Arc 2: Chapter 35: The Return To Basics

Being teleported over a long distance does take a toll on the body, especially if the person performing the teleportation is almost at his limit of how far he could teleport someone.

Hence, the first thing Abgere feels upon arriving at Kesley is nausea and a really painful headache.

Abgere: “Damn!”

He curses the pain as he falls to the ground holding his head, yet to realize that he is on a searing battlefield prepared for war.

And as he has not realized that, how could he have possibly realized that this battlefield is where he would get the answer to his biggest question – who is he?

A man who can use some Psychic abilities but is not a Psychic, some Ghostly abilities but is not a Ghost, some Vampiric abilities but is not a Vampire, and so on. He also has a mission given by himself to himself of exterminating all the Hellfires and the Phoenix.

Adding all of that information up, what is the result?

What exactly does he end up being?

The legends had many great and widely popular figures. There was a God, a Devil, an overseer, a legendary sorceress, and so on. And if one of the legends are to be believed, all of these legendary figures would have been reincarnated for this war.

There would be someone just like that God, and someone just like that Devil, someone just like that overseer, and someone just like that Sorceress.

But, he can’t picture himself being any of them.

So, does he even have a place in this war?

Or, is he just some plankton trying to disrupt the plans the God, Ozyllus, spent aeons working on? And why is he doing so without having much reason to disrupt them?

Abgere: “Why now!?”

He yells at himself.

He yells at himself for thinking about such nonsensical things right now.

He is in the middle of a war, the battles are starting to heat up, and the ground on which they are to be held has already been heated up, so how can he possibly waste time thinking such pointless things?

Who is he? Who in the world cares who is he?

Abgere: “Ugh!”

So, trying to recover from his headache and his nausea slowly lessening as well, he stands himself up again, finally seeing the rubble he is on.

The rubbles with pieces of advertisements or graffiti on them and the broken roadsigns that somehow survived being blown away by getting stuck in the rubble, all of these things tell him that he is in Kesley.

However, the city doesn’t even look like a fraction of what it used to be.

Somewhere far away in the distance, the skyscrapers and the well-known economical hub still seems to flicker but here where he is right now, only burning rocks remain.

Abgere: “Eh!”

And just then, his instinct screams at him that he should prepare himself, that something he needs to prepare himself for is about to happen. And as his stomach churns with that excitement and anxiety towards the unknown future, his nausea comes resurfacing, making him fall to his knees and spill his guts out.

Having someone vomiting on a chunk of dark, seared rocks is certainly not a pretty sight. In fact, it’s a horrible sight.

The only reason he himself does not become more nauseous just by looking at it is that no one is that disgusted with their own filth.

And yet,

Abgere: “W-what the hell am I doing!?”

Anyone can be disgusted by their own weakness.

Abgere: “Why am I wasting time like this!? I need to … need to …”

Just then, crouching down and cursing himself, the anomaly of a supernatural sees from the corner of his eyes – many pairs of shining golden boots in the distance.

It is like in the middle of the darkening night and the unholy ground, a dozen miniature suns have risen.

And as his vision slowly starts to clear, the distraction helping calm his nausea too, he notices the ones wearing those boots are also wearing a modernized version of the knightly armours and helms, all golden. 

Everything that isn’t golden on their body is covered in darkness, the shine from their gold the only thing that is visible.

Abgere: “If … If I am right about this,”

He had heard about them. He had not much business with them but being attached to the world of supernaturals and knowing about all the races unlike the ordinary members of the lower echelons of Vermilion, there was no way he would not have known who these armour-clad, monstrously powerful, ghostly figures are.

Abgere: “T-the Spectres!”

The Spectres, the strongest army in the world, the ones who many bet could take down Vermilion if they tried to – are standing there. 

No, actually, they are marching on.

They are marching on in a direction as if they have a clear destination in mind.

And he realizes, the direction they are going in, that is the direction his final target should be at. That is the direction Vermilion’s base tower should be at.

And realizing this, for a couple of moments, he remains dumbstruck, and after that,

Abgere: “Ha! Ha! … Ha!”

He asks the Spectres from afar a question they would not be able to hear,

Abgere: “Are you people going to kill him, or help him?”

He asks them so, and stands himself up, no trace of nausea or anxiety anymore but replaced with something darker, something more personal and something more destructive.

Abgere: “Are you people going to be my allies, or my enemies?”

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Ross: “You people are such morons, right? Right? RIGHT?”

The annoying-psycho-freak says deridingly as he stands in front of the underground path, blocking our way.

