The sun was beginning to set on the horizon as an unusual figure walked over a large expanse of woodland, resembling a tall humanoid with feline features and carrying a rather simple wooden staff with him - moving across the area as the setting sun begin to bathe the land in an orange light as shadows began to creep in from the distance.
The figure continued walking only to stop suddenly, moving back as he kneels down - his keen senses having spotted a tiny figure laying on the ground motionless, the Felid having narrowly avoided stepping on it.
The figure carefully picked the figure up in one hand and prodded it lightly with a claw, noticing the figure was not Felid he leaned forward and sniffed lightly at the tiny figure, noticing its fragile wings were torn.
"..who did this, little one?" the figure asks, his voice deep yet gentle - almost a whisper, those green eyes observing the tiny form which slowly stirred.
"..m..mother.. s..she's. w...went.. m..mad.. F..Faungli.. h..he.. t..told her.. t..to.. k..kill me.." the tiny voice replies, shivering.
The figure's eyes narrow as he stands up again, cradling the small figure in his hands as he carefully walks towards the nearby village "..I know of this evil, little one.. do not be afraid.. I will stop it..".
The sun had already set by the time the figure arrived in the village, the guards took one step forward as if to stop him only to leap back two steps when they saw who it was - a voice yelling out across the village:
"make way! make way! Chiang Battlehand has return!".
The village becomes a hive of excitement as children escape the confines of their homes and run after the entering figure - angry mothers in hot pursuit, some with brooms which they waved threateningly at their disobedient young.
The merchants in turn began wheeling their carts over towards the arriving hero, already bickering amongst themselves as they practically shoved their wares on the ground by his feet - begging him to buy something.
Yet Chiang Battlehand was determined, simply walking past the crowds and keeping the tiny figure in his hands safe as he headed into a nearby Inn - placing the small figure on the counter as the maid looked down, her eyes growing wide as she exclaims.
"oh my! oh -! OUT! OUT!" she yells, chasing the flood of villages who had pursued Chiang into the Inn.
(ooc: anyone may edit below if they wish - Felidia is a world that has accepted outside races for a long time so if a character has the ability to appear on a world other than Earth they'd be welcome here)
A rugged youth sits in a corner of the inn. His eyes are dark and intense, and he wears a mechanical band on his right wrist. A metal tag hangs around his neck; engraved on it are the words "Project Revelation: Subject Thirteen." He glances up at Chiang, and keeps his eyes on him out of curiosity.
Chiang leans over to the tiny figure on the counter and speaks softly "..don't be afraid, you are safe here - I know this place well.. Sheva will protect you as if you were her own..".
Sure enough within seconds the maid returns, having slammed the door shut behind the crowd of frenzied Felids - placing a large table in the way to ensure they would not simply break the door down again in her absence.
"..what happened?" she enquires, leaning down and gently manipulating one of the figure's wings - those observing may find it fascinating that such powerful beings show such care, every movement as delicate as a surgeon.
"..she was attacked - I know not why.. however she spoke of Faungli.." Chiang replied.
The maid growls slightly as she picks the small figure up and moves into a back room, "..shameless wretch, if I was ten-times his size I'd like to show him a thing or two about respect.." she mutters.
"..it was not Faungli who did this, I am afraid.. it was her mother.. though Faungli has no doubt poisoned her mind.." Chiang continued.
After a few minutes the maid returns, closing the backdoor behind herself "..there.. she'll be safe there.. her own mother did this? we must inform the Felid Order at once.."
"...sounds like this Faungli character is bad news..." the youth in the corner thinks to himself. "...there's always some big trouble going on, wherever I go..."
Chiang shakes his head a little "..the Felid Order does not provide aid for the outside races when it comes to matters such as this.. the girl was wounded outside Felidia.. by one of her own.. the Felid Order would not interfere..".
The maid frowns a little "..surely if they knew Faungli was involved..".
"The Felid Order would rather think of Faungli as dead.. who would blame them either considering he was once one of their own? such shame is not easy to bare.. especially for those who uphold the Sacred Laws.." Chiang interupts.
As this conversation occurs the youth in the corner suddenly finds himself approached by a skinny Felid with an unkempt appearance and a torn right ear, the Felid has a distinct smell of drink and unwashed fur as his single predatory eye observes the youth, the other little more than glass and clearly not functional.
"you're sitting in my corner, outsider.." the Felid states, words garbled due to intoxication.
"...my apologies." the youth growls, obviously irritated with the drunken Felid yet not wanting to cause a scene. He stands up and begins to move.
The drunken Felid sits down awkwardly, still slurring his words "..you flat-snouts are all the same, dirty no-good skinwalkers - that's what you are..".
Chiang's ears flick slightly and suddenly the entire area goes deadly silent as he gets up slowly, "..is that the drunken sounds of old Glass-Eye I hear? pity - I thought you'd of learned your lesson the last time about my objection to the term "skinwalker" and "flat-snout".." - he turns around, looking towards the corner where the youth and the drunken Felid are.
The youth stands back, watching the unfolding scene with interest.
The drunken Felid frowns as he spits at Chiang a little "..figures you'd be the one to side with outsiders, you always were soft..".
Chiang shakes his head a little and moves over to the drunken Glass-Eye, stopping a few feet from the table, "..there is nothing soft about respecting the lives of others, Glass-Eye.. now move your flea-infested self to another seat and give the man back his seat..".
"no! he vacated it willingly!" the drunken Felid snarled.
"..as did you with your insults, now move.." Chiang replied, oddly calm.
"both of you stop this! you're acting like savage beasts!" the maid snaps, moving over to the youth and motioning him to one side "..I'm sure the boy will be just as happy over here, by the fire.." - she turns to the drunken Felid "..as for you, Glass-Eye.. I will not tolerate your bullying here.. this is a place of rest, for all beings.."
