Chapter 2: Ajal; Vagril 4th, 343SR; 22:40

”Re-entering the atmosphere in five, four, three, two… commencing reentry, ” the pilot Enma announced.

The dropship rocked back and forth as it entered Imperions atmosphere, a glass of wine on the table rattled as the ship descended to the planet. The curve of Imperion slowly became flat as the dropship descended towards a dense storm of clouds with concrete buildings protruding out of it.

”We are approaching Solron, home sweet home… What are your orders Ajal? ” Enma asked.

The rumbling faded and the hum of the thrusters returned. Ajal took hold of the thin handle under the round glass of wine, he brought the glass close, a sweet smell filled his nose. Upon taking a sip his mouth was rushed by a tangy bitter taste that would make anyone who hadn tasted worse cringe, however, it relieved him from the stress. The large man gulped down the rest of the wine, then put the empty glass down and let out a sigh.

”Its been a long day… ” said Ajal as he pulled the zipper on his collar down.

Ajal reached for a small clip with a grey earphone connected to it in on the counter, detached the earphone from the clip, and fitted it into his ear. Then he attached the other part of the device to the collar on his uniform.

The dropship approached the city of Solron, an overpopulated urban jungle with concrete buildings that reached higher than the clouds. It was filled to the top with smog and fumes emitted from rampant amounts of polluted factories deep in the heart of the city.

”Put me down at your old apartment, I have a clear line down the street to the church from there, ” Ajal requested.

Enma turned the wheel and the entire ship shifted sideways. They traveled over the buildings silently, flashes poked out of the clouds. Enma lowered the dropship on top of one of the tall buildings, then reached for a green button which lit up as they got close.

”Don land, its just me getting off here, ” Ajal stood and pulled his mantle over his shoulders.

Enma wore a black vest and pants, the standard uniform within the Imperial military, it provided durability and mobility. Over his shoulders was an Imperial mantle, a white cape with a collar made from the fur of an arctic wolf. Ajal noticed Enma sweating profusely and his orange eyes quivered, Hes known the archbishop his whole life… Ajal wondered, but he knew this had to be done.

”Ill give Anor your regards, ” Ajal told Enma.

”Just because I learned from him doesn mean I started caring for the scumbag! ” Enma replied angrily.

”My bad… ” Ajal didn expect that response.

Enma froze as he looked at him, his eyes wide, ”don apologize… ”

Ajal stood up and walked towards the door.

”Hey… Wait, ” said Enma.

Hmm? Enma stood there with his head down, it seemed like he wanted to say something, Ajal just stared at him.

”Look, I… sorry, nevermind me, ” Enma stuttered, a look of concern still on his face.

e unusually tense… ” Ajal commented.

Enmas eyes were hidden behind his red bangs, and his normally excited and confident expression was replaced with one of anxious concern. His fists were clenched tight, but Ajal knew why he was like this. Killing the archbishops will change this world for good…

”Itll all be over after this, Ill shoulder the burden if its too much, ” Ajal assured.

Ajal grabbed the smooth silver handle and pulled the sliding door to the right, entering a small corridor. There were two rooms on each side, and a door leading to a small armory on the ship. Ajals black hair just barely touched the ceiling, he was used to it though having always been tall. He passed by the first room on the left, the door was held slightly ajar.

Ajal looked in to see a blue-haired woman with a large black book in her hands, she held her head low, and her blue hair covered her eyes. Ajal was about to open the door but reconsidered, This mission might be taking a lot on Aria too, she never did like fighting, no… This wasn just fighting… Ajal felt a sliver of regret creep over him.

The room adjacent to Aria was occupied by Kadyr, the door was left ajar as per usual and Kadyr was sitting down on the floor with his legs crossed, most likely in meditation.

Kadyrs skin was clad in brown fur, he was a member of a hybrid clan, the druid beasts of Junipus. The claws of his thumb and index finger touched as he meditated, his breaths rhythmic before he grunted and he rested his head in his palm. Ajal didn want to disturb him, but after he stepped passed the room he noticed a mask in front of Kadyr. The smooth silver mask resembled the head of a wolf, I never really see him without the mask anymore. Ajal didn pay it much mind and continued through the hall to the next two rooms, on the left a black-haired girl was in tears being comforted by a girl with white hair and blue eyes.

