April 1st, 1619.
“Finally, I think you plan on boiling over the world’s supply of gelatin pudding,” Kana finished with a weak grin, staring up at Kyiahlnah. “So… was I close?”
“Not even!” Kyiahlnah snapped her fingers, and the Spriggain and the Undine from the Mages Guild seemed to materialize out of shadows. Kana wondered if they, too, were dead as well, or if they’d teleported away in the moments during the explosion…. or maybe they were never real to begin with? Who could say…
Certainly, Kana hadn’t seen any of the Mages after she’d woken up, so maybe…? Regardless, the two walked over to her and picked her up off the ground by her arms, and suspended her upright.
“Now…” Kyiahlnah continued, “let me tell you what I came to realize while I was locked away in that void for a thousand years.”
And then, as if by magic (Or maybe the blood loss), Kana started to hear music floating through the air… and then Kyiahlnah started to sing. (Oh, yeah, that was probably the blood loss. There was no way she was actually singing. Right??)
“Listen well and you will hear my tale,” the Demon Princess began, gesturing up dramatically at the smoke cloud from the burning boat. “I was but a young lass in pony tails…”
Suddenly, blue flames began dancing within the cloud of smoke- and Kana wasn’t sure if she was imagining it, or if Kyiahlnah was actually showboating this hard.
“Long before I was Kyiahlnah, I lived a simple life with School and friends!” The flames shifted into the image of a girl- surrounded by other girls. “But lo- behold- I was betrayed! Another became my friends’ grim ends!” One of the girls in the line up suddenly turned green- killing- absorbing- two of the others into her flames. “The coward ran- and for years I chased. Run, run, Little Reaper, from place to place.” The green one ran from spiraling flame to spiraling flame, even as the blue flame representing Kyiahlnah’s apparently past self followed.
Kana grimaced as she went woozy for a moment, nearly blacking out due to the loss of blood until the Spriggain shook her back to consciousness. How long had she passed out for? Apparently long enough that she’d missed a few lines in this song. Maybe even a whole stanza, since the girl was now a good half way across the boat’s deck in her dancing/pacing.
“…and behold, I’d found them in combat with the Consumer!” Kyiahlnah had continued singing without pause- taken up with drawing a depiction of a great battle between a group of heroes, and a giant monster five times their size. “Twisting! Tearing! Their battle was fought. Victory or not, I would make it for naught!”
The multitude of heroes combined their powers- attacking the massive beast with some kind of spell.
“But win they did- with that murderer taking the lead, they pulled apart the Consumer, soul from bone!” Kyiahlnah threw her arms to the side, and the pictographic representation of the beast exploded into chunks. “And trapped her pure essence inside several stones!”
Kana was wondering how much of this was just some story Kyiahlnah had made up during her time in the void, and how much of it was her own actual memories.
Could Ascendants even have past lives that were also Ascendants? Because that was what it sounded like the Demon Princess was building up to.
“And wish such power in their grasp, I acted to make them gone!” Kyiahlnah sent her blue diagram in to attack the heroes, tired from their victory. “Alas,” she scattered most of the heroes, leaving only four behind, “while I ended two relatively fast-” two of them were scattered by the blue flame’s powers- “others cursed and ended me with their song.”
The other two figures exploded- reducing the blue figure into a tiny star.
“And so vanquished was Ibris the Vengeful, I was gone for quite the time.” Kyiahlnah smirked as the blue flame reignited into a burning crimson figure. “But then I was reborn anew as Kyiahlnah the Doubtful… This name that is truly mine.” The music in Kana’s ears faded as Kyiahlnah turned away from her smoke manipulation as the fires in the cloud dispersed away, leaving only smoke behind. “So… do you understand now?” She asked of Kana, her face showing nothing of the pained soul reflecting from her eyes. This was almost certainly due to the concussion and blood loss. Kana was never this bad at reading facial expressions.
“I think I understand…” Kana considered her words carefully. “You got mad that your family locked you away in a void for a thousand years and made up this little song to make them think you’re the reincarnation of some ancient enemy they once fought.” As Kyiahlnah’s face turned from glee to anger, Kana bit off a bit more than she could chew, adding on, “But the truth is, you’re just a little brat throwing a temper-tantrum!”
Kyiahlnah’s response was a wordless snarl, one actually reflected in her eyes, summoning burning flames around her right arm as her hand began to shift and morph into what appeared to be a sword.
Suddenly, without a verbal command given, the Undine and the Spriggain who were holding her up threw her onto the ground, and then stomped one foot down on each shoulder to pin her to the boat deck. Kana grunted as she felt them grabbing at her wings and pulling them straight back. A bad feeling started to creep down Kana’s spine as Kyiahlnah gave a bitter laugh.