"Don't mind him..." the youth mutters. "People don't usually like me anyway..."
(Oh GOD, I can't believe I forgot this story! All this time, I thought I was the last one to edit! If you're still there and you see this, I'm SO sorry! I'm practically kicking myself over this!) (So sayeth the Arbiter) 10:25, November 16, 2011 (UTC)
Chiang turns away, as he does so he lightly taps a nearby chair with his staff - the chair suddenly flies with great force over to Glass-Eye, knocking the drunken Felid over with a flurry of fur and curses.
"..as you wish, Sheva.." Chiang says, walking over to the youth "..this is not a matter of like or dislike, stranger - merely a Felid tradition of tolerance which should be respected..".
"oh for the love of -! that's it! OUT! OUT!" Sheva roars, flying over the counter and grabbing Glass-Eye as she literally drags the drunken fool out by the scruff of his neck.
"..what!? why am I being punished!? that flea-bag was the one who attacked me! justice!" Glass-Eye protests.
"..maybe so.. however.. you're the one who has tested my patience one too many times!" Sheva growls as the two disappear outside.
"I see." the youth says to Chiang, watching the rest of the scene unfold. After a moment of silence, the youth speaks:
"My name is Thirteen." he said.
Chiang pulls up a seat next to Thirteen, on the other side of the table - "..Thirteen? very well.. I am Chiang Battlehand.. the flea-infested felon you encountered was named Glass-Eye.. he is twice as unpleasant when sober as he is when drunk.. not that you will find him sober these days.. what brings you to Felidia?".
"Its a long and perhaps unbelieveable story, but I suppose that you could just say I happened to wander here." Thirteen responded.
Chiang grins, "ah! so you wish to exchange tales, do you? oh the stories I could tell you! ha!" - suddenly his grin fades as he hears a noise from the back room, quick as lightning the Felid flew towards the backdoor and broke it down.
Just as this occured Sheva returned, upon seeing Chiang break down the backdoor she too rushed over - in a mix of fear and anger: "Chiang! what are you -?!".
Thirteen stands as well upon seeing Chiang in a panic, and hurries over. "...what is it?" he asks.
A tiny creature suddenly flies towards Thirteen, resembling at first a dragonfly but as she gets closer it is apparent she more like a fairy - no more than an inch in size she flees as several arms Felids go flying in several directions as Chiang bursts out, another Felid clinging to his back in a desperate effort to avoid his claws.
Sheva quickly grabs a nearby table and lifts it with surprising ease, flying towards the attackers with a growl as the scene bursts into chaos:
"..the Nix must die by orders of Faungli!" one of the attacking Felids declares loudly.
Thirteen had already charged forth into the fray, aiming a powerful kick at the nearest attacker.
The Felid replied by hissing and slashing with a dagger, however the kick is enough to deal with the attacker - the gang of Felids seeming to be little more than hired-thugs as they were easily dealt with: Chiang and Sheva having already taken out the others.
The tiny figure falls down on a table and holds her torn wings, obviously in pain as she looks around fearfully.
Thirteen's metal wristband glows green as he holds out his palm. A green circle appears on the floor, glowing with the same light as the wristband, before the shape flashes and disappears; within the same second, above where the circle was, a ball of wind smashes into the few remaining attackers, throwing them in several directions.
Chiang motions, "enough! let them leave!" - sure enough the attacking Felids soon flee the area, as they do so several guards enter the Inn and begin to make their way over.
"what is going on?!" the guards yell out, drawing their swords.
"assasins.. they left through the back.." Sheva explained, the guards quickly moving to where the attacking Felids had fled, pursuing them on foot.
"quickly! the streets are crowded - if we hurry we can track them down before their scent draws thin!" one of the guards exclaims.
Meanwhile Chiang seems more concerned with the tiny figure as he moves towards the table, clearly part of his reason for letting the attackers go - kneeling down he carefully picked the tiny figure up in one hand.
"...is this the one they were after?" Thirteen asked, referring to the fairy-like creature that was in Chaing's hand.
"..yes.. I don't understand why Faungli wants her dead.. yet it must not be allowed to occur.." Chiang replies.
"...Faungli? Who is that?" Thirteen asks.
Chiang doesn't answer, flattening his ears as he carries the tiny figure outside "..who? ..the correct term is what.. and for that I can not give you an answer.." he replies - motioning Thirteen to follow as the crowds outside once again begin to swarm: as if waiting for Chiang to arrive.
Sheva on the other hand opts to stay in the Inn "..you be careful Chiang, Felidia has few enough heroes as it is without losing another.." she calls out.
Thirteen follows Chiang to the doors and the crowds, glancing around with his intense, golden eyes.
Chiang waits until he and Thirteen are outside the city gates and way from the crowds before he speaks again, keeping the tiny figure shielded in his hands as he walks - surprisingly gentle for a man who easily fought off several attackers not too long ago.
"..do you really wish to know of Faungli?" he asks, looking ahead yet addressing Thirtreen.
"I'd be lying if I said that I wasn't curious. Yes, I would like to know." Thirteen responds.
"Faungli was once a Felid of high-rank.. a knight of the Felid Order.. yet something about him was wrong from the start.. he was always drawn towards foul magic.. a trait many dismissed as a morbid hobby.. then there was his lust for Ginga Redkit.. even a knight was forbidden from marriage to a princess.. so Faungli decided the time had come to make himself more than a knight.." Chiang says, pausing for a moment as the tiny figure suddenly stirs.
"I see..." Thirteen says in thought.
"..I.. I'm sorry.. this.. is all.. my fault.." the tiny figure says.
