Chapter 6:

Lost in Time

Azure Sins (Sin Ver.)


A few hours later...

The large celebration hall was filled with the voices of the villagers, audible to any outside of the building's walls and to others celebrating in other parts of the village. To the back of the building was an elevated stage, where the chief sat along with a mysterious guest of his. From the stage's base stretching to the entrance, many danced, conversed, and lofted around in their drunken stupor. It was then the chief rose from his seat, clapping his hands to applaud everyone's fun but simultaneously gaining the attention of his people, slowly calming the crowd down and earning the attention of the room for him to openly begin his speech.

"It is truly a day of celebration for us all! In our celebration of life, you all may indulge in your desires as we enjoy such simple yet enjoyable activities together. Through the efforts of everyone, we are able to be here with one another again this year. But I won't stall you all with the same speech again this year; instead, I stand before you all with great joy, for today we have an additional reason to be joyous. Allow me to introduce you all to our esteemed guest."

The chief made a gesture with his hand to his side, bringing the attention of the room to his mysterious guest, prompting his guest to wave and smile at the people of the village.

"I am joyous to introduce the man standing next to me, Vaughn. It has been far too long since the world has seen one, but Lord Vaughn arrived here just yesterday morning and has been resting at my own home in preparation for tonight. He is an actual demon hunter who will, over the next few days cut down demons in the forest close to the village. Once he is finished we will once again have a majority, if not all of the forest free for our use once again."

Without hesitation, the crowd shifted from their silence quickly breaking into a collection of applause and cheer. The chief chuckled along with his guest to see the joy on everyone's faces. Many of the drunken villagers banded together in large embraces to celebrate.

"Now now everyone! If I may finish." The chief called out, attempting to continue with what he was announcing. The crowd steadily calmed down eager to let their chief finish what he had to say.

"Tonight sir demon hunter shall eliminate as many demons as he can before creating a sacred shrine to the west of the village. This shrine will remain in our forest to ward off demon-kind long after our guest here departs on his long journey once again. We will be able to chop lumber, raise animals, and much more once again. Tonight one additional person along with myself will remember the shrine's location and further learn from Sir hunter how to keep the demons away using the shrine from this night onward."

A while later...

The demon hunter could be seen swinging a large two-handed sword, cutting down several small demons in a single-wide swing. The chief, his grandson Leo, and Eileen hid among the nearby brush. Coming from hiding only once the hunter would give them the signal the area was clear in order to continue their journey through the forest. Although a helmet covered the hunter's head, they could hear his voice clearly from within the piece of protection.

"The amount of demons around your village is dangerously high, I don't think I've personally seen this many at once much less living in the same area. To be honest, it's a unique situation. I hope it's fine if I stay in your village for a few days longer. I would like to investigate a bit more after tonight."

"Our village is open to you for as long as you desire, we can never hope to repay such a great debt to you for your services."

The chief responded. exchanged smiles with the demon hunter, the group continued on their way through the forest.

Leo: "Aren't demons usually everywhere though? What makes this so odd?"

Demon Hunter: "In my experiences, you would never see so many demons this docile as close to your village as they are. The biggest oddity is so many demons are around yet your village still stands undamaged."

Village Chief: "In honesty, we elders have pondered on that oddity as well for the last decade or so since our tragedy."

Leo: "Speaking of, how exactly will a shrine fend off demons?"

Village Chief: "Young Leo, there are many things long lost to the world that have been passed down to each generation of mankind. Legends say centuries ago, Angels would walk the lands, resisting demon-kinds' reign. The legend says demons were spawned at such a rate across our world, that an angel took it upon herself to teach humans special methods to ward off demons. When I was a young man was the last time a demon hunter came through our village. Before he departed, he left behind a crystal."

Leo: "Wait, like the one you keep at our home?"

Village Chief: "The very same. These years I assumed it would be worth something if our village's situation ever fell to that point. But upon our guest's arrival, he shared it's actually a catalyst for a holy ward. Having an old inscription on the crystal for what I thought was to inspire our village. To my surprise, its words were an incantation used by those of old who slew demons. I am far too old to physically help much so I brought you Leo, and according to our humble guest, these crystals of legend can only be activated by a maiden with an innocent soul. I simply think Eileen is one of the kindest of hearts and brave people we have. Remaining kind and surviving alongside Miyaura."

Eileen: "Thank you chief but I'm far from brave, Miyaura's the tough one that keeps me safe. I just work around the village but she does all the hard lifting for us. Any hard manual "labor, she does for me. I like to think we make a great team."

The hunter opened his mouth to respond but quickly silenced himself. Stopping in his tracks and using a hand to gesture towards the others, prompting them to stop, quieting themselves as well. Suddenly an ominous feeling crept over each of them, almost instantly growing into a heavy pressure, the weight pressing down onto their bodies. Panic formed in their hearts as they began to look around at their surroundings. A grim silence filled the area around them.

Back in the village...