Konos taking this mission hard as well, Crystal seems more composed, but thats to be expected… Was it wrong of me to send them to assassinate Kiros? Ajal looked to the other room, on the right a clean white bed, and on the left a green-haired man sitting on a desk, he wiped blood off of the long edge of his katana.

Gale was a keen swordsman Ajal had known for a long time, he was tall and lanky, and his appearance commonly misled his enemies to think he was weak. His green hair was messy and his bangs covered his eyes, but even so, he sees everything on the battlefield. The warriors of Bree were capable of reading the wind.

”Are you heading out soon? ” The green-haired man asked Ajal while he focused on the green blade.

The curved katana was at least six feet in length with a long green handle, the guard shining gold with a curving design that was meant to resemble a cloud. Ajal walked into the room while he analyzed the ancient sword,

”Yeah. Everyone seems tense, its only natural though, we
e taking steps towards a better future for Imperion, anyone would be anxious, ” Ajal responded.

”Yeah… ” Gale replied.

Gale picked up the sword and angled the edge towards the ceiling, he analyzed the reflection of his green eyes in the steel. He almost looked disappointed, but for a reason Ajal didn understand. He stood and turned towards Ajal as he rested the katana on his shoulder.

”Don cut the ceiling, ” Ajal mocked.

Gales green eyes scanned the length of his blade, he smiled as he laughed internally.

”Heh, yeah well I think I should, that way your big head won hit it, ” Gale replied.

”I can walk in can I? Guess your senses are dull if you think Im hitting my head on the ceiling, ” Ajal teased as he turned and walked back towards the corridor. ”Before I go I just- wanted to ask… How many people were guarding the Senator of Bree? ” Ajal asked, his tone shifted to a more serious one.

”Four… don hesitate, ” Gale uttered as he closed the door.

Ajal looked down, his eyes filled with guilt as he clenched his fist. I won , he thought before he turned right and entered the armory. The armory was much wider, open, and well lit, multiple tools lined the room. Weaponry no one onboard used were securely placed around the left and right walls. A hatch on the other end which served as the ships entrance and exit was wide open towards the moon. Titan sat by the hatch, and Ava stood on the ledge of the ship as she gazed at the full moon, a cool breeze swept into the room and the air was fresh.

Titan wore his hood as per usual, he sat with his arms crossed, a silver halberd resting on his shoulder. Titan was a reserved fellow who usually kept to himself, Ajal had known him the longest out of everyone. Similar to Kadyr, he always wore his mask, a trend amongst the citizens of Junipus.

Ava had purple hair tied back in a ponytail, her small nose and soft lips gave her a cute appearance. However, she was an experienced fighter, standing at about six feet, her shoulders broad and her legs especially long. She leaned against the wall very close to the edge, as if the risk of falling didn exist.

Ajal took a step forward down a small set of steps before he noticed a blue light that glowed from the floor. He looked down to see a young boy with blue eyes and hair on the steps, a dragon manifested from bolts of energy coiled around his right arm.

Ryu, Ava, and Aria were ethereals born in Braxus. Ryu was a young boy, only 10 years old, he had short blue hair and over his left eye was a scar he received during training. Coiled along his arm was the tail of a dragon formed from blue bolts of his energy, the snake-like dragon sat upright in his palm and bared its fangs at the little boy.

”Ryu if you
e nervous, Antiri will be too, ” Ajal said.

Ryus head jolted as he heard Ajal, his worried expression turned worse and he turned his head back at the dragon who glared back at him.

”Im sorry! ” Ryu muttered under his breath.

The small dragon tightened its long tail around Ryus arm, it kept its head low, and sharp teeth grit. Ryu winced at the pain from the dragon tightening its tail, and it disappeared into thin air. Ryu didn look up at Ajal, he continued to hold his head down. Ajal crouched next to him and patted his fluffy head of blue hair.

”Don be upset if you didn get it this time, just try again when you
e feeling better, ” Ajal told Ryu. ”Practice makes perfect after all. ”

He ruffled Ryus soft hair before he stood and walked towards the hatch. Titan stood and walked past Ajal with his halberd in hand.

”Good luck, ” Titan said as Ajal passed by.

”Not like I need it, ” Ajal assured the armored man with a smirk.