"..no, you are not to blame - what is your name?" Chiang replies.
"..S-Sunflower.. daughter of L-lady.. Wallflower.." the tiny figure says.
"..so.. she was the one who made an attempt on your life?" Chiang enquires.
"..Faungli.. he.. changed her.." Sunflower says.
"..no doubt he did.." Chiang says with a small growl, looking forward again as his gaze becomes momentarily more feral.
"He... changed her? How so?" Thirteen asks.
"Faungli is a creature of chaos, Thirteen.. yet he is a conqueror at heart.. he can bend the minds of others.. or simply tear them with his claws.. you'd be surprised how effective such methods are against even the strongest of Felids.. what chance would a being such as this have?" Chiang replies, showing Thirteen the tiny form of Sunflower.
"A creature of chaos..." Thirteen repeats, once more in thought. "Well then... if we must fight him, let me help you."
Chiang grins, "..I would not of taken you this far had I not intended on having you as a travelling companion now, would I?" he says, his eyes sparkling with surprising intelligence - however his grin fades yet again as a portal suddenly opens in front of them.
Chiang suddenly feels himself being pulled into the portal as it acts like a blackhole, sucking the group towards it with frightening ease - however before he can be sucked in Chiang slams his staff into the ground and holds on: "..grab on.." he yells.
Thirteen takes hold of the staff with his left hand. With his other hand, he forms a circle of energy similar to the one he used in the bar; The circle then is projected onto the ground between him and the portal, and begins to glow; a thick wall of earth rises up, briefly shielding them from the suction of the portal. Another circle appears on the wall- this one was smaller, and had a six-point star within it's circumference. The wall and much of the surrounding earth begins to change, turning grey and shiny, until it becomes a giant shield of metal.
Chiang looks down and sees the earth around the staff begin to crack and rumble, his eyes growing wide "..oh scat.. uhm.. I don't know how to tell you this but.. I think I just made a fatal mistake.." he says, sure enough the ground soon shatters around the staff and sends the group flying: luckily Thirteen's construct stops the portal as it closes after a few moments.
"..grr.. idiot.. I completely forgot the most basic of rules when dealing with the Staff of Felidia.. NEVER strike solid ground.." Chiang growls, once he rights himself.
"I dunno... that tactic might prove to be useful at some point." Thirteen said, picking himself up off of the ground.
Chiang suddenly looks concerned as he notices Sunflower had escaped his grasp, once again laying on the ground - he reached over to pick her up when suddenly another portal opened and a horrific yet tiny figure emerged and fires a bolt of green energy into Chiang's face that causes him to leap back in pain as he rubs at his eyes.
"suffer and die, Chiang Battlehand! for the glory of Faungli!" the figure shrieks, grabbing Sunflower and pulling her into the portal, long skeletal hands keeping the struggling girl from escaping as the woman's wild blue hair flew around madly, looking like a miniature banshee with her ferocity - her wings also like those of a dragon-fly yet noticably darkened and stinking of foul pestilence.
Thirteen however, leapt at the tiny, demonic figure, attempting to reach into the portal and grab either her or Sunflower.
As Thirteen does this he suddenly feels himself tugged straight into the portal, Chiang leaps forward just in time to be transported alongside Thirteen into the portal - the pair spiralling down a dark tunnel until at last they land on barren ground that is black sand that blows violently in a gale-force wind, the skies a hellish red.
Chiang gasps slightly as he covers his muzzle: "..Thirteen! be careful! the air here is toxic - we have to hurry..".
As all this occurs the crazed creature can be seen flying away into the distance, shrieking obscenities - Thirteen however can soon feel Sunflower in his grasp, having managed to grab her during the whole ordeal.
Thirteen holds Sunflower securely and looks around frantically. "...toxic?" he asks.
Chiang growls as he moves along "..prolonged exposure to the Rogue Wilderness infects the blood - one has to keep moving.. it slows the process.. still.. we need to find a way out of here quickly..".
"Right, then..." Thirteen mutters, following Chiang.
After a few moments of walking across the barren landscape Chiang suddenly comes to a stop as a deformed figure suddenly emerges in front of the group - resembling a Felid in appearance yet having small misshapen horns growing from his forehead as well as a single withered wing sprouting out of his back, his fur is tattered with large patches having fallen off completely to reveal scaly red skin beneath: one of his eyes were like a normal Felid with the other looked more like that of a lizard.
Chiang growls as he bares his fangs and goes into a battle-ready stance, the deformed figure's cloak swaying in the wind as he grins at Chiang:
"..so.. you do remember me, Chiang..".
"..you stink of chaos filth, Faungli.. why have you brought us here?" Chiang replies, curling his muzzle.
"...you are Faungli?" Thirteen asks, barely concealing the dangerous tone in his voice.
Faungli's grin increases, showing sharp fangs as he turns to Thirteen "..indeed, I am.." - he then turns to Chiang "..I'm surprised at you Chiang.. bringing a flat-snout to this realm.. no matter..".
Faungli extends a clawed hand towards Thirteen and turns once more, "..give me the Nix and I will let you go - this is not your war.. do not make it so..."
"...I volunteered myself." Thirteen snarled, keeping his grip on Sunflower.
Faungli looks to Thirteen for a moment, then to Chiang - "..hmm.. I see..".
Battle 1 - Faungli
Chiang barely has time to push Thirteen to one side as Faungli unleashes a chant which spawns a cloud of biting imps, the creatures fly over and swarm around Chiang - causing him to become overwhelmed as he struggles against the cloud of demons.
Thirteen, thinking quickly, summons another rune circle that appears under Chiang's feet, which creates a vortex of wind surrounding him powerful enough to dispel the tiny imps.
