Chapter 8:

Symbol Of Fear

Avalon: Dark Ages Beginning

Fifty kilometres away from the classroom Bookmark here

In a now-destroyed rooftop banquet hall of Odysseus, Tower 1. Bookmark here

The corpses of the massacred people decorated the marble floor fabricated with redness of blood making it look like as if someone had spilt red paint. But it wasn't all that blood came from the people who were mercilessly shot down by the Avalonian Imperial Army on the order of Governor Crowley. Bookmark here

Soldiers present in the venue walked around making sure that no one was left alive or they all will be in trouble. Since this was an act of mass murder they had been given strict orders to clean up everything.Bookmark here

As one of the soldiers slowly walked towards the black Nemesis-the giant mecha-the sound of someone's breath alerted him. His fingers quickly gripped the muzzle of his gun as he turned around in an instant to shoot whoever was alive.Bookmark here

However, fate had a different plan for him. Before the soldier could have even reacted Sidharth impaled a pen into his right eye crushing his eyeball and brain killing him in an instant.Bookmark here

Sidharth looked at the lifeless body of the soldier as the thing that had broken within him started to shatter into pieces. His heart was in pain but his actions only displayed his desire. The desire to crush Avalon. The desire to possess the freedom that he had envisioned seven years the freedom that was snatched away from him.Bookmark here

"Avalon. This world its rotten..." Sidharth announced as his hands were dripping with blood that was not his own but of the soldier, he had just killed. His black eyes raged with fury as he slowly stood up. " I have seen it just like everyone else. This…. system, this way of life that Avalon has created it's dying. A slow death but a death all the same. So how is one supposed to stop it?" Bookmark here

Athena who had been quietly observing her new subject from the corner was suddenly presented with a question. A question that her subject had just asked. Her stormy grey eyes gazed at the figure of the black-haired boy as he stood between the soldiers who would kill him if they saw him but that didn't phase him at all and even at a time like this he had the nerve to ask her a question.Bookmark here

She couldn't have asked for anything more. He was the right person she had finally found him.Bookmark here

Athena smiled grimly as she lied, " I don't know"Bookmark here

"It's simple Athena, and that's to crush Avalon. By doing that you will destroy the order of the present world and creating a new one from scratch. After all, in order to create, you must first destroy."Bookmark here

It has been a Millenia since Athena had ever forged a contract with human-like this boy. Humans are fragile creature, a creature who carry all kinds of different emotions within them. Love, hope, despair, sadness, joy and many more. But these feelings are not what define humans.Bookmark here

What defines human is the humanity they carry within their heart, the kindness they carry for each other, the kindness that stops them from taking action to change the world.Bookmark here

But Sidharth was different, humanity? He discarded it seven years ago. All his act of kindness and helpfulness is nothing but a lie. A lie he has been telling himself, a lie that has been killing him every day not letting him move forward gripping him in its tight tendrils.Bookmark here

But with her-Athena, he was finally free from the grips of his lie. He didn't have to lie, he didn't have to act. This world is rotten and he is going to change it. And he doesn't care what he needs to do to achieve that goal. He will give up anything to achieve it.Bookmark here

Even if it means giving up his own humanity.Bookmark here

At least that's what he believed then.Bookmark here

Without wasting time Sidharth quickly unarmed the soldier he had just killed to salvage his handgun.Bookmark here

"Twenty people are still left in the room."Bookmark here

Sidharth softly murmured as he analyzed the situation, his brain processing everything in seconds. He knew he didn't have time any moment the soldiers will figure out one of them is missing and all their guns will be pointed towards him.Bookmark here

And that would be his end. He can't let happen now, can he?Bookmark here

He needed to think fast, faster than he ever had. His hands gripped the gun tightly as his brain began to simulate various ways of escaping the banquet hall, but none of them ended with him making out alive except for one. There was one way, but that wasn't for him to escape it was rather to stay alive. Bookmark here

But he has no other choice, if he wants to stay alive he will have to do it. A single drop of sweat trickled from his forehead making its way towards the blood-filled marble floor. As the droplet touched the floor Sidharth came out of his cover and started walking towards the soldiers. Bookmark here

