The first thing we needed to do was get far from the school. We couldn’t risk endangering the students, who were in no position to do much of anything. Alicia seemed to agree with me. We attacked Belial in concert.
A spiraling blast of black and white energy lanced from the magic circle I had created in front of me and was blocked by a shield that Belial had resurrected. The man laughed off my attack like it was nothing. He didn’t see Alicia’s attack.
While I hit him from the front, she made a pair of magic circles that sent twin lances of dark crimson energy out to the sides. The energy attacks curved around Belial’s thick body, and then suddenly reversed direction and struck his unprotected back. The roar of anger that he unleashed was like music to my ears.
We used the distraction provided by our attacks to leap through the hole in the wall. Wings sprouted from Alicia’s back. We hurtled quickly toward the ground, and then, with a mighty pair of flaps, we took off while remaining close to the ground.
“We need to find a deserted area to fight back,” Alicia said.
I agreed. “I know of just the place. Follow me!”
We flew over pavement and roadways, our wings flapping to keep us aloft. Saitama lay before us, a city of old and new buildings, with several steel structures glittering as they reached the sky. We remained close to the ground, using it to keep Belial from easily chasing us. Flying was faster than running. The ground passed beneath our feet in streaks of black and white. We were making good headway.
“DON’T THINK YOU CAN GET AWAY FROM ME!!”
Loud bellowing like the roar of an ancient and terrible dragon reverberated behind us. It proceeded the massive surge of energy, which was a sure sign of impending attack.
Alicia and I swerved away from each other. The ground between us exploded. Plumes of vile black energy erupted like the mushroom cloud of a miniature nuclear explosion, while sparks of energy cascading all over the ground, skittering like hundreds of tiny snakes.
More energy flew at us from above; Belial’s shadow blocked out the sun as he fired numerous lightning shaped discharges at us. All of the attacks missed. Alicia and I barrel rolled, swerved, and moved in all different directions in our attempt to avoid the attacks. The hairs on my arms prickled as the remnants of Belial’s energy washed over me. If any of these attacks hit, there wasn’t any doubt that they would put me and Alicia out of commission permanently.
“How much longer before we reach the place you talked about?!” Alicia screamed over the howling storm of energy projectiles.
“It’s just up ahead!” I shouted back.
The place where I was leading Belial to was an abandoned warehouse on the outskirts of Saitama–the city, not the prefecture. A windowless building of steel frames and aluminum walls. Towers jutted from around the warehouse, pipes and wires connecting them to the larger building.
A lot of unused equipment lay discarded around the warehouse. There were large trucks sitting next to an enormous stack of large pipes. I could even see a tractor sitting in the open, its once yellow body rusted and dull.
This place had once been a power plant long ago. Age and disuse had caused it to become akin to a derelict trash heap. The metal had rusted over and no longer gleamed in the sun. What walls weren’t covered in scratches and rust were covered in graffiti. The power had long since gone out. This place was no longer suitable for its original purpose.
We didn’t fly into the warehouse, which would have been stupid, considering our foe had enough power to destroy the entire building with a flick of his fingers. I spun around in midair and fired several spherical projectiles at Belial, who snorted contemptuously as he swatted each attack out of the sky. On my last projectile, I put both angelic and demonic energy into it before launching it at our devil adversary. It was, once again, smacked by Belial, whose arrogance led him into believing this attack would be like all the others.
The projectile exploded. Belial’s entire body was engulfed in black and white energy that howled like a vengeful beast.
Angels and devils were never meant to mix. They were at opposite ends of the power spectrum. Light and darkness. Black and white. Mixing these two powers was supposed to be impossible.
I didn’t know about that; I existed, after all. That said, combining my angelic and demonic powers together created an unstable energy that was so volatile it would explode at the slightest touch. That wouldn’t be enough to defeat Belial, who even I knew was a powerful devil that was spoken of in the bible.
Alicia flew away from me. She swerved along the ground, flying upside down as she aimed her hands at the expanding cloud of clashing energies. Crimson energy shot from a large magic circle like bullets, peppering the area where Belial was, deep inside of the destructive energies of my attack. Changing things up, she crossed her arms and charged up.
I was impressed by the sudden spike in energy. Alicia’s power seemed to skyrocket as her arms were engulfed in a bright aura of crimson energy that licked at her arms like flames. With a ferocious scream of “Take this!”, she launched an X-shaped blast of condensed power at the explosion containing Belial.
