Chapter 16:

Chapter 6.1: Determination

The Last Light


Before the separation, before Jonathan or the island ever existed, there was a time when man and myth fought alongside each other in a battle that would decide the fate of the world. This massive battle took place in a land of ice and snow, where your tears could freeze in seconds. Despite The Order of Light having a near million soldiers, they were still outnumbered by the enemy.Bookmark here

A woman with blond short hair stood amidst the chaos with half her face drenched in blood. Dead bodies from man to myth littered the battlefield and were treated as nothing more than a mere nuisance as they battled the creature of horror from small to big and varied in different forms.Bookmark here

Jeanne glanced at the sky with panting breaths, flaming boulders from the catapults covered the sky with a dark cloud. The wound in her stomach ached, but it was nothing she could handle as she healed herself with a golden light.Bookmark here

“Saint Jeanne!” A soldier called out to her.Bookmark here

She turned to find a big centipede made from flesh and limbs, held down by a thousand chains and binding spells. The soldiers and the sorcerers waited for her to deliver the final blow. Jeanne didn’t hesitate, she ran and launched into the sky with her six golden wings. After gaining enough momentum, she brought down her sword of light and severed the creature’s head from its body. Her men cheered before moving to the next creature.Bookmark here

“Jeanne!” This time, a familiar banshee called out to her.Bookmark here

She turned with a smile at the incoming woman, her pale but slightly olive skin and curly black hair and along with her big blue eyes was a sight she needed to see. After arriving, Diana took out a handkerchief and wiped the blood off her face. Her worry about Jeanne was clear as day.Bookmark here

“Lady Jeanne, our numbers are diminishing while the enemy’s number is increasing, we can’t keep this up any longer.”Bookmark here

A fleshy flying demon with talons came down on them, Diana stood between Jeanne and the demon. After taking a full breath, she let out a thunderous scream that tore the creature’s flesh from the bones. A spray of inky blood scattered into the sky like a mist.Bookmark here

The translucent golden being in front of her occupied Jeanne’s attention. He did not speak or interfere, and only Jeanne was aware of his existence. He raised his finger and pointed at the large doorway made from skeletons. It stood in the middle of the battlefield and horrid creatures poured constantly out from it. No one could see where it led, and no one would dare to enter.Bookmark here

However, the golden being isn’t pointing at the doorway but at the fat, large demon that sat on the throne in front of it. His rotten flesh gave off a stench that resembled a rotting corpse. With the horrid mouth on his belly, he swallowed the dead soldiers with one bite. A crown made from pointed rock and held together with rusted iron rested on his forehead. It symbolizes his rule over the other demons.Bookmark here

Jeanne charged toward the demon despite the sea of battle that separated them. Her sword of light cut down any opponent that appeared before her. She stopped when a demon that resembled a centipede burst out of the ice with a squad of undines hanging onto its carapace.Bookmark here

One of the undines couldn’t hold on and was flung off, then landed in front of the demon. “Private Zey!” Her comrades shouted her names. The demon centipede opened its mandibles and dove straight toward the undine.Bookmark here

Jeanne carried her away in the nick of time, while at the same time cut the mandible off the demon centipede. The undine squad buried the tip of their trident in the gap between the carapaces, then with their combined strength tore the centipede in half. It was a true spectacle to see how much strength the undines can generate if they work together.Bookmark here

The banshee caught up to the woman. “Lady Jeanne, how many times do I need to tell you, stop charging into battle all by yourself.”Bookmark here

Jeanne kept her smile for the undine as she lowered her gently. Private Zey blushed at the sight of Lady Jeanne. She called upon her trident, and it came into her hands. The undines squad gathered around them with a grin.Bookmark here

“Are you seeing this? Private Zey is blushing,” her friend teased.Bookmark here

“No, I’m not!” Zey scolded.Bookmark here

“It looks like someone has a crush on the Saint.”Bookmark here

“Seriously, stop it. You’re embarrassing us.” Zey protested.Bookmark here

Even though Jeanne enjoyed the pleasantries, her focus remained on the demon. She knew what must be done to stop it. Time was a commodity she couldn’t afford, so once again she charged forward. Diana shook her head and went after her along with the group of undines.Bookmark here

It was a valiant effort, but not without a price. The moment they step closer to the demon, one of the undines went crazy and attacked her fellow soldiers. It was a bloodbath, Private Zey tried to pry her friend off her other friend.Bookmark here

“Let greed consume you,” roared the demon.Bookmark here

The demon screamed when Jeanne severed his arm. He swung his other arm against Jeanne and sent her flying into an ice shard. She broke the ice upon impact, then she buried her sword into the frozen ground to stop herself.Bookmark here

“You damn puppet.” The demon took his severed arm and swallowed it whole, then regrew his arm back. “You still don’t understand. You can’t kill me. You can’t stop me.”Bookmark here

