Chapter 2:


Distorted Light

―Drawing a sword from the back is harder than I thought.

I look around and check for any more Stragglers in the area. When the coast is clear, I sheath my katana onto my back.

― I miss the days where I could just practice Kendo and celebrate birthdays…

“They’re catching up; we have to hurry. Polya, how are you doing?”

“It’s not me you should worry about! Your shoulder is still bleeding.”

“Oh, I’ve completely forgotten about that. You’ve done a good job patching it up.”

“I didn’t even do much!”

“But you did. Right, we must go, no time to waste.”

Still carrying Polya in my left arm, I start running down the residential area of Kiseki Town. While we continue, the light from the lamppost around us begins to disappear again.

― They’re following us. How do I-


Something sharp suddenly pierces through my right leg. Without the strength to even stand, I lose my footing and slip. As I begin to fall, I turn around to take the impact of the fall instead of my sister.


“Are you alright, Sis?”

I brush my sister’s short purple hair. She cuts off her pigtails about a year ago when we were training with aunt Liliya. It’s the same style where it reaches to her shoulder.

“Yes, I’m alright.”

I try to get up and run again, but the pain said otherwise.


“Anya, we can’t run anymore.”

Polya looks around and points towards an opening between the concrete walls.

“There’s a park there; we should go and prepare for a surprise attack.”

“No. We hide instead; I can't protect the both of us... We don't even know who we are up against...”

“But I can-”

“Please, Polya, I don’t want you to get hurt… Let’s go hide in the park first… Can you help me?”

Polya pulls me up to my feet and we walk together to the park with my arm around her shoulder. When we reach the park, we scout the area and sees a dome at the top corner of the playground.

“There, Polya! We can hide under it.”

We hastily make our way towards the dome and hide there. When I sit down, I assess my wounds and the current situation. When I couldn’t find a better solution, I take a deep breath and look at Polya.

“Can you restore me?”

“Yeah, but it’s risky. They’ll see us.”

“There's... there's no other choice…”

Polya looks outside the dome and scans the area. When there’s no apparent danger, she walks out and looks at the night sky.

“Anya, get ready.”

Polya raises her right hand straight up with her left hand a bit lower than her right. A beam of blue light reflected by the moon shoots down onto her palm, her hand recoils back as she grabs it and slams it onto her left hand. She quickly dives into the dome and rests her glowing hands on my chest. Soon all my wounds begin to heal as I feel ready to take down an army of Stygians.

“Feeling any better?”

“Yes, thank you.”

Just as we think we could rest, heavy footsteps suddenly clatter from the outside.

“They’re here! FIND THEM!”

I peek out of the dome and see a woman in a long black and navy-blue one-piece dress with a high slit on her right leg. Her black and white hair is tied into a ponytail with free-flowing bangs that were highlighted purple. It covers a Lapis-blue marking on her face next to her left purple eye while some hangs in front of her right orange eye.

“I think that’s Mynnerva.”

“She’s one of the high rankings isn’t she?”

“I think she’s one of the highest as well… Polya, stay here. Only use your powers if you have to.”

“I want to fight too!”

“No. You're still young; it's too dangerous!”

“I'm twelve! I'm old enough to fight alongside you!”

“Just listen to me! Please...”


Polya pouts and leans onto the dome with her arm crossed.

“Thank you, Polya.”

I sigh heavily and look out of the dome. I unsheathe my father’s katana and drop the scabbard.

Only when necessary.”

I walk out of the dome with my katana in my right hand. I look at the glowing streetlights around the park as strings of light begin to flow towards me, creating a yellow aura.

“I knew I forgot something… Boys… Get her!”

While walking closer to the weaker Stygians. I raise my left hand, moving it horizontally from right to left, creating a medieval-style pure-light sword in front of me. I grab hold of the hilt, swinging it over my head and charge at them.

With the swords, I easily cut through Mynnerva’s minions.

“Fall back!”

The followers of Mynnerva rush back and stand behind her. As they’re there, she whispers something to them and dissipated into the shadows.

― Where… Are they planning to attack me from the back, or are they going for Polya?

I decide to turn back and go check up on Polya.

“You dare turn your back on me?”

“You lay a finger on my sister, you're dead...”

“Allow me to oppose your theory, your highness.”

