Chapter 20:

The Devil, The Girl, and The Passing of Fire (Part 2)

The Devil, The Witch, and The Wicked World of Delirith


“I’M TELLING YOU THE TRUTH! THERE’S A MASSIVE ARMY OUT THERE! AND ONCE THEY SEE US WE WON’T STAND A CHANCE!!” Fyra pleaded in the middle of a courtroom-like hall. The group of elders looked at her- most of them angrily from their higher seats in front.Bookmark here

“And what makes you think of that young child? You are not exposed to our military prowess yet one glance at that ‘army’ and you already assumed our defeat!?”Bookmark here

“EVEN IF WE WIN THERE’LL BE PLENTY OF BLOODSHED! I CAN’T TELL THE EXACT NUMBERS BUT I KNOW THAT THEIRS GREATLY OUTNUMBER US! PLEASE! WE MUST DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS!”Bookmark here

“And what do you propose we do then since we’re not ‘strong’ enough to fight them!?”Bookmark here

Fyra grew silent after hearing that question. Bookmark here

“Maybe, we should move out?” she suggested.Bookmark here

Hearing this, the elders grew furious and the whole courtroom became chaotic. They started throwing insults and mockery towards Fyra before being silenced by the booming sounds of a wooden mallet banging on a wooden table.Bookmark here

*Bang!* *Bang!* *Bang!*Bookmark here

“ORDER! ORDER! SILENCE ALL OF YA!!”Bookmark here

[ ELDEST DEVIL AMIAS ]
ELDEST OF THE ELDERS!Bookmark here

“All of ye are quick to judge a child who knows no better! Ye people disappoint me! Acting like children despite being our clan’s ‘ELDERS’! ”Bookmark here

The elders put down their heads in shame after being called out by the Eldest Devil. Once silence and order returned, Amias turned his attention back to Fyra.Bookmark here

“Now listen child! If not for your age, your suggestion just now could’ve gotten you banished from this clan- lest that’s what happened to Lucius the Exiled, after suggesting it many times to the council prior to his banishment.”Bookmark here

Amias’s statement took Fyra by surprise. She guessed that even Azar didn’t know about this, or he kept that information hidden from her for reasons unknown. Regardless, she remained silent. Bookmark here

“Many called this mountain range a freezing hellscape, but from this ‘hell’ did our clan flourished for generations long. Amidst this coldest tundra did our fire burn the brightest, raging proudly where in any other terrains it would die off into meaningless ash…”Bookmark here

“I understand your concerns Fyra, but with our raging fire and Jack Frost’s gnaw, we will not move away simply out of fear for our enemies! We will fight until the very last ember burns-”Bookmark here

“Have faith in the flame child! Our clan lives on, so long as our fire burns…”Bookmark here

And with that, Fyra was dismissed from the courtroom. Needless to say, she was quite unsatisfied by the outcome of her plea. It seemed the elders of her clan were more concerned with protecting their tradition than their own life. Bookmark here

Despite that, the elders agreed to send spies to find the army encountered by Fyra from a discussion held after the girl left the courtroom. If they’re going to protect their city and fight back the enemies with all their might as they claimed to the child, they need to know their enemy first one way or another. Bookmark here

****Bookmark here

“YOU’RE ASSIGNED TO WHAT!?” Fyra exclaimed all of a sudden.Bookmark here

“You heard me sis, I’ve been drafted to guard the southern outpost. Pretty much everyone my age does,” Azar replied, adjusting his boots as he was about to leave his home.Bookmark here

“All hunting activities are postponed this whole week. That means you’ll be having a whole week of holiday, you lucky girl~” Azar pinched Fyra’s nose teasingly. She didn’t react to it at all.Bookmark here

“Those elders! That means they know the army is coming for us then!” Fyra grumbled under her breath. “How long will you be there? Will you be home by evening?”Bookmark here

“Yeah, about that… It seems I might be out for much longer…” Azar replied. “Commander doesn’t want us to go around telling people this to avoid panic, so keep this between us, alright?”Bookmark here

Fyra nodded and motioned an ‘X’ cross on her chest.Bookmark here

“The army you saw that day, the spies identified them to be the Skull Clan, which is not a good sign. The Skull Clan had been conquering and overthrowing other clans this past decade, and judging from their current travel route, they're most likely heading towards us next.”Bookmark here

“You told the elders that we won’t stand a chance right, that day? Well, since this is the Skull Clan we’re talking about, you might as well be right about that. Even with our fire weapons and homeland advantage, their numbers are too many and who knows what they’re wielding considering they’ve destroyed plenty of clans before.” Bookmark here

“Well, if I’m right then what are we still doing here!? We should get away from this place then!” Fyra exclaimed after hearing her brother’s explanation.Bookmark here

