Trilogy Two: Part 50 - Reunion of Eight
Chapter 50: Reunion of Eight
William rushed down the corridors to the cell A-20. He didn’t bother with the commotion inside any of the other cells; he knew exactly which cell he wanted to go to. This time, Falgahadjir wasn’t going to block the door. This time, he knew that there was nothing to stop him…except the lock. Will rushed up to the door and looked at the lock on the door: the small metal lock from before.
“Nothing will stop me.”
Will kicked the lock, but nothing happened. He attempted to freeze it using his own magic power, but it seemed to melt the ice away. Will brought out a dagger of his own and slashed at it, but the lock was also enchanted; it took almost no damage.
Someone was coming. Will turned and threw the dagger at whatever entity was coming. The dagger soared down the hall, and then bounced off light energy. Will blinked and called down the hall.
“Be not afraid, it’s only me, Philly.”
Will’s expression turned to one of defense. He searched his pockets for a weapon, but he found none. All he had left was wit and magic prowess.
“Stay back or I will defend myself!”
Philly’s shadow got closer and closer. Inside his hand, a small ringing.
“I have this key…on it are the some figures. I trust you to know what the key is used for and I doubt you are truly working for Leonardo.”
Will dropped his arms from his fighting stance and waited for Philly to catch up with him. Philly outstretched his hand with the key in it.
“Take it, general.”
Will took the key shakily and frowned as he turned to the door.
“You’re not here to finish off another general?”
Philly shook his head and continued on down the hallway to the other exit.
“No, I can see the inside of your soul and your vague intentions. You are not fighting for him, any longer. For what reasons, I am not sure, but…there you go.”
Spiro followed close behind Philly as he left to return back to where Forte was previously. That left William with the key to cell A-20; the real key.
Krefja lunged to the ceiling and clawed, but Archie dodged out of the way. From the center of the cell block, Darius Maxilo Reaper cackled heartily.
“How does it feel to be attacked by your own sister, Hughes?”
Darius had forced Krefja into Archie’s cell. Confused and berserk with the need to feed, the ‘gluttony’ unit of the apocalypse heartily attacked Archie as Darius laughed at the ongoing scene. Archie struggled, but responded.
“…I detest it.”
Krefja continued to lunge at wherever Archie moved. Archie didn’t use anything to stop her from attacking; he didn’t want to deal any damage. As such, he restrained himself from using any powers, including his use of metal webbing. Travis shouted out to Darius.
“If you were going to do something like that, why didn’t you let me in there?! Let her attack me, instead!”
Reaper chuckled and crossed his arms.
“I couldn’t do that. You just might snap her out of it, and that’s something I won’t allow.”
The lock fell off; Reaper heard the lock fall off of the door and he turned his head only half-towards the door.
The door was thrown open. On the other side was none other than William White; his arm was healing as he worked his flesh-molding on himself.
“Huh, what do you think you’re doing in here, Darius?”
Darius frowned and kept his arms crossed as he turned full towards Will. All of the apocalypse units turned to watch. Krefja continued to attack Archie as the scene unfolded.
“Just following orders from Leonardo. ‘Have fun,’ he told me. The secondary order was to exterminate one of the apocalypse units.”
Will’s eyes opened wide.
“You…you didn’t try to do that, did you?”
Darius nodded his head as his expression went cold and blank.
“Leonardo told me…that if one of them died, that all of them might as well be dead.”
William clenched his fists and gritted his teeth.
“What kind of a monster did I make? Darius, you know better than to follow an order from Leonardo. You follow my orders and mine alone!”
Darius took off the long black hat he wore and threw it aside to reveal his thin black head of hair. He opened his cold eyes and shook his head once again.
“I follow orders I want to follow.”
Will brought his hands up into his fighting stance and glared at Reaper.
“How can you want to do something like this? It’s sick. I used to do things like this, but not anymore. I’ve realized how wrong it is to do things like that for no reason, so why haven’t you recognized it, yourself?”
Maxilo Reaper went into a stance similar to Will’s. Will had taught Reaper how to battle using simple fighting techniques in White Ghost style combat. Reaper frowned slightly; as he did so, the air around William became colder.
