killing those pathetic humans. His time would at least be spent doing that than sitting around and staring at boring rocks. After all, he had been at this position since dawn and he estimated that he had been there for hours based on the sun’s location in the sky. The boy began to remove his gloves when something caught his eyes.
Several meters below the ledge where he was stationed, a man wearing tattered clothes and a small girl were sprinting towards the camp. The Noah did not recognize them but he didn’t have to know them personally to deduce who they were. His skin darkened to a deep gray and bloody crosses emerged on his forehead. It looked like he was going to play after all.
”Don’t do anything risky! We need to find the others and get out of here as soon as possible,” ordered Madeline as she summoned a barrier to protect her group from the barrage of attacks sent by akumas. This mission was the most overwhelming task she had endured but it should have been expected—after all, they did attack the Noah stronghold with little numbers and low expectations of success.
She quickly turned to John who was carrying the first prisoner they had rescued. “How is she doing?” The girl looked pale and sickly; the nun was under the impression that if they hadn’t saved her at that moment, she would have suffered more or worse, died. She tried to shake the image when they entered the tent. An artificial flowery smell attempted to hide a pungent odor. And when she saw Stephanie on the bed tied up, she knew what had happened to the exorcist and she felt guilty for not trying to save her earlier. The girl’s sad face haunted her even now.
Surrounding by the two exorcists and fallen angel, the Finder tried his best to hold the girl tightly and carry the basket which housed Fermium. Her breathing was shallow and her head felt hot to the touch. He had placed his jacket around her to cover her bare body and she appeared confused by the surrounding battle. “She’s still out of it but other than that, she’ll be okay,” he replied as he followed the pinked-haired girl in front of him.
Unexpectedly, an explosion occurred in front of group, separating them in various directions. Madeline was surprised to find herself with Belial and tried her best to find the others. Unfortunately, the smoke from the battle made it impossible for her to scan the field for her comrades, which frustrated and worried her. I hope they’re okay, she thought as she got off the ground.
“It’s been a while, Sister Madeline,” said a voice from her right that caused the exorcist to shake. It was the same person who offered her tea that morning—the same person who had beaten her and had betrayed the entire branch. Memories of that day and its repercussions still bothered her but the abuse she experienced by that one boy affected her the most. She glared at the angel who was admiring his black gauntlets. “Amiti…” she addressed through clenched teeth. The boy frowned and raised his fingers. “Tsk, tsk! How many times do I have to tell you, Maddy? I’m Uriel now.”
Before she could attack, she felt someone push her backward. She looked at Belial and angrily asked, “What was that for?” The former guardian point at the location where the nun was formerly at; in her spot was a deep crater, dust was still spraying in the air. A shrill giggle echoed in the air and Madeline noticed a beautiful woman with long, wavering hair on a ledge, a rifle in her hand with smoke coming out of the barrel.
“Stupid Belle,” admonished Gabrielle as she loaded her gun, her eyes never leaving the traitor. “You have lost your chance to receive salvation and for what? To hang out with an old hag? You’re pathetic.” Aiming her weapon at the girl again, she shot only to have both enemies dodge it. Her comrade Uriel lunged in Madeline’s direction, allowing the woman to focus her attention on Belial.
“Why are you allowing yourself to be used by Lord Jacques? He doesn’t love you or anyone else for that matter. He only cares about himself and his family,” screamed Belial as she charged at her mentor. Despite the fact that they were fighting right now, she believed that she could save Gabrielle’s soul before it became too late.
The woman blocked the traitor’s attack with her rifle and pushed her back. She pointed her weapon at Belial and retorted, “Lies! Just because you fell from his grace doesn’t mean that you have to drag me down to Hell with you.” However, it appeared that the girl’s words had some effect on the guardian for her shots became sporadic, making it nearly impossible to dodge.
Suddenly, someone grabbed her rifle, preventing her from shooting the girl. Gabrielle looked up and smiled as she saw Jacques’s eyes looking down at her. “My dear, faithful Gabby. You’re making such a mess and killing our own men. Besides, have you forgotten that I wanted to take care of Belial personally?” The Noah sent a death stare at the girl who was still in fighting position though she was panting for air.
“My Lord, she has been spreading poisonous lies about you. I had to punish her for defiling your name,” she begged as she held his left arm. Everything that she believed in, everything that she esteemed depended on his answers especially at that moment The Noah cocked his face as he stroked her hair. He felt his dark side coming over him and he knew that at that moment he would not be able to contain its bloodthirstiness. However, it was okay; after all, he needed to make Belial an example for all future members of his group. He did create a powerful weapon for her and this was how she repaid him. In addition to that, he had to replace her—someone whom he believed had huge potential to be a great pawn. She needed to suffer.