Ross: “Though I guess it’s not just you people. Chang Lu and Ms Laurie Brown are both morons too, right? Right? RIG-”

Ethan: “Has someone ever told you how annoying you are?”

Cutting him off, Ethan says with a bored expression.

Ethan: “You know annoyance cause stress and stress piling over and over leads to extreme stress, which sometimes leads to people doing crimes, or something stupid like that, maybe suicide even.”

Ross: “…?”

Ethan: “Doesn’t that indirectly make you a murderer? After all, you were the one who started the cycle by annoying people.”

Well, you are one to talk! All you are doing right now is trying to annoy him back.

Ross: “Well, looks like the rumours weren’t wrong. You are a pain in the ass human being, Ethan Kales.”

Yeah, thanks for noticing!

Ethan: “I would rather not associate myself with your ass but I like the ‘pain’ part.”

Ross: “Eh, whatever!”

With his lips twisted up in disgust, he shifts his gaze from Ethan to me,

Ross: “I am more interested in that guy anyway.”

Ethan: “Oh! You are breaking my heart!”

With a click of his tongue, Ross says,

Ross: “I am told that this guy is a big deal, that the Phoenix spent a lot of time and effort trying to bring him into our organization and now the entire supernatural world is in an uproar because he formed a third faction, one that opposes all of the involved parties.”

Well, I am flattered.

Ross: “I wanted to see what all the fuss is about. I can’t say I am impressed though. It seems to me like you can’t do shit on your own.”

Kais: “…”

Ross: “Still, want to make sure of it myself or I won’t be satisfied.”

Kais: “Is that why you are so adamantly blocking our path?”

Right as we entered the shrine, we headed to the treasury, only to be stopped by all of us sensing (and Ethan seeing) the presence of this guy near the gate leading to the underground where the treasury is supposed to be.

However,

Ross: “Oh, I have no problem with letting you guys go do whatever you want to do, I just want to do what I want to do.”

Shrivelling with excitement like he was the first time we saw him, Ross Green smiles menacingly and points his finger straight at me.

Ross: “I want to see what you are made of.”

What I am made of, huh?

Gabriel: “You sure about that, Ross? Aren’t you disobeying orders?”

Ross: “The only order given to us is to kill Abgere. And if the pipsqueak or Ms I-only-care-about-the-job do it in place of me, it doesn’t make any difference. We all still get the reward.”

Gabriel: “The reward, huh?”

As he repeats the words ‘the reward’, it seems like he is unconvinced of something. But,

Ethan: “Well, that’s quite convenient for us, I guess.”

With a deadpan face, he turns to me and says as if ordering an underling,

Ethan: “Take care of this guy!”

Well, I was prepared to but your attitude makes me want to not do it.

Kais: “You sure, if I am not around-”

Ethan: “I know.”

With an uncomfortable smirk, Ethan turns back to the treasury.

Ethan: “I know, but it doesn’t look like forcing our way through a Psychic as powerful as this will be very efficient.”

Well, if you are talking about efficient, then you mocking people is certainly not efficient either. But, I get it.

If he knows, and if he still thinks there’s no other choice, then that’s that.

Kais: “Alright then, go ahead.”

I say and turn to Ross, who steps away from the treasury with a smirk, allowing the other three to go on ahead.

Before leaving though,

Gabriel: “He’s pretty hard to beat. Be careful and don’t let him tire you out!”

Kais: “If you want to give me advice, say something other than the very two sentences I already know about him.”

Gabriel: “Hah! I am afraid I don’t know much about his fighting technique either. All I know is second-hand information too.”

Gabriel then turns to the treasury but Ethan whispers to me,

Ethan: “Well, do you play role-playing games?”

Kais: “I have tried a few, I guess.”

Ethan: “Then, in their terms, his attack stat is almost the same as you but his defence is ridiculously high.”

Kais: “…”

Ethan: “In everything aside from his defence, he doesn’t seem to be any stronger than you, but with that kind of defence, he is almost invincible.”

And with that, he turns and leaves and the other two follow suit.

And with that, I am left to face the man who was cunning, or rather, cautious enough to realize that we would try to come to the shrine and hence had previously visited it so he could directly teleport here if the situation called for it. 

A man, who with his cautiousness, was able to even outspeed the fastest Hellfire who Sona is fighting outside.

Kais: “Damn this deja vu.”

*******************************

Sona: “A spear?”

She makes a dumbfounded expression as she sees the little Psychic conjure up what looks like a 12th-century spear.

Chang Lu: “Yeah, I feel comfortable fighting with them is all.”