“Yeah- after all those reports the elders still didn’t think that way. They still insist us to defend until the last fire fades…”Bookmark here

“Well screw the elders then! Let’s leave this place together!” Fyra’s suggestion caught Azar by surprise. “It’s not like we’re living a luxurious life here. We’ll just secretly migrate to a new place and restart our life anew!”Bookmark here

“Fyra…”Bookmark here

“Maybe- maybe we could go to Dakota! Father Lucius was banished there right? Maybe we could even meet him there...”Bookmark here

“Fyra I…”Bookmark here

“Maybe we could… maybe we could..-” Fyra’s voice grew hoarser and hoarser before breaking down into tears. Azar grabbed Fyra and pulled her closer for a hug, comforting his sister as best as he could.Bookmark here

“I won’t come back until all of this is over, Fyra. As bad as this place is, it’s still my home. The home where I grew up with Father Lucius-” Azar wiped a tear from Fyra’s face with his hand- “and the home where I grew up with my cute little sister.”Bookmark here

A smile was formed on Fyra’s face after hearing her brother’s words, but her heart was still sore from everything she heard before.Bookmark here

“Still, I understand if you don’t feel that way. If you ever feel like leaving this place for your own safety- then go.”Bookmark here

Her brother’s statement shocked Fyra. She did not expect him to tell her that way.Bookmark here

“Go on without me, lil sis. If you ever find father out there, just send my regards to him-”Bookmark here

“No…”Bookmark here

“Hm?”Bookmark here

“I SAID NO!” Fyra suddenly shouted. “Even though I’m not that fond of this place, I can’t live without you brother! If you stay, then I’ll stay as well!”Bookmark here

“Heh, I see…” Azar got up and adjusted his boots once more.Bookmark here

With that, the two siblings bid their farewells to each other as the elder brother left the home for his new work. Bookmark here

“I’ll wait for you when you get home, big bro-” Bookmark here

Fyra waved him goodbye as Azar slowly disappeared from sight.Bookmark here

“A week, a month, a year. I’ll wait for you as long as it takes-”Bookmark here

The door closed shut, leaving Fyra alone in her small cramped home.Bookmark here

“Once you come back I’ll be sure to greet you with a smile…”Bookmark here

And so the girl waited...Bookmark here

and waited...Bookmark here

and waited…Bookmark here

Hours became days, and days became weeks. A full one month later, the doorbell suddenly rang one morning at the sibling’s household.Bookmark here

Hearing this, Fyra excitedly rushed to the door. Her heart’s beating fast, for how long had she missed her brother’s presence. She firmly grabbed the doorknob and immediately pulled it open-Bookmark here

“WELCOME BAck… bro.. ther..?”Bookmark here

Fyra looked up, and instead of her brother, two bearded men greeted her sight. They both wore their clan’s usual two-horned helm-mask, as opposed to her brother whose single snapped horn made him a ‘one-horned devil’.Bookmark here

“Hello young miss! Is there anyone else living with ya right now?” one of them asked.Bookmark here

“Uhh, my brother used to live here but he got drafted to work at an outpost last month. Still haven’t returned, so I’m the only one here,” Fyra answered.Bookmark here

“I see. Well, pack your stuff young miss. We need to move ya to the emergency shelter!”Bookmark here

“Wait what?” Bookmark here

The two men didn’t bother to elaborate further as they pushed Fyra to quickly grab her stuff. Compliant, Fyra did as she was told and packed all her bare essentials such as clothes, food, a pot, her whole hunting armour set (helmet, powered bracer and all) and a rifle. The two men escorted her and a few others living in the same apartment block out to the city square where a massive, long-queueing crowd gathered in front of the city hall.Bookmark here

Apparently, the city hall had a large secret underground shelter big enough to cram every citizen of Infernia into. Every woman, elder, and children were escorted to the place while the men helped do the escorting and guard everyone throughout the process. Bookmark here

Fyra witnessed all this in great concern. She peaked through the crowd at the guards assisting them to the shelter and not a single sight of her brother was seen. It was then she overheard two women talking to each other somewhere nearby.Bookmark here

“This is really bad, Marisca. We’re being escorted to hide inside the shelter, which means the enemy must’ve been VERY close!”Bookmark here

“Very? Reim please, haven’t you heard. Our outpost had been completely destroyed! All of them! North, East, West, SOUTH-”Bookmark here

Fyra froze upon hearing the woman’s statement.Bookmark here

“If that doesn't tell you how close they are then I don’t know what would! I pity those young boys drafted to work there though. I doubt any of them survived…”Bookmark here

“HALT! STOP THAT GIRL!”Bookmark here

“I’LL BE BORROWING THIS FOR A WHILE, THANK YOU!-” Fyra took hold of one of the guard’s snowmobiles and immediately rode off out of the city. She managed to slip through the guards and passed through the closing gate, heading straight to the southern outpost where her brother was stationed.Bookmark here

