Chapter 36:

Chapter 36


Despair. Hopelessness. Sadness. Grief permeated the battlefield like a thick fog. The flames of Ethros struggled to stay lit, but they wouldn't go out so easily. Isaac groaned, shaking as he sat up. He rubbed his head. Staring at the two horsemen, something clicked. He could see something, understand something, that others couldn't. Dark chains wrapped and bound around the two, extending into a long-forgotten time. The warmongering shadow of Ethros' past. The spiteful tensions of failing and disagreeing ideals.

"Vera." He said, shaking her.


"Do you see it? The horsemen. They're the vestiges of our past. They aren't just some enemies, they're our traumas, our griefs, our struggles."

"So what? They're the physical manifestation of our problems and killing them will fix us?"

"Don't be ridiculous. They're still just people. But hitting them with everything we've got is going to be oh so therapeutic."

"Huh." Isaac helped Vera up. They stood together facing down their burdens. The societal molds of unparalleled expectations. "You know, you're right, but leave the motivational pep talks to me from now on."

"Hurry up and nab that scroll, Dullahan! You know Grimwald doesn't like to wait!" Necros demanded, before being ran over by a chunk of metal. "WHAT?!" He screamed sitting up to see Isaac rechallenging Dullahan. Before he could do anything, a tether wrapped around his vertebrae. Suddenly pulled back, Vera uppercut the skeleton with her staff, rattling his bones.

"You didn't think the fight was over already, Necros?"

"You people just don't know when to quit do you? This would be so much easier with Helsing, that bastard always knew how to get into people's heads." He whispered.

"You know, Dullahan. I should really thank you." Isaac started. He took off his helmet and laid it on the ground. "I have been blinded. My pride and arrogance kept me from being a true warrior, thinking that with this armor I could do everything without the help of others. But now, my eyes have been opened. So let me help you to see."

"You really are naive. Do you honestly think that taking off your armor is a good idea?" Dullahan mocked, but clearly shaken up.

"I don't know, let's see."

"If you want to lose your head that bad, you should stop squirming!" Dullahan thrusted his blade. Isaac blocked. The two clashed again, no holding back.

"Isaac!" Elizabeth cried, flailing around in Dullahan's grasp. "Please be careful!"

"You see me as weak, a coward, for fighting for those I care about. But look at you! Using a defenseless girl as a shield!"

"It's not cowardness, it's efficient to get you to do the dirty work for me!" Isaac and Dullahan continued to duel. Steel against steel. Sword against sword. When parries fail, Isaac protected himself with his shield. When opportunities arose, Dullahan tried to force Elizabeth into Isaac's path of attack. Vera used all her power and stamina to counter Necros. Fire melts ice, water extinguishes fire, lightning conducts through water, plants bind to earth, light dispels dark, and anything in-between can be taken care of with a simple counter spell.

"How does it feel, Necros? To be beaten for the third time by such a weak girl."

"PISS OFF!" Darkness enveloped Necros. Swirling clouds of pure eldritch evil incased his body, only to be ejected out as corrupt meteors and energy bolts. Vera shielded herself. The battlefield cracked and crumbled. Dullahan lost his footing and dropped Elizabeth.

"Watch it Necros!"

"I'm starting to wear out over here!" Vera huffed behind her barrier. "Isaac! Tag out!" He nodded. The knight charged headfirst into danger. He tackled Necros once more, halting his meltdown. Vera dropped her barrier. They swiftly shared a high-five before swapping targets. Necros could barely get back up before Isaac continued to assault him. Vera slid over to Elizabeth, taking a stamina potion from her bag and pushing Dullahan back. The headless horseman slashed wildly at the air. Dark arcs of energy soared out at Vera. Each one illuminated by heavenly light.

"You know, you guys get on us for relying on others, but the way I see it, you aren't getting anywhere not helping each other. Kind of makes you guys look more weak and dysfunctional than strong and capable."

"Don't talk to us about strength!" Necros growled. He tried to cast a spell. "Wait... huh?" But nothing happened. "What is this? Where's my magic?!"

"Oh yeah. Elizabeth and Vera swiped these off that assassin guy." Isaac flashed a couple of jade arrow tips. "I didn't think I'd get the chance to use them, but that little temper tantrum of yours gave us the opportunity for a tradeoff."

"N-No..." He trembled.

"Still think the chick's weak?"

"D-DAMNIT!!!" Necros reeled back and swung his staff like a club. Isaac got ready to duck, but something pulled him down. Vera's tether dragged him a few feet across the ground, nearly avoiding Dullahan's blade spiraling through the air like a javelin. The tip of the sword stuck into the ground, catching the end of Necros' robes.


"Woah, hey thanks babe."


"Ooo, I like that." Vera blushed. Dullahan rolled his nonexistent eyes and ran over to retrieve his blade. In the meantime, Elizabeth used the time for some quick recovery.