He walked up to Ava who stood at the edge of the ship with her back against the wall.

”You seem like you
e in a good mood for someone whos been killing world leaders, ” Ava said.

Ajal stepped up to the ledge right next to her and looked down, they were directly above the square roof of the building, surrounded by white clouds which obscured the streets below. Ajal looked up and stared at the bright white moon.

”Everyone is on edge, ” Ajal said.

Avas eyes widened slightly when she heard Ajal say this.

”I didn consider how anxious this might make you all, the imperials will rule over Imperion after the Archbishop dies. The era of serving false prophets will end, ” Ajal explained.

Ava said nothing, instead, she reached out and held his hand.

”Everything we did, and everything we will do… its for the future, our future. We all know this and we don need to burden it alone… Peace requires sacrifice, ” Ava replied.

She took Ajals other hand, their hair both waved from the strong winds from outside, their white capes flapped in the wind, Ajal looked forward towards the bright moon.

”Im going to change that, peace should require bonds. All of us got along great even though we
e from separate clans, we became family, we fought together, became stronger, and here we are paving way for the future, ” Ajal said as he turned to Ava.

Her purple eyes gazed deeply into Ajals as he held her close and kissed her soft lips, his heart pumped faster as they embraced. Ava wrapped her arms around his waist and pulled him forward without letting go before she raised her hands and pushed him away.

”Finish the job, then we can have fun, ” she stepped back with an innocent smile on her face.

Ajal smiled before letting go of her hands, he took a step backward off of the drop ship and fell towards the building. He landed knee first with a large thud, he stood without any issue, but felt his heart beating heavily from earlier, I will end the tyranny tonight, and bring peace to this accursed world…

The large blue rectangular ship slowly turned, a label #78-MC Imperial Dragoon was written along the side. The thrusters roared and propelled the ship forwards, the sound of the thrusters soon disappeared as the dropship flew off to the east into the abyss of clouds in the direction of the church. Ajal approached a stairwell that led down the building, he clicked the device on his collar as he made his way over. The device emitted a see-through blue hologram that appeared in front of him and showed a grid with the numbers zero to nine. If I recall correctly the church number was 6-0262, Ajal pressed the keys in front of him while he walked down the dirty stairs far enough that the sound of wind wouldn be heard, the scent of urine and dirty water stung Ajals nose as he walked down the stairwell.

”Hello? ” Ajal heard a brittle old mans voice from the earphone, Ajal clicked a button on his collar.

”Good evening Archbishop, I was just calling to confirm if youd be attending the ceremony in Braxus tomorrow? ” Ajal talked into the device on his collar with fake enthusiasm.

While the device simultaneously displayed a map of the city on the hologram, a red dot pulsed on the hologram.

”Ah, Ajal, I don get calls from someone as renowned as you very often. Yes yes, don worry Ill attend. How are Shin and Enma doing? I haven seen them since they left Solron, ” The Archbishop said over the phone.

Ajal continued down the stairwell.

e good, they haven changed much, that might be for the worse though considering Enma, ” Ajal laughed.

”Oh that hot-headed boy will never change. ” the archbishop chuckled.

Hot-headed… he definitely didn seem that way earlier.

”Yeah hes quite the character isn he, ” Ajal replied.

”Who else will attend the ceremony? ” the archbishop asked.

Ajal approached an elevator and clicked the button with an arrow that pointed upwards.

”Every clan representative will be attending, ” Ajal answered.

He put one finger on the blue hologram and turned the map, changing the display from the top view to a side view of the city, the red dot which had appeared was now near the bottom of the display, while Ajals position was much higher.

”Anyways, I just wanted to confirm your attendance so we can organize the banquet. Have a great night Anor, Ill see you tomorrow, ” Ajal concluded the conversation as he pressed the button for the tenth floor.

”You too my friend, oh, and we won be forgetting the tributes for Ra, our city requires prosperity after all, ” Anor chuckled heavily before he coughed raggedly.

Ajals stomach turned at that last line, Ill show you a sacrifice. Ajal glared up at a panel in the elevator which displayed the current floor number, the number was currently at forty. Ajal clicked a button on his collar and it reopened the number pad, he punched in a set of numbers before waiting for an answer.

”Im listening, ” Gale picked up.

