Chapter 18:

Petals of Death


That's right.

Dolly's memories roared into her mind. The gem on her chest shattered.

She yelled, her eyes turned bright.

I was the scientist who triggered the explosion. 

Runo froze in fear. Monsters from different parts of the realm jolted and stood still. Lingering monster slayers glanced around in confusion as a few others shut their ears.

I've been naive. Really naive.

The android emitted a powerful blast. A ring of energy escaped from her body and expanded inside the realm, toppling all sorts of trees like loose bowling pins. Grass blades were thrown in all directions. The force was so strong that several of the blades pierced through the monsters paralyzed in the decaying forest. 

Howls of terror filled the area. Moans of pain, groans of the dying, and screeches echoed across the blackened atmosphere. The constitution of the realm started to crack, revealing the Abyss of Nothingness which had acted as a pitch-black sphere.

Runo felt chills trickling down his back. He tried to lift his hand or eject his tongue, but his body stiffened.

What the hell is this!

Dolly's voice rang into his head like an inescapable tantrum.

"I am, I, I AM, I-I-I̷̟̠̖͑̆̾͒̈̓ ̶̳͇̗̲̳̲͍͋̽̍̏̈A̸̘͙̱̟̜̽͐̀̉͌̒͒͝M̷̧̧͚̫̫̬̭̲̱̈̇̎̐̄̈ ̵̡̜͕̟̤̹̣̯͉̃͘͜Ä̴̡͇͓̫̠͔̯̘́͊̅̊M̵͎̤̘͖̠͒͂́̔̄̒̓͌̇͝A̸͈̭͝͠M̸̨̗̠̻̔Á̵͙̠̮̙͎̝̗̦̓̿̊ͅM̷͍̪̩̥͔̯̑̋̓ ̴̛̩̌̏̑̈́̆͛̒͐́M̷̢̬̬̭̤͓̮̩͎̀̍ͅḬ̷̳̻̞̝͕͔̞̥̲͌͐̒͊̚R̸͍̩̭͇̗̤̤̹̘̀̓̓A̴̭̿̀Ņ̶̰͇̼̫̙̮̬̪̫̐͝D̶̦͕̅̓-̵̡̨̻͍̦̫͓͛̚D̶̛̖̭͈̥̰̃̂̔̉̑̄̊͘A̶̛̺̦͎̻̱͗̍̾́̉̄̽̕͝.̷̝̻̔̍͛̒́̍͘ͅ"

A silhouette appeared from the darkness that surrounded him. He barely turned, before he felt the sharpness of metallic fingers digging into his shoulders.

"YOU. Y̷̯̙̽̔̓͠Ȍ̴̡̙̳̖̒́̌́Ữ̸̯̹͕͖͉̮̃̔͊̉̾̿͜Y̴̰̯͖͈̜̌͊͒O̴̬̟͇̻̪̳̩̫͊̐͋́̕͘͜͠U̵̩͈̗͗̑̾͋͑̀̑̕͘Y̶̖͇̱͙̖͙͙̓̇͆͋͋͗̇Ŏ̴̪̹̝̲̔̚Ủ̵̡́̽̒̀͊̽̓̎Y̴̛̜̦̳͖͗̍̎̆́͌́͊̾Ö̴̢̢̝̻͔̍ͅU̸͇͔̙̓͌͠!̴̱͊̌̈́̌̿̄̆̂̉̄!̶̨͔̖̃̐"

Dolly's hands twirled Runo's frozen body to face her glowing eyes. She giggled mischievously.


Runo coughed. His arms instinctively grabbed ahold of Dolly's, who had squeezed her hands around his neck. All it took was a blink, and he had missed dodging. He hadn't expected such brutality.

The android's voice reverberated inside the vast space of Nothingness. "I will never forget this, Runo!"

The pungent smell of deteriorated roses exited her smirk. No matter how hard Runo tried to claw her fingers away, her grip was sealed.

"L-" Runo scratched onto Dolly's skin, "Let go off me!"

"Aw," Dolly cocked her head to the side and laughed, "What's wrong? Is this fear I sense from the man who instilled this emotion to every other being?"

The giggles mocked his pride. Her voice bounced off from every direction like ringing bells.

"Why stop at fear? What about despair?"

She pulled her face closer to his.


She puckered her lips.


She kissed him.

Runo wailed, his eyes widened. The strength of a few monsters he had consumed left his body. He struggled to move. It was as if his body had failed him. His chest felt heavy, and panic crept in like an unexpected guest, ready to overwhelm his misguided senses. 

His mind focused on one memory that had been bombarding for his attention.