"What would you do if I said I hate Avalon?" He smirked, his black eyes sparkling with confidence as he looked around him, he was greeted with the utterly shocked faces of the Proud Imperial Army. Bookmark here

Some were even gasping as their gazes fixated at the seventeen-year-old boy who had just walked to them and asked what would they do to him if he said he hated Avalon. In front of twenty armed soldiers who could kill him without even blinking their eye, he asked them a question that would mean certain death for him.Bookmark here

However, their shocked faces were soon replaced by the face of rage as they quickly cocked their guns and prepared to shoot down Sidharth. Bookmark here

The sound of the click-clacking of the guns sent a shiver down Sidharth's spine, at that point he would be lying if he said he wasn't scared. He was scared, scared that his plan might fail scared that he might die but he didn't let it show on his face as he kept on smirking waiting for one of them to take the bait.Bookmark here

"Stand down, " A thunderous voice echoed through the banquet hall accompanied with footsteps of the same frequency. As the figure entered the hall everyone present in the hall quickly knelt down and saluted to the approaching figure. Bookmark here

This was a tall and muscular man of between thirty and forty, lean of the figure, brown of skin, with black close-cropped hair. He had a handsome face made slightly uneven by his nose, which had been broken at some time in the past.Bookmark here

He was wearing the Royal black robes of the Imperial Army, which was decorated with medals and a golden plate that said, Listasre Paul. From his waist hanged a black sword, which swayed as he walked towards Sidharth. Bookmark here

"Their commander… so he took the bait, " murmured Sidharth to himself.Bookmark here

The newcomer raised his hands so as to convey to his men to stand with ease. Bookmark here

"Yes sir, " all of them replied. While pulling their gun down and standing in attention in sync. Bookmark here

The commander pulled his hand down and averted his attention towards Sidharth, his amber eyes were observing the young boy. Bookmark here

For some reason, Sidharth suddenly felt nervous, it was as if the person who was standing in front of him was exerting some kind of mysterious and superior aura. When Sidharth looked at the commander the only thing he could think was ' I have won ' Bookmark here

"I am Listarse Paul, Brigade commander of the 25th Imperial Guards, " Listarse announced with pride. " Boy do you have a name?"Bookmark here

"Sidharth Zou, " Bookmark here

"So let me ask you this Mr. Zou. Do you know what you just said is a crime?" he asked as he took out his revolver aiming it towards Sidharth. "And I can shoot you for that?"Bookmark here

Sidharth laughed, his eyes were filled with amusement as he saw everyone present in the room getting aggravated due to his response.Bookmark here

"Listarse Paul. You can't shoot me." Sidharth smirked.Bookmark here

"Why? Are you a God or something that I can't shoot you." He said as he pulled the trigger and shot a bullet which grazed Sidharth's cheeks causing it to bleed. He had missed hid head on purpose just to show the young boy in front of him that he wasn't joking. However, for his surprise, Sidharth was standing their unfazed as he was expecting this to happen.Bookmark here

"I told you, Paul. You can't shoot me, " Sidharth once again said, "And do you know why? It's because you lost the ability to shoot me the moment you entered this room."Bookmark here

Sidharth smirked as he gazed at Paul's dumbfounded face, " Right now you're thinking 'have I gone crazy because of shock because there's no way a normal person would ever utter such nonsense in front of death' to answer your question I haven't the only reason I am still standing here is because I have won."Bookmark here

"What do you mean?"Bookmark here

"Commander Listarse Paul you lost the moment you entered this hall, " Sidharth laughed.Bookmark here

" Did you know this banquet hall is fitted with four bulletproof cameras hanging in the ceiling for the sole purpose of live streaming this ceremony on the internet. The only place where Avalon can't stop the stream even if they wanted to and since these cameras were attached to the ceiling, all of you missed it and failed to destroy it. Do you know what this means commander?" Sidharth teased him in a sing a song manner, " It means everything you and your men have until this point has been watched by the entire world, they have seen you massacre all the innocent people while they cried for mercy. They have seen you Listarse Paul, so who do you think is the criminal now huh?"Bookmark here