Faungli chuckles darkly as the imps fly around madly, the wind disturbing them and allowing Chiang to leap forward - slamming his staff down on the ground and creating a tremor that knocks Faungli off his feet.
Yet Faungli quickly gets to his feet before Chiang can get much further and grins: "..your friend is strong in magic, Chiang.. for a flat-snout.. now let's see if his mind is as capable..".
Suddenly a haunting song fills the air as Thirteen finds himself facing a strikingly beautiful woman made of purple smoke, who dances around him and begins to put him into a trance.
Thirteen found himself becoming drowsy from the effects of the trance, but he wasn't deterred as he summoned a small fireball to his hand and sent it hurtling toward the apparition.
The fireball simply passes through the figure as the song continues to play, the purple smoke continung to dance around Thirteen as Chiang charges at Faungli only to feel several claws slash against his face as he was sent tumbling backwards: "..you're weak Chiang.. because you allow your compassion to get in the way of your true potential..".
"Stupid..." Thirteen mutters, cursing to himself for thinking the fireball would work. Summoning a rune circle that floats in midair, he creates a blast of wind meant to dispel the smoke.
Chiang roars and leaps at Faungli again, this time slamming his staff into the other Felid and causing him to go hurtling several feet back - as he does so the apparition haunting Thirteen shatters.
Thirteen, freed from the trance, darts toward Faungli and unleashes a flurry of blows at him.
Faungli looks ready to strike when a portal suddenly bursts open between him and Thirteen, sucking both Thirteen and Chiang inside as Sunflower suddenly comes to life and yells out:
"..NO! NO MORE FIGHTING!".
Chiang and Thirteen tumble for a few moments in the depths of space/time before they land face-first at the feet of a regal Felid female, who looks wide-eyed at them - several guards preparing to spear the group with polearms before she speaks out, causing the guards to pull back as she moves forward and kneels down:
"..Chiang?! ..what in the name of Felidia are you doing here?".
Thirteen staggers to his feet, grasping his head. "Ugh... teleporting across space makes me dizzy..." he mumbles.
Chiang stands up and looks to the Felid female, "..Kit.. I.. I'm sorry.. I.." he frowns slightly and turns to Sunflower, who was fluttering nearby despite still being injured - clutching his fists he growls audibly before stalking over to the tiny figure.
"..why did you bring us here?! we were so close -! we could of finally broken Faungli!" he began - then stopped as he noticed Sunflower was banging against the window in an attempt to escape.
"..I'm sorry.. I'm sorry.. please.. don't hurt me.." Sunflower said.
"..Chiang? what's going on? who are these people?" Kit began, rushing over - when she saw Sunflower she grew concerned and moved over: taking Sunflower in her arms carefully.
Chiang rubs at his muzzle slightly and turns away, flicking his tail "..I have no idea what's going on, Kit.. all I know is we're in trouble.. all of us..".
Thirteen stands back and allows Chaing to speak with Kit, using his rune circles to heal his few scratches.
"..you fought Faungli again? Chiang.. you know what that monster does to you.. that obsession will get you killed.." Kit began.
"..if my death rids the universe of Faungli, so be it.." Chiang replies.
"..how can you say that, Chiang? does your life mean so little to you? what of us? or this poor creature?" Kit replied in turn, holding Sunflower up a little: "..I know you Chiang.. I know you would never give up as long as their were people who needed you.. what good will you be to any of us dead?".
"She sounds like she's got a point," Thirteen said absent-mindedly, absorbed by what he was doing- plucking out a clump of his own hair and using his rune circle to shape them into diamond.
Chiang growls audibly and heads out of the room, as he does so Kit shakes her head slightly - still holding Sunflower in her arms, the little creature shivers and speaks quietly:
"..this is my fault.. I'm sorry..".
Kit simply stands and looks to Thirteen, "..don't judge Chiang too harshly, Faungli has done more to him than you could know.." - she then heads over to a nearby seat and motions Thirteen over, the guards simply observing everything as if knowing better than to act with Kit's permission.
Thirteen walks over, awaiting what words Kit would have for him. "Then perhaps, you could tell me?" Thirteen asks.
Kit sits down and places Sunflower on her lap as she looks to Thirteen with eyes that seem capable of gazing straight into the soul if necessary, "..have you ever loved someone but knew that it couldn't be? that no matter how much you wished otherwise things were out of your control?" she asks.
Thirteen bows his head slightly. "I've never had the luxury of being loved in the first place. All I've ever known was to fight for what I felt was right... It is how I was born, it is how I was bred. I fight... Therefore, I am." Thirteen paused for a second, before continuing. "In my travels, I have heard about how great a thing love was... So great, that people chose to die for it... To me, it seems to be a kind of weakness."
"If you see love as a weakness then you are lost, love gives us a choice in what we become.. hate leaves us with no choice at all.." Kit replies "..without love a mother will not raise her young, siblings will not recognize one another and the world as we know would turn to dust.. you see this?" Kit says, holding Sunflower up and carefully spreading one of the torn wings "..this is what happens when love is removed from the world..".
"I see the meaning of your words," Thirteen says, "but I'm sorry... a human weapon has no right to love anyone... love distracts him from his purpose, and without purpose, he is cast aside like garbage." As he says this, there is a look of sadness in his golden eyes.
"Perhaps that distraction is there for a reason and perhaps it is not the weapon that is trash but rather its creator.." Kit replies "..you said the only thing you've ever known is to fight what you feel is right - without love nothing feels right.. it is what we fight for most that we truly love.. for without love their is no reason to fight, is there?".
"That sounds... quite human of you." Thirteen responds.
Kit simply looks to Thirteen "you sound surprised, what makes one human is not what is on the outside but what is underneath.." - she lays a hand on her chest, signalling her heart.
