The Last Light
The security stepped forward and reached for Ciara’s wrist. Suddenly, a long blade stood between the security’s hand and Ciara’s wrist. Tracing the blade to the handle, the wielder was none other than Olivia. She had no glare or a snide frown, only a neutral expression. “If you touch her without listening to what she has to say, I swear you won’t leave here without that arm of yours, and that goes to everyone here.”
The security took a step back while everyone near Ciara went quiet.
Ciara held her wrist and gulped her nervousness. “She was crying and lost when I found her. I was only helping her find her mom.”
“Like I believe you,” said the mother.
The child broke off her mother’s embrace, then stood between her mom and Ciara. “This lady was kind. She healed my ankle. Don’t hurt her!”
“But… you weren’t there where I left you.”
“I-I wanted to get my favorite cereal! I’m sorry, mommy.” The child’s confession had turned the crowd normal, they went about their way, giving no interest to the event earlier. Even the security shook their heads in disappointment and left, but not before they slightly bowed to Ciara, asking for forgiveness.
Ciara repeatedly waved their concern away with a guilty expression. She turned to Olivia with a bright expression. It was all thanks to Olivia that the crowd listened to her. If it weren’t for her, Ciara could be in jail by now.
The mother bowed deeply at Ciara, showing her regrets. “I was so worried that I didn’t think far ahead. I know what I did was horrible, but I’m asking you if you could forgive me.”
“It’s okay. It was my fault, I should have said something before everything went crazy.”
“You have a kind soul.” She bowed her head again before taking her daughter into her arms and left. The little succubus waved at her for the last time before they parted ways.
Ciara turned around to thank Olivia, but she was gone. She quickly glanced around, there were no traces of her. She had left without saying goodbye. It doesn’t matter, Ciara could still see her back home. However, she still has a mission to accomplish which is getting the half-price fertilizer.
She quickly launched herself into a run, but when she got there, the fertilizer had sold out. It was too late. There’s nothing she could do now. Perhaps luck could be on her side at the next sale.
She left the store with a disappointed hunch but quickly regained herself when the thoughts of knowing Olivia came to her mind. Ciara did notice something weird, Olivia was looking at scented candles before she bumped into her. She shrugged it away and kept on walking toward home.
However, her peaceful saunter was interrupted by a familiar group of Nephilims. The group pulled Ciara into a desolate alley away from prying eyes. They pushed the changeling against the wall, but despite the scary situation, Ciara strongly struggled against their grips. They finally let Ciara go, and the woman quickly raised an arm to protect herself.
“No one is going to save you now, little changeling,” said the vile Nephilim.
“What do you want from me?”
“Finally, you ask the right question. We have a job for you. It requires a skill only available to your kind, but we can’t tell you what it is yet. All you need to do is to be at this spot in two days from now.” He passed on a note to her.
“I don’t know what it is that you want, but I won’t do it. Not even if you hurt me.”
“You don’t know what we are capable of.” Despite the threat, Ciara’s resolve remained intact. “It’s not yourself, you should worry about.” The group turned their back on her and walked toward the street.
Ciara stopped them. “What do you mean by that?”
“Just do what we asked of you.” They disappeared around the corner.
The small paper crumpled under Ciara’s grip. She quickly rushed back home and headed straight to Jonathan’s room. She knocked repeatedly, but no one answered. With no choice left, she barged into his room and Jonathan was nowhere to be seen. She searched the house from top to bottom and still no sign of him.
Her housemate’s succubus, Melody, walked through the door and was surprised to see Ciara here. “Ciara, what are you doing here?”
Ciara rushed to Melody. “Where’s Jonathan?”
“Didn’t you hear? He got hurt badly. I thought you would be at the Academy’s infirmary by now.”
Overwhelming dread washed over Ciara, she immediately left the house without saying anything and headed straight to the academy.***
Jonathan couldn’t see through the fuzziness, but he knew, he was laid on top of a hovering stretcher. The medical personnel brought him to the operating room. Bor was at his side along the way the moment he heard the call. Jonathan looked at him, he then pulled down the breathing mask to say something to the undine. “Eri needs you. Go to her.”