Paul's face fell faster than a corpse in cement boots. In that instant his skin became greyed, his mouth hung with lips slightly parted and his eyes were as wide as they could stretch. It was as if at that moment at that instance his brain had shut down and locked away his capability of thinking. He was about to falter in front of a seventeen-year-old kid when he remembered that the entire network of this tower had been blocked by them which means even the internet has been blocked so there's no way any of this could have ever been streamed.Bookmark here

"You are lying Zou, the entire-" Paul was cut offBookmark here

"The entire tower has been blocked by your jammers and no internet connection can reach here? That's what you were going to say right?" Sidharth mused, he was enjoying this for seven years he had lived a life of fear from Avalon but today at this day this hour this second he was the one who will become the symbol of fear for Avalon. " You guys really don't do your research, do you? So let me tell you. The Jammers that you use only have a range of 75 feet however this tower is about 100 feet tall and we are standing at the top of it which negates any possibility of your jammers ever reaching our floor."Bookmark here

Paul once again, opened his mouth to say something but he was yet again silenced when Sidharth cut him off saying exactly the same words that he was thinking.Bookmark here

"Now you might be thinking if the jammers can't reach here then neither can the internet, right? To answer your question you are right but this theory applies only to the signals emitted by the towers present on the earth's surface this doesn't apply to the cellular network emitted by the Odyssey's private satellite 'Heracles' that is flying 500 km above us. And if you still don't believe me then let me show you the proof" Sidharth smirked as he slowly fiddled through his pocket bringing out his smartphone and logging into the streaming website and then showing it to everyone present in the room.Bookmark here

"Do you know what does this mean commander? This means you have lost Listarse Paul. According to Article 680 of the Avalonian Constitution if an Imperial commander orders his brigade to kill an unarmed citizen of any territory of Avalon then that entire brigade will be punishable by death. And you have already committed that crime by killing each and every person present here." Bookmark here

'One time when I was in a blind in a tree, waiting motionless for game to wonder by, I dozed off and fell ten feet to the ground, landing on my back. It was as if the impact had knocked every wisp of air from my lungs, and I lay there struggling to inhale, to exhale, to do anything.Bookmark here

That's how I feel now, trying to remember how to breathe, unable to speak, totally stunned at what the kid had just said bounces around inside my skull.' Listarse Paul thought as he stood their motionless watching Sidharth smirk in triumph. His smirk conveyed the message that he had won and whatever they do now will only lead to their doom.Bookmark here

"So now let me ask you my question once again-Soldiers of the 25th Imperial guard What would you do if I said I hate Avalon?" Sidharth smirked, his eyes filled with amusement as he looked around him. Bookmark here

There are times when people lose themselves when in front of extreme pressure, they forget who they are? And what their purpose in life is? And just become someone who is filled with nothing but rage and hatred. And something similar had happened with Listarse Paul, the moment Sidharth asked the question once again he had lost it. Bookmark here

It was as if every brain cell present in his brain had suddenly stopped working as rage took hold of him. He couldn't see anymore, he couldn't hear anymore his vision had darkened as the Sidharth's words kept repeating itself again and again. Bookmark here

'Listarse Paul you have lost!' Sidharth's words yet again echoed through him. Bookmark here

"Me? I have lost? Against you? A student?" Paul laughed, "Don't joke with me? I am Listarse Paul. Son of Michaivela Listarse the head of the fifth royal family and fiftieth heir to the throne. I can't lose, I can never be defeated. Sidharth Zou let me show you who the real winner is, Everyone shoot him!"Bookmark here

Without wasting any second every soldier present in that room readied their gun and began firing, the sound of the firing bullet accompanied with the smell of gun powder once again filled the banquet hall. Bookmark here

Sidharth's eyes were filled with triumph as stood there, he had won. "Everything is going according to the plan" he smirked.Bookmark here