”I have the archbishops signal, hes in the church. Im heading in, inform everyone to be ready, you
e moving in as soon as Ryu takes out the lights, Ajal ordered.

”Got it, ” Gale responded quickly.

Ajal stopped at the tenth floor and exited the elevator, he turned and walked down a pathway that led to a balcony.

”That old bastard, hes planning on tributing more innocent people, ” Ajal said into the device as he walked down the hall.

”Well… Thats what we
e here for, to end him, ” Gale said, as the elevator stopped at the twenty-fourth floor.

”Yeah, I will, ” Ajal clicked the device on his collar to end the call.

Ajal exited the hallway and took a left into a lobby that was used as a lounge. The tables reflected the light which came from outside, an array of colors reflected brighter off of the table the closer they were to the window, a dark path between the tables led to a door. He walked across the room to a glass door that led outside. This place brings back good memories, this is where I first met Shin and Enma, Ajal reminisced.

The snow fell into the abyss of the city, the tops of buildings reached above the clouds, and the base of the buildings was hidden under the fog of the city below. The annoying buzz from hover car engines could be heard as they zipped by for miles in every direction, lights from the buildings reflected off of the snow and filled the fog with vibrant colors, the air reeked of sewage and tar.

The tall man stood over the edge of the balcony of the building, he stepped forward to see over it, the city streets were obscured. He saw nothing other than the lights in the fog and the occasional hover car zoom by quickly, the fog of Solron even made it difficult to see a short distance ahead of him.

Ajal brought his knee to the floor and placed his hand just over the snow-covered ledge. Dark Passage, he thought the words, and a black mark appeared on the spot where he placed his hand, Ajal stood up and clicked the device on his collar.

”Its time. Tell Ryu to kill the lights, ” Ajal ordered.

”Affirmative, ” Gale responded back over the radio.

Ajal looked into the sky as he watched a bright blue light flash through the city, the lights all slowly began to turn off. The abyss of bright colors reflected on the snow was now just a grey abyss of white flakes and darkness. The hum of electrical circuits came to a stop.

Ajal looked through the clouds of smoke in front of him, the roads below which split the buildings in front of him made it the perfect path. Ajal stepped off the edge of the building, descending to the streets below. As he fell he picked up speed, soaring through the sky towards the streets below. The wind pressed against his body as he fell feet first through the abyss of fog.

Ajals hair whipped back in forth in every direction, he put his arms to his side and began to dive at full speed head first. A vertical line split the middle of his forehead and his skin pulled to the sides to reveal his purple third eye. Ajal listened to his cape flail in the wind, the strong gusts made him feel relaxed rather than tense. He didn see the ground, only the fog a short distance away. As the dark ground became visible, all of his eyes opened and flashed purple, his entire body became enveloped in a black and white aura as he collided with the ground. But instead of crashing into it, he slipped right through and appeared at the mark made at the balcony of the building he last stood over.

The momentum from the fall propelled Ajal through the air in between the buildings, he soared horizontally and slowly descended towards his destination. As he got closer to his destination, he stretched out his hand and his third eye flashed purple once more. A black shadow began spilling out of Ajals palm and formed into a pole, Ajal clutched it while he flew through the air and held the pole above his head, it manifested into a black scythe. Ajal raised it before he swung the scythe down through the air, the fog split to the sides in front of Ajal, and the wall in front of him was cleaved in two, the inside of the church had been exposed.

Chunks of the building smashed down around him. Ajal landed feet first on the ground of the street below, the white snow had piled up quite a lot as it submerged most of Ajals boot, his feet shivered when he felt the cold snow, and the air was riddled with the pungent smell of the sewer.

Ajal walked through the opening he made and stepped onto the red carpet in the nave of the church, the snow off his boots left a wet trail on the carpet. Multiple followers of the church all around him were already in a panic from the crash, they cowered in fear at the sight of the eight-foot man with three eyes walking through the smoke. Ajal closed his third eye and walked through the citizens and up the stairs towards an old man.

Anor had wrinkled skin, with long messy grey hair and saggy eyes, he wore tattered grey robes. The wrinkled old man reached for his staff, while he struggled to his feet, all the while shocked at the sight of the person he had just spoken to a few minutes earlier.

”Good evening Anor, ” Ajal greeted him with a confident smile.