Kit barely finishes her sentence however before the doors burst open, Chiang flying across the room as a blast of energy and insane cackling fills the air - Lady Wallflower hurling herself into the room and pointing at Kit:
"FOR FAUNGLI!" she shrieks, a portal opening behind Kit and beginning to suck everyone in the room towards it as the room crackles with dark energy.
"NO!" Thirteen cries out, casting a rune circle over the portal in an attempt to seal it.
Thirteen's rune circle manages to seal the portal, however as it does so Sunflower flies from Kit's grasp and charges into Lady Wallflower, letting out a cry of anger in the process:
"No, mother! I won't let you hurt them!".
"Worthless wretch! Suffer, for the glory of Faungli!" Lady Wallflower shrieks, clawing at Sunflower but for the first time finding her attacks being blocked as Sunflower began to fight back.
"No! I'm through being Faungli's slave! I'd rather die than let that monster turn me into something like you!" Sunflower exclaims.
Kit watches this in horror as Chiang gets to his feet and grips his staff tightly, growling as he watches the scene unfold before him.
"Sunflower, get back!" Thirteen growls, calling another rune circle to his hand. "I'll deal with this!"
"Actually flat-snout.. You won't.." a dark voice echoes across the area and before Kit or Chiang can fully react a mass of shadow engulfs Thirteen and tears him from the area.
"THIRTEEN!" Chiang yells out as everything turns to black..
The darkness fades after a few moments and Thirteen finds himself standing in a large cavern, with Faungli sitting on a large black throne that seems to be carved from volcanic stone - large candles shine across the room, only the flame they emit is green:
"..we need to talk..".
Thirteen holds out the rune circle over his palm up toward Faungli. "Chaing will be disappointed when he doesn't get the chance to beat you into a bloody pulp."
"Go ahead and kill me, what good will it do anyone? I'm already dying.. thanks to Chiang and the Felid Order.. you think pretty highly of them, don't you? That's because you have blindly allied with them, denying me the chance to explain my side.." Faungli said, not a drop of concern in his voice.
"Your side?" Thirteen asks in contempt. "You are a murderous puppet-master. That's all I need to know."
"Yes, yes.. you're so very noble.." Faungli replied, waving a hand dismissively "..did Ginga teach you that as well? Or should I say "Kit"? ..oh yes.. don't feel too special.. everyone calls her that.. save for those of Noble Blood such as myself.. you see, flat-snout.. Ginga Redkit is the Princess of Felidia and the Felid who now sits before you just happens to be her rightful husband and Ruler of the Felid Order..".
Thirteen frowned. "...I don't believe that."
"Do you really think it matters if you believe me or not? I was born into the Felid Order and was raised to become one of the greatest champions of Felidia - becoming a knight I watched as Ginga and Chiang grew close, a forbidden union.. she was the Princess of Felidia, who I was sworn to defend with my life and he was a savage beast born to common-blood.." Faungli replies, flexing his claws slightly.
"..I trained long and hard to impress Ginga and the others but they brushed me aside, sure I was gifted with medals and wealth but these trinkets were nothing.. the one thing I truly desired was Ginga's hand in marriage but time and time my advances were scorned.." Faungli continues, twitching his whiskers as his muzzle curls into a visible snarl.
"So that's why you turned on them?" Thirteen asked incredulously. "Because she wouldn't love you back?"
"Think on it, flat-snout.. to never feel the touch of someone you crave, to watch as another takes what is rightfully yours.. I didn't betray them.. they betrayed me.. all those years of fighting for the Felid Order and they denied me everything that was important to me.." Faungli replies.
"..I stole the Crown and made Ginga my own, I banished Chiang and had all of Felidia under my command - I may not of been the King this world required but I was the King it deserved.. only Chiang returned, holding power beyond my own.. a common-blood.. with the power of the ancients.. he banished me to this realm and cursed me with this disease you see before you.. the same disease that fills your lungs with every passing minute in this domain.. the Demonic Blood.." Faungli continues.
"If all people in the world took what they believed was rightly theirs by force, the world would become Hell." Thriteen retorts.
Faungli laughs coldly "..you act as if the world wasn't already Damned.. listen, I don't want to waste my time talking to you any longer than necessary - I just want you to realize something: I wasn't always this way, I was a hero once.. this is the result of heroism.. an eternity of torture and pain..".
Faungli rises to his feet, as he does so a portal bursts open and Chiang, Kit and Sunflower emerge into the room, alongside Lady Wallflower - who has been restrained with mystical chains as Sunflower struggles to control her magic:
"He's here! I knew it!" Sunflower yells out, motioning to Thirteen.
Faungli's words, meanwhile, echo in Thirteen's mind as he steps back and deactivates his rune circle:
"This is the result of heroism... an eternity of torture and pain..."
"You brought Ginga to this realm, Chiang? how selfish.." Faungli notes.
"I brought myself, Faungli - to finish this.." Kit growls in return.
"Enough! Kit, stand back! I'll deal with this!" Chiang snaps, leaping forward at Faungli only to find himself catapulted in the opposite direction as a shield of black energy projects around the throne.
"No, Chiang.. you won't.. Wallflower.. awaken and fulfil your destiny.." Faungli states, as he does so Lady Wallflower suddenly lets out a terrible shriek and shatters her bonds, sending Sunflower toppling backwards as the mad Nix unleashes a wave of lightning that strikes Chiang even further across the cavern.
"Chiang!" Kit yells, instinctively stepping towards him only for her feet to sink into the ground as she lets out a cry of surprise and fear.
"Oh Ginga.. stay a while.. after a few days the disease will take hold of you and make you like me.. see how well your subjects treat you when you are a monster like myself.." Faungli taunts.
