PART 17 – A Brothers Sacrifice
“I still don’t understand how you know Anri is this way.” Gilford complained wrapping his cape around his neck and shoulders to keep him warm. Gilford, Asner, Avner, and a dozen Acriale soldiers walked along a main road about to head into Old Vegeran. They were just about to come out of the forest and dawn was breaking simultaneously. It was a beautiful view, but winters in Acriale and Old Vegeran were harsh and particularly cold in the mornings. “Avner is just gifted with the ability to always know.” Asner said. “But that makes no sense! Our tracker said she should have gone north to Youngstone, and now suddenly we’re going east, to Old Vegeran, this doesn’t make much sense to me.” Gilford began dragging his lance behind him; he was tired of carrying it normally. “Rockshann will have your head if she ever caught you dragging her lance around.” Avner laughed. “This isn’t fair, your weapons go away and appear on command, I have to drag this incredibly heavy lance with me everywhere now, I miss my sword.” Gilford wept. “All you’ve done is complain this whole trip Gilford, just give it a rest, we’ll take a break at the next town since we walked through the night.” Asner said. “Actually that does sound nice right about now.” Avner said as they reached the edge of the forest. And then a voice unfamiliar to the soldiers echoed from atop on of the trees, the voice of a demon.
“Many things sound nice right about now.” Clara comically said sinking her fangs into the skin of a pear. Her and Gell were sitting on a branch overseeing the entire platoon of Acriale soldiers. “Who are you?” Avner asked conjuring his sword and shield. “Me? I’m just a poor woman spread thin.” Clara said dramatically placing her hand on her forehead. A second later the two teleported to ground level and began slowly walking towards the platoon. All of the soldiers got the same feeling Jordan had, their spears shaking at the sight of her. “What do you mean by that? Answer our questions!” Gilford gripped his lance. “I’m spread so thin! My children aren’t even with me! When I came back to this world I thought things would have been much easier!” Clara teleported in between all of the soldiers, making the cowards noticeable, Gell just leaned against a tree and observed his mothers movements. Clara teleported again, this time in front of Avner, Asner, and Gilford. “One of my children is following around my future son, the other tracking one of the three important people in my life. And the man I loved is trapped in another dimension.” Asner conjured up his hand cannon and leveled it with Clara’s head. “I’m sorry but we have no time to spend on a lunatic like you. Will you move out of my way?” Asner had a serious look on his face. “Pulling your gun on her seems a bit extreme Asner.” Gilford said concerned. “She isn’t ordinary Gilford, can’t you just tell by her appearance? We didn’t bump into her by coincidence.” Clara laughed and licked her fangs. “Your very perceptive, but you weren’t that alert, just look what happens when you let an attractive demon distract you.” Clara pointed behind them, Gilford and Avner looked but Asner kept his eyes and hand cannon pointed at Clara. “What did you do you monster…” Avner barely managed to say.
Gell stood in the middle of a circle of corpses; all the soldiers that had travelled with the three had been killed. Each and every one of their heads had exploded, filling their helmets with guts and brain matter. Gell just stood there idle with his sleeves covered in blood. The factor that frightened the two the most was that Gell had done this undetected and silently. The two felt as if they were in extreme danger. Avner turned back around but Gilford remained staring at Gell, his lance now ready for combat. Everyone was silent. “So as you can see, you’re slightly outmatched. The girl you’re looking for, Anri Thayden, we’re looking for her too. She’s special to me, I need to kidnap her so eventually…” Asner shot her point blank in the head, like with Jordan; there was a metallic clang and no blood. Clara tilted her head as if she had just been slapped. Asner pulled his hand cannon away having no clue what had just happen. “Well it seems like your only into shooting, so we’ll just get right down to the entertainment of the morning.”
Clara teleported some distance away and Avner and Asner charged her as soon as they saw where she was. Gilford ran forward and stabbed at Gell, but he dodged it as if he was made out of rubber. Gilford continued his assault; he wouldn’t give Gell the chance to do anything. “I may not have known those men well, but they were still members of my kingdom! You will pay for their death!” Gell didn’t seem like he wanted to attack Gilford, he just dodged, and he made it look as easy as breathing. After several quick swings with such a heavy weapon Gilford was getting tired and had to slow himself, Gell would soon take advantage of Gilford’s slowed speed.