“It’s because I couldn’t escape death. And I suppose nobody could, but that’s no reason he had to come directly after me. Eleven lightning strikes, shot twice, poisoned once, almost drowned, fell off a cliff, backed up on by a car, the list goes on.”
William began to shiver as the cold around him increased. It wasn’t a natural cold, it was a simulated cold. It was created by Reaper’s uncontrollable emotions. It was how William created him: the depressed and cold emotions he poured into his work were now facing him, like a reminder of the pain he endured. Reaper nodded his head as he stared at Will shivering.
“And since I couldn’t escape death, neither will you.”
Reaper advanced on Will, slowly. His stance didn’t waver. The closer he moved, the colder it became in the room. It became emotionally cold in the room; Will could feel flashes of fearful images enter his mind. A world where Krefja died hundreds of times and he had to watch. A world where his body was constantly tormented by deep chills and pain. This new world where he could hear screams ripped from throats and he stood in the center of it all; unable to block out the blinding sound. His fighting stance was thrown down by the cold and the shadow. Will was trapped in a vortex of nightmare; his eyes went blank and he stood still.
Without warning, Reaper blew away the cold and shadowy images with a roundhouse kick to the head. Will took the blow and his entire body swayed to the left. He felt pain go through his system, and then the shadows returned and engulfed him once more. Then Reaper punched him in the face. Again, the nightmares flew away to allow a glimpse of pain, only to return again seconds later. Reaper spoke.
“You’re weak, master. You taught me this shadow magic and now you don’t even know how to counter attack.”
Reaper walked up to Will and looked him directly in the face. His voice remained the same volume, but his words changed in meaning.
“And you wonder why you’re always worried about defending…her…”
Will’s eyes looked into Darius’s desolate eyes. His own eyes widened and his mouth quivered in fear.
“…n-no…I’m n-not afraid…”
Reaper nodded and pointed down the hall to the cell that Krefja was attacking Archie from.
“She was captured while you slept, master. Do you know how much blame that puts on you? Do you have any idea how weak that makes you? It really shows you how much you’re truly prepared for.”
As if to prove a point, Reaper grabbed Will’s throat with both hands and clutched tightly. Will’s fears and anxiety flew away to feel the pain of being choked off of his feet. Will felt the cold again, it gripped at him and made his attacks impossible.
“What’s wrong, Will? I thought this hold was easy to escape from.”
William’s eyes looked to the door behind him. Having been in a cell per day, he recognized the console…and the master release button. He looked back at Reaper as his breath lessened. He smiled; Reaper’s grip got harder.
“What’s so funny, master? Something particularly hilarious about your imminent death in front of Krefja?”
Will opened his mouth and blew a rush of hot steam at Reaper’s face. Darius let go and flailed back; the cold lessened in the room. Will backed up to the console and shook his head.
“No, it’s just that…it’s funny. Every day, I looked into my mirror in my office. And every time I got this feeling: this feeling that it was always my ally that I should be afraid of.”
Will slammed a hand on the “master release” button. As soon as he did, the cell bars in the center of each cell widened enough to let the person inside escape. Quick on the uptake, Marcus jumped out and nailed Maxilo Reaper down with punch from three feet above his height. Reaper fell immediately onto his head and went unconscious from the blow.
The other apocalypse units got out of their respective cells, quickly. Torren got out and instantly jumped for joy at being out. Marcus turned and went over to Travis’s cell. Travis was inside in disbelief.
“Come on, ‘dad’, we’re over here celebrating and you ain’t moving. Get up and hurry the hell up.”
Travis eventually cracked a smile and got up. Tears rolled down from his eyes and he rushed over to Marcus as he beckoned him out. Kristy rushed out of her cell and instantly got her objective in mind to hug Travis. She gave him an embrace like a tackle and held him close. Travis chuckled and hugged her back, lightly.
“Hey, ya did well.”
Kristy was crying, too.
“I can’t believe I’m still okay. I really tried hard, Travis, I really did.”
Travis nodded as she let go of him. He smiled and wiped his tears away.
“And you did well, you did incredibly well.”
Marcus tapped Travis’s shoulder from behind.