"How... pointlessly cruel." Thirteen said with a hint of danger in his voice. Opening his palm, a new rune circle appears, which he projects onto the ground; the circle glows as the ground rises up in the center of the circle, forming a shaft that turns into metal, with a tip on the end- a crude spear, which Thirteen takes hold of before charging toward Faungli.
"Life is cruel, flat-snout.. why should we be any different?" Faungli replies, as Thirteen charges Lady Wallflower appears before him and blasts him back towards the others - Faungli taking the moment to step back and vanish into the shadows completely.
"You deal with me now, fool!" Lady Wallflower shrieks - unleashing bolts of lightning at Thirteen, Chiang and Sunflower.
Battle 2 - Lady Wallflower
As he is thrown back, Thirteen plunges his weapon into the ground, catching himself, before rolling to the side and dodging Lady Wallflower's lightning. His right eye flips back into his skull, revealing a metallic surface; a cyborg eye, which he uses to scan his immediate surroundings.
Chiang hits his staff against the ground, causing the area to shatter and freeing Ginga in the process while Sunflower flies up and exchanges several lightning blasts with Lady Wallflower:
"Mother! Stop this! Faungli is a demon who stole from you.. can't you see that? You have power mother, the power to lead.. Faungli took that power.. he's a thief, mother.. he stole your gift and he stole your life.." Sunflower says.
"Wretched child!" Lady Wallflower yells out, unleashing a beam of energy that catches her daughter unaware - sending her falling to the ground below.
Thirteen runs toward Lady Wallflower, catching Sunflower in one hand and throwing his weapon with the other.
Lady Wallflower lets out another shriek as she unleashes a wave of energy at Thirteen, Chiang leaping into the air as Thirteen's weapon hits its mark - adding to the blow as the tip of his staff makes contact with Lady Wallflower, sending the Nix hurling across the room with great force.
Before Thirteen could call another circle to his hand, he is struck by Wallflower's energy, which tears through his body and sends him crashing to the ground.
"Dammit..." Thirteen mutters in irritation, before picking himself, still holding Sunflower.
Sunflower suddenly breaks free of Thirteen's grip and flies over to Lady Walflower, who had fallen on the ground - seemingly gravely injured from the assault.
"..Mother!" Sunflower said, despite the antagonism her instincts reminded her of happier times - of when she was young and waiting on her mother to sing her lullabies to help her sleep.
Lady Wallflower's body crackles with dark energy before she slowly fades, her eyes changing as she looks to Sunflower - weakened and seeming to momentarily regain her senses:
"..S-Sunflower? ..my daughter.. oh.. what have I done? ..urgh.. l-listen.. I.. I am sorry.. I.. I never meant to hurt you.. I was just so very angry.. so very alone.." she whispers.
"..but.. mother.. you were never alone.. we were with you.. always.." Sunflower replies, her voice shaky as she takes her mother's hand.
"..Faungli had me eat the Zaqqum Fruit.. it tore me up inside.. I.. I failed you.." Lady Wallflower replies.
Chiang's eyes flash with rage at the mention of the Zaqqum Fruit and Ginga puts a hand to her mouth in a sign of shock - Sunflower on the other hand simply holds her fallen mother's hand as her eyes fill with tears.
"..no.. mother.. I failed you.. I should of been there.. I.." Sunflower began, unable to finish her sentence as she began to cry - only to feel her mother's hand move over to her cheek and stroke gently.
"No, Sunflower.. you saved me.. I.." Lady Wallflower whispered, then grew silent - her hand falling to the ground as her body went limp.
Thirteen was only able to watch, stunned at the proceedings.
Chiang speaks to Thirteen as Kit moved over to Sunflower, "..the Zaqqum Fruit is a cursed plant, once it is eaten it tears apart a person's body and soul.. slowly.. however when near death the victim is freed from its effects.. she was already dying before she fought us.. the fruit has done exactly what Faungli wanted it to do.. drive her insane before her inevitable death..".
Kit carefully lifted Sunflower as the young Nix watches her mother's broken form disappear in a pile of ashes, turning away at the last second as she buries her face in Kit to hide the pain.
"That's... that's just wrong." Thirteen said darkly, balling his hands into tight fists.
Sunflower slowly emerges, speaking quietly "..Faungli.. he's going to use the Zaqqum Fruit again.. mother.. she.." - the young Nix holds out her hand, which glows and reveals a small image of a cloaked Felid heading towards a village, a cart filled with crates rolling behind him - ridden along by dark steeds.
"She gave you a vision, Sunflower.. because she loved you.." Kit said, then got to her feet "..so we have to be brave now, we have to stop this..".
Chiang growls and nods, "..take us to the city gates Sunflower, then go with Kit to the castle.. get the guards.. Thirteen and I will deal with Faungli.. this time we won't hold back..".
Thirteen cracks his knuckles. "No. We won't. I can't let bastards like him run free in the world."
"Do not kill him unless you have to, both of you.." Kit warns "..we must ensure law and order is kept or Faungli wins..".
Sunflower opens a portal as Chiang looks to Kit and frowns slightly:
"You see what Faungli does to the universe, yet you want us to keep him alive?".
Kit nods, staring directly at Chiang "..spare his life and he must forever live a monster, alone and diseased.. kill him and you have taken one step closer to becoming like him.." she replies.
"We don't have much time! Hurry!" Sunflower says, holding the portal open - Chiang gives Kit another look before entering, understanding her words but having them conflict with his own rage and frustration..
Meanwhile at the gates of the city Faungli approached with the cart, his form covered by a cloak that disguised him from sight as several guards blocked his path and questioned him:
"What is this?" one of the guards asked.
"A simple tradesman seeking to sell his wares.." Faungli replied, motioning back at the crates.