Patting Garielle’s head, he consoled, “It’s okay. I’ll take care of this.” In a swift motion, he ran past the girl and sneaked up behind her. Holding her in a headlock, he whispered, “Goodbye, Belial.”
Lyra hit the ground hard and felt herself bounce some more before coming to a complete stop. Lifting herself off the ground, she grasped her arm, wondering if she had broken it due to the impact. Luckily, it was just sore but the sensation of pain still tingled in her muscles. She frantically searched for her comrades only to see her Finder a few meters away. Adeptly maneuvering herself through the frantic crowd, the exorcist reached her friend, kneeling down to check his vitals.
Thank God, he’s still alive, she thought as she felt his pulse. He didn’t appear to be seriously hurt minus the scratches and bruises on his body. John opened his eyes and quickly jerked up. “I’m sorry, Lyra,” he apologized as he stood up and began to search for the exorcist whom he was in charge of taking care of. “The impact was too much that I dropped her.” The Finder then held his hand, revealing a basket. “I still have Fermium though.”
Unfortunately after saying his name, the cat jumped out and disappeared into the hectic scene. “I guess it is true,” mumbled Lyra as she stared blankly into the crowd. “Pets do take after their owners.” She turned to John who had finally spotted Stephanie who was lying near a beige tent at the edge of the camp. “Let’s get her and then try to find the others.”
However, the sound of metal grating the hard earth caught Lyra’s attention and she turned around to see a girl in a mini skirt grinning at them. Something about her made the exorcist feel uneasy and she cautiously lifted her weapon. “Finder, get the girl and find the others. Then leave this place quickly,” she commanded in a quiet whisper that only John could hear. Before he could respond, he felt someone push him out of the way as the pink-haired woman blocked the assault of the Noah.
“Don’t underestimate me, Ms. Exorcist,” cooed Magier as she applied pressure to her weapon. “I’m not as innocent as I look.” She quickly pushed off her opponent and slashed her. Lyra barely jumped out of the way and she touched her uniform’s sleeve which was cut by the girl’s sword.
She heard a girl scream in the distance and recognized that it was Belial’s. The exorcist faced the Noah before her who had now darkened her skin and was arrayed with those signature bloody crosses. The Noah was right; she should not be taken so lightly. Her fragile appearance hid a powerful fighter and if she wasn’t careful, this girl could do some serious damage. The situation looked grim and the chances of success were growing smaller with each passing second.
Lyra closed her eyes and slowly activated her Innocence. It appeared that she had no choice but to help her comrades even at her own risks. A small red circle surrounded her and expanded to encircle the entire camp. The Noah looked at her amused; did this piece of scum actually believe that she could defeat her with a simple trick? She tightened the grip around her sword and charged at the exorcist. However, her opponent moved fast and Magier felt something sharp brush her face.
Touching her cheek, she felt the warm sensation of blood. The deep red stood out from her peach skin, which normally she would have found fascinating if it wasn’t hers. The girl turned to her enemy who was panting like crazy. Lyra prayed that her comrades would feel an increase in their synch rate and make the most of it. However, she was afraid that she would be not able to sustain her attack as the exorcist noticed Magier racing at her, sword drawn.
John scrambled to the girl, hoping that she wouldn’t have gotten trampled by the mad crowd. Every so often he would be splattered with blood as the akumas began attacking their human counterparts and the screams caused him to act faster. The Finder always knew about the dangers of his job but the fear of death at the moment was at its worst at that moment.
When he finally reached his destination, he breathed a sigh of relief. By the grace of God, Stephanie was not hurt though she seemed to be in a more alert state. “I got you, don’t worry!” he consoled as he bent down to carry her. “I’m a friend and I’ll bring you to safety.” She appeared to have understood him since she nodded and allowed him to pick her up.
However, something wrapped around his neck and caused him to drop the girl to the ground. Green ribbons kept coming and their grasps tightened, strangling him as he tried his best to loosen their holds. “Where do you think you’re going, silly human?” asked an akuma who was sitting on top of the tent. “Lord Amaterasu wouldn’t like it if you take his favorite toy away.” She jumped down and walked towards the man. He was young and strong—a perfect candidate for her to kill.
She threw him against a rock ledge and laughed. “You should feel honored. I only need to kill one more human to level up and you’re going to be that one,” she mocked as she sent a barrage at him. His maroon blood would make a nice pattern against the harsh gray of the stone.
