PART 40 – Can’t Die Yet
“Oh my, looks like Miles was just defeated.” Dart said lowering his binoculars and smiling at Anri, who was sitting on the ground tied up next to him. “Must be my lucky day, I absolutely hated that guy. Anyway, we have a temple to dive into.” Dart placed his binoculars into a pouch on his belt, he then looked down at Anri who was angrily looking back up at him as she struggled for her freedom. “I bet you have some rather awful things you’d like to say to me, but I’m not stupid milady.” Dart crouched down next to her and placed his hand on her shoulder. “I know that you can use that device on your arm only with vocal cues. Something I’m not familiar with. I don’t have to speak to activate my call.” Dart stood up and stretched, “That’s how strong I am.” Dart grabbed Anri by the arm and lifted her off the ground and drew his fencing foil. “Now, lets get into this temple. Ladies first.”
“Mia! Are you alright?” Veronika asked shaking her lightly. Veronika’s panic quickly subsided once she got closer to Mia. “Are you serious?” Veronika stood up and lightly kicked Mia. “Your faking death?” Veronika accused. Mia sat up and looked around. “EDGE is gone?” She asked. “Mia! Don’t do that!” Veronika shouted. “Back off icy! Miles beat the crap out of me! I wasn’t in any sort of fighting condition, especially after all the injuries Giorgio left me with!” Mia shouted back. Veronika lifted Mia off the ground. “Donny needs our help, we need to see if he’s alive.” Veronika said.
Avner pulled off Donny’s chest plate, which had been crushed from Percivale’s last attack, several pieces of it had broken off and dug into Donny’s chest. “Oh boy, they don’t seem too deep.” Avner deducted, he reached down to pull one out but stopped himself. “What if one hit his heart?” He asked himself. “Then don’t pull it out.” Veronika emotionlessly said placing Mia next to him. “Donny! Donny!” Mia shouted grasping his arm, he was cold. “I don’t sense much heat in his body.” Veronika said examining Donny. “Damn, where’s Jonathan when you need him?” Avner groaned not realizing the impact those words took on Veronika. “Donny, get up!” Mia angrily shouted. Then suddenly Donny’s eyes opened and he sat straight up. Everyone was surprised; he began pulling the shards out of his chest unflinching at the pain removing them caused. “Donny… Your okay?” Avner casually asked. “Just had the wind knocked out of me, we need to go, Dart can’t be that far ahead. We almost have Anri back!” He grabbed the broken hilt of his sword and slowly stood up. The second he began to walk away Mia jumped into his arms. “I’m so happy you’re alright!” She said, Donny pushed her away screaming in pain. “Your cuts, I’m sorry!” Mia wept. “And I’m just as glad to see that you’re alive.” There was a serious tone in Donny’s voice. “And trust me, I’m not dying anytime soon, there are a few things that I need to do before I pass on.” Donny walked towards the entrance of the temple, leaving Avner, Mia, and Veronika behind speechless.
“I’ve lost a lot of blood in my life, but never that much.” Ken said staring down at Jordan’s corpse. “I’m sorry Clarissa, but I’m certain that he’s dead.” Ken crossed his arms as he stepped away and met up with Luna and Sola. Clarissa knelt above Jordan, a single tear forming in her eye. “Master… I was supposed to protect you. I’m sorry I was such a terrible servant… I regret…” Clarissa stopped when Jordan’s body suddenly lifted. A waterfall of blood gushing from his body as he gained his footing, he was forced to use his sword as a crutch. His movements were similar to a zombie as he staggered away from his own pool of blood. “Master…?” Clarissa said terrified. “That’s impossible, he was dead, and we checked his pulse.” Luna said. Sola and Ken looked on, a slight look of horror escaping their usual hard expressions. “I… Can’t die yet… Not until Donny’s dead… Not until I’ve had my wish!” Jordan grunted, droplets of blood dripping from his mouth. “Master let me help you!” Clarissa said worried rushing to his side. “I don’t want your help! Leave me alone!” Jordan yelled monstrously, swinging his sword to ensure Clarissa kept her distance. “You truly are a monster Jordan.” Sola said walking by him. “I’m going to get that cure. Have fun bleeding out.” Luna briefly stopped next to Jordan before looking to Ken for guidance. Ken just shrugged. “Jordan let us help you, we need you to help us get Sola’s cure.” Luna proposed. “Luna! Don’t you dare help him!” Sola shouted. “Sola, we need him! He’s strong, he can help us!” Luna begged. “Sola, please.” Clarissa added. “He doesn’t look so strong now, he’s… Unsalvageable. He’ll be dead in twenty minutes.” Sola turned her back to Luna. “Now you’re just being arrogant Sola! Your life is on the line and your denying help! You may despise Jordan, but I’m going to help him because I know he can help you!” Luna shouted. Ken and Clarissa waited for the sisters to resolve their tiff. “Family comes first Luna, dad always said that, think about it.” Sola sternly said. “Through out everything you’ve always been first on my mind Sola! You’re my sister!” Luna wept. “We need all the help we can get!” Sola briefly looked over her shoulder and then continued to walk towards the temple entrance. Luna’s gaze dropped to her feet, her sister had disowned her. “Sola’s only nervous Luna, there will be a time she’ll be thankful for what you’re doing.” Ken comforted placing his hand on her shoulder. “Thank you Ken.” She said. Luna looked over to Clarissa and Jordan. “Clarissa, help Jordan. We’ll give him medical treatment once we are inside the temple.” Jordan couldn’t fight for his independence anymore, he allowed Clarissa to help him. She placed his arm around her shoulders and helped lift him, Ken took his sword from him making it even easier for him to move. “You’re going to be covered in my blood.” Jordan quietly said to Clarissa as she began walking with him. “ I don’t mind, if it gives me the chance to help you I’ll do anything.” Clarissa stated. “Why are you so… Nice to me… I’ve already told you… I’m not your master.” Jordan moaned. “I know you’re not my master. But from what Sola has told me you spared my life and then saved me again shortly after, I’m in debt to you.” Clarissa said. “For how long?” Jordan asked. “Well… Forever.” Clarissa said strictly. “I don’t say things like this often… But… I really appreciate you helping me… Now I owe you…” Jordan fell unconscious into Clarissa, putting more weight on her shoulders surprising her. She stared at Jordan as she carried him, blushing at what he had said. With the memories Clarissa had, she was rarely complimented. She was used to being tortured and whipped as a slave, being insulted for everything she had done. Jordan’s sternness reminded her of her former masters, but never once had Jordan hurt her; he had only ever gone out of his way to protect her. Her rattled brain and scrambled memories were beginning to come into a focus. She was falling for Jordan. The brave and ever powerful red wave.