She briefly bows down before she stomps onto the ground, shattering it. The marking on her face lights up as she picks up the shattered pieces of pavement through what seems to be telekinesis and throws them at me. She then jumps out of the crater she created and runs towards me.


I cut through the debris with my light-sword and continues running towards Mynnerva. More rubbles fly at me as I manage to slice them into smaller pieces. When we are almost at each other’s, Mynnerva hoists her hands from below her hips to the top of her head. The ground quakes abruptly as shadow-like tentacles and tendrils puncture the floor, forming an ‘X’ to guard against my blades. When I disperse Mynnerva’s shield with my katana, I fling my light-sword at her, but she easily deflects it with her shadow-tentacles.

“What do you think your little light-sword could do?”

Using more of the light I absorbed, I construct more light-blades behind me and hurl it at Mynnerva. When she seems to be distracted by the barrage of swords, I utilise this chance and swing my katana at her. At the very last moment, she bolts backwards and dodges my attack. While sliding backwards, she casts her hands forward, directing the newly spawned shadow-tendrils at me.

As my katana is out of position, I fabricate another sword in front of me to block the attack.


To my surprise, the shadow-tendrils cut through the light and whips at me with their full force.


Mynnerva didn't just stop after one hit; she continues to launch volleys of attacks onto me. They are sharper than it seems; each slash is cutting into my skin through my clothes, leaving deep cuts where the ‘whip’ lands. I desperately try to reach for my katana but instead, Mynnerva picks it up with the shadow.

“Your powers aren’t going to help you at all. Your light-constructs are nothing but a simple distraction.”

Mynnerva inspects the glowing katana which she took from me.

“But this... Oh, this is a completely different story.”

The katana darkens as she slowly corrupts the light, turning it black. She stares at me with her crazed eyes, points the blade tip at me and drives it down towards my stomach.

Just as the sword is ready to pierce through me, Mynnerva suddenly flies away from me, throwing my katana far away from everyone. It lands and pierces the floor on the outskirts of the park.

― Polya!

I instantly look back at the dome where Polya is hiding and glare at her, both surprise and thankful.

“Ah, it seems that you are also telekinetic! Or, did someone finally decided to join the fight?”


A loud scream echoes from behind me as flares and sparks of light materialise from all around the park, dropping debris from the sky while also blinding everyone but me. I attempt to return to my sister with this opportunity, but a chain of explosions starts to rumble through the park, knocking me back to where I started.

When the light starts to dim, Polya walks out of the dome towards me with her remaining strength but fails and falls unconscious onto the floor. When I saw Polya was about fall, I try to disregard my injures in hopes to reach her in time, but alas, she hits the floor with a thud.


I take a deep breath, clutch my fists and gather up my strength to pick myself up. Bit by bit, I walk towards Polya, groaning in pain. When I reach the stairs towards the upper playground where the dome is, Mynnerva wraps her shadow-tendrils around my legs, causing me to fall but I manage to keep myself up with my forearm. She then slams both of her fists onto my back, causing me to land harshly on my stomach.

Even as I am deeply wounded, I again attempt to crawl up the stairs towards Polya. Mynnerva gaze at me, half surprised. She examines her long black-sleeved gloves and commands her shadow-tendrils to tie me up.

“Hahaha… How admirable… Your dedication, trying to return to your fallen sister.”

Mynnerva uses her mind to pick up Polya’s unconscious body from afar and flies it close to her.


When Polya is close by, I force myself up and swing my last light-sword at Mynnerva, causing her to dash backwards, dropping Polya’s body. I quickly turn around to catch her; tears begin to fall when I see her senseless face.

“I’m very sorry, Polya… I’m not strong enough to protect you…”

Mynnerva starts walking towards us and leans on the handrails and smirks.

“You aren't looking too well, your highness. How do you feel not being able to protect your sister? Or really, any of your family?”

Mynnerva creates a shadow-dagger and flips it around.

“Well, I had my fun, but now it's time for both of you to die. I know I’m supposed to bring you back to Styx for him to kill you himself, but you ruined my favourite dress, and I can’t let you go for it.”

She grabs the dagger’s handle tightly after it finishes a final spin on her hand.

“Didn’t you wish to stay together until the end? So, why do you look so melancholy?”

Mynnerva stands up and walks towards us. I clutch Polya tightly in my arms as I turn around to shield my sister and shuts my eyes.