He approached the man in white robes with his scythe in hand. The civilians attempted to run through the opening however Ajals team cornered the followers at the entrance.

”What is the meaning of this, we just spoke Ajal! ” the archbishop cried.

”Peace, thats the meaning, ” Ajal replied with a cold smile.

”You call this peace? Desecrating my temple! Ra will have your head! ” Ajal lifted his scythe and Anor cowered.

”Ra and I are good friends, I don see him taking my head. I can see why he would care about your temple though. A temple in the darkest depths of the city is praising the sun? No one is that stupid, the people of Imperion don need middlemen between Ra or any of the gods and goddesses, your temple is merely a façade for your own profit. These people will pray to Ra, not your foolish sub- ”

”I am an asset to the Imperial higher-ups! ” Anor screamed out, interrupting Ajal.

He stood up and raised his hands in the air as he tried to reason.

”Shin will be the next king! What do you think he will do when he finds out about this! ” Anor cried.

Ajal continued to hold the scythe at the old mans neck, he raised his scythe and the man looked down.

”Shin wanted me to kill you, ” Ajal revealed, the old mans expression sank.

”Lia- ” Anor tried to speak, but Ajal sliced his neck with great speed.

The body of the old man fell onto its side, his head dropped onto the floor with a thud and rolled to the side. After a short delay smoke began rising from the lifeless corpse, forming into a ball which began to glow yellow as more of the smoke collected. The ball of light in front of Ajal shone brightly, its beautiful radiance illuminated the room riddled with destruction.

As all of the light collected, it cracked like glass and crumbled into the air. Under where the ball of light once illuminated, lay the corpse of the archbishop. A cold breeze from outside scraped over Ajals skin, and his scythe vanished. He turned and walked away, content with the idea that he and his friends would never have to take another life again.

”Don let the followers leave yet. Word of what happened here can get out, not yet, ” Ajal ordered.

He clicked the device on his collar.

”Shin, its over, ” Ajal said.

”Excellent, ” A voice replied.

Ajal waited for several seconds, after many seconds had passed he was somewhat confused, he clicked the device again.

”Further orders? What do we do with the followers? ” Ajal spoke into the device, ”Shin? ” Ajal asked once more but heard no response.

Screams suddenly filled the room, Ajal quickly looked over his shoulder to see the source of the noise, he watched in shock as his team slaughtered the captive followers at the front of the church. What… Ajal froze in place. Gale stabbed his blade through a young man, the blood dropped onto Gales white cape, and splattered onto the red carpet and walls, the man tried to reach for the blade but Gale tore it out of the man. The old man fell to the ground helpless as he slowly passed, reaching for his family in his final moments. Ajal remained speechless, questioning if what he was seeing was real.

”Hey, what the hell are you- ” Ajal was cut off as Aria clapped her hands together.

A circle of light surrounded the dying mans family, it erupted with a vaporizing light from the floor which engulfed and burned the bodies of several people. Arias bangs still covered her eyes as the family screamed in pain, their weak cries croaking from their charred corpse.

Enma grabbed two children who tried to run and flew to the top of the room Stop… Enma… Don – Ajal watched in disbelief as Enma let them go from that height, the bodies of the two young children spun slowly in the air, screaming louder as their descent sped up with every passing second. Ajals eyes lit up.

”No! ” Ajal roared.

He ran forward to save the children, but he noticed Enma change course towards him as he dashed to catch them. I can save them! Ajal jumped upward and caught the first child and held her close, as soon as he hit the ground he rolled and took a short breath. Then immediately lunged for the next child.

Enma dived in and angled his feet towards Ajal, his shoes engulfed themselves in a red flame and slammed into Ajal. Ajal shielded the girl and blocked his feet. As Enmas foot connected, the force of his kick launched flame forwards, burning Ajal as he blocked the physical impact, Ajal tried his best to shield the girl but her face got burned and she shrieked in pain. Ajals arm stung from the impact of Enmas kick, and his arm continued to burn at the touch of the flames. Enmas wings began to grow and propelled him forward adding more force to his kick, Ajals feet left the floor and he flew backward through the church.