“You want a temper-tantrum?” She asked. “…You think I’m doing this for attention??”
“It’s certainly a cry for something,” Kana remarked, turning her head just enough to glare at the Demon Princess. …Ah. But maybe that was the wrong move. The girl’s facial expression actually seemed to match the hurt in her eyes. Maybe Kana had missed something important when she’d blacked out?
“Oh, I’m not doing any of this for attention, never have been…” Kyiahlnah bent down, glaring at Kana, speaking words that seemed to both reflect as well as mask her true emotions. “The War? I had one motive that, had they conceded and abolished Soul Bonds entirely, I would have stopped. But no… instead they only remove the knowledge of how to make it from the world, and somehow use that sacrifice to partially power the spell that split my soul from my body to begin with!? How!? I don’t know! I’ve had centuries and centuries to think on it and it MAKES NO FUCKING SENSE TO ME AT ALL! I could read my own words back to me again and again as I relive those same events and NOTHING THE HELL MAKES FUCKING SENSE!!! But imagine how vindicated I feel when I learned that the Bonds still RUN, but are Broken. Corrupted with each new regeneration!! IT’S… IT’S A SHACKLE THAT I HAVE TO REMOVE!!”
“And now?” Kana asked, grunting as she felt one of the two pressing down deeper on her left shoulder, and felt her wing being pulled out even more. She felt like she was missing something here. Really missing something. Damned concussions. It was probably glaring her right in the face like Kyiahlnah was right now.
“Now… Now that I’m aware of what my past life’s mission was in hunting the Reaper down?” Kyiahlnah said– Wait, what? Kana blinked. The Reaper? The Reaper- Yaovi- was the one who Kyiahlnah had been referencing in her stupid smoke song? She’d definitely missed something here. “Now I’ve added another cause to what I considered righteous… Not just for what they did to my past life… but for what they did to me in THIS life.” She stepped back- that sword-tip grown out of her hand was now scratching against the board-deck. “What I want now is Revenge, and I’m starting with the people who most recently made the shit list.”
“Us?” Kana asked. She would have pointed at herself if her arms were in a better position.
“You,” Kyiahlnah nodded, and pulled her sword-arm back. “Now… Let’s get starRK!!”
In that moment, Tyler Obonz had thrown himself directly at Kyiahlnah’s exposed back and tried to throw her off balance by wrapping his arms around her neck in a choke hold.
“You’re not going to kill her!!” He growled.
Kyiahlnah’s free left hand snapped- and Daiya, the Gnomic leader of the Mages Guild group, appeared from the Princess’ shadow to grab Tyler, and throw him across the deck into the railing without much trouble.
“Ow…” Kyiahlnah grunted as she rolled her shoulders and neck out. “You almost managed to crush some of the bones in my throat.” She shot a glare over her shoulder at Tyler, who was now being picked up by the Gnomic woman who had lead the Mages Guild Group to the island. “But I wasn’t going to kill her.”
“You weren’t?” Kana asked- frowning.
“Oh, no. Not at first, any ways. Right now, I was just going to cut your wings up a bit…” Kyiahlnah said in a suddenly cheerful voice. “But since your friend just tried to kill me? I’m feeling a little less favorable.”
Kyiahlnah swung her sword- and in a heartbeat, the two Mages Guild members, the Undine and the Spriggain, exploded into smoke clouds. That was not all that was done, however. Kana’s wings went flying into the air, separated from her body by the sword slice as well.
A heartbeat later, and Kana started screaming. Seconds later, Kyiahlnah’s laughter mixed in. Tsukia grit her teeth as she observed all of thus from her hiding spot just inside the alchemists’ shop.
“That bitch!” Tsukia hissed, glancing to the drake resting on her shoulder, “We’ve gotta stop her before she hurts Tyler.”
“Agreed. We need to-” The black feathered drake nodded- his crimson eyes glowing dangerously as they narrowed. “Wait a second.” The two members of the Mages Guild who had been holding Kana Down reformed as Kyiahlnah snapped her fingers again, as if they had never been dispersed by the sword strike, but this time, they were accompanied by the member of the Mages Guild whose body was definitely still on the deck of the boat. “Damn it. That’s not good. That’s not good at all.”
“What happened exactly?” Tsukia growled.