"You guys are doing great. Keep on the pressure, they're starting to crack."

"Hey, couldn't have done it without our doc." Isaac patted her on the shoulder.

"We're not done yet!" Isaac turned around, only to be met with Dullahan's fist. Isaac swung back with his sword. Dullahan caught it, tightened his grip, twisted his wrist, and snapped it to pieces. He then picked up the paladin, slammed him into the ground, and then threw him against the castle gates. Vera tried to help but was attacked with an extreme volley of magic missiles. Tens upon hundreds of dark bolts punctured her skin and exploded upon impact. Dullahan kicked her into the gate as well and picked Elizabeth back up. "Enough of this power of friendship bullshit."

"It doesn't matter how many times you get up; we'll just knock you back on your ass again!" Isaac crawled his way back up to his feet. Blood dripped down his face, his armor was beaten and broken, and his loved ones were tattered and tired. Now was the time to pull out all the stops.

"I'm not backing down, none of us are! We will defeat you!"

"Really?" Dullahan scoffed. "With what weapons? You have no sword, and your woman is starting to get exhausted. You're out of options, paladin. How do you even plan to kill us, two undead warriors, anyway? This fight is over. Except death with dignity, what little you have left."

"Oh, I've got options Dullahan." Isaac stood up straight. He held his head up high. Take in a deep breath. Extend your arm. Twist your hips. Isaac's body crackled with power. Vera's eyes lit up. She gasped. Elizabeth's jaw dropped.

"He's..." They whispered together. An explosion of energy erupted from Isaac's core. A glowing aura blanketed his body, and a shimmering blade of light manifested from the shattered sword hilt. "...using magic?!" Dullahan and Necros stood in stunned silence.

"Vera? You ready to finish this?"

"Y-YES! Sorry, it's just, I COULD CRY RIGHT NOW!" She enthusiastically jumped to her feet, reinvigorated.

"T-THIS CHANGES NOTHING!" Necros shouted.

"Oh you guys are fucked." Elizabeth whispered. In a flash of light, Isaac blinked forward. His new blade met Dullahan's. The heavenly sword started to melt through the cursed blade. Dullahan jumped back. Isaac continued to hack and slash. While on equal footing before, Dullahan was now forced to the defensive. Vera tried to join in, but her body ached like hell. She was pushed to her limit. Her lungs burned. Her muscles felt like gelatin. On top of that, Necros continued his onslaught. A rapid volley of fireballs kept Vera pinned to the gate.

"I don't know if I can keep going..." She groaned. In the constant swinging around, Elizabeth caught a glimpse of Vera's struggles, and decided to act.

"Vera!" She screamed out. "Is that really all you've got?! Isaac found a way to surpass his limits! Now it's your turn! PUSH THROUGH! GIVE ME EVERYTHING, EVERY DROP, EVERY OUNCE OF POWER YOU HAVE LEFT! YOU'RE STRONG THAN THIS! I KNOW YOU ARE! SO PICK YOURSELF UP AND FINISH! THIS! FIGHT!!!"

"Silence!" Dullahan slammed her into the ground.

"Heh." Vera smirked. "I really like this side of you, Liz." Vera stepped forward. She put her staff behind her back. She wound herself up. Electricity surged through her. She swung her arm and discharged everything. A horrendous crackling of pure energy left her staff. Careening through the air, the lightning bolt struck Dullahan and chained over to Necros. Vera sprinted towards them. Isaac got behind Dullahan. Necros struggled to hold up his staff.

"S-SLICING GALE!" He shouted. Sharp airstreams barreled towards Vera. They slashed open her skin, but she didn't flinch. She just kept running. Never stopped running. She bolted past Necros. Isaac kicked Dullahan away. Vera cast one more spell with a cheeky wink.

"Obliterate." She put up a bubble to protect everyone from the blast. At the same time, the explosion launched Dullahan and Necros into the castle gates. The collision forced the doors open. The last two horsemen dizzily sat up. The dust cleared, and they were face to face with the weapons of those they deemed too weak to matter.

"W-Wait!" They pleaded. "Let's think about this! We could save Ethros together, help you stop Grimwald!"

"Let me assure you, horseman. Ethros will be saved." Isaac raised his angelic sword. Vera raised her arcane staff. "BANISHING SMITE!"

"DIVINE LIGHT!" In unison, they threw their weapons down. The entire force of Heaven came down on their foes. A powerful blast and beam made of pure light seared their enemies. Once everything had dimmed back down, and the illusion of day had faded back to the reality of light, Isaac and Vera looked back at the ground in front of them to see that the last of the four horsemen, Dullahan and Necros, were dead and gone. "Whooo! You were right!" Vera said, wiping her brow. "That was pretty therapeutic."