“Hey, Travis, we’ve got a problem on our hands.”
Travis swung around and looked over to the scene unfolding inside Archie’s cell. Karasu moved over to the cell bars and looked inside. Her expression was genuinely worried. Travis got closer to the bars and looked inside as Archie struggled to get away from Krefja a little bit longer. He coughed and eventually shook his head as he moved.
“I can’t…do this, anymore.”
Archie’s back legs reverted into his spine and he rushed out of the cell bars. Krefja roared and lunged after him, but she touched webbing. She growled and screeched as she pulled herself off of the webbing. Archie walked over to the back wall of the dungeon and coughed a little as he caught his breath. Karasu quickly walked over to Archie and put her hand on his shoulder.
“Are you okay?”
Archie nodded and turned back to the bars.
“I…shall be fine. Thank you for asking.”
Karasu nodded and turned back to Krefja, who was growling in the cell. She seemed to stay in one spot, ready to attack if anyone entered. Occasionally, she’d let out a cry of pain, from the mutations that have occurred too long for the mind to continue. Marcus nudged Travis.
“Come on, man, what do we do?”
Travis stared at the scene unfolding behind him and closed his eyes.
“I don’t know…”
Travis walked up to the bars and spoke softly.
“Krefja? Krefja, can you understand me?”
Krefja lunged at the bars and hooked her mutated claws onto the bars. She tried to claw at Travis from behind the bars, but failed. The more she failed, the more her expression turned to a furious sorrow; angry and in a type of anguish from lack of blood.
“I need your blood! I need your blood!”
Travis reached into his jacket, but found no knife inside.
“They searched me and took my weapons…great. I was about to give her some of my blood.”
Karasu turned to Travis and crossed her arms.
“Well, if you give her too much, she might pass out, or even die, from overwhelming pain.”
Travis nodded and turned back to Karasu.
“Yes, but it’s a risk we have to take at this point. Look at her; she doesn’t understand a word I’m saying. She’s not crying and yelling because of the sacrifice I’m willing to make, here; she’s crying because I’m not in there to be eaten.”
From behind the crowd, Will’s voice came out.
“Move! Come on, move! Move out of the way!”
Will shoved Marcus and Travis out of the way so he could get a look inside of the cage. As soon as he saw what was going on, he gasped in fear.
“…she…she’s not okay.”
Travis shook his head when a type of silence came over William.
“No, she’s not, Will. She hasn’t been for a while, now, but she did her best to hang on, trust me.”
Will could only stare at Krefja inside. He got closer to the bars. When he did, she clawed at him. He took a step back and his face became one of anxiety.
“…they didn’t feed her? They kept her alive, but they tortured her like that?”
None of the apocalypse units said anything back to Will. The questions were rhetorical and pointless, and they all knew it. Will frowned and wiped a tear that was coming down from his eye.
“No, I’ve come this far and I’m not giving up on her, not without trying. Archie, put the web down.”
Archie turned from where he was and zipped up his jacket collar.
“You heard me; put down the web.”
Torren rushed up from behind Will and clutched his shoulder.
“Whoa, whoa, whoa, Will. Now, hold on. If you go in there, she’ll kill you. Come on, let’s think this through.”
William turned around and grabbed Torren’s collar with both hands.
“There’s nothing to think through, Torren! She’s hungry and if she eats, she’ll heal! That’s basic biology!”
Torren’s eyes went down to the floor and he became quiet. William let go of Torren and turned back to Archie. Archie folded his fingers together.
“…so…you’ll give her yourself…as…food?”
Archie tilted his head slightly.
“Understand…if you die…it won’t matter if she’s healed, because she won’t live without you.”
Will nodded and frowned slightly.
“I know that, Archie. Don’t worry, I’m not about to die, I’m just going to go in there and help her. Now…let me go in there, Archie; she’s been tortured long enough!”
Will got close to the webbing that Archie put up. Inside, Krefja seemed about to pounce, but Will blurred slightly as he snapped a finger; a gesture that made Krefja back up slightly from simple attack instinct. Archie nodded and let Will inside the cell. Will walked inside and circled around the cell with Krefja for a few moments. She growled and waited out for her attack; her animalistic senses took over and she saw only food in front of her. Will eventually stopped moving and stood still.
