― Mom… I’m sorry… I couldn’t…
With my back facing Mynnerva, I await death knowing defeat, hearing footsteps slowly closing in.
“Hope that we all will meet each other again soon… Goodbye… Polya… I love you, Sis.”
I brush Polya’s hair as I lean my forehead on hers with my eyes close. When the footsteps stop, I know our time is up. The silence of the night is soon broken by a shriek and the clanking of metal.
Everything turns black for a prolonged amount of time.
― Is this what death feels like? At least it felt… quick.
I sigh heavily in my mind as I decide to take a rest in the everlasting dark world.
― Wait… do I hear… someone’s breathing?
Hearing the sound of gasping makes me prop open my eyes and realise both my sister and I are still alive.
― We… we’re alive… Polya!
I squeeze onto my sister before turning around and see a girl about the same height as Polya standing close to us.
― Is that a… school uniform?
I examine the girl to see if she poses a threat. When I’m convinced that she doesn’t, I let my guard down and relax when she suddenly tosses her jacket at me.
“Welcome to my domain. May I be of assistance?”
The girl steps her left foot forward, raising her left hand in front of her eyepatch and rest her right on the horn trumpet tied to her belt.
“My name is Momioka. I’ve been granted permission by Allfather to descend upon this land and assist on your ongoing quest.”
― Aunt Liliya did say something about the existence of other gods… and she seems… trustworthy enough… I could definitely use all the help I could have.
“Your gratitude is most welcome. Now, may I ask, who might you be?”
She swings her left hand back and crosses her arms, shifting into a resting position.
“I’m Anya. This is my sister. We were on the run from someone, but thankfully, you seemed to have somehow driven them off.”
Momioka laughs as she put her right hand in front of her mouth. Then she starts walking backwards, turning around at the last possible second when she reaches and picks up my katana.
“This is an extraordinary weapon; it’s… terribly well balanced.”
“It is… My father forged it with my mother…”
I reach for my blade as she hands it to me, then she returns to her resting position.
“Aye, it aided me on the fight with the mysterious woman in the long dress.”
― What really happened between her and Mynnerva? There wasn’t a fight… was there…
“But if you may, who was the woman who attacked you, and why?”
“It’s a simple reason. Cause I was simply ordered to.”
Within a blink of an eye, Mynnerva recreates herself from Momioka’s shadow, and grabs hold of her.
Shocked, Momioka weakly moves her trembling arms up and look down at a shadow-dagger that punctured through her chest.
“That hurt, you know?”
“Your little surprise attack, with the blade you found? Oh, whatever.”
Mynnerva withdraws her dagger out of Momioka as she plummets forwards onto my hands, reminding me of my father’s death.
― No… No… No…
I grab hold of Momioka, gazing at her with tears dripping from my eyes.
“I’m sorry… I’m…. I’m... I’m sorry to have you involved in this…”
“It was… ill-fated indeed… but… I’m not… frighten… by death... I’ll be… most… most excellent as… I could finally meet my mother…”
Momioka wipes my tears from my face as she lays on my hand, blood running down from her mouth and where she was stabbed.
“I’ve died in battle… Valhalla… Awaits me…”
She reaches for her horn, trying to lift it to her face. With my help, she puts her horn on her mouth and sounds it before she loses her breath and departs for ‘Valhalla’.
I stare at her expressionless face, thinking about how I could have saved her and Polya.
“Yet another poor soul who has died at your hands, why don’t you end this? Let’s finish what we started. Shall we, your highness?”
Momioka’s body flies up to the sky as I attempt to keep her down.
“What? Don’t tell me you care about this little brat you’ve just met?”
Mynnerva yanks Momioka to the sky and hurl her away from us as I watch her land harshly onto the ground.
I glare at Mynnerva with hate and despair, feeling my eyes flare-up in the dark.
“This should be interesting.”
My wounds begin to regenerate rapidly as I stand up and walk closer to Mynnerva.
“No more deaths.”
I look back at my unconscious sister and return my gaze onto Mynnerva, ready to unleash my wrath upon her.
“No more… suffering.”
My hair begins to glow as traces of light ignites around me. When I reach Mynnerva, I strike at her with my fist. She tries to shield herself with her shadow-tentacles, but it’s too late; my fist connects onto her as I brutally send her flying back into the walls behind.
With the help of her telekinesis, she leaps into the air and lands closer to me, shattering the ground in the process. The debris around her dart towards me like meteors falling from the sky. When they are within my reach, I swing my right hand in an arc and completely disintegrate the rubbles.
“No holding back then.”
Black misty particles form around my boots as the shadow-tendrils spawn from it, wrapping around me, trying to crush me to death. When I cut through them with my hands, shadow-tentacles dart at me, stabbing continuously through my body. When Mynnerva ceases her attack, the holes she created through my body instantly close as they heal themselves. Thousands of light-sword manifests above Mynnerva as they rain down at her.
After the dust settles, a shadow-dome reveals itself as it burst open into four whipping tentacles at each side, with one targeting my foot. I stomp on it when it reaches me, squashing it.
“Tsk. This is getting rather annoying.”
A growing cloud of black smoke starts to cloak Mynnerva as screeching sounds echo throughout the park.
“This ends now!”