Avner stayed in Clara’s face swinging his sword as rapidly and unpredictably as he could, his large shield prevented Clara from directly attacking him. However, she was just toying with him. She would just easily push his strikes away and she would occasionally catch Avner’s swings, but he was wise enough to just dissipate his sword and conjure it elsewhere. Asner followed closely behind Avner’s lead, he would fire his hand cannon over one of Avner’s shoulders or under his arm, but much to his annoyance Clara was able to move her body so slightly that the bullet would miss every time. When Asner wasn’t shooting he would throw in a kick or two to aid in Avner’s attack. “You two are fun to play with, it’s been so long since I’ve been double teamed.” Clara said emphasizing the sexual innuendo. Avner stabbed at her chest making her teleport backwards. “My my my… The fastest way to my heart isn’t with a sword darling.” Avner and Asner stood at the ready. “Draw your sword and fight us like a true warrior.” Asner demanded aiming his hand cannon at her. “You mean my toys…” Clara licked her fangs and unsheathed her katana, leaving her daishō alone. “Not drawing both of your weapons?” Avner asked. Clara ran the tip of her katana along her collarbone, “I have no need to waste my second sword on you two humans.” Clara teleported and appeared above the two twins descending upon them laughing. Avner raised his shield and blocked the surprisingly slow swing. Asner leveled his hand cannon with her temple and fired, another metallic clang sounded and she just acted as if she were slapped. “Only two hits. Jordan was better, he hit me three times.” Asner looked at her strangely. “This fight is over.” She smiled unsheathing her daishō and then disappearing once again.
Gilford and Gell were dodging each other’s attacks, not a single blow had been landed. Gilford still swinging his heavy lance and Gell was now occasionally kicking or reaching for Gilford’s neck or throat with an open hand. Gell’s continuous advance had eventually backed Gilford up against a tree causing him to temporarily lower his defense. Gell reached for Gilford’s face again, but he quickly ducked causing Gell to just touch the tree. Gilford quickly stabbed his lance into Gell’s foot and then lifted up, destroying Gell’s foot, leaving a slash up his torso to his neck and, then the impact tossed Gell backwards. “No expression of pain, this man must be a demon.” Gilford glanced over his shoulder only to see that Gell had left a massive twisting hole that went all the way through the thick tree. “Such power from just a touch, interesting.” Gilford turned around and Gell was directly in front of him. Before he could lift his lance, Gell grabbed his face, lifted him off of the ground, and then squeezed. “So I guess this is how my survival streak ends.” Gilford thought.
Clara charged at Avner and Asner, her swords leaving a glistening trail behind them. Asner missed two shots before Clara was upon them. She was able to swing both of her blades in different patterns with an incredibly unpredictable speed. Asner tried to hop back but he was slashed twice across his chest, not lethal, but enough to cause some serious pain. Avner watched in horror as he watched his tougher brother fall, and in the single second that he looked at his brother Clara sliced vertically and severed his shield arm at the shoulder and then proceeded to stab him in the hip all the way through. Clara spun her swords and then sheathed them in one motion. “Avner!” Asner yelled crawling to his brother, the extreme pain prevented Avner from responding to his brother. Clara smiled. “While fighting you, I was able to analyze you. And if you’re any of the man I think you are you can do something about this. Don’t get in our way.” Asner sat over Avner’s body, his hands shaking, he was clueless of how to save his brother, he could only think of one solution. “You were born together, you share a piece of each others soul, and you don’t control different elements they’re the same. Therefore, I know exactly what your call is.” Clara looked up at Gell, who dropped the frightened Gilford to the ground, regretful that he didn’t get to claim a worthy kill. Gell returned to Clara’s side and the two of them began walking down the road as if nothing had happened. “If destiny ever brings us back together I again, I won’t just walk away.”
Gilford ran over to Asner and Avner, his blood pouring out onto the ground. “Should I follow them Asner?” Gilford asked. “No don’t! Go back to Acriale, tell Rockshann a demon is trying to find Anri, I’ll make sure I find Anri and bring her back first.” Gilford hesitated but nodded and then ran off back to Acriale. Avner opened his eyes and coughed up a mouthful of blood. “Brother… Please don’t use our…” Avner passed out again. “I’m sorry Avner, but you’re my brother and best friend, I’ll be damned if you die before me.” Several tears formed in Asner’s eyes as he placed his hand on Avner’s chest, just above his heart. “Call: Transfer.”
“You know Zaz, for a winter night this isn’t that cold.” Kayla said sipping the hot chocolate that Claire had made for her. The two of them sat on the edge of Dasif watching the tree line for EDGE soldiers, Zaz had his arm around Kayla, she had ordered him to do it for warmth. “It’s been a strange winter, don’t you think?” Kayla knew Zaz couldn’t answer but she still treated him as if he could. She rested her head on his chest and listened for his inexistent heartbeat. Then suddenly Zaz sat up straight, frightening Kayla. “Zaz! Don’t do that!” She said gently slapping his chest. Zaz stood up and placed his claws over his fingers. Kayla now realized Zaz was serious about something he had seen. “What do you see Zaz?” Kayla asked standing behind him. They saw a figure lurking out of the woods stumbling like a terrified drunken man. Upon closer inspection it was a man coated in blood, stumbling aimlessly towards them. “He’s injured!” Kayla said running towards him. The man collapsed as soon as Kayla and Zaz reached him. The feeling of relief overcame the man once he knew he was safe, this is what caused his collapse. The man was gently crying. “It’s not my arm… It’s not my arm…” Kayla and Zaz looked at each other. “Where is he, where’s Asner? He gave himself up for me…”