Jeanne left her sword, then she called upon her spear. It flew across the skies and into her hand.Bookmark here

Ciara barged into the room with wet eyes. Jonathan, Zey, and Victoria turned to Ciara with raised eyebrows. Out of nowhere, she leaped into Jonathan’s chest and wrapped her arms around me. Jonathan winced at the sudden hug, but he didn’t push her away.Bookmark here

“What’s wrong?”Bookmark here

“I’m sorry. All of it was my fault.”Bookmark here

“I don’t understand what you’re saying, but I doubt what happened to me was your fault.”Bookmark here

“You’re just saying that to make me feel better.”Bookmark here

Jonathan put on a smile and patted her back. Before Jonathan could say anything, Ms. Nicollette walked into the room and raised her eyebrows at the crowd. “Oh my, am I interrupting anything?”Bookmark here

“Ms. Nicol, what are you doing here?”Bookmark here

“I heard you got hurt, so I came to visit you.”Bookmark here

He looked at the professor with a bright smile. “The answer to your assignment is hope. Those children in the orphanage saw it more than what it was, and I saw it through their eyes.”Bookmark here

Suddenly, Ms. Nicol started laughing. Jonathan worried that his answer was wrong. When the professor calmed herself, she wiped away the tears of joy, then suddenly leaped into him. She embraced Jonathan beside Ciara. “The answer was correct. You truly are my prodigy.”Bookmark here

Melody and Olivia walked into the room and became surprised at the commotions. In their hand was a basket of fruits and ointment. They placed it next to Victoria’s gift basket.Bookmark here

“Two girls embracing you? I didn’t realize you’re such a player, Jonathan,” teased Melody.Bookmark here

“I want to thank you for saving Jenny. She was super-duper thankful and has been working on that homemade gift. She also thinks you’re so cool, and I think you might have a fan.”Bookmark here

“A fan, me? Hehehe, it’s an honor.”Bookmark here

“Is that how you showed your thanks, praises, and a promise of a homemade gift?”Bookmark here

“Actually, I would love a homemade gift. It feels sincerer than a store-bought gift, but to be honest, I never had someone give me a gift before. So, I don’t really know which one is better.”Bookmark here

The atmosphere in the room became heavy after Jonathan’s statement. He realized the change of look they gave at him. He never intended to let a part of himself slip out, but with all of them gathered here and showing their genuine care for him had caught him off guard. He couldn’t understand why it upset him, and he doesn't know if he liked it or not.Bookmark here

“Uhm…” Before Jonathan could change the mood, Melody walked to Jonathan and laid a kiss on his cheek. He immediately blushed at the gesture and shot a confused stare at the succubus. Bookmark here

Ciara’s jaw slightly dropped while the rest raised their eyebrows at Jonathan and Melody.Bookmark here

“There. A kiss from a maiden. A suitable gift for a hero.” Melody smiled.Bookmark here

“Muah,” Nicol laid another big kiss on Jonathan’s cheek.Bookmark here

Everyone gasped at the second kiss. Jonathan’s brain was about to explode from excitement alone or at least that was what it felt like. However, his nose suddenly bleeds out. In a way, his resistance to succubus had gotten stronger than before, instead of fainting, his nose bled out and his brain ached.Bookmark here

“Wow, you didn’t faint,” muttered Nicol. Everyone was surprised by Jonathan’s will. They actually clapped for him.Bookmark here

Jonathan didn’t know whether to be offended by the claps. He was pretty sure they thought of him as someone who has a weak will to the succubus. Well, they weren’t wrong. Who could blame him? The succubus was one of the seductive beings he ever saw.Bookmark here

Afterward, they enjoyed each other's company for a while before they all needed to leave the room and gave Jonathan some time to rest. Something stirred in his heart again, he still couldn’t understand what it was. He never felt such feelings before. He did, however, miss Bor and Eri, and he worried about her.Bookmark here

***

Bor kept his hand entwined with Eri’s hand. He realized the sun had begun to set through the window of the room. Still, he wasn’t going to leave her younger sister’s side. He now knows that she needs him after she showed him the fearful struggles she had while she was asleep. He doesn’t know why or how it happened, but he wishes that he knew, so he could help her.Bookmark here

Eri moaned as her eyelids fluttered before opening. “W-Where am I?”Bookmark here

Bor almost jumped out from his seat at the sound of her voice, but he chose to keep his calm. He remained seated and moved his other hand to wrap around Eri’s palm. “You’re in the infirmary.”Bookmark here

“I am?”Bookmark here

“Yes, you are.”Bookmark here

“Do you recall anything?”Bookmark here

“I… Jonathan… The child. I-I-...” Eri’s tears started to pour out. “Oh no, did I?”Bookmark here

“No. No. No. You didn’t. The child is okay.”Bookmark here

A wave of relief washed over her, then she finally remembered what happened. “Jonathan!”Bookmark here

