~ Chapter 80: Tears (Part 2) ~
“Persistent little wench!” he cussed and kicked my shield.
I resisted the blow, and he jumped back.
“Maybe this will do something.” The Darkness said from afar.
When I looked at him, I saw him picking up a boulder as big as a house. With a smirk, he tossed at me. I jumped out of the way immediately, but taking this moment, he aimed his palm at me and shot his beam of light.
Unable to raise my shield in time, I took the blow to my right shoulder. The armor melted a little, but the beam didn't go through. It was enough to cause a terrible burn in that area, and not even a moment later, a surge of pain rushed through my body. My grip in my right hand weakened, and in that moment, The Darkness rushed at me.
He bumped into me at full speed, causing me to lose my balance and be tossed back several meters, sliding with my back on the ground before I came to a stop. With my right hand weakened from the previous attack, I was unable to hold onto my sword properly, and it slipped out of my grasp.
Struggling to get back up, I noticed that I was missing my weapon.
“Are you looking for this?” The Darkness smirked as he made a slash with my own sword at me.
I barely dodged it.
“Normally, I would never have used this piece of garbage, but considering the circumstances... I find it... necessary.” he expressed his displease and took up a stance in front of me.
The posture was that of a fencer using a sabre. Normally, I wouldn't have found it odd if the said opponent was a noble of a prestigious house, but the one I was facing was a Dungeon Lord who used a long sword instead of a sabre.
“En guarde!” he shouted, and I reflexively raised my shield up.
Immediately, I heard the echo of metal hitting metal.
Such speed... I thought.
“Tch!” he clicked his tongue and tried to attack again, but once more, I blocked his attack.
I found myself to be in a complete defensive position with no means of retaliating. My right shoulder was injured, and my right arm was numb because of the pain. I was sweating too, and my breath was rough. To add to it all... I was low on Magic Energy, making me excessively sluggish too.
Even so, I couldn't afford to give up. Using my the Divine Energy from my god, Melkuth, I strengthened myself and my shield, then rushed at the Dungeon Lord. The sword was blocked, pushed to the side, then I punched him in the face.
A crusader and Apostle such as me punching someone was an unusual sight, but who was to say I wasn't allowed to.
“Guh!” The Darkness groaned as he was tossed to the side.
If I was a normal woman, my punch wouldn't have even grazed him, but with the strength of a Supreme, it was no laughing matter.
Stopping himself from falling down, The Darkness took a stance against me once more. I rushed at him before he had the chance to recover and slammed into him with my shield.
“Foolish woman.” he smirked as a drop of blood flew out of his mouth.
I didn't understand why he would say that, but once I looked down, I realized that he had used his light beam to attack me around the shield. My left side was burning and hurting, but the degree was no different from the injury on my shoulder. Still, with the metal plates fusing in that position, I suddenly found my freedom of movement suddenly restricted.
With a grin on his face, The Darkness got up and wiped the blood off his lips. He glared at me and then prepared to attack with his sword. I raised my shield up to block him, but he aimed at my feet with his beam of light. My right ankle was struck.
“Agh!” I groaned in pain.
“So you do know how to scream! Lovely!” he laughed.
It was a mistake to let my voice slip, but it hurt...
How can I fight against him when he has that beam of light and my sword? I thought as I struggled through the pain.
Once more, he attacked, but this time, he left the sword behind and came at me with his punches. I was forced to rely on my shield once more to block his attacks from reaching me. Without my Magic Armor, I was an easy pray.
It was a shame, but the defensive ability I used before when I first met Illsyore couldn't be used here. That skill infused my existing defenses with Divine Energy, and I already had done that to both my armor and shield. Thank to it, the beam of light was unable to cut straight through me, but when compared to the time I used Magic Energy as well, it was terribly weak.
Melkuth's Divine Energy was slowly depleted within me, some going to heal my wounds as well, but most of it was spent keeping the shield intact. Without being an Apostle, there was no way for me to replenish it. A single prayer would have granted me a little boost, but as I was right now... it was impossible. Besides, it was hard to focus on something like that. It took far more concentration than it did chanting a spell.
Despite all of this, in the place where any other Supreme would have met his or her doom, The Darkness was doing surprisingly well, but I could tell that he was also struggling to reach me despite his mocking attitude.
Knowing that he was going all out against me, made me feel relieved in a way. If I could somehow defeat him now, it was going to be my win.
After his punching barrage, he jumped back and picked up the sword again.
“You know, you are starting to bore me. Illsyore is no more, so why are you even trying to fight against me?” he asked as he looked at me.
“No more?” I reflexively asked.
“Yes, can't you see? The assimilation is almost over. Soon, there won't be a single scrap of him left!” he laughed.
When I looked at him, I saw that the jade-green eye was slowly starting to fade away. Illsyore was going away...
Does this mean that he was defeated? I asked myself.
Indeed, that seemed to be the case. Inside his Inner Mind, Illsyore was losing the battle against The Darkness, but unlike before, I felt like this time it really was going to end here.
Was it the will of the heavens for me to lose here?
Was I wrong to have hesitated and not killed Illsyore when I had the chance?
Was this defeat the result of my lack of faith?
Question after question disturbed my focus, and using this to his advantage, The Darkness attacked me once more, slamming his whole body into my shield.
