Chapter 70:

Under the Summer Rain

Lovely kNight


About 8 Minutes at full speed. Not half bad.” Mercy’s words play on loop in my mind while I sprint my absolute hardest through the fields.

The rain covers the world and stains me to the skin. Each strike of lightning stutters my already fractured mind that has been dyed deeply with the pitch black of fear. The roaring of the thunder resonates in my heart and screams with the scar. The world mocks me with its crocodile tears while I run for dear life.

I find the path to the training facility but my feverish sprinting leads me to dash my feet against the rocks to collapse and roll my shoulder into a jagged stone. I immediately spin back to my feet and continue off without missing a single beat.

There isn’t a single note that can be missed. There’s no time to waste with pain.

The straight path becomes curved and warped in my head as the earth begins to shift and spin beneath me. The soaked ground kicks at my heels to break my stride. I fight against the sweeps to keep my pace. The wind drives its palms into my body and shoves me with short bursts while it laughs at my struggling.

All of the world, all of reality tests me in this moment of true fear when all of my senses are so overwhelmed that my heart could freeze solid in my chest. Yet this world of horror shows no such mercy to my soul.

Another flashing light sears my vision and shows me a shadowed image of Juna fallen upon her blade. The metal pierces her through the stomach as she lays deathly still on the earth. Her blood mixes with the summer rain to be swept away and forgotten.

In the cacophony of intertwining, chaotic noises filling my ears, I can hear the faint sound of a ringing. I throw it from my mind and keep myself fixed on the goal, unwilling to compromise my sights.

All of this time you’ve been nothing but a pest!”

I nearly trip over myself but flinch and catch my next step. I see the anger in Juna’s eyes as the rain falls down her wrathful face.

How haven’t you understood yet? I want you to leave me alone!”

Another blade buries itself into my core. I wheeze in anguish while gripping hard to my chest. Her screaming voice pierces me through truer than any sword.

Because that’s what it’s like to feel pain! It doesn’t just go away like it never existed! It’s always there and there’s always a scar left behind!”

Another gust of wind pushes against me and I fight back with all of my strength to keep running. The pain inside of her is unbearable as it brings my heart to anguish in misery.

I’ll never be like her! Do you expect me to be okay when I feel like my dreams are falling apart?!”

I see the facility before me as it shines beneath another explosion of light. I pick up my pace even faster against all the elements and the traps which attempt to stop me.

I see the doorway before me. The entrance.

Please don’t go.”

Not the crashing of thunder, but the sound of the door being thrown open splits the air. I trip to the floor of the facility and careen and roll across it, leaving a wet trail in my wake. The attendant at the desk is captured dumbfounded as they watch me fumble to rise.

Breathless, pained, panicked. I can’t speak any other words to them other than, “Help her!”

I’m back to my feet and into a full sprint when I pass by a group of attendants on the way with a rush to their steps. One in the group catches my eye as I pass and quickly points me in the direction they’re headed. I follow his hand and come to a door with a handful of facility associates gathered around. They talk to each other and devise strategies but cease their conversation moment I arrive.

“Sir Celestial Knight. We’d been told you’d be arriving and-”

“This is Juna’s room, isn’t it?! Tell me!”

“Y-Yes, sir!” The man stutters. “She came in a dozen minutes earlier and it seems that she’s locked herself inside. We’re not sure what to do with such circumstances and-”

I twist to the door and see it; the glimmering light of a shield acting as a barrier. Juna’s shield.

“Everyone, stand back! The moment this thing falls I need you to unlock the door immediately!” I command the man.

He shakes where he stands but manages to faintly grabs hold of his key.

I lock my eyes onto the shield before the door. Her shield. The shield of a magician.

Strong to defend against magic but weaker when it comes to physical attacks. I say a prayer as I draw my sword and take a swing with as much might as I can muster. The first hit is repelled but the color has already begun to shift. I take another slash and scrape my blade against its surface, leaving it with enough energy to only defend one final blow.

I grip my sword with both hands and tighten my fingers around it. Screaming a war cry, I put every ounce of strength and momentum I have to muster and fracture the barrier back into light where it vanishes.

“Now!”

He stumbles with his hands but is able to roll the tumblers. I quickly step forward and take the door for myself, leaving the associates out of the room as I lock it and create a barrier with a shield of my own.

I see Juna standing at the very center of the room beyond the thick glass of the control room. The air sparks and cracks with electricity. Her hands shake as she holds onto the spell with every bit of strength she can muster. The expression she wears is laced with anguish as her dusk colored eyes flicker and wince with each snap of energy.

Every bit as horrible as my heart had told me. The very feeling that began to gestate inside of very existence the moment I’d seen the tome left open on her desk. With all of the energy she has invested into her spell its detonation will be nothing short of horrific. By her struggling and the pain written all about her body, I know that she’s drawn more energy than she can control.

I take a deep breath and put even more strength into the shield I’ve created at the door before I step forward. My mind fires as I come to grips with the pain that dominates me. I force myself to come to a calm as I enter into the room. Juna sees me at the very instance I pass the threshold. Her entire being is filled with sorrow. The look she sends me tells me everything.

“…Khiron… W-Why are you here? You shouldn’t… have come…” She speaks to me weakly.

“I was too slow. I’m sorry, Juna. I should have realized that I was doing everything wrong. I made mistakes and it’s lead to this.”

“N-No… Please, Khiron… That’s not true… I’m… I can’t…”

“It’ll be okay. We’ll get through this together. Just hold on and I’ll-”

“Don’t come any closer!” She yells to me and her emotions at last breaks through from her heart.

She twists away and hides her face as she begins to choke on her own voice. Shaking not just from the strain, but with the heavy weight of her tears.

“You should have just left me… You should have just left me…”

I take one step closer to her.

“No. That’s not true. And I’m here now. I won’t go. So please don’t turn away. Come here and we can stop this right now.”

“I can’t.” She speaks without a moment’s hesitation. “I can’t do that.”

“Please, Juna. Just trust me and…”

A loud crack of energy spikes through the air as her hand slips further and her pain ascends higher.

“Please… I’m… not going to make it… I’m still too weak. I’m still a failure… Even to the very end…”

I wish to speak – to say anything – but with how fragile she is, how she stands at the descent, I can’t.

“…Stay strong, Khiron… You’ve always meant the world to me…”

Her hand falls slack and the spell prepares to release. I launch into full sprint towards her and all of reality slows.

I witness every single detail of the moment in the most excruciating clarity. The way her shoulders fall slack with her head as she offers herself to a miserable fate. How she weeps to herself and all the pain she’d ever held inside falls from her heart at this very moment of decision. The spell reaches its critical mass before her and prepares to unleash its unbridled fury.

I watch her beautiful red hair wave in the force of the shock wave. Her figure is soon shadowed before the immense power and light that unleashes itself.

I reach for her.