The cloud of smoke explodes, consuming all light in the park. Even as I am glowing, I could only see as far as my hand can reach. Within the pitch darkness state of the park, daggers and shadow-tendrils come charging at me, cutting and impaling themselves into me. Ignoring them, I hover my hand in front of my chest with my palm facing the floor and summon a glowing orb. When the orb fully forms, I reverse my hand, pointing the orb to the sky. I then crush the orb, drawing it back to my chest and swing it out, causing an explosion that clears out the shadow.
With the light returning to the area, I can see Mynnerva in her new form. She is taller than before, with her whole body covered in shadow-matter. Her heterochromia eyes and blue marking glow under her now tendrils-like hair. Behind her, two shadow-tentacles are floating close to the floor.
“S’tel ees woh gnol nac uoy erudne siht!”
Mynnerva shouts something in her language while extending the tentacles behind her, sending them at me. When they reach above me, one of the tentacles curls up into a fist-like shape and slam onto me.
With my hand taking the force, the heavy strike pushes me into the ground, forming a shallow crater. The tentacle then retracts back as the other one follows and thrash at me, sending me deep into the ground. Thinking of a way out, I construct a small light-katana, fix it onto the rocky walls and hoist myself out of the hole.
When I’m out of the deep crater, I grab hold of Mynnerva’s tentacle, tugging her towards me and flinging her onto the floor. After crashing onto the floor, I yank her up again and propel her towards the pavement. When she lands, she transforms into a shadow and disperses all over the park. Instead of the forms I’ve seen, she reappears as countless smaller versions of herself.
They all storm at me with their shadow daggers, tendrils and tentacles, trying to overwhelm me. I cast my left hand forward, light beams take shape behind, shooting out one by one, tracking and disintegrating each minion. When the light reaches the real Mynnerva, it zaps her down onto the ground. I march over to her, ready to end my nightmare.
“You… you actually did it… Now, before you kill me, let me teach you one more lesson. The best way to end someone…”
The body in front of me dissipates as this time the real Mynnerva materialises behind me, pointing her dagger to my back.
Before Mynnerva could stab me, I slow down time by moving at lightspeed, dashing away from her. From being in this new state of time, I utilise this chance and pick up my father’s katana. I bolt towards Mynnerva, slashing her left shoulder diagonally to her right waist and finishing off with a swing across her stomach, infusing the cut with light energy. When I exit the slowed time, the cut explodes, sending Mynnerva back on the floor. I walk close to Mynnerva again, this time with my guard up.
“Haaah… haa…. Aaaahh!”
Mynnerva, now covered in more shadow, rises up and look at the sky. She raises both her hands, fabricating a large dome around us. When the dome completes, she stomps on the floor, sending shadow-energy and tentacle-spikes everywhere as she disappears from sight.
“Like what that girl said before: ‘Welcome to my domain’.”
Mynnerva’s voice echoes around the darkened space when suddenly the floor which I’m standing on turns into liquid as I begin to sink into it. Slowly suffocating, I try to swim towards the surface, but Mynnerva’s tendrils grab hold of my legs and drag me deeper into the ocean. I try to cut myself free but fails as I lose my katana.
After what feels like an eternity from being drowned and lashed by shadow-tentacles, I finally fall out of the 'ocean' and land on an uneven, rocky surface with a Lapis-blue sky. Boundless voids filled with 'water' cover the gaps of the environment just like the one I exited from. I cough out some water as I gasp for air.
“Breathe, your highness. Breathe.”
Out of the blue, I begin to fly up into the air as Mynnerva uses her telekinetic ability.
“You are in my domain. You’re nothing but my puppet.”
Mimicking Polya’s telekinesis, I extend my right arm out and retrieve my katana. After sheathing the blade, I shut my eyes and infuse myself with every ounce of power I have. When I open my eyes, I release a massive surge of energy, dematerialising Mynnerva’s weaponry. I then draw my sword again, swinging it in an arc, shattering Mynnerva’s domain. When it fractures into millions of pieces, Mynnerva crash onto the floor of the park, looking at her once charming domain.
“No… No… My… You must pay for this!”
She stands up and leaps towards me as I decent from the air.
“I’ve lied Mynnerva… Maybe… Just maybe… There would be… One. More. Death.”
I knock Mynnerva back with my elbow as I raise my father’s katana above my head, grabbing it with both my hands. I lift it even higher, forging a planet-size light-katana on top of me. With all the force I could muster, I swing both katana down towards Mynnerva, hoping to end this for good. When it collides onto Mynnerva, everything around us turns white.
* * *
“Huh? What happened… I’m… I’m still at the park…”
I wake up standing in the park with no sight of Mynnerva nor memories of what had happened.
“Polya? Polya! You’re awake!”
I run to my sister who awakes from her slumber, trying to sit up slowly. When I reach her, I hug her firmly with delight.
“My head hurts, Anya… What happened?”
“What do you remember last?”
“I remember throwing Mynnerva back, and the Stygians appears next to me. After that, I don’t remember much… Then I woke up and saw you cutting down at Mynnerva with a huge magic katana.”
“Yeah, it was awesome.”
I think hard about the battle, but nothing comes to mind. Instead, something rather more important flashes in my mind.
“Polya, I need your help with something.”
I look to my right and point towards Momioka’s body in the distance.
“Yes, she tried to help us, but Mynnerva got to her first. Do you think… you can?”
“I’m not sure… I’ve never tried on a real person…”
“We have to at least try… She… She was… in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
“I’ll… I’ll try…”
We stand up and make our way towards Momioka. When we reach her, Polya sits down and begins to do what she does best.
“Let’s hope this works.”