Ajals back slammed into the wall and crashed right through it, he fell into a dark room at the back of the church, coughing in pain. Ajal looked up to see specs of dust flying in the light from the room he was just in, the specs became brighter and hotter. Flames from his clothes had spread to the junk around the room, Dark abyss! Ajals third eye opened and let out a wave that surrounded him and the burning little girl with a field that sapped the color from everything it passed over, the flames went out as the wave covered them.

Ajal looked down to see if the girl was okay, she had blonde hair, white skin, and was only a toddler, her expression looked horrified while she was unconscious from the burn. The flames burned the sleeve on her right arm, and her face was scarred from her neck to the right cheek but she was still alive.

Shes okay… shes okay… the other- Ajal looked through the hole in the wall to see a mangled body on the ground, the childs legs took the brunt of the impact from the way the femur was stuck out of his thigh. The little boys body oozed blood from various places, one arm had bent backward, and his face was beyond recognition. He lifted up the body of the small girl, Ajal took off his cape and wrapped it around her, and left her in the room inside of a box, before he stepped out of the hole in the wall to confront his friends.

Bodies littered the floor, men, women, and even children, all lay lifeless at the front of the church, as the light began rising from all of their bodies. Ajal looked down at the remains of the child who fell, and just like the others, particles of light rose from his body before they collected into a ball of light, and dissipated into the air. Ajals expression remained cold before he looked up at his squad and tried to raise a smile.

”I was hoping this would be the last time I saw this. I never told any of you this before, but this eye of mine can see what really happens before someone dies, ” Ajal explained as he pointed his thumb at his forehead.

Titan pulled his silver halberd out of a corpse and whipped the blood off of it before he took a stance.

”Their souls drift off and disappear into nothing. Thats it. Why would anyone want to do this? Why would I want to do this? I wanted this to be the end… Why would you do this… The archbishop was dead, there was no need to kill the followers, ” Ajal asked calmly.

His smile faded and he reached forward into the air as his third eye flashed, the scythe manifested out of his palm. I feel sick… Ajal thought back to the people who died because of him specifically. Do I have any right to question them… None of them replied, they just slowly spread out to cut off any escape route for Ajal to take.

”So Im also a target huh, ” Ajal gripped his scythe and readied himself to fight, however, his hand was shaking at the thought of fighting them.

Titan ran forward and leaped into the air, he closed the distance quickly despite his size and swung his halberd down, Ajal raised his scythe and parried the blow, Titan fell backward, Ajal quickly spun his scythe in his hand and repositioned for another strike before he cleaved upwards Spirit Ignition! Titan quickly guarded but the force from Ajals strike knocked the large man off his feet.

Ajal spun his scythe around to follow up but Gale dashed from under the airborne Titan and swung his katana forward, the two clashed. Gale kicked Ajal back as Titan crashed into the ground and Enma flew forward. Gale and Ava are the best at spirit arts, I need to watch out for them! Ajal slammed his foot down and lunged at Gale, but he felt another kick to his left which sent him to the other side of the church. Before he hit the ground he flipped in mid-air and recovered quickly, his feet dragged against the wooden floor, Enma floated where he just was.

A sudden roar caught his attention as Ryus dragon Antiri grew to a towering size, she let out a thunderous roar as sparks of blue lightning acted as its scales. Shit he thought as the dragon flew towards him. He attempted to jump but felt a sharp pain stab his right knee and ankle which stopped his escape, he looked down to see two knives stuck deep into his right thigh. Those are Konos knives! he didn have time to take it out as he looked up to see the dragon reared its head, Ajal couldn move his right leg.

The snake-like dragon lunged forward, rather than take the hit Ajals third eye opened and flashed. Dark abyss! the wave expanded outwards out of Ajals third eye. As the wave touched Antiri, the dragon disappeared and revealed Ryu, the young ethereal who summoned it. The little boy tumbled forward from the inside of the dragon only to get knocked out by a quick strike from the back of Ajals scythe, Even Ryu is coming at me for the kill… Ajal looked down at his thigh and pulled the two knives out, he winced at the sharp pain.