Suddenly, black ribbons caused the akuma’s weapons to miss their mark. John turned to find an exorcist wearing a Finder’s coat that was too big for her leaning against a rock. Stephanie struggled to stand up; her body wasn’t used to battle and was now accustomed for pleasing the whims of a hormone driven boy. It still ached from the events of the morning, causing the exorcist to think that she might pass out any minute. Even at that moment, she didn’t think she was strong enough to battle her sister and the words of the Noah still echoed in her mind. “If you intend to betray me, the outcome will be the same as with that poor Suman Dark,” he had said. The thought of becoming a Fallen frightened her but at that moment she had no choice to defend her rescuer.
“Fight me, sister,” she beseeched as she recoiled her ribbons back. The man was right though; whatever he had done to her Innocence made it more powerful but darker as well. It seemed to have an effect on her as well because she felt stronger as she felt adrenaline rushing through her veins. The akuma examined her sister and smirked. Jacques did corrupt her Innocence and she knew the effects of betraying her Lord. Even in her weakened state, her twin could defeat her with her new Innocence but the cost would be deadly for her.
Ignoring the Finder who was now being protected by the exorcist, the akuma replied as she raised her green ribbons, “I was hoping to make that man the one but if you insist.” Death does not discriminate after all.
The battlefield was worse than the exorcist imagined. The ground was saturated with blood and human corpses scattered the field marked with black stars, symptoms of the akuma virus. Even though he knew that the humans running were supporters of the Earl and the Noah family, Flames felt responsible for their safety. They were just misguided fools after all who were taken in by the seductive words of a charming priest.
He raced towards the coming dangers, stabbing countless akumas with his spear and slowly activating his lycanthropy. The werewolf sensed Eny behind him, firing her bazooka which caused her opponents and their potential victims to scatter. Deep inside, Flames was grateful that she was with him; in his current condition, he knew that he would not be able to combat so many akumas and that he would not be able to control the situation.
“Eny, cover for me as I lead the humans to safety!” commanded the exorcist as he headed towards a group who was huddled behind some debris. The Bookwoman nodded as her aim resulted in many explosions. Dodging the akumas’ blasts, he managed to reach the group unharmed and requested, “Come with me! I’ll get you out of here safe and sound.” He motioned them to follow him, eyeing the battle. If they did not get out of there soon, the man feared that it might be too late. More reinforcements for the Earl were arriving and his partner could only handle so much.
Flames felt someone slapping his hands away and turned to see glaring eyes. “Like we would trust a false apostle,” answered the man as he held his child close to him. “We rather die to serve Lord Jacques’s plan than follow the likes of you.” He spat in the exorcist’s face and suddenly pushed him down. "Besides, they're only attacking us because they see that you're with us." Frustrated, Flames got up and grabbed him, shaking him violently. How brainwashed was this man to threaten the lives of others especially the young ones! And for what? The price of “salvation” promised to them by an agent of the Earl? Such thoughts rolled in his mind as he tried to reason with the man.
A scream shocked Flames out of his thoughts and from the corner of his eyes, he noticed his comrade running franticly further into the camp. “Eny!” he cried as he dropped the man to the ground. He could see her figure disappearing into the dusts that clouded the Noahs’ base and he sprinted after her. That guy could wait; the thought of protecting his friend was more important than trying to talk logic to a stubborn man.
Before he could reach her, Flames felt a blast, its impact knocking him over. He hit the ground hard, causing him to cry out in pain. A cluster of akumas were gathering around him, their guns aimed in his direction. A rush of adrenaline entered his blood and he barely jumped out of the way in time. He prepared himself for his landing, positioning his feet in order to cushion his fall.
Shots of pain went up his body as he hit the earth. The werewolf panted heavily, leaning against the cold surface of a makeshift rocky ledge. Unexpectedly, he felt the sensation of falling as he rolled down some stairs, plunging into the depths of the earth. Flames eventually came to a stop, hitting metal bars that lined up in a perfect straight line. He quickly sat up and examined his surrounding. The alcove was dark and cold with dim candlelights revealing the surroundings. However, it was obvious manmade. What was the purpose of having a hidden room unless it was to hide something?
“Well, well! I didn’t expect you to visit,” came a whisper right behind the exorcist. “For what do I owe the honor that you grace me with your presence?” Flames gasped and then smirked. He recognized the voice and replied, “I’m here to bust your @$$ out.” He turned to see Blade smiling back at him in ragged clothes and bandages all over him. Even with his battered appearance, the werewolf thought it was odd that the Bookman appeared to be well taken care of; he looked well fed and his wounds seemed to be treated. Perhaps the Noahs needed him for information still and thought giving him preferential treatment would cause their prisoner to talk. However, the werewolf pushed these nagging thoughts to the back of his mind. He was just glad that his comrade was safe and that he was not too late.