“Yaovi’s worst fears,” The drake admitted. “Hecate and Hergie only told a few of us Thieves, and have been keeping it a secret from the rest of the general population. For the last few months, Yaovi’s not gotten half as many souls as she normally would. Whatever souls that Kyiahlnah’s been harvesting directly obviously aren’t going to show up, so… Hergie’s had us keeping an eye out for Necromancy like this- stuff that’s more advanced than that Zombie that was in here. Powerful enough that she didn’t use the body to bring them back to life. That Demon has bound their souls.”
“Their souls?” Tsukia frowned. “How could she do that? Wait. No. Better question. How do we stop it?”
“Good question,” the Drake replied. “Well, they’re all dead, for starters. They couldn’t reform like that otherwise.” He mused as his tiny claws dug into Tsukia’s uniform’s shoulder. “But, it looks like they’re bound to Kyiahlnah’s Will. They didn’t reform on their own. She has to call for them.”
“So we need something that can break her concentration,” Tsukia frowned. “Holy water?”
“No, I don’t think that’d do much to her right now…” The Drake shook his head. “And it’s Ahven.”
“What?” Tsukia blinked.
“My Name, it’s Ahven Ventus.” The drake gave a smile.
“Tsukia Tsubaki,” Tsukia answered. “So what to we hit her with?”
“Hmm…” Ahven glanced around the Alchemy shop, and his eyes twinkled with mischief. “Something Incendiary.”
“I’m gonna kill her,” Lizzy growled as she and her friends saw the events transpire. “I’m gonna kill her for this.”
From their vantage point, they could see Kana curling herself up into as tight of a ball as she could- and Tyler glaring at Kyiahlnah as she approached him, flanked on all sides by the Mages Guild Ghosts.
“Mutilation, that’s just cruel,” Tori glared at Kyiahlnah, who was now reforming her servants- three of them.
“Necrom’ncy,” Gahli shivered as she spotted the recently raised spirit of the Lamia corpse on the deck. “Tha’s ev’n wors’.”
“What the hell do we do?” Taka, who had shifted back to his more human form sometime before they’d arrived here, asked. “How can we stop this??”
“…Easy,” Lizzy smiled- even through the headache that was brewing in her skull- “someone set that trap for me, right? It was probably her.”
“You’re not seriously going to-” Tori snapped her mouth shut as Lizzy nodded. “You’re insane, Liz.”
“Not as insane as Tsukia she is!” Taka hissed out in surprise, pointing towards the Alchemists shop. “Look!!”
Lizzy, Tori, and Gahli looked- and sure enough, there was Tsukia marching boldly down the docks, a bottle of some kind held in her hand, and a confident smirk on her face that was betrayed only by the angry expression set in by her eyes.
“That’s Tsukia?” Tori asked, surprised. “I’ve never seen her so… angry before.”
“Yeah, that’s her,” Lizzy nodded, though frowned at this blatant display, “but what the hell is she doing?”
“KYIAHLNAH!” Tsukia yelled out as she got within throwing distance of Kyiahlnah- stopping whatever the Demon was going to do to Tyler before it even began.
“OH!” Kyiahlnah spun on her heels to grin at Tsukia. “I was wondering when you’d drag yourself out of the kiddy pool! What do you want now? Another free swim?”
“No, I’m here for Tyler and Detective Mayoi,” Tsukia held out her hand that held the bottle. “Give. Me. Them. NOW. Or else.”
“Or else what?” Kyiahlnah asked, taking a few steps closer. Tsukia didn’t step back in return. “You’ll hit me over the head with a glass bottle? That wouldn’t… what’s in that anyways?” She squinted. “Eh? Is that supposed to be Holy Water?”
“Maybe it is,” Tsukia replied, “or maybe I mixed up something special in the Alchemy shop. Something completely random. No idea what it could do, even.” She shook the bottle side to side, slowly, methodically. Just enough to agitate whatever was within it and make it bubble up and fizz on the inside. “Could be something that could kill us all. Wouldn’t know until I threw it. Right?”
Kyiahlnah scowled in disbelief of the bluff, “Yeah, right. There’s nothing you could mix up in that shop that could make such a volatile reACK!”
For the second time that day- something caught the Demon Princess by surprise. But it wasn’t from Tsukia. Oh, no. What happened was a simple little black colored Feather Drake swooped out of the smoke cloud that was just as dark as its own feathers and threw an alchemy bottle into her face.
The glass shattered- and the bottles reddish brown contents did… absolutely nothing beyond making Kyiahlnah swear and curse as she shifted her sword arm back to a normal arm so she could use both hands to wipe the offending liquid out of her eyes.