Kono is hitting me from my blind spots he looked around the room. I can see Ava- He turned to see Gale sprint towards him and swing his sword at him. Ajal redirected Gales strike, spun his scythe, and swung again to disarm him. Ajal grabbed his scythe with both hands and raised it to strike, before he could hit him he felt a chill down his spine. He remembered the time he spent with Gale growing up, and he turned his scythe, hitting him with the blunt end of the staff. Gale got launched to the side but swiped at Ajal with a short dagger, Ajal dodged backward but a thick purple tail coiled around his neck in the midst of his jump. What the! Ajal thought as he got yanked off his feet and was upside down in the air. The long purple tail suspended Ajal in the air, to his horror he saw that it was Ava who had grabbed him.

Ava released his neck and he fell towards her, Ajal couldn dodge as Ava jumped into the air. She spun and flung her leg towards his head, he focused his spirit into his arms to block the kick but his arm stung, he couldn brace the impact and was launched into the wall. Ajal crashed to the ground and he fell onto his stomach, a white and black aura enveloped his body and he disappeared into the shadows Ava… Even you… You… Ajal recalled all the time they had bonded together, it was the most heart-wrenching.

The inside of the shadow was nothing but darkness, it could only be left through shadows in the real world, all around Ajal were cracked rifts in the darkness, these were all shadows he could exit the shadow from. Itd be best if I got away… Ajal looked for a shadow that led out of the church but heard footsteps approach behind him. Shit! Ajal never once thought this technique would be used against him. I taught Kono how to he turned to see her charge at him through the darkness. He raised his hands to block but instead, she tackled him with all her weight and pushed him out of the shadow.

Shit! Ajal didn have time to think as he was immediately struck by Avas kick again. Ajal felt his skull crack and his neck whip to the left. He was launched through the air and he rolled into the middle of the church, crashing into several chairs along the way. Ajal grasped his head, it stung from the kick but his attention was drawn to an indigo-colored light that glowed at the front of the church.

Ajal looked up to see Kadyr at the back of the room with his hands on the floor, Thats Akaras Idol! Ajal stood up quickly, numb from the pain. A black aura surrounded his body as he prepared to engage Kadyr, when he tried to move, his legs did not. Instead, they felt colder than they did outside.

Ajal looked down and noticed the entire ground around him was frozen, and his feet were stuck in the ice, he looked up to see Crystal with her left hand that glowed with a white light on the floor, a trail of ice led from her arm to his feet. Ajal then heard rapid and heavy steps against the ice as he turned to see Gale charge in with his katana, and Titan with his halberd, I have to get out of the ice!

Ajal raised his scythe to smash the ground but he felt something pull his scythe backward, he turned to see Ava behind him, her tail held his scythe back Shit… Gale stepped on Titans halberd, and Titan swung him forward, Gale flew through the room towards Ajal.

I can dodge… Gales katana pierced straight through his abdomen, the blade exited Ajals back, staining the white cape red. Ajal had no time to register the pain as Gale tackled him with his shoulder which broke him out of the ice and knocked him backward. Gale stood and ripped his blade out of him.

Ajal gritted his teeth from the pain, he held his wound tightly, warm blood flowed out of him and leaked past his hands, he felt blood spill through his closed mouth and he coughed out an ample amount. Breathing was hard, each inhale was difficult, he exhaled more blood than air. His vision was hazy but three sources of light began to brighten the entire room. Gale raised his blade once more to stab him, Dark Abyss! The black and white wave passed over Gale and his sword vanished. Gales eyes lit up as Ajal launched up off the ground from on his back, and slammed his fist into his chest.

”Ack! ” Gale coughed, he was launched off his feet.

Ajal breathed in and out as he looked up at the source of the light, he was torn on his decision to hold back on that punch. Aria had a glowing circle of light behind her shining with a radiant white light, Enma put his right foot forward which ignited into a bright red flame, growing brighter as he prepared to launch a devastating attack. Kadyr stood under Akaras Idol, a large statue depicting a man with six arms, three heads resembling those of wolves with blue sapphire gemstones for eyes. The beast glared down at Ajal, the middle head had its mouth fully open with an indigo light seeped out of its maw, growing brighter by the second. Ajal noticed movement in the corner of his eye and saw Titan hurling his halberd straight towards him. He barely had time to dodge the fatal blow by ducking and moving his head out the way just in time, the blade grazed his face and left a deep cut over his left eye.

”Ah! ” Ajal winced.

