He stared with a small grin at Finale. Despite Finale's tendencies, the pull he felt from staring was miniscule. In fact, he allowed it for a moment. He couldn't help but let a small smirk on his face.
And then, there was a flash of energy. Almost instantaneous. Finale would have felt it. It was very small, but passed the connection between the two navis.
It was silent. The hills were quiet, and even the trees were calm upon the night. It was covered with stars, and a full moon glowed faintly through the darkening clouds. The three guards standing outside the small home hidden inside a cluster of trees against a small hill waited quietly, searching the night for anything suspicious. The house was made of wood, bark and fall leaves, with the inside having brick and steel walls. The "cottage" was small, with a small living room with two couches. A dining room, with a table enough for 4 was to the left. Through the far northern wall, moving towards the hill was a small kitchen. It had a stove, a sink and several cupboards for dishes and food. Through there, a small hallway off in the back right led to two bedrooms. And a bookcase in the middle of the north side of the hall. One bedroom had a bed and dresser. The other, a new crib, made from solid oak, with white sheets and a small light with a ring hanging from an overhead branch. A bathroom separated the two bedrooms. As one went back into the hallway, the placement of the bookcase was strange. As it moved, it lead down a secret staircase, leading into the hill.
A silent shadow desired to find out what was below. It snuck through the house, detecting no one, as it moved quietly and quickly though the house. However, it seemed as if the house was abandoned. if it was so, why where there more guards guarding this spot? The silent figure wondered, using the shadows to make his way around. He avoided any light, including the moonlight within. It checked all of the rooms to find not a soul.
"It has to be here..."
The figure began looking at the books on the bookshelf. Books on magic, swordsmanship, crafting... Books on Navi's, books on AI and the net. Books on each of the countries, Gigamerica, Netopia, and Electopia. The figure reached out a hand and touched one of the books...
And felt the current of power rippling through them. Muttering under it's breath, a curse, the spell barrier placed was broken, and the bookshelf revealed the secret within... The figure sent a pulse signal telepathically.
It began walking down the stairs, quietly. The staircase was long, and the figure took it's time. It reached the bottom of the staircase, where there was a hallway dimly lit by flames of various colors. The closest flame was red. The figure then waited...
Until another cloaked figure showed up.
"So you've found it.."
There was a long pause, but then the first cloaked shadow nodded.
There was the sound of metal scraping, as the two figures withdrew 4 weapons.
However, the image began to fade. The moment in time began to slip away, slowly, fading to black. However, there was screaming. A woman was screaming loudly, painfully. The image was gone, the screaming silenced, followed by a single snarling sentence in a male voice:
"YOU WILL NOT TOUCH MY SON!"
Suddenly, Death Faltered for a moment. As the... whatever that was faded, his head began to pound furiously. He felt a fury that overwhelmed him, his smile, which had been replaced by confusion, now turned into a scowl. He looked at Finale, a rage in his eyes. He didn't care where the rage and anger came from. It consumed his focus... and that focus was on Finale
"What did you just do!?"
Without waiting for an answer, he jump-dashed forward, crimson energy flashing brightly, a tentacle of this energy surrounding Finale and squeezing him tightly. Another burst of this energy was in a sharp point, an inch from Finale's mystical eye. The crimson energy engulfed Death's form, heat beginning to pour off as the energy was so strong and furybound. It slammed Finale straight into the ground, and he pounced on Finale, black and red scythe against Finale's neck, hard enough to cut the surface, enough to just draw a single drop of blood from him. He looked down with a lustful fury.
"I'll kill you!"
However, before he could do anything, he felt a pulse in his chest, and in his forehead. The scythe vanished, and he gripped his head, a howl escaping his lips.
"darn it boy!"
The crimson energy began fading, as he let go of Finale, and began limping backwards.
"You can't... Keep me at bay... Forever..."