The guards gave up on chasing the girl and went back to assisting the rest of the citizens into the shelter.Bookmark here

****Bookmark here

“AZAR! AZAR!!! Come on, where are you big bro…” Fyra searched the southern outpost, now reduced to ruins by the Skull Clan.Bookmark here

What was once a small but glorious stronghold of wood, stone and mounted flamethrower turrets now became a desolated junkyard devoid of life. Many dead bodies were seen piled or staked here and there; both the skullies and the devils protecting it. Still, Fyra held on to her hope of finding Azar there as none of the dead bodies resembled her dear brother.Bookmark here

“AZAR! AZAR!! WHERE ARE-” Fyra tripped on something causing her to fall. Irritated, she immediately got up when she noticed the object that tripped her. Bookmark here

It was a two-horned helm-mask, just like everyone else’s. Picking it up and flipping the helm over however, revealed it to have one snapped horn- just like Azar’s. Bookmark here

“Ah! That mean’s Azar must be-” Fyra turned around- “close…”Bookmark here

The sight rendered her speechless. It was a hanged shirtless body, lower jaw gone to who knows where, but everything above the missing jaw from the nose to eyes to every strand of hair resembled a person Fyra recognized all too well.Bookmark here

“Azar….” Fyra fell to her knees, and broke down in tears. All hope of having her brother again was all gone now, and there’s nothing she could do about it. Bookmark here

Fyra went on crying for hours, until the sun had completely set across the mountain’s above. She was in complete denial of what happened. Bookmark here

Amidst her mourning however, a rustling sound was heard coming from the woods. Fyra wiped off her tears and turned to the sound’s direction, and for a moment, her heart stopped.Bookmark here

A skeletal cyborg leader locked gaze with the young girl, who stood completely still not knowing what to do next. Behind the cyborg stood hundreds of skullies, eyes all locked on Fyra as well.Bookmark here

In the end, the cyborg skeleton turned away and went on with his journey, with his men following him soon after, leaving behind Fyra. The girl stood still for a solid 10 minutes before the last of the skullies disappeared from the scene. Fyra was left confused without a doubt, but it was then she realized something- noticing the direction the skullies went from.Bookmark here

Fyra grabbed her brother’s helmet and quickly rushed back to the city that evening. Bookmark here

****Bookmark here

In the end, Infernia welcomed her with nothing but burnt houses, ruined buildings, collapsed walls and thousands upon thousands of slaughtered people. Bookmark here

None were left alive; let it be men, women, children, elders or anything that falls in between. The secret underground shelter was completely exploited, made useless by the Skull Clan’s violent onslaught. Bookmark here

The proud torch towers, bonfires and steam pumping machinery were wrecked and no longer burning, for all that remained were gray-black and barely lit embers. It was ironic that despite all the flammable things in the city, none was left burning despite a few hours ago all exploded to glorious flames during the Skull Clan’s siege.Bookmark here

Goes to show how merciless the cold freezing winds of Tuskhorn Range was, for all the fire and flames the Infernians completely idolized was blown away to nothingness- just like everything that roamed this alpine tundra uncovered.Bookmark here

Fyra roamed the dead city in complete hopelessness. None was left for her now that both her brother and home were razed away. Bookmark here

What was it that the Eldest Devil said to her? That they ‘will fight until the very last ember burns’ ?Bookmark here

Those words ringed into her ears as she walked across the razed city square aimlessly. It was then however, she noticed a small burning flame within a small gap inside a collapsed stall. Fyra approached the flame and tended to it carefully.Bookmark here

“Our clan lives on…”Bookmark here

“...so long as our fire burns…” Fyra spoke to herself, as she poured a canister of gasoline she had found lying around nearby onto herself.Bookmark here

Fyra reached out her gasoline-soaked hand, touching softly the small burning flame as it immediately torched her hand. The fire travelled across her fuel-soaked body until finally, Fyra was covered completely in flames from the tip of her hair all the way down to her toes.Bookmark here

The heat did not bother her at all as Fyra sat there quietly, reminiscing her past before finally, she collapsed face first to the ground, half-conscious. Bookmark here

Unbeknownst to Fyra, a little boy had been observing her some distance away, fascinated by her action. The boy got off his silver hoverbike and approached the burning girl.Bookmark here

“Ms Meriska was right, there are devils living in the mountains…”Bookmark here

Fyra turned her eyes to the blonde-haired witch-hat-wearing boy.Bookmark here

“You look like a strong person-” the boy offered his hand- “would like to be my Devil, miss-lady-sir!”Bookmark here

[ MAKO ]
THE LITTLE WITCH!Bookmark here

Bookmarked
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