The force was so terrible that it sent me flying towards the barrier. I slammed into it and then I was tossed to the ground by the recoil. My shield nearly flew out of my hand, but the straps tying it to me made sure it didn't leave my side.
When I landed on the ground, I heard a crack and spat blood. It hurt to breath, and my head was dizzy. Even so, I couldn't afford to give up now. I couldn't afford to let myself be defeated.
Praying to Melkuth, I pushed myself off the ground... or tried to. A wave of pain rushed through me from my left hand. It felt like my wrist was broken.
What luck... I thought, but I tried again, only this time, I used my right hand more.
Despite all of my pain, I got up and lifted my shield, taking my stance once more against my overwhelming foe.
Those two attacks... and me losing the grip on my own sword... That was what brought me to this state. I thought as I remembered where it all went wrong.
I never expected him to launch his light beam attack around my shield just like I never expected him to take my sword. If this was just bad luck or fate, I had no idea, but while I thought about it, while I fought to my last breath with The Darkness, Illsyore was slowly fading away.
What else can I do to help him? What? I struggle to think of a solution, of a way out, but all of my cards were in his hands.
If there was no will from Illsyore, there was no way to get him back.
Strange enough, that may have been the much sought after key to solving this mess. That was what I needed to be able to pull Illsy out of his depression... a way to ignite his will again.
How can I do it... he's a human on the inside, but not one from this world. I don't know his former life. I don't know his true self that well... So, what can I do? I thought as I saw The Darkness slowly approaching me.
He was taking his time because on the inside, he was struggling to destroy Illsyore. This offered me a few seconds to think of something.
As such, I began to remember the many battlefields I was on, maybe in those warriors who fought against me or beside me, I could find something with which to spark Illsyore's dying will.
In the first place, why does he have no will to fight against The Darkness? Does he hate us? No... Does he hate our world? No... Did something happen to him? No, or I don't think so... Maybe it was something that was said to him? But by whom? Nanya? No, she was always happy and eager to be by his side. Was it Shanteya? No, that woman probably loves him more than all of us put together. Was it Ayuseya? No, she owes her very life to him, so she would never to anything to put him in harm's way. Was it little Tamara? Even if she is a nekatar, her intellect isn't one to brag about. She should have no reason to harm the man who did so much for her... Then, was it something I said? Hm... not that I can think of. Then maybe... was it The Darkness? But why would Illsy even believe him? I thought and clenched my teeth, cringing since couldn't find an answer.
“Do you really think you still have a chance to defeat me?” The Darkness asked.
“Who knows?” I replied and furrowed my brow.
Come on, Zoreya, think... think... I tried to do my best.
Letting out a sigh, The Darkness looked up. “You aren't part of his wives or one of his slaves, so I might as well tell you that I WILL kill you. As a woman and an organic, I can literally see no reason in keeping you alive, you know?” he then looked into my eyes and smirked.
Yes, I'm neither his wife or slave... what am I then? A friend? No... That... I'm more than that... or I want to be... What do I want to be? I thought as I looked at him, but then... as if all the dots connected, I smiled.
“Hm?” The Darkness looked at me and tilted his head in confusion.
A way out... yet not... A way to save him, yet... not. My own fear blocked the truth... I sighed as I remembered once more that as Melkuth's Apostle, former or not, I was supposed to be ready to give my life for my god at any given time.
That didn't mean that I wasn't afraid though...
At the same time, it all made sense. What I wanted to be for Illsy. What I told him, or rather, what I didn't tell him. What I could do to defeat him, but more importantly, what it meant to defeat The Darkness inside soul of a man.
Neither fire or sword can heal a broken soul... only love can... I thought as I remembered the one thing that usually makes a warrior both weak and insanely powerful at the same time.
It was the same reason why some enemies on the battlefield continued to fight no matter what, making them into the most feared opponents out of them all. It was simple, yet complex at the same time.
Thus, I lifted my shield up and said “Mighty Darkness, yet so weak it can't even defeat an injured woman. The legends they are going to tell about you... fufufu!” I tried to laugh despite the blood in my mouth and pain in my chest.
“You dare mock me?!” The Darkness asked surprised.
“Are you worth of anything else?” I smirked.
“You blasted woman!” he laughed and rushed at me.
Yes... now... I thought.
It was time for my gamble... a moment of stupidity or a moment of brilliance. If I lived through it, I was going to find out... After all, the one thing every human without exception had the strongest reaction to was the shock of losing someone close to their hearts. If I was one of those people... this stupid gamble of mine would work, and the man I loved was going to be saved. That in itself was enough for the stupid old me...
Thus, I let go of my shield and spread my arms open. The tip of the sword pushed through my stomach and exited through the other side. I spat blood and using the last bits of strength, I embraced The Darkness, holding him there.
“What the... why?” he asked confused.
“Illsy...” I smiled and looked in that one green eye holding those last bits of Illsy's presence.
My voice was soft, but I was a bit afraid of dying and not being able to save him, of losing everything... so unknowingly, I cried.
“Illsy... I love you... So don't ever lose hope... Fight!... You can win... Only you can... because, Illsy, the one we love is only you... the human hiding inside this Dungeon's body.”
As I spoke these words, I felt my strength leaving me, and my vision turning black... This was it for me... I did all I could... I said the words I never thought I would ever do in my entire life...
Note from the author: Thank you for reading this chapter, I hope you enjoyed it! Oh, and be sure to check out my other stories too!
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