"Hm, never seen fruit like this before.." another guard said as he inspected some of the strange ware, which resembled red pears with spiky skin.
"They are from an exotic land, please.. try some.. they are most sweet.." Faungli said, his muzzle forming into a cruel smirk as one of the guards shrugged and took a bite of the fruit.
"FAUNGLI! STOP!" Thirteen's voice roars out suddenly as he and Chiang emerge from a nearby portal.
Several guards turn to look at Thirteen as he and the others arrive, the one guard who ate the fruit hissed as he began to foam at the mouth - falling to the ground and writhing in agony: upon seeing this the other guards attack but fall quickly as Faungli forms a shield of dark energy around himself.
"I can't.. you see.. in order to rule one must be willing to take advantage of every situation.. even if it risks destruction in the process.. think on it.. the Zaqqum Fruit is from Jahannam, is it not? I could not of brought it alone.." Faungli says.
Chiang growls and readies himself to attack, however he listens to Faungli's words - he already sensed something was wrong and now his suspicions were confirmed: "..this isn't your Fel Magic, Faungli.. who is working with you?".
Faungli grins, a horrible grin that drips with malice - his eyes flashing "..isn't that obvious?".
Kit's ears fold back as she and Sunflower also observe this, the surviving guards backing away as the crate of fruit shakes and foul-smelling smoke rises:
"..it can't be.. yet.. it is.. isn't it? Chiang, it's Yomi.. I.. I always thought it was a legend to scare children..".
"Yomi?" Thirteen asked. "Some other monster we need to defeat, I take it?"
Chiang doesn't answer as he watches the smoke grow until the crate shatters, spilling its contents onto the ground as a mass of flesh and tendrils rises up like a centipede, in the centre of the creature is a Felid skull with oozing eye sockets:
<<eat of the fruit and die.. resist and die.. not much of a choice is it? ..one is agonizing.. the other unthinkable.. choose wisely.. for Yomi rises and Felidia falls..>>.
"Not while I'm here." Thirteen says, casting a rune circle over the creature that creates a fiery explosion.
Yomi is completely unfazed by the explosion: <<Thirteen, you are a weapon designed purely to destroy - yet due to the words of a mechanical rodent you think you can fight for something "better".. here in a world of flea-bitten felines you think you are learning of love.. which makes me wonder.. you failed as a weapon and you failed as a person.. so.. what good are you?>>
Faungli watches this and chuckles slightly, Chiang moves forward only to be stopped as Faungli appears in front of him: "..no, Chiang.. this will be fun..".
Chiang growls, giving Faungli and look of contempt, "..Yomi will destroy everything.. how can you rule a world if there is no world left?".
Faungli shrugs and grins widely, "..I'd rather destroy this world than let you win, Chiang.. after all the humilation you put me through.. besides.. you'll win.. you always do.. only I've proven something today.. evil exists.. pure, unthinkable evil.. what good is love against such power?".
Thirteen creates another explosion over the dark god, more violent than the first. "Shut up! I don't care what you think!" he roared; it is obvious that Yomi's words had an effect on him.
Yomi creates a dark fog that engulfs the area and before Thirteen can quite figure out what is going on his surroundings change - becoming a barren wasteland, the bodies of familiar faces littering the ground.. amongst them Chiang, Ginga and SIM - <<..they believed in you.. this is their reward.. this is your future, Thirteen.. your will is not your own..>> the demon speaks out.
Meanwhile back in the "real" world Chiang suddenly leaps at Faungli and begins to attack, the two Felids fighting like two alley-cats as Kit and Sunflower look over to the dark mist that has surrounded Thirteen:
"..Sunflower.. get us inside.. we need to stop this.." Kit spoke out, narrowing her eyes as the sound of distant thunder rolled over the land - as if the planet itself objected to Yomi's presence.
Meanwhile, Thirteen loses his former composure; summoning rune circle after exploding rune circle, he hurls them in all directions in blind rage. "Shut up! SHUT UP!"
The black mist clears and Thirteen's attacks explode around Kit and Sunflower, distracting Chiang as he leaps from Faungli and tackles Thirteen - Yomi laughing as it slithers towards Faungli and engulfs the fallen Felid:
<<enough of these games.. come Faungli.. it is time.. let the darkness.. consume you..>>
"Where's Yomi?" Thirteen growled, suddenly inhuman. "I'm going to tear him apart..." Chiang growls at Thirteen "Control your anger or you'll kill us all - defeating Yomi isn't about brute force.. it is about defeating the darkness within..".
As Chiang says this the area Faungli once occupied is consumed by a toxic cloud that rises, the ground shaking violently before a towering figure emerges from the cloud - obscured by the darkness at first before becoming visible as the cloud fades away.
<<..Yes.. now.. is.. the.. time..>> the creature exclaims, resembling a massive Felid with the lower body of a gigantic centipede, its right arm replaced with a claw not unlike that of a lobster while the torso and face remain that of Faungli.
Final Battle - Faungli's Darkness
Thirteen glanced up at the Yomi-Faungli hybrid with revulsion. He had already formed another circle over his palm and was almost ready to cast it at the abomination.
The creature burrows into the ground before Thirteen can cast the circle fully - causing the earth to shatter and break around itself as it tunnels towards the group before burtsing out of the ground with great force, sending them flying in several directions as the ground bursts open in a violent explosion of debris.
Thirteen's training left him well-prepared however; as he is thrown, he twists through the air, flipping back and landing on his feet. He casts a simple rune circle beneath the creature that generates a powerful windstorm, before calling another circle to his palm that generates a stream of flames, effectively forming a maelstrom of fire.
The creature rears up in response to the attack but soon unleashes a massive bestial roar as its jaw seems to dislocate, it quickly burrows under the ground again: causing the group to stumble and fall before it once again bursts out of the ground, this time right next to Chiang.