He tripped, and fell forward, gripping his head with his bony hands. He rolled over onto his back, staring up at the sky. With a roaring howl, there was a flash of black and crimson light. The ground shook at the raw release of energy, a current of dust kicked up in the immediate area. As the dust began to settle, a white and blue barrier with a single ring of crimson energy surrounded the form of a white and black haired navi. His gold eye opened and he immediately gripped his right eye in pain. He sat up, weakened, and dazed.
It was unto a dream. The memory boring into Finale's consciousness, much like Embera's earlier inception. It was as if a drill was spinning between her eyes, injecting cursed memories into her head.
Just what was this?
Finale awoke to find herself bound in slime and tendrils. Gripping so hard she couldn't move. While her Master's system could give her strength, she was already bound before a chance to retaliate. The tentacles came for her eye, an uncomfortable fact as her eye was a direct entrance to her core data. "Are you trying to raise the age rating- agggghhh" Finale gurgled.
Finale couldn't finish her sentence as death sliced into her neck, cropping open a carotid artery. As death pulled back his scythe, the single droplet of blood became a waterfall of data, spraying with extreme pressure everywhere, especially onto death's own body.
Moments passed, Finale's life slowly being drained. Her thoughts raced with things unfinished, things that needed to be done yet still. The thought of death without peace came to her. A single tear fell from her eye. She tried her best to crawl to her opponent, to try and end him while he was down, the least she could do for vengeance as the colorless world turned to black.
Finale couldn't make it. Just short of the boy covered in her blood, she fell limp. Darkness steamed from her body, keeping her alive, if just barely.
Having just enough energy to open her eyes, she looked into the eyes of her killer, limply, sadly. It was a look filled with regret and sadness. Finale would never get their rest.
encore: HOW DO I ADULT EGG, COLIN Colin: it kinda just happens eggs
Despite his dazed state, Merrill could tell the other navi was in pain. Without hesitation he slammed his hand on the ground, causing a sigil to appear on the ground. He pumped a tiny bit of energy into it, causing it to activate.
He appeared to attempt to heal Finale.
The burst of energy use didn’t help his disorientation. He tried to stand up, but took a step backwards, before falling to his knees.
”Not the situation I wanted to find myself in...”
He puked. Blood mixed in with the bile. Forcing himself back in control of the soulspace was extreme difficult, and took itms toll on his body.
”Are you serious?! What the heck did you do?”.
”I don’t know! But you forcing control doesn’t help ether of us, you idiot!”
He pushed his thoughts and mind against Merrill angrily. Merrill blocked him out, angrily. He could lose consciousness if he wasn’t careful... He looked at Finake through his one eye, still griping his head, waiting on his body to recover....
The grip Finale held on to Merrill's shoulders loosened as the healer stood. Limp flesh hit the ground. With a thud, the virus' heart stopped. Finale's mind did not.
In the moment of death, it was an eternity; An endless void as Finale's consciousness did not come to an end. Screaming and yelling and crying, Finale struggled to move against the void. Her body didn't respond. Her body was nothing. Her mind was nothing. What was once the Viral King, had become nothing. Yet, she was still awake.
For once, Finale knew the fear of death. Already dead.
*thu-thump* Merrill's pulse of energy made her heart beat again. Just once, for a moment. Finale squirmed, her eyes opening from reflex. She was awake once more, and then the darkness. [smear:#E77A22]Orange-yellow[/smear:#ebd159] ooze flowed from the cracked hollow that was her left eye.
The very last thing Finale saw, was the bile and blood from Merrill's mouth fall into the crevice. The colors swirled in; red, yellow, orange, green... mixing into some unholy mess.
The colors gathered together, seemingly of their own volition. In the empty space that was Finale's dead consciousness, an eye opened. A massive, vertical eye. It stretched from the bottom of Finale's universe to the top of the emptiness.
"Anacrusis..." The... foreign being that invaded Finale. The 1% bug that even Gate could not reforge. Not even the Viral Lord had true power over it, nor did she fully understand it. In Finale's world of Grey... there was a swirl of colors. The colors that all swirled together, entering Finale's dead mind.