During that meeting... when this bloody woman stood aside and did nothing like Netty!

The scene of Dr. Arlott's room filled his imagination. 

But she! Dolly. Miranda!

His mind envisioned a smirk that escaped from Miranda's anxious face. It was brief, but enough to convince Runo that she was never the naive girl everyone had thought.

This time, Dolly's voice infiltrated in his head.

"Betrayal. How does it feel?"


Inside an office on the third floor of the Headquarters' main building, Aaron Collymore shuffled the papers on his desk. He scratched his head, confused. 

Ever since Dr. Arlott went missing last week, things haven't been the same in his laboratories.

His eyes focused on the last paragraph. He was reading the research papers Dr. Arlott gave to him before he mysteriously disappeared. No one in the facility knew what happened to him, and this concerned Aaron.

Whatever the reason is, his curiosity grew as he read the scientist's writings.

Dr. Arlott has noted the possibility of a new movement. Had Netty destroyed her gem, the results could have been catastrophic. However...

He glanced at the last page.

Twelve of the best slayers have perished in the last four days.  

Aaron eyed Lewis's name.

And Lewis Bonneville was thrown into Realm Eleven around that time.

He pondered. The discussion about the realms contained in Headquarters made him feel uneasy. He had attended the meeting a few minutes ago and found out that Lewis Bonneville had perished. 

The underground facilities of Headquarters had always been the focus of experiments and realm contamination. It also served as the gateway that led recruited slayers through the Abyss of Nothingness. He was tasked to be an agent in the Headquarters, but he didn't understand why Dr. Arlott thought it was a good idea for him to work so near to the very people against his research. 

Dr. Arlott had mentioned he was building the androids to replace humans who were recruited without understanding the true nature behind the researchers in the Headquarters. However, Netty and Dolly were the first ones to get their microchips connected to their neuron system. The scientist said that by doing so, the success rate of a perfect android increased. 

It was just unfortunate that Netty decided to rebel. Although, for an android with clouded emotions, it was natural. 

They were just lucky Dolly didn't do the same.

If Dolly ever breaks hers, it could spell the end of humanity. Unless her memories could somehow save her, then she can be our-

First, it was his clattering pens inside one of his mugs. Then, his desk started to shake. Suddenly the whole room began to rumble.

Is this an earthquake?!

He fell to his knees. A loud explosion was heard, and then, screams from countless individuals rung in his ears.

Aaron got up and ran. His legs hurt, but that doesn't matter. An explosion inside the Headquarters would only mean one thing.

Did one of the realms got obliterated?!

He huffed as he passed a few of his colleagues down the hallway.

Shit! Does that mean she had-

His eyes widened. He paused in his tracks. 

The building had collapsed. He was supposed to be looking at more endless rows of offices, laboratories, and doors that led to the other realms. 

And yet, it was the sight of screaming individuals from the ground floor piled up against debris and dead bodies. He sniffed at the horrendous stench of blood and oil lingering in the air. It made him want to puke. 

His lungs felt like collapsing at the sight of baffled people surrounded by pure madness. The remaining survivors grunted, or they'd scream for their missing colleagues and friends. Their horrifying calls for help made him felt useless.

What should I do?! I can't jump from this height...!

He saw a black silhouette exited from where Realm Eleven should've been. Instead of a door, all that's left of the monster-slaying realm was a clutter of assorted flowers. Blades were also scattered all over the area.

The silhouette traveled fast, to the point where it was almost a blur. The only thing Aaron saw was the shimmering twinkle of a compass earring. 

Then, it escaped into the distance. Beyond the other buildings of the Headquarters, and into the darkness ahead.

A cold shiver. The sound of clanking metal. 

And the footsteps that rattled. They dragged against the clustered mess of broken chairs, tables, equipment, and corpses. Aaron watched from above as an android appeared in his vision.

The dress resembled a flower, with white flaps like rose pads. 

A few flower petals circled around her. She turned her head to gaze at the dead bodies to her left. Aaron focused on the android's face; her faded cheeks and the eyes that showcased nothing but vengeance sent excitement and chills across his body.

The most intriguing part of it all was her shiny skin. It was as if she was brand new. 

"Oh my!" Aaron's ecstatic face glowed with the thrill of what's to come. "I can't believe it!"

Her palm flickered with newfound energy. A silver blade resembling the design of Noah’s sword formed between her fingers. She turned her gaze back at the buildings at the horizon, where Runo had likely gone off to hiding.

Then, she blasted herself into the new world ahead of her.

There she goes.

He thought of Dr. Arlott's research papers.

Our Realm Assassin.

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