“He’s fine. He’s in the other room. He is already starting to recover. The Commander told me that he seems particularly unbothered by the whole ordeal.”Bookmark here

“The Oath. It’s broken... I broke it.”Bookmark here

“Yeah… but it wasn’t your fault. I wasn’t there to help you. I tried to get stronger for him and I failed, again. Just like the tournament. It’s my fault. Blame me.”Bookmark here

Eri narrowed her eyes at him. “What are you talking about? I hurt him with my hands, why are you saying it was your fault? Why do you keep doing that?!” Eri became angry.Bookmark here

“Do what?” Bor asked with raised eyebrows.Bookmark here

“You keep on taking everything, the shame and the pain, and place it on yourself.”Bookmark here

“Because it was my fault. She got hurt because I wasn’t strong enough. He got hurt because I wasn’t… strong enough. I’m weak, Eri. Ever since I was a child, I understood that I was weaker than the others. When we were young, you often looked up to me like I was some kind of hero, and I tried to play the act, but deep down I know that I wasn’t who you thought I was. I failed you. I fail everyone. That’s why you hate me.” Bor’s shoulders slumped while his grip loosened around his younger sister’s hand.Bookmark here

Eri tightened her grip which surprised Bor. “I didn’t hate you because you were weak. I hate you because you didn’t come back.”Bookmark here

“But how could I come back when I showed you how pathetic I was?”Bookmark here

“I don’t care how strong you are. I have always known you weren’t. Remember those bullies? They teased me until I cried, but you came and stopped them. You thought I ran away before you got into a fight, but I didn’t. I watched from afar with fears as they beat you. I couldn’t do anything. I was so afraid of getting hurt. But the more I watched, the more I realized you never gave up. You took all those beating and kept on standing. I always admired that about you, but when you lost the tournament, you immediately gave up and didn’t even bother to come back. Still, I waited for you.”Bookmark here

“You waited for me?”Bookmark here

“Of course, but you never came back, so I thought if you didn’t want to, I would go to you. That’s why I attend this academy. To see you. But when I found out about the oath. I got angry. You’re an idiot for taking that oath! Now you can’t come back forever. I hate it. I hate you.” She whipped Bor’s hand off hers.Bookmark here

To know the real truth of her younger sister’s hate for him was heartbreaking. It wasn’t what he thought it was. The truth was he left her, and she felt abandoned.Bookmark here

“Eri… I--”Bookmark here

“Get out.” His younger sister rolled to face away from him.Bookmark here

“Eri…”Bookmark here

“I said get out.” She felt her hands trembled, but not out of anger, it was out of fear. Something had happened to her after she turned. She felt the darkness crept around her heart. It was the same force that took control of her. She doesn’t know whether she will lose control or not, but one thing she doesn’t want is to hurt anyone else.Bookmark here

Bor lowered his chin. He has no choice, but to follow her younger sister’s request or risk her wrath again. He left the room and closed the door behind her, leaving Eri all by herself. Uncertain and afraid.Bookmark here

***

Jonathan found himself sitting on the floor beside the bed while stacks of papers and books surrounded him. He studied the report to find any clue to his investigation, then he turned to his torn clothes in the box. The physician had to cut it apart, so they could operate on him without worsening the injury. Jonathan didn’t blame them for doing their job, but the clothes are unusable for him.Bookmark here

He pulled the box closer, then rummaged through the pockets. As expected, the coin was missing. Jonathan raised his eyebrows when he slid his hand into the empty pocket. There was something else missing. It was the ring he found.Bookmark here

Everything finally came together inside Jonathan’s head. For now, he needs a plan.Bookmark here

His attention wandered to the book of Sigils. It was given to him by Ms. Nicol before she left. Suddenly, a glowing golden hand was placed upon it. Jonathan raised his sight to meet the golden woman. She met his sight with her soft meaningful gaze.Bookmark here

“You want me to open this book?” Jonathan asked.Bookmark here

The golden woman said nothing and remained expressionless, she only removed her hand.Bookmark here

Jonathan flipped the cover open. Nothing changed in her face. He flipped each page. Pages after pages, he finally stopped when the golden woman placed her hand against the paper.Bookmark here

“Is this it?”Bookmark here

She removed her hand. Jonathan looked down to find a Transference Sigil. It was unlike the Sigil he learned, this was more complicated. Circles entwined with each other and the sun and moon symbols merged in the center. Two Latin words needed to be placed above and bottom of the Sigil: Principium and Terminus.Bookmark here

The true use for this sigil is teleportation, but if the golden woman wished Jonathan to learn it, then it must have other uses, or perhaps he needs to teleport something. However, Jonathan will need ten other sorcerers to activate this Sigil because it requires a tremendous amount of spiritual energy. Jonathan shrugged and continued to study the Sigil.Bookmark here

