Chapter 20:

Yalda Vs. The Grim Reaper

Face of Eternity : The Star and the Rose

With all the craziness that just happened at the end of the street, I wanted to find a different way to the cathedral. It would have been faster, but I couldn't look at the injuries people had.

Indena and I went a different way around, getting there in probably triple the time we would have otherwise.

Once we got there, the chapel looked really empty, but I could see on my map that a few people were hiding in a room on the left side.

I ran over and tried to open the door, but someone on the other side was holding it shut.

“Please, let me in.” I could have entered combat mode and tore the door off, but that would have been very taxing and probably freaked the people out. I already messed up by powering down my combat mode after the inquisitors showed up too.

“Yalda, is that you?” I heard my friend Alice's voice on the other side. “Please, open the door for her!”

A nun on the other side let me in. It was the young nun Connie watching over them. Timmy and Alice were there too.

“How many people did you send here?” I asked Indena.

“Definitely more than this.”

Sister Connie said that there were originally more people hiding in here, but most of them thought there wasn’t anything wrong and left. Even the older nun Ruth left after a while, but we know where she ended up. It was just these three who remained.

Connie started to explain the situation. “These two came running in here with dozens of people. Everyone was screaming and freaking out.”

Alice chimed in, pointing at Indena. "That lady there said we should hide in the church."

Connie continued. "It wasn't hard to see for myself what was going on, but everyone else said that someone was crying wolf."

It was kinda’ hard to believe that dozens of people were unaware of the craziness outside…but yikes.

I explained to them that we had to get out of here and go to the castle. They believed that the cathedral was safe, but we couldn’t risk it, even if it didn’t change.

“Wait, there’s still more people here, but they don’t think anything’s wrong outside.” Connie said. "We have to save them too."

The truth was, I was hoping anyone still here in the church would just listen to me, since they thought I was an angel. But with how even the inquisitors were willing to turn on me, I wasn’t sure if it was possible.

It was still worth a shot. I ran around the whole cathedral, getting everyone's attention and explaining to them that we all needed to head for the castle.

About a quarter of them actually took my word, and half of that quarter were sluggishly going back to their rooms to gather up stuff to take with them.

“But you don’t understand, this place might not be safe much longer!”

“Blasphemy!” Someone shouted. “This is the safest place in the whole World!”

“How dare you claim we live in unhallowed walls?” A different nun announced.

“Are you even really an angel?” A third voice questioned.

They were turning on me! It may have been because of some curse, or maybe they really felt this way. Regardless, they couldn’t stay here or we’d be in trouble.

“No! We have to leave now!” I shouted. “The Reaper is…!”

As if on cue, a ghastly energy entered the chapel. Black fog seeped in from the stained glass windows, filling up the floor to about a foot upwards.

The only ones to react were me, Indena, Connie, Alice, and Timmy. We all stood up on the pews to keep from getting touched by the fog.

“Look at how they desecrate our seats with their feet!”

“Oh shut up, Deula!” Indena growled. “Can’t you see the F’n fog?”

Somehow they were more offended by her use of ‘Deula’ than by the black fog. They couldn’t see what was going on. My hopes sank, we couldn’t save them like this.

Once the fog completely covered the floor, it collected around the legs of the people, climbing up them like serpents constricting their prey. Once the fog reached their nostrils, they breathed it in and fell into a deep sleep.

All of them gained the curse of slumber affinity. They dropped like stones and laid on the fog covered ground.

“No, that’s not good!” I shouted. “Indena, we have to…”

Oh no, she and the others were asleep too!

Then he finally arrived. Phasing through the very center of the stained glass circle above the entrance, the Reaper, in all his ghastly presence, loomed over us.

He had to have noticed me, but he went straight for the people on the ground, parting the clouds of fog that blanketed over them. He placed his many skeletal hands over their chests.

His hands dipped inside of them, like placing a hand in water. He began to collect their mana energy onto his spool, like he did before.

I had an idea to get his attention. Although I couldn’t fire it, I could charge the mana cannon for a second to attract him away from the people. The sudden burst of energy would definitely get his notice, like back in the valley.

I ran out into the isle and began the firing sequence of the mana cannon. A burst of mana filled the air, then collected back into my heart.

-Mana cannon, powering down-

With the sudden burst of energy, the Reaper turned to me, perfectly as planned.

“Come here you big stupid skelly man!”

Now he was heading for me, slowly and menacing. His hand stretched out, reaching for my heart to claim what he wanted.

Now that he was heading my way, the next thing anyone would do is defend themselves. I hadn’t planned that far ahead. Stardust would be perfect, so I blasted him with a shot from my palm!