“But, Jonathan, you’re-”
“I will be fine. The doctors will fix me up. Just go,” said Jonathan with a tired smile before he was delivered into the operating room.
Bor was left behind in the hallway with blood-soaked hands. Ciara busted through the door and into the hallway with a sweat-covered face. She looked at Bor and saw the blood on his hands.
“Is Jonathan is going to be okay?”
“Jonathan in the operating room, but I think he will be fine.”
“What happened to him?”
Bor wasn't permitted to say anything due to Zey’s order, but truthfully, even he didn't know what happened to Jonathan. “I have no idea what happened.”
Ciara’s mind wandered to the worst possible answer, she slumped down on a bench and covered her face. “Was it my fault?” Ciara whispered to herself.
Bor wanted to say something to her, but his mind was occupied. Jonathan told him that he should be by her little sister’s side, and that’s what has been occupying his thoughts. From what he saw earlier, his sister may be hurt, but she wasn’t in a severe condition like Jonathan. Bor shook his head, then turned around and quickly rushed to Eri’s room.
Arriving at her sibling’s room, he gently opened the door and saw the nurses finishing up their care. He stopped the nurse with a question. “How’s her condition?”
The nurse smiled at him. “A minor head trauma, but the doctor already fixed her up. She will be out for quite some time. Are you a family member?”
“I’m her brother.”
"Perfect. If anything happens don't be afraid to call us. If you can excuse me, I need to tend to the other patients." The nurse left the room.
Bor was left alone with Eri, he turned his gaze to her. She let out a quiet but clearly painful moan. Bor turned to the door, wondering if he should call the nurse, but Eri seemed fine. He walked to her side and took a seat. His hand was hesitant to touch her younger sister's hand, but he tossed any inhibition away after hearing another painful moan from her.
Eri’s hand trembled upon touch, but it slowly calmed down after a while. It's odd, this whole thing reminded Bor of his time together with Eri back before he attended the academy. Eri would often have nightmares back when she was you, and Bor would always be there to calm her back to sleep.
In the operating room, Jonathan was in a loop of losing consciousness and waking up again. Everything was a blur as the doctors worked on his injuries, he felt the instrument touching his flesh and bone. The anesthetic helps with the pain, but it can only do so much. However, at times like this, an angel descended on him, a golden woman. When she rested her hand on Jonathan’s forehead, a soothing touch, unlike anything. Then all the pain inside his body was washed away in a river of warmth. She had always been there when he was in great pain.
Another hour passed, Jonathan slowly regained consciousness while he blinked away his slumber. He looked to his right, and it was what he had expected, his arm was missing even though he still could feel it there.
“You’re awake. We expected you to be asleep for a while before the herbs escape your body. Do you feel any slight discomfort or pain?”
“Nothing that I can’t handle. Thank you for asking.” Jonathan tried to sit up, but a striking pain attacked his belly and stopped him from moving.
“You shouldn’t move around like that.” The doctor came to Jonathan’s side and helped him lay back. “We may have closed your wounds, but your inside still needs time to heal. Please wait after a couple more treatments before you can move freely.”
“How bad is it?”
“You were lucky the blade didn’t hit any important organ, it also didn’t go deep enough to do enough damage. Your right arm, however, by the time we got your arm, it was in a bad condition. The risk of infection was high, so we couldn’t reattach it, but we are growing you a new arm and after a week, we will proceed with the surgery to reattach it”
“Growing my arm, is that possible?”
“I’m sorry I didn’t understand the question.”
“I’m new to the whole magic thing. I didn’t realize that growing a limb is possible.”
“Oh, I see. Yes, growing limbs from scratch have always been standard practice. We just took your old arm, then mapped its structure before putting it in the Organic Recreation Machine. The machine was expensive and required massive spiritual energies to run. Thankfully, the Academy spared no expense to get it for the department.”
“That’s actually great news.” Jonathan’s stomach growls loud enough for the doctor to hear. He got a bit flustered about it and tried to scratch the back of his head, but stopped when he realized he was about to use his missing right arm.
The doctor chuckled. “I’ll ask the nurse to get you something to eat, but you do have a strict diet, so I can’t guarantee anything amazing.”
“Anything’s good, Doctor. I’m starving right now.”