Jonathan heard the door open, but he paid no mind to it.Bookmark here

An oversized teddy bear walked in. Jonathan had to do a double-take when he noticed it. He quickly reached for his knife but stopped when he heard a familiar voice.Bookmark here

“Sorry to bother you this late,” said Lucy as she waved her armBookmark here

“You’re not bothering anyone, but what with the teddy suit?” Jonathan moved his hand away from the knife.Bookmark here

“I thought… Actually, I want to thank you for saving Jenny. Melody was right, you deserved more.”Bookmark here

“And why the teddy suit again?”Bookmark here

“Because it’s cute.” Lucy sat across from me.Bookmark here

“Okay. It still doesn't make sense to me, you know that, right?”Bookmark here

“You have too little imagination, Jonathan. The surprise isn’t the teddy suit, but what’s in it, can you guess what?”Bookmark here

Jonathan widened his eyes and gulped. “Wait, are you….”Bookmark here

“I don’t know, am I?” Melody let out a sly grin underneath the mask.Bookmark here

“If that is true then I don’t think my heart can take it.”Bookmark here

“Let’s play a game, Jonathan. A simple game of questions. I’ll ask you a question, and you’ll answer it, then you can ask me a question, and I’ll answer it.”Bookmark here

“If we play this game, what will prevent us from lying?”Bookmark here

“I won’t lie, you have my word. And I know you won’t lie because it won’t be fun that way.” A mischievous smile grew on her face underneath the mask.Bookmark here

“Your word? It does sound tempting. Ask away.”Bookmark here

“Where were you born?”Bookmark here

“Haven Town, Alaska. What about you?”Bookmark here

“Paradisum City, a city hidden underneath another city. Are you really a Nephilim?”Bookmark here

“Nope.”Bookmark here

“I thought so too. There’s always something off about you.”Bookmark here

“From what I notice, you have talents, but you don’t seem that interested in sorcery, why?”Bookmark here

“... Talent isn’t everything, talent is a false promise, and it doesn’t define who I am. I despise those who see nothing more than my talents. Someone should be judged by their hard work, not their talent like Melody. She doesn’t have talent, but she works harder than anyone else to achieve her power. Yet, no one sees her potential.”Bookmark here

“I see. So, your true passion lies in those cursed children because you see their potential.”Bookmark here

“You’re correct. I hate people calling them the cursed children.” She let out a sigh. “You are oddly observant for a human. Tell me, why did you come here?”Bookmark here

“It wasn’t by choice, but I can promise you one thing, I have no ill intention against anyone here.” Jonathan leaned back against the bed. “I guess it’s my turn to ask. Is the ring with you?”Bookmark here

The room fell to silence. Lucy’s smile dropped flat and Jonathan sensed the shifting tension in her body. “They don’t hire you to be an inquisitor if you can’t do the job. Yes, I have it. I’m wearing it right now. How did you figure it out?”Bookmark here

“Only Eri and you knew I had the ring. It’s either one of you, but I won’t suspect Eri because she wasn’t a Nephilim, and I have faith in her. So, after a process of simple elimination, you became my answer. It was you who snatched it when you stabbed me in that sewer... How’s your shoulder?”Bookmark here

Lucy let out a laugh. “My shoulder is fine. Thank you for asking.”Bookmark here

“That’s good to hear.” Jonathan smiled. “So tell me, how did you control the body? I thought necromancy was lost.”Bookmark here

“Necromancy? Haha. Even with my talents, I can’t learn something that has been lost for centuries. The answer is more simple as that; Metalmorph. It flowed throughout his body, and with my precise control, I could make him walk.”Bookmark here

“Why the embassy?”Bookmark here

“Oh, that’s not how the game works, you already asked two questions. You owe me two answers, but I don’t have any more questions for you. So, how about this? I’ll give you a freebie. I did it because he told me to do it.”Bookmark here

“Who told you to do it?”Bookmark here

“I’m sorry that as far as I can tell you. Well, I think our little game has gone long enough.”Bookmark here

Jonathan sighed. “Too bad that our game had to come to an end.”Bookmark here

“It’s a shame really, we just got to know each other.”Bookmark here

Lucy lunged at Jonathan. She pushed Jonathan’s hand away from the knife while her other hand gripped his throat. Lucy avoided the swinging stump, but Jonathan managed to slide his leg out under her and kicked her away. It was a momentary pause, Lucy lunged again. She lifted Jonathan by the throat.Bookmark here

Jonathan smacked the teddy mask off her, and to his surprise, Lucy was crying. The restriction around his neck blurred his sight and blocked his airway. He was losing, and he knows he can’t do anything about it, not with a single arm.Bookmark here

Finally, Jonathan’s body became limp, and he drifted into the darkness.Bookmark here

Bookmarked
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