Ajal fell back once more clutching his face as more of his blood spilled over his hands, grunting in agony at the pain in his eye which spread through his face. He tried to stand but suddenly felt a kick to his back before he could understand his surroundings. Ah, damn this is frustrating! he thought as Ava delivered a series of kicks to his back, each amplified by spirit. He flew forward into the brown broken chairs. I can fight all of them at once… Ajal fell towards the wooden debris but suddenly stopped as he felt a knee hit the wound on his stomach, he opened his eyes to see Kono. Her face and body were covered in black armor that allowed flexibility and stealth, her eyes shook with hesitation.

Fight? Ajal thought as he stood in front of the girl he trained charging forward at him, Kono drew two knives from her belt with one hand and threw them at Ajals left leg, he anticipated an attack from Ava or Gale. Why am I fighting again…the Archbishop is dead. Ajal jumped high but not high enough, he held his eye, and his head was hazy from all the blood he had lost, a normal person wouldve been dead by now. Aria, Enma, and Kadyr were still charging their attacks, they intended to finish this with one final strike. I can win in this condition, I don know if that little girl will survive this blast, and they aren even saying anything to me… This is the worst… The three of them prepared to fire, Ajal landed and opened up the purple third eye began, it glowed brighter, Ajal felt a pressure welling up in his forehead. He looked forward with his left eye still throbbing with burning pain. I can at least save that one girl… thatd be enough for right now…

”Was it all a lie… None of you are even saying a word to me. Was all that time so insignificant that Im not even worth saying goodbye to! ” Ajal laughed and then grinned with a mad expression on his face as he huffed heavy breaths.

He looked Ava in the eyes, even though he couldn see her face. He struggled to see any of them except for Akaras Idol who gazed down on him. Its gaping maw produced a blinding indigo light. Blood covered his eyes, but even so, he could feel his tears fall.

”… I refuse to die… Not until I see the future I intended, ” Ajal uttered.

The third eye glowed brighter and brighter, its pressure rumbled through the room. Aria fired a white beam of light toward Ajal. Enma raised his right leg straight into the air and swung down releasing a focused wave of fire forward from his foot. Kadyrs statue released an incredibly large indigo beam from its mouth with a bone-chilling roar.

”Dark… Blast! ” Ajal roared.

Ajals third eye glowed a blinding light as it released a bright purple beam. The blasts collided and the energy exploded outwards creating a massive explosion that engulfed the church and the buildings that surrounded it in a burning inferno of heat. Ajal flew backward from the force of the blast, he flew through several buildings, his body slammed into multiple walls, his head crashed through wooden pillars, and then his shoulder through concrete walls. He eventually stopped as he rolled onto the pavement.

The ground was old and cracked, Ajal pushed himself up against the rugged concrete, he looked up and saw nothing but smoke, the sound of the remains of buildings crashing down all around could be heard deeper within the field of smoke, a collection of screams filled the air in response to the sudden chaos. Ajal could taste the asphalt in the air while it stung his nose and the wound on his eye. He struggled aimlessly through the smoke and debris, his jacket had been burned off and his pants singed from the heat, blood continued to leave his wounds as he struggled to walk through the smoke. He eventually came towards a large shadow on the asphalt, Ajal walked closer and noticed the white letters against a blue surface #78-MC Imperial Dragoon.

This is it! Ajal didn think twice and entered the dropship through the open entrance, he closed the door on his way in. He quickly made his way through the cramped corridor, however, he fell onto his knees in the middle of the hallway. He felt his throat fill as he coughed up even more blood.

Huh… Ajal looked at his stomach and saw a steady stream of blood spill.

His hand pressed against the cold yet smooth floor warmed by his blood, he tried to get up again but he fell back over. Im almost… Almost in the clear, come on! Ajal used all of his strength to reach the cockpit, he dragged his body onto the seat. Grabbed onto the edge of the table, flipped the power switch, and activated the engine of the ship. He pushed a knob forward and the ship started to rise upwards quickly.

”Ship… Activate autopilot, set course… the nearest- ”

Ajal coughed up even more blood and his vision became too blurry to see, the thrusters began to rumble as Ajals head swung groggily. He fell and knocked the already fallen wine glass from earlier off the table, and his hand slammed into the seat of the chair. What am I going do… When I wake up… If I even… Ajals arms gave out and he slammed onto the floor, the dropship soared into the air at a high speed and turned upwards in the direction of the nearest planet. Grelt.

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