“I feel like a bug being attracted to a light.” Luna said staring down the stairs. The stair descended down into a blinding white light, the depth of which they could not calculate. “Are you gunna go first?” Avner asked walking up next to her. “I’m not sure, I’m thinking about it.” The two looked at each other. “Hi I’m Avner Helm, elementalist of light and dark, I don’t think we’ve ever met.” Avner extended his hand. “I’m Luna Harima, princess of Hazol and elementalist of toxin, and no we haven’t met. It’s nice to have someone on the other side with manners.” Luna complimented. “Likewise.” Avner said. “I don’t kill young women anyways, they’ve got so much to live for.” He stated. “I respect your methods, I just simply don’t like to kill people, and I try to avoid it the best I can.” Luna laughed. “Then I am envious of you.” Avner chuckled. “This isn’t normal. This is the first time I’ve ever talked to you and within a minute we’re talking about our preferences of killing.” He smiled. “I’m happy you and I are talking, I’ve made too many enemies. And besides we’re not going to beat Dart if we’re always fighting each other.” Luna deducted. “I know exactly what your saying, maybe working together will finally end the feud between everyone. I personally don’t hate any of your friends.” Avner agreed. As the two continued to talk, everyone else prepared to enter the temple behind them.
“Donny, you need to relax, your bodies going to fall apart.” Veronika said bandaging a wound they hadn’t noticed on his shoulder. “I’m fine.” Donny sternly stated. “You haven’t eaten, your not sleeping, how can you even fight without a sword?” Veronika tried to add some realism to Donny’s blind bravery. “I will not rest until Anri’s safe beside me.” Donny may have been a stubborn knight of Acriale, but his honor and courage was very inspiring to everyone else in Anri’s brigade. “We’re just worried Donny, everyone’s getting beaten up before we’ve even gotten into the temple. And we’ll probably need to fight Clara at some point.” Mia said pulling a new sword for Donny out of the ground. “It’s not my best work, I’ll make you a more stable sword for future fights.” Donny accepted Mia’s sword with a smile, a rare expression on Donny’s face over the last week. “Thank you Mia, I’ll keep this close to my heart.” Avner walked up to them. “Me and that girl Luna just checked out the entrance, it’s just a bright light, other than that I can’t tell you much of anything.” He regretfully said. “A bright light won’t stop me.” Donny said sheathing Mia’s sword.
“I don’t even know what I’m looking at.” Ken said staring down into the light; the rest of Luna’s squad was staring down into the void beside him. “I have to go down there if I want that cure. If Dart and Anri could do it so can we.” Sola said crossing her arms. “We’ll be right there with you.” Clarissa said repositioning Jordan on her shoulder. Sola nodded and then suspiciously looked at Jordan, still feeling some sense of insecurity with him around. “Yeah sis, I’ll be right beside you the whole time. I’d do anything to help.” Luna tried to repair the relationship between her and her big sister, but Sola just ignored her. After a moment Anri’s brigade walked up to the temple entrance as well. “See what I mean, you can barely see anything down there.” Avner said upon arrival. “Interesting, I feel a lot of cold air down there, but it isn’t moving in any way.” Veronika stated. “Anri’s down there. And so is our destinies, I have a feeling whatever is down there is going to mean a lot to all of us.” Donny said. “I hope it’s not something bad, there are still a few things I still want to experience before I settle down.” Mia laughed. She looked to Donny to see if she managed to get him to smile once again, but he was just staring down into the light, angrily clenching his fists. “I’m coming Anri, I made a promise years ago that I would never let you get hurt. And I’ve never broken a promise I’ve made with you.” Donny said those words to motivate himself, and then he had a brief flashback of a time years ago were he and Anri travelled to Zaidoulu to collect some of the ice flowers that grew there and he remembered her beautiful smile and how happy she was, it was all the motivation he needed. On the other side Sola placed her gloved hand on her chest and felt both of her heartbeats, the one from her real heart, and then Deudalaphon’s pulse. She was mad, she wanted her own body back and she wanted Deudalaphon to be gone. The only way she would accomplish this was by beating Dart; she was dedicated to this cause. The moment she was normal again she’d be nicer to everyone in her group, only now was she realizing how terrible she had been, she had had a rough month. She would make sure she smiled once this was over.
As the nine warriors peered down into Taro’s temple Donny and Sola happened to look at each other. Both of them had a mission to complete that meant everything to them. This would be the only time ever that the two of them agreed with each other, it may have been a silent agreement, but they would be working together against Dart to get what they needed. The two looked away from each other and back into the void, and then Sola spoke. “Alright everyone, lets get started.”