Everyone at the festive hall celebrated as they had been previously. The crowd was generally more intoxicated and spilling drinks. Others intimately paired off in small corners of the large room and also some other creative or not-so-creative places. One such pair was pressed against a wall near the entrance. Their lips locked, hands sprawling across each other's bodies. Heated gasps of breath escaped the couple whenever their lips parted way for air. Miyaura, standing right next to the large doorway, witnessed it all with a series of casual glances to the side as she leaned against a wall herself, it being the only area with a decent amount of unoccupied space. She shuffled slightly in place, visibly uncomfortable to a degree in the red dress chosen for her. Seeing their hands move about each other's bodies made her blush slightly, a yearning gleam in her eyes, knees slightly weakening under her.

(I-it'll be all worth it once I find him again *Sigh*)

Turning away from the intimate pair Miyaura closed her eyes, allowing her a moment to herself.

(Eileen should be back pretty soon. The path to the cliff is pretty straightforward. I should know, it's where my old home used to be. Hm, it's been years but I still remember the way. There used to be patrols between there and the village so the few families there had no problems going between the village and home.)

Opening her eyes, she looked down at her drink, having a cup in hand. She gently raised it to her lips quickly drinking its contents before dropping her arms to the side, letting out a  exhale of slight relief. Instantly all signs of life left her eyes, their vibrant violet color hollowed nearly to a faint gray. An ominous feeling surged throughout her body as a forgotten yet somehow familiar pressure fell heavily onto her shoulders, and her nose twitched.

(It's the same smell as that day...)

Her eyes creepily shifted from one side of the room to the other. Seeing everyone non-bothered and continuing in their festivities.

(Just like before...they don't notice!)

It was then that Miyaura would have a memory flash, her young self looking over a cliff's edge as a small girl. This memory was soon followed by the demon attack on the village. The signs of color and life returned to her eyes as tears began well up within them. These flashes of memories and emotions immediately prompted the young woman to dash through the double doorway leading outside. On the village streets, she came to a sliding stop on the village's single road. Immediately Miyaura raised her nose to the air and began sniffing, or so it would seem from her nose twitching. The young woman turned her nose skyward and began slowing her breath.

(Calm down! You know what the feeling is now! Focus!)

She began slowly inhaling and exhaling yet it did not take a few seconds, as if catching a scent Miyaura instantly began darting off to the side of the village and into the forest.

"Eileen!"

In The Forest...

The demon hunter's broadsword swiped across the air cutting what was before him, evident by the blood splattering across his greatsword. It appeared he had only managed to cut the hand of a demon. As suggested by its hand size, a large muscular demon charged in with its other hand to attack the hunter, who in turn blocked the creature's oncoming clawed appendage with his large sword.

"RUN TO THE CLIFFSIDE! Chief you'll have to prepare the ritual, I will meet you three there! We must begin quickly!"

"W-wha? demons can be that big?!"

Leo blurted out in shock at the demon before them. Reptilian in appearance yet the creature's ability to stand on two legs allowed it to easily tower over even the hunter who now was engaged in a contest of strength with the creature. The hunter uses the utmost of his might to hold back its great strength pushing against his large greatsword.

"Now! We have less time than I thought, there's something powerful that's been sleeping in this forest!"

The large demon pushed against the hunter's blade with a sudden burst of strength. The hunter parried the hand to the side and rolled in its opposite direction. Recovering to his feet and attacks the demon once again to keep its attention. The chief grabbed the sleeves of his young villagers and pulled them away from the battle, getting them to join in the escape and sprint towards their destination.

Moments later...

The three of them hastily broke out from the tree line of the forest, leading onto a grassy area. On the opposite side of the forest were a few old small broken homes, their back to the cliff which overlooked a vast span of land. Following the elderly chief behind the homes to the cliff edge. Leo and Eileen's eyes widened from the view of the vast land before their eyes. The world outside of their small village. Eileen nor Leo ever being able to see such a sight of the world outside of their village. The chief held a nostalgic smile on his face, getting caught up in a swirl of memories at the sight before them all. Resting his hands on his knees, he attempts to catch his breath. His elderly age visibly worked against his body compared to the younger two who were only modestly out of breath.

"Come now we must hurry, preparations must be ready so once the hunter regroups with us. He may immediately begin."

The two of them nodded and moved towards the elder. Within a couple of minutes, they had made a small rock formation that held the crystal upright. The elder looked somber as he turned to look into the forest, seeing no sign of the hunter yet. Leo and Eileen saw his expression and looked to the forest themselves.

"Elder..."

"Eileen. I think it would be well to let you know, that where we stand is where you're friend Miyaura was raised. The damage here comes from the horde that attacked the village years ago. Her guardians were just trying to escape the cruelty of people and sought safety in our village only to be caught up in our misfortune. I'm truly sorry for their loss to this day."

"This far away? That means-"

"Yes, when it happened, no one could help since our village was being attacked. After watching her family and neighbors fall to demons, that girl on willpower and fear somehow made it through the forest to our village. How a little girl crossed through a forest of bloodthirsty monsters is beyond me to this day as well."