Flames grasped the bars and shook them. Whoever made this prison was clever for the railings were secured tightly, never moving even when he applied great pressure. “Where is the lock?” he asked Blade who was excitedly eyeing him. The Bookman pointed to a small metal box at the end of the rails eagerly. He had not seen the outside world in such a long time and he could not wait to get out of this cell. During his stay, he had forgotten what the sun had felt like as he huddled to stay warm at night. Mostly, he longed to hug someone who would tell him that everything would be okay.
The man headed to the lock and examined it. It was definitely complex and quite intricate; it could not be broken easily nor picked. If only Eny was there, he thought as he tried breaking the bars in a vain attempt. She could have blasted this contraption, allowing the three of them to escape. He sighed to himself, hoping that Blade would not hear him. The last thing he needed to was to let his friend know that the situation appeared hopeless and difficult.
The sounds of jingling keys caught the exorcist and Bookman’s attentions, causing them to look at the alcove’s entrance. “Looking for these?” mocked a formidable man, his left hand shaking the keys enthusiastically like a man teasing his dog. His other hand held a crossbow with an arrow already in position. As he moved closer, the candlelight revealed his face and Flames retracted in shock. “I’m so glad that Lord Jacques asked me to check up on you, Bookman. If I hadn’t, I would not have been lucky to kill the savage again and this time, in front of an audience.”
The voice and the face brought back the memories from that night and countless others. Flames grasped his chest as he recalled the experimentations done onto him and the eventual attempt of his life. This man was there and was responsible for torturing him. The exorcist felt his hair rising as his temper began to flare. He had felt the urge to kill several times before but never in his life had this desire felt so strong that he doubted that he could contain it.
Michael looked at the werewolf curiously. That night, he and the others were positive that their master had killed that piece of scum, removing yet another false apostle. However, it seemed that he continued to taint the earth. Oh well, the guardian thought as he aimed his bow at the savage. It’s been a while since he had gone hunting.
Eny had no idea how she managed to avoid the coming blasts and destruction that were engulfing her surroundings. It did not matter though; she could not afford to lose her concentration to ponder such mysteries. As she continued moving, she heard someone yelling her name but ignored it. At that moment, nothing was more important than following a black spot.
As she was aiming her bazooka into the countless akuma herds, she noticed a small black cat racing across the field, heading towards the numerous beige tents. Her heart stopped beating as she instantly recognized her cat, forgetting about Flames’s order. The girl was finally going to be reunited with her best friend and that was all she had ever wanted.
Suddenly, the feline disappeared into a cloud of dust, causing her to stop in her tracks. She paused for a moment to catch her breath. As she bent over with her hands upon her knees, the Bookwoman scanned the surroundings, hoping for a sign that might revealed Fermium’s location. How could she lose sight of him?
Several distance away, Eny could have sworn that she heard a cat’s meow and instinctively ran in towards a beige tent. As she opened the flap, she let out a sigh of relief as she watched her cat pounce happily on an unkempt bed until he made himself comfortable. He was a lot fatter than she expected and his coat had a healthy shine. The girl walked over towards it, carefully maneuvering among the mess.
Picking up Fermium, she observed the environment and something about it brought chills down her spine. Torn clothes and ribbons were scattered on the floor and the bed sheets had stains all over it. The smell of sweat permeated throughout the area to the point that she wanted to gag. There were signs of a struggle and it appeared obvious that only one person was victorious.
“Let’s get out of here, Fermium,” she whispered to the purring feline. Disturbed by what she saw, her mind was egging her to get out of there as soon as possible; she had seen more than enough to record this hidden history in her mind. Why Fermium decided to head back to this horrible room puzzled her mind; she had thought that he preferred more pleasant areas.
Unexpectedly, the black cat jumped out of her arms and ran towards the entrance. Eny tried to follow him, crying “Fermium” to catch his attention. However, she froze in her steps as she noticed him jump into the arms of a young boy who had entered the tent. His blond hair hid his sinister blue eyes and his presence made her feel uneasy. In her mind, she knew that he was culprit of whatever offense occurred here.
“Fermium, come over here,” she beseeched as she motioned the cat to come to her. The cat glanced at her but continued to purr contently each time he was patted by the Noah. Feelings of confusion, anger, and hurt swept over the girl as she finally realized that her best friend might have actually betrayed her. She quickly aimed her gun at the boy who did not appear affected by this move.