“Krefja. It’s me, Will. Don’t you remember me?”
Krefja growled and cried in pain once more. She prepared her position for attack. Will looked down slightly and let out a small, painful chuckle.
“…well…it was worth a shot…”
Will began a slow walk towards Krefja and focused on her movements. Immediately, she lunged at him and aimed to bite at his neck; the attack area of most predators. She lightly spread her wings to speed up. William blurred and backed up as he outstretched his arm, purposefully in front of his neck so she could reach it.
Her fangs bit down, hard. Will cried slightly, but bit down so no more sound would exit. Will fell back against the wall as she began to devour his arm. She thrust a claw into his chest to pin him in place. The other claw she used to help tear off meat from his arm. He didn’t move. He tried to bypass the pain and worked his flesh molding. He pulled out a vial from his robe pockets as Krefja was caught up in attacking him and drank it. His arm regenerated as Krefja ate it; blood and all nerves re-attached.
But the pain didn’t end. Will drank another vial as he slipped down against the wall, but struggled to keep himself up. Krefja was eating his arm as it regenerated from thin air, and the pain from the nerve endings continued as they came back. It didn’t seem like she was stopping, but she did slow, almost unnoticeably.
Will smiled as she did so; he reached into his robe and pulled out the last vial inside.
Will drank it and worked his necromancy for the remainder that it would last. As he did so, he spoke to Krefja in a soft voice.
“…you know, Krefja…I was always afraid I’d do something stupid. And I did…I did something really dumb, and look what it’s done to you…”
Krefja seemed to slow in her devouring. As she slowed, it seemed his magic was running out; the arm stopped regenerating. Will continued to talk.
“…I couldn’t protect you…and I remember…you said that it didn’t matter what kind of idiot mistake I made, because you’d be there to wait for me…and you always were.”
Krefja’s eyes seemed to change to an alternate shade from the demonic black they portrayed as she stopped eating at Will’s upper arm. She stared at the carnage imposed on Will with an open mouth; blood dripped down onto Will’s robes.
Will coughed; his coughs were followed by tattered gasps for air.
“…you always were, Krefja…you always believed in me…and…I always told you that things would be fine…and guess what?”
Krefja shuddered as she looked at Will. She stared at the pain inflicted on him and her eyes went wide as she recognized what she’d done. Will kept going.
“…things are okay. Things are just…fine…now.”
Krefja looked up at Will’s face and became struck silent. Her breaths wavered and she took her claw out of his chest, slowly.
“…W-Will? Oh…oh no, Will, no!”
Krefja began to cry uncontrollably and lowered her head as she cried out. Will frowned slightly as he felt the blood leaving him through his severed left arm. He held onto his eyesight and his life as he struggled to put his right arm on Krefja’s shoulder.
Krefja kept crying and put her hands on her face as she cried.
“…I attacked you…I let it get you, Will…”
Will tried to raise his voice so it would be louder. He groaned slightly as tried to lightly shake Krefja’s shoulder.
“…Krefja, don’t…don’t do that. Krefja, stop it, stop it now.”
Krefja hiccupped and looked up at Will. He kept frowning and didn’t have the strength to move his arm off of Krefja’s shoulder.
“…don’t cry. You look so much more…beautiful…when you’re not crying.”
Krefja felt the tears coming on again and she buried her face into Will’s chest, put her arms around his neck and pulled him close.
“Oh, Will! Why did you have to do this?! Why?”
“…don’t ask me why…you know I couldn’t help myself.”
Krefja shook her head and kept crying.
“You’re not supposed to kill yourself to save me, Will! That doesn’t solve anything!”
Will’s head fell on Krefja’s shoulder. His eyes closed and his back slumped against the wall. Krefja stopped breathing.
Krefja let go of William and moved back to look in his face; his eyes had shut and his breathing had been slowing down.
“Will! Will, come on!”