Red, the color of data. [smear:#E77A22]Orange, yellow,[/smear:#ebd159] the color of the viral being that ran through Finale's 'body'. Green, the color of bile.
No - that was Heckentash Green. The color was warm, and bright. It was a friendly color. Color...
Color returned to Finale's world, although... it was as if she was staring at herself from inside. Her ribs began to crack. Each one opening up, as if unlocking a gate. Her body split down the middle.
Finale stood up, leaving her insides behind. Cold, bare data faced the world once again. Her body, covered in an amniotic fluid of teal colors. White Ash fell from her body. She was awake. She was alive. Her body-
Her corpse was shed, like a cocoon, or an insect molting its skin for the changing seasons. A bird, hatching from an egg. His new body-
Merrill was looking at himself. No.
Whatever stood up from what used to be Finale was something that shared both Finale's and Merrill's traits, but wasn't an exact copy. With Finale's height, stature and effeminacy, yet Merrill's hair, musculature, an eye, and accessories. Finale turned, the crevice of his evil eye staring at Merrill, standing over him.
Behind him, Finale's old corpse burned to ashes, the dust floating, gathering in the Viral's eye. With Merrill in his weakened state, he would be no match for the revived Finale. Finale placed a hand on Merrill's head.
As Finale's new hand touched Merrill's hair, they would feel the slight hum, before a burst of light appeared, keeping Finale from actually reaching him. His eyes shut, and his head went limp for a moment.
In his soulspace, Merrill's could feel Life's hand touching his shoulder. He felt her energy as she offered him strength, yet again. He felt the gently calm as energy started to restore his body from within. And then he saw the tax it took on her. Her breathing was labored, as this wasn't the first time she had already offered healing today. He aw her hand, burn wound not completely healed by Rosso from before. He looked at Finale.... No. Himself.
And suddenly, he was angry. Life was protecting him again. Time and time again, he was always being saved. Whilst he had failed to save anyone. Healer... Defender... Xylia... Feint... He had failed to protect or save any of them. Yet, here was another soul, another... being, who was bound inside him, trapped away for God knows what or why, protecting and defending him.
There was a flash of light, as the crimson-blue aura protecting him broke, slicing at Finale-Merrill.
He snarled, a sudden powerful burst of energy erupting around him. It was a white color, mixed with teal, yellow, blue, red, gold, crimson and black. He stood up, facing his look-a-like. In the soulpace, Merrill lifted Life's hand off of his shoulder.
"No. This time, you rest. Please."
He scowled. Looking at himself, he felt angry at his look. He looked... Weak. Defeated even. Death stared at him, curiously.
"What will you do, boy?"
The throaty voice echoed in his head.
Merrill dashed forward without hesitating, a red and black lance appearing in his hands. He thrust at Finale-Merrill rapidly, repeatedly striking at his own shoulders, throat, and wings. He stepped in close, thrusting forward again, letting go of the lance mid thrust, a pair of thin rapiers appearing. He wanted to slaughter the being before him. He wanted to strike it, hurt it, make it pay for it's failure. He gave no reprieve, stepping forward, quick on his feet, poking at his reflection's eyes, ears and elbows. As he did so, a pair of green and brown daggers appeared, striking at Finale-Merrill's underarms and hips. Energy that had been bustling about his body grew slightly with each successful strike. He jumped back, throwing his rapier's one at a time, and thrust his hand forward, the daggers darting towards any exposed point of Finale. He leaned forward, a mace handle appearing in his hands as he slammed downwards, the spiked ball crashing into the earth where Finale stood. He stood in a defensive position as his weapons all returned to him, hovering, and rotating around him. His massive two-hand claymore, Hope, appeared in his hands. The look in his eye was full of determination. He took several deep breaths, never leaving sight of his reflection.
He hated himself right now. And this... reflection gave him a reason to take out that fury. To prove a point.
"... Is that all you've got?"