Glittery energy hit him and filled the air with sparkles!

He didn’t even flinch. Darn it! Did it even do any damage at all? I thought this stuff was supposed to be really effective against demons.

I needed some other type of weapon…

The only thing around me I could get inspiration from was a spear behind a glass casing. It looked old and rusted, but its looks weren’t what I was after. If this could let me attack from a distance, that would work.

While running over to it, my eyes automatically did a scan of the spear. My head recorded all the details of it. A little dialogue box opened up…

-Stardust weapon(s) now available!-


The way to summon the spear was to call to it and force the image in my head out into reality. How hard could that be?

“Spear Summon!” I shouted on instinct, causing a rod of Stardust to form in my palms. The rod warped until crudely forming the spear I had just been inspired by.

It was a translucent blue weapon and glowing. I’m not sure why it was blue, since stardust was clear or white, but it looked cool. It was heavy, and much bigger than I wanted it to be. I grasped it with both my hands as tight as I could, hugging it close to my body.

The spear swung down from its weight, so I held it out in what I figured would be an intimidating way.

“Don’t come any closer! Or…I’ll stab you to death!”

My words provoked the Reaper, because he summoned his scythe to his bone hands.

“Gulp…” I held my ground, wanting to take a step back.

He wanted to fight. He’d do anything for all the mana in me.

This duel had silently begun the moment both our weapons raised. Though a swing hadn’t happened, we both just waited to see who’d make the first move.

“Calm down…” I told myself, “calm down calm down calm down…” I nervously juggled the spear up and down and tightened my focus on the Reaper.

The Reaper slung forward and slashed his scythe through the cold air. My spear met his weapon, keeping it from hitting me.

He reeled back and swung again, but I blocked that attack too. The spear felt twice as heavy now, I could hardly keep it up.

Again the Reaper attacked, but I blocked it. He kept trying and trying, faster each time, but my spear practically moved on its own to protect me. My arms felt like they were going to fall off with how sore they were.

I didn’t even think to attack him, but an indicator in my vision pointed out a weak spot in his form, then gave me an exact motion to strike at. I had a split second window to react.

The window closed, and I missed my chance to attack. Crud, this wasn’t good!

The Reaper backed away and spiraled in place, twirling the point of his scythe across the ground and raking symbols in the marble floors. These symbols started to glow for a second, but the glow turned black, like rising ash.

A wave of dark energy flung out of the cuts he’d made in the ground and right at me. I held out the spear to protect me, but the darkness covered more area than this thin weapon could. When it touched my skin, I felt the darkness burn like acid all over me.

“Ahhh!” It was the most pain I’d ever felt in my life. My armour skin held up, but I could hear the dark acid sizzle. “Ahhhaahhahh!”

-You have come to harm! Third Commandment protocol in effect!-

My focus tightened on the Reaper, my grip clung tight to the spear. The soreness from holding this heavy weapon took a much needed break, allowing me full control over how I wanted to move it.

-Warning! Combat protocols at 25% efficiency. Fleeing is advised-

If I left now, everyone else would be in much more danger than me. Fighting at 25% and a prayer would be more than enough.

The Reaper didn’t react to my change in demeanor, he merely raised up his weapon and went for another strike. This time we met weapons with confidence.

His attacks were quicker in response, so I had to move faster too. But trying to push myself caused me to overheat, so I had to be careful how far I’d be willing to go here.

Miasma started to fill the air from the Reapers cloak. All the people passed out were going to get choked out if this death gas made contact.

Well we exchanged blows, I hacked into the cathedrals archaic ventilation systems and got the vents pushing some of the miasma out. It was enough to keep the people from breathing it in. Even the sleeping fog cleared up a little.

While hacking the systems, I noticed that there were some basic defenses built into the church's walls. Nothing crazy, but they had security measures put in place that didn’t seem to be in use. This was an optimal time for them.

The first one I noticed was the Holy Water sprinklers. It seemed funny, but I could imagine these working well in an instance like this. The issue was that they weren’t turning on.

Running a diagnostic showed that these sprinklers were over a hundred years old, and they were poorly maintained. It’s likely nobody knew they existed at this point.

To repair this issue, I’d need to go up to the ceiling and manually break the seals that were preventing the water from showering down. Issue was, I needed to get up there and juggle battling the Reaper at the same time. If I left him alone for even a second, the people would be dead.

I deployed my wings, thinking that they could fly me up. But I realized quickly that wings weren’t very helpful, since I didn’t know how to fly yet.

Honestly, what was I thinking being so lax? I should have learned how to fly already!

One thing I did see was a lot of inner details and beams of wood and stone in the ceiling. I leapt up to those, using a gust from my wings to propel up to them. Then I powered up my mana cannon for a few seconds to get the Reapers attention.