Amaterasu smirked and commented, “An unexpected guest usually annoys me but I’ll make you an exception.” He began pacing the room, keeping an eye on the girl’s bazooka. The Noah remembered the last time they met, a cascade of rocks collapsing onto him. It was painful and the thought of death frightened him at the moment. He needed to get back at her for that.
The boy sat down at his vanity and sighed. It seemed that the rescue group had raided his tent first for his doll was no longer on the bed. Such a shame since he had big plans tonight but he quickly came to terms with the situation. It was good while it lasted and he personally believed that she would return to him. Besides, wasn’t the saying “When one door closes, another one opens”?
“Would you like to know what happened in this very room, little girl?” he asked as he placed the cat on his lap. Amaterasu became amused as he noticed Eny’s shocked face, knowing that despite her disgusted expression she was curious to know. “You know that girl exorcist who we had captured,” he continued, his gaze meeting her angry eyes. “We had some fun times together. It was probably unhealthy but I’m positive that she’ll recall these memories fondly one day. I doubt you comprehend what occurred here but you’ll understand one day.”
He moved to his right swiftly as a gunshot came right at him. Lifting himself off the ground, he yelled as he held up his arms in a surrender motion, “What was that for? I was doing you a favor, making your life easier.” Eny glared at him and quickly reloaded her weapon. How dare he did that to one of her friends? She wanted to punish him so badly for everything—the assault on the base, his manipulation on her cat, and whatever torture he put her friends through.
Amaterasu frowned as he realized that he might have underestimated his opponent. He quickly pointed to the cat that was crouching under the bed between the two of them. “I suggest a compromise,” he bargained, hoping that he could reason with her. Eny didn’t respond but the Noah had an inkling that she was listening.
“We really don’t need to fight. Let’s settle this like civilized human beings,” he added. “We’ll let this cat decide the victor of this battle. Whoever he chooses as his master will be the winner.” The girl scoffed and countered, “Like he would pick someone whom he knows for a few months!” If this was how the battle would be decided, she was confident in her victory.
“Here, Fermium,” she cooed as she tried to comfort the scared cat. Eny was trying her best to help the cat remember who she was in order to win this bet. The feline looked at her, a sense of recognition in his eyes. A wave of elation caused the girl to grin; maybe he did not forget her after all.
He purred and stretched his body. Then he began walking and rubbed against Amaterasu’s leg. Shocked, the girl whimpered, “Fermium?” which caused the boy to chuckle at her reaction. His betrayal hurt her a lot more than anything she had experience in the past and she was at a loss. How could a pet that she had raised since he was young do this to his “mother”?
The Noah clapped his hands together in delight. He teased the Bookwoman, “It’s okay, my dear. Don’t feel bad that your cat has found a better master now.” He heard the cocking of a gun barrel and shook his head in displeasure. Some people just did not like following the rules, which was a shame especially to those who actually do.
Amaterasu began to remove his gloves and coldly said, “Did you know that my first victim was around your age, maybe older?” The girl remained in her stance, her glare never wavering. He did not want to kill her but if he was forced to, he would. Tossing his gloves to the side, he whispered, “Let’s play.”
That’s it! The battles have been set up though I’m sure more will be planned once the others get there (which will be a while since the explosion witnessed by Rin’s group was the one that separated Madeline and the others). I wanted to add more heartbreak, more pain to the characters though I think the Black Order got the blunt end of it.
If you need clarification, here you go:
Belial versus Jacques/Gabrielle
Eny versus Amaterasu
Flames/Blade (once he somehow gets freed) versus Michael
Lyra versus Magier
Madeline versus Uriel
Stephanie versus “Stephanie”
I hope you enjoyed it.
Last edited by rhapsody blue; September 28, 2007 at 08:56 PM.
Re: Chapter Eighty-Seven: Like Lambs Led to the Slaughter
I have absolutely no idea how the exorcists want to escape from there alive. Hm~~ no wait, I have an idea
Muhahahahaha. Maybe I will write the escape from the exorcists in my next chapter. I HAVE SUCH A WONDERFUL IDEA <333
But now to your chapter. It is, as you said, really, really long but I do not think that any suspense is getting lost or that it's boring. It's exactly the opposite. The battles are really well done and the scene with Amaterasu is as cruel as awesome. Did he really do what I...expect he did?!
yes, he f'ed her up the last chapter i wrote and yes, it was bloody because it was the first time. have you seen the music video for "like the first time" by lifehouse? that's what the red symbolizes ^^
credit to the amazing GrayFoxx for this amazing sig ^.~