Chapter 1:

Crimson Skies (Part 1)

Last Tale: Return of the Guardian Knight

His day was supposed to start like any other day: peacefully and uneventfully. He was supposed to head to work, finish his day’s job, and head home to live an empty and monotonous life. So how did he end up such?Bookmark here

Leo continued to wonder as he stared up at the crimson sky garnished with black clouds. He lacked the strength to maintain his focus. He could tell that he was hurt. He could feel the pain emanating from every nook and cranny in his body. His nerves laboriously worked overtime to deliver the pain to his brain.Bookmark here

All he wanted to do was close his eyes and sleep until the pain was gone. He wanted to sleep till his body did not scream. He could tell that his skin was parched by the dry itch that covered his entire body. His lips were chapped and his mouth tried its best to preserve the little water it got from his saliva. His breaths felt like his lungs were being roasted from within.Bookmark here

“Ah, maybe this is how the salamander feels all the time,” thought Leo, with a soft chuckle.Bookmark here

The slightest movement to him was like his cells being ripped out of his body individually while he consciously felt the connected nerves being ripped apart. If he had to use an analogy then it would be that of a rope breaking at the edge of a sharp stone. Humans and their lives were like ropes; made of smaller threads twined solidly, which in turn were a product of smaller fibres twisted together.Bookmark here

“Where am I,” inquired Leo?Bookmark here

His head was pulsing with a severe headache. His brain wanted to escape from his body. It did not want to hear the screams of his body and was pounding against the inside of his skull begging to be let out.Bookmark here

Gritting his teeth through the pain, Leo managed to turn his head a little to the left. His eyes widened in surprise to the extent that he had completely forgotten the pain he was in. The surprise coursed throughout his body and presented itself as trembles.Bookmark here

What he saw was a tall concrete building with over fifty floors up in flames. The building’s structure was burnt to the extent of the metal core bending and the structure slouching under its weight. The surrounding buildings were similar. The burning sensation in Leo’s lungs was the courtesy of the environment he was currently in.Bookmark here

From what he could tell, the building had been on fire for months, or maybe more. There was no glass or remains of any kind, the exposed metals had melted like candle wax and the concrete had dried up, hardened and cracked. Puddles of molten metal and flux were distributed in patches here and there.Bookmark here

Grunting through the pain in his head and body, Leo forced himself to sit up. He looked at himself and noticed he was dressed in black rags. His shirt was ripped to shreds and his lower was riddled with holes. His forearm and body were covered in scars of what looked like blade wounds. He could not remember where or when he procured those scars.Bookmark here

He looked around to get a better sense of where he was. Hot air brushed against his dry skin, worsening the itch he was resisting to scratch. He was surrounded by a concrete urban jungle. The surroundings were set ablaze and black smoke rose to the sky from the fires. The black smoke upon reaching a certain height turned red and blended into the crimson sky. The smokes that remained low banded together to form patches of black clouds decorating the sky.Bookmark here

Leo was struggling to breathe. He could feel a severe lack of oxygen which made his pounding headache worse. Being aware of that fact escalated the pain. He was gasping and panting for air.Bookmark here

Leo froze up when he looked at a small patch of mirage formed by the hot air on the ground. He thought he saw a dark red moon. Laughing at his creative mind he dismissively looked up at the sky to prove to himself that something like that could never happen. He did not understand why, but he did not want there to be a dark red moon in the sky. There mere thought of a dark red moon sent shivers down his spine and made his stomach churn. A deep unsettling fear enveloped his heart.Bookmark here

He looked up at the sky in dread. A big dark red moon peeked over the burning city. Even with the crimson sky in its background, the blood-red moon was distinguishable. Leo looked up at the moon and froze up. It was as if he was hypnotized. He had stopped thinking. He had stopped feeling. For a moment he just stood there and stared at the sky; his eyes mirroring the moon.Bookmark here

Leo suddenly felt a warmth welling up in his chest. The warmth was unpleasant but not discomforting. The warmth forced its way into his body and slowly spread outwards towards the rest of his body. Even though he felt uncomfortable, Leo did not move a muscle and stared at the mood in a trance. The unpleasant warmth penetrated his heart and coursed through his veins with his blood.Bookmark here

Leo felt the warmth turn to heat as it pulsed through his body. The heat overshadowed the pain in his body and head. He could feel the pain giving in to the heat and strength emerge from within. The heat expanded outwards from his heart to his abdomen and throughout his torso, then to his limbs. He could feel the heat making its way through the blood vessels and reach his fingertips and toe-tips.Bookmark here

Leo was still frozen in terror with his gaze locked on to the dark red moon. The heat from his torso gradually rose to his neck and then to his face. He could feel the heat on the back of his head and his face. Although it was uncomfortable, Leo could feel his strength drastically increase. He had no grounds to prove this feeling. The heat eventually converged on his eyes. His veins were visibly pulsing on his forehead and cheeks. The veins pulsed towards his eyes.Bookmark here

Under the reflection of the dark red moon, another colour glowed in the pupil of his eyes. The dark red moon’s reflection in Leo’s eyes changed. The dark red reflection slowly transformed to magenta. The more heat concentrated in his eyes the stronger the magenta became.Bookmark here

Leo slowly closed his eyes. He felt as if his eyes would dry out because of the heat welling up in him and concentrating on his eyes. The moment he shut his eyes, he could move once again. He was breathing heavily but no longer panting and gasping for air. He was feeling a lot better than he did when he woke up. Leo lowered his head and opened his eyes to reveal glowing bright blue eyes.Bookmark here

He felt a small prick at his nape and then the world tilted. The ground closed in on his face and slapped his cheek. A split second later he was looking at a headless body. It donned the same clothes like him and was beautified with the same scars as his. It took him a while to realize that he was looking at his own beheaded body.Bookmark here

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It was only for a split second but behind his headless body, Leo saw a figure clad in a shadow and glowing blue eyes. The figure had a long katana in his hand and disappeared the moment Leo took notice of him. Leo’s conscience also came to a halt the moment the shadow’s figure disappeared.Bookmark here

Cours Twent
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