He took the bait, and he raced after me. He started attacking, but I caught his swing with my spear.

The first sprinkler was behind me in the wall, so all I needed to do was break into the stone and destroy the seal.

I dodged the Reaper's second attack, and he struck the stone. Plenty chipped off for me to see the sprinkler inside. Then I used my hand to pull out a piece of plastic keeping the water from flowing. I made sure the water wasn’t on yet. This guy needed a full on shower from above from all the sprinklers.

The next sprinkler was a little further away. I leapt over to the beam, but slipped on the old greasy surface, catching myself on the ledge. I dropped my spear and it fell down to the pews with a crash. The spear wasn’t broken, but this was a fatal error on my part.

Without my weapon, all I could do was evade the swift edges of the scythe well dangling from this slippery edge.

I used my upper bicep swivel joint to twist myself around and evade as best I could.

I noticed a beam running diagonally with the ceiling. I used the slipperiness to slide to that beam. Then I grabbed it and recovered. I wasn’t able to get the sprinkler cut open though.

Things managed to get back on track when I glided over to the other hidden sprinklers, making the Reaper mistakenly cut them open. I was reaching the last one in the wall when he swung violently at the stone.

The stone disintegrated instantly, but he’d cut too far in and ruined the sprinkler. It started spraying holy water all over us.


His siren started blaring out uncontrollably as holy water began to melt him. He quickly hovered out into the open and looked around, seeing that other sprinklers were in similar locations. He figured me out.

No time left to play around, I had to get him down low so the sprinklers could douse him out.

I leapt onto his body, hoping to cause enough of a tussle to get him to hover down lower. Even just a few meters down would be good to set the sprinklers off.

My fingers clung to the cloth of his robes and my weight was enough to drag him down.

Touching death was burning my hands, but not doing any damage to me. I kept dragging him down until we were finally in range.

Suddenly, the mere 25% of my combat protocols dropped to 3%. I wasn’t in combat mode anymore! Why did that suddenly happen!?

Oh crud, this wasn’t good! What was I doing? Uh…wait!

“SPRINKLERS ACTIVATE!” I sent out a signal to set them off. Water started spraying down on us. “Time for a shower, you stinky reaper!”

He was screaming uncontrollably, his siren went wild and he was trying to cover himself up with all kinds of shadows, but they just kept turning to ash.

We hit the ground floor, and he went down on his hands and knees, a mere melty looking skeleton with ghastly red eyes. The sprinklers stopped and then an awful smelling sludge started raining down…yuck.

Wait! This was my chance to finish him off!

“Okay…okay…where did my spear go?” I looked around, trying to find it…it wasn’t anywhere in sight. I started looking in each of the seats, but it wasn’t there either. Then I crawled under the pews and saw it rolling toward the exit. “No, come back, spear!”

I kept crawling down until I’d made it out of the pews, then I grabbed it before it hit the other wall.

“Gotcha!” I announced. “Don’t roll away from me, I gotta’ use you for…”

The Reaper started to gain back his strength as he sat idle. His robes were returning, this time it looked like some spiky looking armour was growing around his chest and shoulders.

“Oh crud! No no! Don’t do that now!”

Phase 2 of this fight would be a nightmare if I didn’t finish him off quickly. I ran at him as fast as I could, brandishing my spear, ready to poke it right through his heart!

“HEYA!” I closed my eyes and launched the spear in the air like a javelin! The spear hit the Reaper in the head, but he just looked a little dazed. That wasn't where I wanted to hit! He stopped gathering energy for a second, but crud!

I grabbed the spear again and shoved it into his chest! It cut through like hot butter!

“It’s over!”

The demon screeched fiercely, then light shot out of him in every direction and he exploded to bits of ash and dust!

The force was enough to blast me backwards and onto my back. The spear disintegrated too.

When I recovered, I noticed a black orb was floating where the Reaper had once been. It got all squidgy looking and formed into a weird looking star thing.


The squidgy star flew right through the stained glass window above the altar, then into the sky. The clouds funneled in around it and red lightning shot all over.

Indena started waking up.

“Indena!” I shook her, accelerating the wake up process. “Get up! Come on! The Reaper isn’t done yet!”

“Stop shaken’ me…” She slapped my hands away. “What do you mean he’s not done? What happened?”

I told her about the battle, and how after I defeated the Reaper he flew up into the sky and is preparing for phase 2 of the fight.

“No idea what that means...but...” Indena shot up, “let’s get outside and find out.”

Mario Nakano 64
Taylor J
MyAnimeList iconMyAnimeList icon