“What was that supposed to do!?” Tyler whispered as Ahven landed on the boat deck, and shifted into a more recognizable form- that of a black scaled Dragon boy from a certain town- that Tyler had never seen before in his life.
“Nothing. Yet,” Ahven answered, glancing past Kyiahlnah at Tsukia, then grabbing Tyler by the shoulders and hauling both of them towards the boat railing.
The ghosts of the Mages Guild were all standing idly- unable to do much of anything without the complete attention of their Summoner. And that was exactly how Tsukia wanted it as she threw her alchemy bottle right at Kyiahlnah’s still blinded face. The sound of glass shattering was satisfying, yet sadly cut short by the resulting explosion.
It should be noted, as the second bottle travels forwards, that in standard Alchemy shops, these specific liquids are typically kept in opposing parts of the shop, for various reasons.
The first component thrown was a reddish-brown liquid that is known as Distilled Lava Beetle Blood. It is typically harvested from a (Not-so) graciously donating Lava Beetle after their death- when the Blood has dehydrated into a powder like substance, and must be mixed into salted sea water in order to be used in Alchemy. On it’s own, it is remarkably stable… unless disturbed by a powerful acid.
The second component, in the vial that Tsukia just threw and is still flying through the air- tumbling and turning, flipping and spinning- was a bottle full of Thunder Beetle Stomach Acid. It is a very strong acid, all things considered. On a scale of one to ten, it would be considered a Nine. It’s typically put into the same enchanted Alchemy bottles that Holy Water is commonly stored in.
The two liquids in each bottle met as the second bottle shattered against Kyiahlnah’s arms. The Acid began dissolving into the Lave Beetle Blood instantly, upsetting its careful balance. Within seconds, the main reason that these two liquids are usually kept far away from each other was proven with the reaction that follows:
Lightning is a form of plasma. Plasma is a form of molten matter. Matter- a term here that means, the physical elements that make up the living, physical world. Kyiahlnah, in reincarnating and giving up her pure Spiritual form, was now made of matter.
For an added bit of irony, it should also be noted that the reason these two Chemicals were always made to be separated was because of early experiments done by Kyiahlnah herself during the early days of the Cataclysm War. Even she had declared this potent mixture too unstable to be used as a long term explosive. The Reaction was just that instantaneous and unstable. The war time Kyiahlnah would instead decide to devote resources into creating the explosive Zyparian Crystals which would be banned at the conclusion of the war, and had already been used twice today on the island of Egg Roost. One, a small Crystal pawn hidden as the detonation source in Lizzy’s parent’s bed rooms, and the other, a King piece hidden inside a crate of fire salts.
“Karma,” Elizabeth “Lizzy” Smith would later remark about the sight, “can truly be an utter bitch.”
For even all the powers of an Ascended Being cannot prevent your skin literally transforming into plasma and spontaneously combusting with all the force and subtlety of a volcano erupting directly into your face while simultaneously delivering a shocking electrical charge directly into the central nervous system.
The ghosts of the Mages Guild members all disappeared the moment Kyiahlnah was sent flying into the distant horizon like a cannon ball fired off at Mach Speeds… which she was. The Resulting Sonic Boom could be heard for miles all around- even all the way to the Lunar Crescent Bay in the north.
As Tyler and Ahven surfaced from the water, they watched the Flame Princess disappearing into the distant horizon with a twinkle of light that quickly dispersed in all directions- reversing outwards and collapsing down as the dome-shaped ward they didn’t know was there was broken.
Carefully getting back to their feet- having been knocked over by the shock wave- Lizzy, Tori, Taka, and Gahli stared on in shock and awe at the spectacle they’d just seen.
And somehow, having withstood it all, Tsukia simply ran over to Kana Mayoi to see if she were still alive. Gahli also took off at a run from her hiding spot, hoping to put her healing skills to use once again today before anyone else could die a horrible, needless death.
About five minutes later, a certain Reaper in Green came running up to them, her assistant at her side.
Ayako stumbled as she approached the Way-gate that Eugene was waiting at. She nearly dropped the metal sphere containing the device Mikari had requested, but managed to secure it.
What she couldn’t secure was the sudden feeling of horror swelling up within her chest.
“Woah, hey,” Eugene reached out to stabilize her. “Are you okay?”
“No,” Ayako shook her head. “I don’t know what’s going on but I feel like something bad just happened.”
“I’ll hurry and get this to Mikari then,” Eugene said as he took the metal sphere from Ayako. “Hopefully I’m not too late.”
“Good luck,” Ayako nodded.
“Thanks,” Eugene nodded in return, and with that, he ran to the Way-Gate and dialed up a portal to Gynsuro.