Chapter 7:

Strife

Absolute Reality: A Chance in Restoring a Foredoomed World


“H-Hey, at least reply to me, will ya?”

Spinning the blade rapidly with her hand, she proceeded to get a grip of the handle and smile. “I have to ask since you don’t look too surprised—how did you know?”

“Oh, me? Anticipating you? Wasn’t too hard. I raised my guard a bit after leaving the bar just in case. The first hour of my ‘nap’ in the alley was me pretending to be asleep, just to see if anything would happen.”

“My my, is that so?” At least from the looks of it, she seemed impressed.

“Hah, and there you were, observing me from a distance above one of those buildings. Not gonna lie, I almost peed myself.” Drawing out a lengthy steel dagger from his cloak, he transitioned into a defensive stance. “But my question for you is, why wait until now?”

Giggling to herself, Renae held onto her forehead before looking back at Syrus. “I couldn’t help but remain curious about a few things. But wow, who would have known that you’d make my job so much easier? No civilians, no guards, no commotion.” Nibbling on the dull side of her blade, she slithered the edge beside her lips.

Dashing forward in almost a nearly teleporting fashion, she swung her weapon towards his throat.

“Just the two of us!

Bending backward, Syrus, hardly dodged the lethal strike, cartwheeling backward and taking a deep breath.

“Wow, you’re full of surprises! I didn’t think you’d last more than ten seconds with me, hehe.”

Gritting his teeth, he took notice of the confidence she showed. It was far too intimidating to him, since to back it up, she had unbelievable speed and power in her strike.

“Curses, that was close. Why did my body feel so light? I should have died from an attack like that. Even so, despite her insane power presence, I can tell she’s holding back as if I’m livestock.”

“Heh, I take it that you’re one of them?”

There was a brief moment of silence until she looked at him with a chilling smile. “Indeed, the one before you is none other than the raven of the Limination Wing.”

“Then--” Syrus paused when, after blinking his eyes, he noticed that she was nowhere to be seen.

“...?!”

An arm wrapped around his neck, a sharp whisper abruptly stinging into his ear, leaving him unable to move.

“Sorry, I’m afraid that if you’re after us, I can’t let you live.”

His eyes expanded as his body froze solid in shock. But seeing that his life flashed before his eyes, he thrusted forward and turned around, slashing his weapon at Renae without hesitation.

CLANG!

“...”

Shink!

The assassin’s dagger flew from her hand, sinking into the grass several feet away. The adrenaline that streamed through Syrus called for a loud clash of their blades, catching the lady off her guard.

“GET OFF ME!” His breathing was now jagged as sweat poured through his face.

Disappointment became apparent in her expression. Expecting her to take her weapon back, she did the opposite. Dashing before Syrus, she spun and kicked him on his side, immediately gouging a cry out of him as he crashed into a tree trunk.

“Arrghh…!” Holding onto his rib, he could feel the tears of pain form in his eyes. She continued to walk closer, doing yet another thing he didn’t see coming.

“...!”

“A second.. blade...?” He watched in horror as she drew out another identical weapon to her previous. Her collected self looked distant as she glared at him in disgust.

Raising her armament, she growled in irritation. “I’ll sleep easy tonight knowing that another threat to my family is erased.”

“Family? W-Wait!”

“Goodbye.”

“I CAME TO JOIN YOU!”

CLUNK!

“...”

Her blade ended up stabbing into the tree rather than Syrus, who closed his petrified eyes to embrace death. However, he was forced to tumble to the side when she dragged that blade across the bark, attempting to decapitate him.

The entire tree began to snap as it fell back. He watched in slight relief that he evaded yet another devastating move.

“That’s the second time I evaded something I normally couldn’t. Is this just my adrenaline? Then again, I knocked her freaking blade out of her hand too!” He wanted to accept a narrative that it was all luck, but the unusual speed, strength and reaction time was not something he’d ever do, possibly in an entire lifetime.

“Joining us? A common tactic of deception, but it had me for a second.” Observing the tip of her blade, she sighed to herself. “It seems that I have much to work on. But despite that, I must commend you for lasting this long. It sets a recent record in my books, to say the least.”

“It wasn’t a lie.”

“Hm..?”

“I said, it wasn’t a lie! I’m not here to kill you all. I mean, take a look for yourself. I couldn’t end you even if I tried, let alone the rest of your people.” Just as the last word left his mouth, he squealed, since he was already being grabbed by his throat.

“Family, not people. Get it right.” She gravely uttered. Her violet eye almost looked as if it were sparking in rage.

“R-Renae… Yv- Yve’Roth. Ahk!”

Raising an eyebrow, she threw him against the floor, almost slamming him in the process. Digging her boot onto his chest, she intensified into an abhorrent frown and leaned forward.

“Hm? What about that thing? Do ‘people’ enjoy telling fairy tales before they die as well?”

“Uhgh, I know, I know... it sounds ridiculous but.. he somehow spoke to me and... told me to find you guys for help..”

“I see.”

“...?”

“She believed me? Whew, that’s the upside of talking to weird people for ya!” Attempting to cheer himself up in the situation, he forced a smile as he watched her blank face.

“Stand.”

“Yessir—I mean, ma’am! Owwh! You definitely broke a rib, didn’t ya? My chest feels--”

“...?!”

A tap to the neck was the last thing Syrus felt before his vision blurred, eventually drifting his consciousness dim.

Catching the young one in her arms, she took a good look at his face once more before lifting him. Despite his retaliation, he looked almost too innocent, sleeping as if the rest of the world suddenly didn't matter. “One thing after another, and now my curiosity is uncontainable. Honestly, either you’re insane or there’s something useful we can get out of you. Let’s continue this conversation elsewhere. For now, rest. Rest easy…”

“...Syrus Belwin.”
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