Regardless of what he says, sees him trying to handle a spear larger than his size is certainly jarring. Can he even stand straight with that in his hand, one may come to wonder.

But, 

Chang Lu: “Now then, ready to dance?”

He yells with excitement and jumps up into the air, with the spear that he was struggling to handle just a moment ago now kept as straight as any trained spearman can keep it, and targetted right where Sona is standing.

It’s not hard to dodge for her. Not all all.

She dodges with much ease in fact.

But, seeing the impact the spear makes when hitting the ground is what makes her gape her mouth open.

Sona: “I am not surprised that you are using Psychic to control that spear but exactly how much energy are you putting into that thing?!”

The impact of the spear caused the large pebbles at the ground to be shattered and become mud and the after-impact sent the mud flying, forming a small crater in the ground. The force that would be required to do so is certainly not something a child could handle, especially with a weapon bigger than his size. So, everything that happened must have happened because of the Psychic energy he put into it.

In which case,

Sona: “What kind of idiot would put that much energy into a blow that was so easy to dodge?”

Chang Lu: “Oh my, oh my, oh my, why are you getting all worked up if your opponent is the one who did something ‘stupid’?”

Sona: “Tsk!”

Chang Lu mocks her words as if they hold no value. But, to Sona, and to anyone else who would have seen it, this waste of energy would certainly be considered inconceivable.

And yet, Chang Lu seems to be about to laugh at the confusion on Sona’s face. 

Realizing that comprehending what’s going through his mind is not something she would be able to do very easily, she steels herself again and sends the best Spirit she has to rival an opponent that uses too much strength.

Sona: “Sagzear!”

Calling out to the Vampire-child-like Spirit, who is almost as short as his opponent holding a spear, she says with a calm but aggressive voice,

Sona: “Keep your guard up against him! And with that being said, go freaking destroy him!”

Sagzear, with his orders being clear, pounces on Chang Lu, who dodges the same way Sona dodged his attack earlier. 

However, Sagzear’s blow, that ends up landing on the ground doesn’t cause any craters to form. And while one may think that it means he’s less powerful than Chang Lu, and that could certainly be the case, the fact remains that the crater wasn’t formed because the Spirit had something else in mind.

Chang Lu: “What the-”

The Hellfire struggles to keep his balance as the pebbles on the ground erupt upon him, following the impact line of Sagzear’s punch.

Clearly, the Spirit’s technique is far more efficient and effective than the mindless power play of the Hellfire.

Or so one would think.

Chang Lu: “Is that all you got?”

He says, unimpressed, as all the pebbles flying at him are cut to pieces by a second spear, one that he formed in the fraction of a second he got before the pebbles hit his face.

This second spear, much shorter than the previous one, seems to be a suitable weapon choice for him. 

But,

Chang Lu: “Oh my, oh my, oh my, you guys seem to be underestimating me a bit, or, a lot.”

Sending a walloping amount of Psychic energy in the spear, the short spear’s length is increased to 1.5 times of what the first spear is, and before anyone gets a chance to react to that, Chang Lu flies with that spear aimed straight at Sagzear’s abdomen and with no chance of him possibly dodging.

Sona: “Shit!”

She curses as her Spirit is dragged to the wall at almost the speed of sound with a sharp spear sticking out of his abdomen.

Chang Lu: “What say you now?”

He asks with a grin,

Chang Lu: “Still think I am an easy catch just because my spears are bigger than me?”

Excitedly, mockingly, angrily and at the same time, condescendingly, Chang Lu asks the question he himself has just answered. And so, 

Sona: “Well, certainly not.”

The Spirit-user replies with an unnerving calmness. 

And in just the next second, Sagzear wings his hand down like a chop, shattering the long spear, making the conjured item disappear into the thin air and using the momentum to land a blow at Chang Lu’s abdomen. 

Fortunately for the Hellfire, he is fast. Really fast. Fast enough to be able to dodge the blow that would have thrown him into the last century.

Sona: “And now that you have oh-so-graciously hurt my Spirit to make me realize that, I think it’s time I make you realize not to underestimate ME!”

While burning with the rage that once struck fear in the heart of a legendary Dragon, her bloodshot eyes threaten Chang Lu with hostility encapturing the air around them.

Chang Lu: “Y-you …”

Speechless by how just her emotions have so easily overpowered the surroundings, the Hellfire tries to step back, only to realize that running away is not at all an option.

Sona: “Going somewhere?!”

The Spirit that was once sticking to the wall after having been injured by his spear now is standing behind him. And just as he notices, he is made aware that it isn’t an illusion either as his teeth come flying out and his body gallops through the air with his cheek reddening by a blow from a brick-like hand.