A sudden crashing sound instantly stole their undivided attention back to the forest's tree line. The trio witnessed the demon hunter sprinting out from the forest with the demon he had been fighting chasing close behind him. On closer inspection of the hunter, many pieces of his armor were broken off, and blood-covered parts of the remaining armor. Eileen's eyes noticed the hunter's left arm dangled limp in the wind as he ran.

"His arm is broken..."

The demon grew closer, taking a lunging swipe at the hunter's back. At that opportunity, the hunter planted his stepping foot, and immediately his body twisted, forcibly turning his body toward the demons. The strain on his ankle from the sudden forceful pivot caused it to fracture as he drove his blade into the unsuspecting demon's torso. Driving his sword through its chest. He let out a desperate war cry as he gripped the handle of his weapon with great strength, pushing his body beyond its limits. Carving his blade out from the center of the demon and out through its side, ripping through its torso to exit its body. The brutalized demon fell onto his back from the wound. Vaughn leaped off of his able ankle and brought his blade down into the demon's head. He took a second of rest on top of the corpse of the demon, panting yet his sword still in his grip. Soon enough the fatigue struck Vaugn, no longer able to hold himself up, and rolling off onto the ground landing on his back next to the demon. The impact force from landing on the ground caused the hunter to let out an audible groan of pain.

Leo and Eileen nervously watched as the hunter lay on his back. The young villagers looking closely could see Vaughn coughing up blood that inevitably fell back down onto his face and armor. Seeing him begin struggling to sit up, Leo took the lead running over to assist the hunter. Hesitant at first, Eileen soon quickly followed. The hunter's eyes were held tightly shut as he attempted to struggle through the pain to at the least sit himself up. One eye opened slightly to see the two village teens running to his aid. Feeling a sense of relief and confidence he struggled yet still succeed to smile. As quickly as his smile was formed, such a smile along with all sense of joy was ripped from Vaughn. Hearing the sound of shredding flesh beside him. Wasting not even time to look at the threat itself and only at the villagers.

"Run away! It's not ove--!"

Eileen slowed her pace, seeing the sudden change in Vaughns's expression. However, Leo continued to race over in full sprint reaching the hunter before he collapsed onto his back once again. Suddenly the slain demon's neck began to twitch, soon tearing from the reptilian corpse itself and then moving on its own. Immediately the separated demon head flew through the air at incredible speeds too fast for both young villagers' eyes to follow. In what seemed like an instant, the head quickly gripped and sunk firmly into Leo's leg. Almost immediately after coming into contact with the demon's fangs, black makings slowly but gradually spread across his leg. Leo screamed incoherently while trying to free himself from the deceased demon's mandible grip, screaming from an agonizing pain caused by the demon and the markings.

Eileen & Chief: "Leonel!"

The village chief impulsively threw down his cane to attempt a full sprint toward his grandson. Unfortunately, he was unable to make it far before fumbling to the ground, his hand reaching out for his grandson. Eileen made a full dash towards Leo, making it closer to him but to her surprise,  the demon hunter could be seen suddenly standing over Leo with a small sword held high. Not only summoning the strength to rise once again but also displaying his speed as well. Everyone but the elder was in her line of sight yet she didn't see the hunter run or even stand first. Hunter Vaughn wielded a secondary, average-sized sword down onto the arm, severing it from the young man and the bests hold on him as well in a single strike. Leo fell to the ground and was met by Eileen kneeling beside him to aid. Eileen's eyes glanced over to the demon hunter who rested now on all fours whilst blood dripped through the gaps and cracks in his armor. The detached demon head may have been severed but for a second its pieces still remained. 

"M-move!"

Eileen who held Leo on the ground looked up after hearing the command of the demon hunter. Witnessing a dark evil apparition removing itself from the body of the large demon. Exiting from its chest, the being held no solid form. Only its eyes surrounded by visibly dark energy dashed through the air heading towards Eileen. The hunter Vaughn raised his head seeing the mist-like demon spirit racing towards Eileen and Leo. But the weight of the great demonic pressure they felt once before in the forest suddenly pressed down on everyone's shoulders, its weight forcing the hunter back facedown onto the ground during his weakened state.

The black marking on Leo's leg suddenly sent pain through his body, causing him to scream in agony once again, the markings seemingly reacting to the demon's presence itself. The weight on Eileen paralyzed her, pushing her down to her knees as she saw the apparition speeding towards her.  Just when it had moved in close, suddenly Eileen's vision would be blocked by another body diving in front of her, seeing the demon's mist-like form envelope and become absorbed into the person's body. Eileen's eyes were wider than before, not for the shock of the person saving her, but far more so for it was the person's back, she could instantly recognize.

(M-Miyaura?!)

When Miyaura was hit, Her body crashed and tumbled along the surface of the ground. Miyaura lay there motionless before the dark aura visibly surrounded her body. Immediately black markings began to spread from her chest. The marking continued to slowly stretch across her neck, violently burning her as it spread. The intense pain caused her to begin screaming and writhing in pain just as Leo had been. The black marking that originated just below her collarbone slowly began to spread painfully across her body.

"Miyaura!!!!"  Eileen screamed at the top of her lungs, seeing her friend's body begin convulsing on the ground near her.