The others outside of the cage could feel the breath in their throats nearly freeze in place. Travis looked on with wide eyes and little to say while Archie left the room. Karasu watched with a genuine look of worry and anxiety as Torren crossed his fingers. Kristy watched with both hands over her mouth; disbelieving. Marcus could feel his hands slowly clenching as Krefja sobbed and put her hand to William’s neck. Her trembling hand rose to his face as more tears left her eyes.
Two seconds passed. Krefja felt the tears come and her breath became heavy. She fell onto Will’s chest once more and cried heavily into him as she shook her head. For the moment, her fear had materialized.
Then, slowly, his eyes opened and he smiled slightly as he coughed again.
“…I’m sorry, Krefja…I’m just feeling a little tired, is all…it… it feels good, to sleep.”
Krefja felt herself gasp involuntarily. She pulled back from his chest and looked into his eyes. She quickly frowned and shook her head, drastically, as she tried to hold in more tears.
“No, no, don’t sleep, Will! Don’t sleep! Stay awake! Hold on for me, okay? We’ll get you help!”
Will smiled and shook his head.
“I…can’t stay awake much longer…I’m trying…but…Krefja, I-”
Krefja put her other hand over his mouth and shook her head.
“Shh! Don’t talk, don’t say anything, Will!”
Krefja swung her head around to the apocalypse units.
“Can somebody get a damn doctor?! Come on, he’s dying over here!”
Travis rushed into the cell and took off his jacket. He wrapped a sleeve around Will’s severed arm and tied it together. He spoke as he did.
“Archie already went for Scott; he’s on the planet, apparently.”
“And apparently on time, as well.”
All eyes turned to the hallway as a white blur flashed into existence next to Travis. When the blur focused, it was Scott White. Archie rushed into the room several seconds later, panting. Kristy immediately ran over and hugged Archie, next.
“Thank God you made it back on time, Archie!”
“…no, thank Scott for making it back…I’m not the one performing the surgery.”
Scott immediately kneeled down and injected Will with a fresh syringe. Scott then gestured for Will to open his mouth, wide. He spoke quickly as he searched his jacket.
“Hey, Will, you have to use necromancy and make your arm back. After that, you’ll be fine until we get you out of here.”
Scott took out a vial and poured the contents down Will’s mouth. Will almost choked, but Scott made sure the liquid got down before he began to cough. It took a few seconds, but after the liquid took effect, Will could feel some extra energy enter his system. He nodded to Scott and immediately re-formed his arm, using the potent liquid Scott had injected into his blood.
Scott then turned to Krefja, who was looking onto the scene in worry.
“Is he going to be okay? He seemed on the verge of death.”
Scott blinked and took out another vial.
“The question is if you’re going to be okay. Drink this.”
Scott thrust the vial into Krefja’s hands. She blinked and looked back up to Scott.
“What is this? I have enough blood in my system, if that’s what you’re implying.”
“I know; that’s what I’m afraid of. Your system hasn’t had the blood in it for very long, but small changes are occurring to remove that arm on your head and the fangs piercing your lips. If you don’t stabilize and slow your functions, then the mutations will occur too quickly and your body could give in to death from pain or trauma.”
Krefja blinked and spent no extra time in downing the vial of reddish liquid. Krefja felt a soothing sensation of relieved pain, to a degree. The changes had been occurring, but they were now slowed. They had also been slightly ignored in favor of helping Will live. Scott got up and quickly walked away from the scene.
“I’m done here. I’ve left a vial in Will’s robe pocket. Inside is a nutrient vial; he will need it so his body’s blood will be potent again, otherwise he’ll suffer the deep chill.”
Krefja looked up to Scott and smiled.
“Thank you, Scott, for everything.”
Scott showed a small grin and rushed away. Marcus watched him go, and then turned back to Will as the energy potion wore off.
“So, uh…I guess moving would be out of the question for a while, then?”
Will nodded and smiled, softly.
“I don’t want to go anywhere. Right now, I just want to be here…”
Krefja looked over to Will and smiled. She moved over to him and sat next to him, close. She let her head rest on his shoulder and he put his arm around her shoulder; holding her. She smiled and looked down to the floor.
“Don’t ever talk like you’re going to die, Will; you know how much it scares me.”
Will chuckled and smiled slightly.
“…I know…I’m sorry, Krefja…I won’t do it again.”