Not given the luxury to land and get back up though, his back is broken in mid-air by a Spirit that jumps faster than his own blow sends his victim away.

Being slumped with a painfully jaw-breaking impact on the ground, Chang Lu barely dodges the next hit that was aimed at the bones of his neck, which may have just finished him off.

Using the dodge to run and run until he hit a wall and there’s no place left to run back to, Chang Lu breathes with ragged breaths, horrified of the monstrous aura around the Spirit-user as well as her Spirit.

Sona: “Well, that was a good enough trailer, right?”

She says so with a raging calmness.

Sona: “Now, for the actual fight, let’s send my speedster out.”

Her speedster? So that wasn’t even her fastest Spirit and it could still break his bones? The massively powerful Vampire-like Spirit and her so-called speedster are now going to combine their forces to gang up on him.

Chang Lu: “Oh my, oh my … oh my, t-that’d be … terrible!”

No way can he stand against that!

And so, in the next second, no, in the next millisecond, as if all the energy stored in his body existed for just that millisecond, Chang Lu rushes up to Sona, leaving Sagzear and her unable to move an inch, and does what he needs to do to stop her.

A Spirit-user does two things to summon a Spirit.

They yell the name and if it is bound with an enchantment then yell that too. And they use their hands to position where exactly the Spirit is to be summoned.

In which case, if she doesn’t have her hands, then she can be stopped, right?

She won’t be able to summon any other Spirits, would she?

Following that line of logic, a pale and lean hand flies off into the air and the sounds of cracking comes from the other one.

Sona: “Agh! AAAAAGGGGHHHH!!!”

The Spirit-user loses both her hands, rendering her incapable of summoning any Spirits whatsoever.

*******************************

Having been abandoned by the entire third faction, members of Heise struggle to get the upper hand on the Vermilion members, especially the Volcanoes.

Li Wei, their leader, curses his own stupidity for trusting in them and trying to run off with them earlier, as that has caused him to lose some influence among his members too.

A double defeat, one could say.

Yet, for what it’s worth, he hasn’t given up, and neither has any other member of Heise.

And so, as he goes head-to-head with a Volcano and overpowers him alongside breaking his arms, Li Wei asks,

Li Wei: “Why are you people here anyway? Fighting us like this will only cause harm to you. You don’t have anything to gain here.”

The Volcano, crying in pain, as he hears those words, retorts,

Volcano: “Nothing to gain, you fucking kidding me, jackass? We all get promoted if we succeed in this mission.”

Li Wei: “What!?”

Volcano: “If those three are able to do their job, they’ll become the new Phoenix. And with them as Phoenix, every member here will be promoted a rank. You still think there was nothing to gain-AAAAHHH!!!”

With his crushed hand twisted even more, he shuts up, giving Li Wei the time to wrap his head around what he has heard.

Li Wei: “T-that means the Phoenix is …”

If it really is true that the three, by completing the mission of killing Abgere, will become Phoenix. Then, the current Phoenix would probably retire. 

And if that happens, if the politically most powerful and overall second most powerful human being in the entire world steps down and retires, the supernatural world will be thrown into chaos.

Everything will go out of balance.

The political standings, the financial standings, the respect and the fear, with the man commanding all of it with his overwhelming strength gone, all of it will be up for grabs.

And then, just maybe, a chance for the Vampire Kingdom to make a striking blow that would turn the tables and give them the advantage might come along as well.

But, more than anything else, it will be utter chaos and bloodshed.

It will be a disaster.

And so, considering all of it, for the first time in a long time considering how much Reid Vezalius Rosevelt means to the world, Li Wei stands in shock, not realizing until it’s too late for him to react to the incoming blow by the charging Volcano.

However, fortunately for him, a different Volcano enters the fray, throwing the one attacking him off course and then kicking another Volcano into the ground, standing over her and giving a dramatical bow after a dramatical entrance.

Seeing that Volcano, Li Wei realizes who it is.

Li Wei: “Angela Holystone!?”

Angela: “Good job remembering me, Li Wei!”

She says with a smirk, and right then, out of hiding come many Aurals, all belonging to the one faction that stands against Heise as their centuries-old rivals.

Li Wei: “You people!”

There’s no way he couldn’t have recognized. After all, the face of your biggest rival is quite hard to forget.

Li Wei: “Eshin!”

Eshin Mir, the leader of the Aural group Baise, stands in front of him with a smug face as his Aurals overpower the distracted Heise members as well as the members of Vermilion.

Eshin: “It’s been a while, hasn’t it, old friend?”

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