“Just who are you attacking?” a voice asked from behind Alicia. Her eyes widened, and I tried to scream out when I saw the shadow that had appeared behind the crimson-haired devil.
I was too late. There was no time. Belial lashed out at Alicia, swatting her away with a simple backhand.
I pushed my body hard, flapping my wings as I raced forward, stopping behind Alicia. Air was expelled from my lungs as she slammed into me. I flew backwards for nearly five meters before stopping.
“You okay?” I asked.
Alicia nodded. “I’m fine. Thank you.”
“You shouldn’t be thanking him.” Belial chuckled. “He just made it easier for me to attack you both.”
A magic circle appeared beneath their feet as Belial spoke. My eyes widened. In desperation, I shoved Alicia out of the way just seconds before the circle activated.
Pain flooded my mind. It was agony like nothing I’d ever experienced, a surging current of indelible pain that caused my nerve endings to feel like they were rupturing. A scream tore from my throat, but my body had seized up. I thought I heard Alicia screaming. It could have just been my imagination, though. When the attack ended, I fell to my knees, my breathing heavy as the remnants of dark power coruscated over my body like an electric current.
“Jacob!” Alicia shouted.
She rushed toward me, though she didn’t get very far. She was forced to stop when Belial appeared before her.
“Get out of my way!”
Dark crimson raced from her arms like two powerful cutting blades. They were knocked aside by Belial, who swatted them away with his hand as though they were gently lobbed softballs. Alicial growled and sent more attacks at Belial. Yet no matter how ferociously she attacked, no matter how many attacks she launched, none of them hit their target.
“Give it up,” Belial commander. “You might have become decently powerful, but you have a long way to go before you can even think of harming me.”
“Then how about I rejoin this fight,” I said, standing up as I created a magic circle.
A humongous sphere of swirling darkness and light erupted from the circle and slammed into Belial’s back. The devil roared as he spun around and sent his own attack my way. Conjuring a shield, I blocked the attack, but it still pushed me back. I could feel my indoor slippers peeling apart as they broke down.
While I was stuck dealing with Belial’s attack, Alicia attacked the man from behind. She sent a massive attack similar to Belial’s lightning bolts at him. Sadly, that too was blocked when a magic circle sprang up behind Belial and acted as a shield.
“It’s rude to interrupt someone when he’s casting!” Belial’s shout was preceded by a dark streak bursting from the circle.
I thought it was a lightning bolt at first, like his other attacks, but this one grabbed onto Alicia before she could move. Her screams of pain rent the air. She was then lifted into the air and slammed into the ground. The earth shook as a crater formed where she struck, cracks spreading across the ground like a myriad of spiders spinning a web.
I tried to run over to her, but a shadow appeared before me. Belial. His gargantuan form loomed over me like Goliath over David. His grinning face was filled with saw-like teeth.
“Where do you think you’re going, Abomination?”
I didn’t even have time to defend myself before Belial slammed a fist into my gut. It was like a sledgehammer. All of the air rushed from my lungs. My insides churned. It felt like my intestines were being pulverized as the fist ground into my stomach.
Then I was launched backwards. Everything passed me by in streaks of blurred color. It was only for a second. And then my mind was overridden with pain. My back squealed, my mind went white, and I think I screamed, but it was hard to tell because I couldn’t hear anything.
When my mind returned and my vision was restored, it was to see Belial walking toward Alicia, who remained on the ground. His pace was leisurely, calm, and confident, as though he had all the time in the world. Alicia had crawled out of the crater, but she couldn’t seem to stand up. She was on her stomach and trying to push herself to her feet, yet even from where I lay, I could see how her arms shook. That last attack had done more damage than what even a devil could shake off.
“You’re a freak!”
I needed to do something.
“Get away from me, you monster!”
I needed to save her.
“I don’t ever want to see you again!”
I wanted to save her, but I was scared. Even now, even though she had accepted me, I was frightened by the prospect that she would hate me. If I used my full power, showed her the true power of a Nephalem, would she still accept me?
Our eyes locked. Belial was still approaching her. He was saying something, though my hearing hadn’t been restored enough that I could make it out from this distance. She did not look away from me, but she said something. It must have angered him because Belial roared and charged at her. She still had not turned her head. Her eyes were still locked onto mine.
I made a choice. I couldn’t allow her to die. For Alicia, I would unleash the power of a Nephalem upon Belial.
… Even if it made her hate me.