As soon as he said those words his vision darkened. He felt like everything around him had stopped, the bullets, the air and even the rays of the light that helped him see the world around him. He couldn't move, his muscles didn't allow him too there was nothing Sidharth could do except waiting for the right moment. And then it came.Bookmark here

"Sidharth Zou, I have to say I am impressed." Athena's voice echoed through the darkness as Sidharth smirked with triumph once again he was waiting for this, the moment he forged a contract with the Goddess of War and Wisdom Sidharth knew it that he would have to prove his worth in front of Athena in order to become her host, and that was why he had done what he did.Bookmark here

"So tell me how much of this did you actually plan?" Athena solicited. Bookmark here

"None, " Sidharth replied. "All of this was nothing but a bluff, a bluff that was designed for just one purpose and that was to lure you Athena the Goddess of Wisdom and Warfare out. From the very beginning, this plan was designed not for me to escape but to survive this ordeal but in order for it to succeed I had to carry it out flawlessly which I did."Bookmark here

"What do you mean?"Athena's eyes widened in disbelief, she couldn't believe what she had just heard. Through the millennia of existing Athena had forged a contract with a lot of humans but never had she met someone in her entirety of existence who had filled her with amazement right from the beginning.Bookmark here

"It's simple you know. From the very beginning there was no online streaming it was a lie, the four cameras that are hanging in the ceiling are security cameras I just presented them in such a way that made my enemy fall and to deliver the final punch I signed in into the Odysseus tower security network and showed them the live cc tv footage and that was it. That was enough to break them and to bring you out." Sidharth said, he still couldn't see anything but for some weird reason, he could feel her presence it was as if she was standing right beside him.Bookmark here

Athena who had been in a shock until now recomposes herself and asked him one find question. The answer to this final question was going to determine the fate of Sidharth will he survive? Or will he die? Bookmark here

"Why? Even if you planned all of this to occur you couldn't have been hundred percent sure that I would have intervened or that you enemy would have reacted the way you wanted them to. So why?" Bookmark here

"Why you ask?" Sidharth laughed, "Athena my enemy is Avalon. A kingdom which has enough resource to end this world tomorrow and yet I am going to crush them but that's something I can never do alone and that's why I believed not in myself or my plan but in you and them. I believed that you would move and protect me. And that's all."Bookmark here

"That's all?" She asked.Bookmark here

"Yes."Bookmark here

Athena took a deep breath and then began. Bookmark here

"Sidharth Zou it's time to seal our contract, I will give you my powers and will help you to crush Avalon but in return what I want is victory. Victory over everyone else, if you can promise me that then this contract is sealed."Bookmark here

"Is that even a question?" Sidharth smiled, "Yeah I promise. You will have it the ultimate victory. So let's do this Athena. Let's destroy Avalon together." Bookmark here

He forwarded his hand as if to shake it with Athena, be couldn't see a thing but he still knew that she was right there and she would shake his hand if he offered it, however the reality was somewhat different.Bookmark here

Instead of a hand Sidharth was met with a cold mettalic tube pressed against his forehead, the edges were so rough that it scratched his skin and caused it to bleed. Bookmark here

"Sidharth Zou in order for you to inherit my power and become a God Vessel you will need to overcome your biggest fear and that is death. You are scared of only one thing in this entire world and that is dying. So right now right here you will overcome it. I am going to shoot you…"Bookmark here

'Every night I have a dream, in that dream I am always chained to metallic chair and locked inside a dark room. No one can enter that room except of one person, a person who is always shrouded black robes. That person would place a gun on my forehead and ask me the same question again.Bookmark here

"What is freedom?" He would wait until three seconds for me to reply and if I don't then he would beat me until I oblige to his demands, Bookmark here

"Freedom is a lie but there's one way for a person to be free…" I always answered but before I could have ever completed my sentence he would shoot me killing on the spot.'Bookmark here

"What is freedom?" Athena asked Sidharth as her soft fingers slowly calloused the trigger of the small black handgun. Bookmark here

"It's a lie." He smiled.Bookmark here

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Athena smiled in return and pulled the trigger and then once again it began the cycle of death and rebirth. Bookmark here

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