Death stared at the boy from within his cage. A small smirk appeared as he watched intently. Weather the boy realized it or not, he had leaned on his power. He felt when the boy tugged on his spirit. Intentional or not, he was surprised, and excited by what he saw. Did the boy realize he had called to him, or not?
Merrill F opened his arms, accepting every strike.
His wings, thin and paper-like, were pierced, over and over again. He could feel his chest spurt green liquid, exploding under the piercing blades. He coughed up orange, his throat torn apart. When the mace finally struck, he simply let it happen. Merrill F was crushed underneath the force of the heavy steel ball, his chest caved in. Ribs puncturing lungs, breaths escaping him.
Merrill F was dead.
Finale, however, was still standing, a distance away from Merrill that was both non-threatening, and far enough that it would take Merrill at least a step forward to strike.
"Be healed." The dead essence of Merrill's copy splashed up, onto the Heckentash knight. The true Merrill would feel his essence slowly healed by his own forgotten power to heal, having forgotten it in violence.
"Do you feel better now? Having slain me twice in anger? Merrill, friend of Warrior? When he spoke of you, he had told of someone more peaceable. Perhaps I've got the wrong person after all."
Finale was in their original form, a small, Orange Barrier wrapping around him. In the skies above, the moon was blocked out by the silhouette of Death Rogumer.
It was still the same night as the invasion on Bayside, and yet Finale hadn't slept. He sighed. There was still more work to do.
"If you're willing to calm down and be reasonable, I am looking to talk. It is regarding a man with a flaming sword, who threatens our world's existence.
Merrill looked down at the mirror image of himself.
He turned and faced Finale, preparing for a fight. But instead, Finale healed him.
"I am confused..."
Both Death and Life were confused as well. Silence overcame them, as they listened to Finale speak.
As Finale Mentioned Warrior, guilt, anger and pain flashed across his face for a split-second. As Finale finished his comment, he responded.
"... Did Warrior tell you of his betrayal? Of what we stood for? Of what we fought for? That he betrayed himself.... And even killed the one he loved?"
Merrill lowered his guard. His weapons disappeared with little crystal of light as they faded away. He stepped closer to Finale, and ended up sitting on a rock a couple of feet away from Finale.
"... I am one who believes in peace. But I am not one who has or can bring it. I... I am not capable at all."
In the Soulspace Death looked towards Life with a curious look. Actually seeing the boy look weak and defeated was a mixture of pride and yet... horribly unsatisfying. He considered taking over, but Life looked at him, the slightest hint of something he had never seen on her face before. Aggression. She shook her head once. He just stared at her.
”Unfortunately, you are not wrong. I am well aware that I stand on the border between Light and Darkness. I have slowly fallen from the Light, fighting to stay within, fighting for peace and to defend those that need it. But I have done nothing but fail. And each time I get knocked down, I get knocked down harder and it makes it more difficult to get up.”
He walked forward, powering himself down until there was no energy radiating from him, and he stood two feet away from Finale.
”You aren’t wrong. However, you aren’t exactly right. I do not feel better. I do not know what to feel right now. Warrior was right, I have tried to be peaceful I have stove for peace, despite all the violence around me. The violence I have seen, and the violence I will have to face…”
Life and Death looked at each other. Despite the situation, and the fact that they don’t see eye to eye, they both agreed on one thing. The fight wasn’t over, not by a long shot. There would be more violence, more bloodshed.
”The swordsman, Rosso… He is very strong. Too strong for me, if I must be honest. His fire is chaotic and destructive. I stood no chance. I met him at the Neopean bug lake, by accident.”
He took a deep breath. The moon was fading, and dawn could be seen in the distance. He locked eyes with Finale once more.
”I apologize for attacking you so harshly. I am clearly not myself and am emotionally unstable right now. It’s no excuse for my actions, but I am sorry.”
He bowed to Finale, arms at his sides, head low.
”I don’t know if what Warrior told you is true. I don’t know if you know what Warrior has done. But… I’ll leave you to judge us both as you wish.”