“Oh before I leave, you do have quite the visitors waiting for you outside. I’ll send them in after leave.” said the doctor before leaving the room.
Jonathan raised an eyebrow. “A visitor for me?”
Headmistress Victoria and Commander Zey walked into a room, one of them was bearing a gift. It was truly unexpected for Jonathan when he saw the smile on Victoria’s face, but was unsurprised to see a frown on Zey’s face. Despite the pain, Jonathan raised himself, so he could greet his guest.
“Miss. Victoria and Commander Zey, I think I understand why you both are here. I’ll accept any punishment for letting my target go. I should have prioritized the mission above any other.”
Victoria and Zey shared a glance. The Headmistress set aside the basket of snacks on the end table beside the bed, then gently wrapped Jonathan with her arms. Her skin was cold as ice, but somehow, Jonathan felt warmth coming from the gesture. She patted the back of Jonathan’s head.
“Is this some kind of punishment? If it is, then it might be the cruelest one yet,” said Jonathan with a tone of sadness.
“No, it's not. You did good, Jonathan.”
“I did? But, I lost the target.”
“You saved a child, a Cursed Child no less. Not many people would risk their lives for them.”
“But, I didn’t. It was Eri’s Idea. I only followed along.”
“You could have stayed behind, but you chose to help her. You even saved her despite her aggression toward you.”
“I… didn’t know why I did that.”
“Nevertheless, you did good. Am I correct, Commander Zey?” Victoria turned her gaze at the undine.
The undine crossed her arms. “You did well.”
“Zey, come now. Be truthful.” Victoria released and pouted at Zey.
The commander sighed. “It would have been great if you didn’t get hurt along the way. That’s my only complaint, but it was pretty admirable you were able to take down an undine. Can you tell me what really happened back there?”
“Even to me, it was odd. When we found the child, she had a coin with her. She gave the coin to Eri, and somehow it turned her aggressive like a wild animal. She tried to attack the kid, but I got in the way. I sent the kid out first and baited her further into the tunnel. However, if it was the coin, I have no idea why it didn’t affect the child.”
“Perhaps, it had to do with her condition as a cursed child?” Zey turned to Victoria with a raised eyebrow.
“But I lost the coin. The target took it from me.”
“After we brought you to the infirmary, I sent my men into the sewer to investigate. We found… a gruesome scene. A mountain of goblins’ corpses and judging by the devastation they left behind, the goblins were killing each other.” She tossed a worried glance at the headmistress.
Jonathan noticed that Victoria doesn’t seem surprised or disturbed by the news. “Miss Victoria, you know what’s going on, don’t you?”
“I’m afraid, I have a theory. Do you know about the crystal in the middle underneath us?”
“From what I know, this massive crystal you’re talking about supposedly powered the entire island.”
“Correct, it was through a decade of research that we were able to utilize it, but we haven’t been truthful about its origin.”
“Ms. Victoria, are you sure about telling him?” asked Zey.
“Now is a good time as ever. Listen, Jonathan. What I’m about to say to you is a secret only a few people in this world know.” Victoria took a seat at the edge of the bed and looked at Zey. “Put up a veil.”
Commander Zey didn’t hesitate to create a veil so powerful and thick even Jonathan could see the actual barrier in the room. The air around Victoria weighed down with intense somberness.
“Do you know about Demon?”
“Demon? You mean like Beelzebub and stuff?”
“Correct. What you generally know about them is somewhat true and false at the same time. Even me and several others have no idea what they truly are, but what we do know is they are dangerous.”
“But what do these demons have to do with the crystal?”
“One of them, a powerful one, is trapped inside it. The spiritual energy that ran this island didn’t come from normal means. It comes from the demon trapped inside the crystal. We’ve been siphoning and purifying its energy for our use.”
“Wait, hold on. I can’t keep up. Where did this demon come from? How did you manage to trap it? Does Demon come from hell? If they came from hell that means heaven exist, right? How about God?”
“I understand your confusion, but even I have a few of those answers you seek. Perhaps, I should start with the True War. Before you, before the separation, there was a time when humans and myths fought side by side for the fate of this world. This alliance was called The Order of Light was created and led by one person, Saint Jeanne d’Arc.”