<<..I could of ruled this world as a King.. now I will destroy it as a God..>> the creature declares as it lifts Chiang high in the air, causing the other Felid to drop his staff as its jaws break apart further - the creature attempting to swallow Chiang whole.
"NO!" Thirteen cried out, casting another rune that sent a ball of air smashing into the monster's belly like an enormous punch.
The creature drops Chiang as it is hit by Thirteen's attack and rears up, letting out a loud roar before it slams itself against the ground, sending debris flying everywhere as a shockwaves spreads across the area. Thirteen was unable to raise a defense of any kind in time and was bombarded with a wall of rock and force that sent him hurtling to the ground a short distance away.
Chiang gets to his feet and charges at the creature after the shockwave, slamming the staff into the exposed underside - causing a roar of agony from the Yomi-Faungli hybrid as the staff sinks deep into it: causing a shockwave of its own.
Thirteen begins to construct a rune in midair; within seconds, it begins to take shape, and complex symbols appear around it, aligned in a triangle.
"Keep him back just a little longer!" Thirteen called out.
<<This is.. not.. over.. Chiang..>> the creature hisses as a large wounds opens up where Chiang's staff hit, unleashing a poisoned cloud of miasma that spreads over the area: causing Chiang to cough as he struggles to stay in place.
"Chaing, move!" Thirteen called out, stepping forth to project his rune at the creature.
Chiang continues to cough as the poisoned miasma clouds his vision and chokes his lungs, falling to his knees - suddenly Sunflower flies into the scene and grabs the Felid warrior, utilizing all her strength as she lifts him slightly off the ground and drags him away from the Yomi-Faungli hybrid.
"DIE!" Thirteen shouted, casting his rune to the ground beneath the creature before turning away.
A ball of energy seemed to form over the creature, seeming to draw it's energy from the earth itself before exploding like a bomb.
"Please tell me that worked," Thirteen thought to himself.
The Yomi-Faungli hybrid's wound glows brightly as the cloud of miasma engulfs the area, mixing with the explosion to form a dark mass that envelops the creature's form - when the dark mass fades Faungli is left, tattered and beaten: the dark cloud which was Yomi fading into the ground below.
"..you will pay.." Faungli declares, extending a hand and unleashing a wave of biting flies that swarm around the group, giving the dark sorcerer sufficient time to teleport back into the Rogue Wilderness.
After Faungli disappears the area begins to clear as the evil presence fades, the swarm of flies dropping to the ground.
Thirteen grinned slightly. "Well, that's that," he said, before passing out in exhaustion- his previous attack seeming to have taken up a great deal of his stamina.
Thirteen would awaken to find himself back in the palace alongside Chiang, Sunflower, Ginga Redkit and several guards - Chiang was using his staff to help support himself due to the previous battle and Sunflower had taken to flying around the room.
"..we were lucky.. Yomi was unable to get a proper footing in our reality.. Faungli was a fool and could never contain a being such as that.." Ginga states.
Groaning slightly, Thirteen sat up, rubbing his forehead.
"You fought well, friend.. it's over - at least for now.. Faungli will return some day and beings like Yomi never truly die.. yet we have to savor our victories, no matter how small.." Chiang notes to Thirteen as he notices him sitting up.
"How long was I out?" Thirteen asked.
"A couple of hours.. I had you brought to the Royal Quarter for safety.. the guards have patrolled the entire city removing the Zaqqum Fruit.. sadly this won't bring back those who died by their poison.." Ginga explains.
"Faungli will pay for his crimes, I swear on it.." Chiang growls.
"Their is no greater punishment for a monster like Faungli than to be forced back to the Rogue Wilderness, alone and devoid of the attention he so desperately seeks.. I know Faungli, Chiang.. he seeks more than just power.. he seeks to drive you down to his level.. to break you.. you can't let him win.." Ginga replies.
"I think the universe could do without monsters such as Faungli," Thirteen said. "If we destroy monsters such as him then they won't return to cause future tragedies such as this one..."
"Who are we to dictate what shall live and what shall die? we have the power to kill - yet if we do.. who will judge us? that is why we do not kill.. to kill an adversary when another option exists is to cross a dark path.." Ginga replies.
"Kit's right.. as much as I hate Faungli if I killed him I would become him.. maybe not instantly.. I could live many years thinking myself superior - being praised a hero.. yet if we were all to kill what we found hateful there would be only anarchy.." Chiang notes, though he doesn't seem too pleased about this.
"Besides.." Sunflower adds, flying over "..prison is far worse for people like that - to live forever knowing what they've done.. which is why I want to return to my world: to rule it as mother would of wanted.. no more killing.. no more anger.. just the way it was before..".
"What if one had no choice?" Thirteen said. "The only reason I exist is so that one day, I can destroy a cosmic murderer... it's why I was 'born'... one day I'll have to confront a man who has killed millions, and destroy him myself..."
"One always has a choice - even when it doesn't seem that way.. if you truly believe your only purpose is to kill someone then why would you come to this world and help us against Faungli? Perhaps what you have to do is look deeper.. to find who you truly are.." Ginga replies.
"Indeed.. for now however I believe the time has come for us to part - you have your own course.. as do we.." Chiang adds.
Thirteen nodded, climbing to his feet. "Right, of course. Stay strong Chaing, Ginga." He turned to leave.
"Wait!" Sunflower says, flying over to Thirteen "..before you go have this.." - she produces a tiny glowing stone and holds it out "..mother told me that this stone could guide people through storms at night.. maybe it will help you find what you are looking for..".
Thirteen silently stared for a moment, before accepting the stone with a thoughtful look on his face. He inclined his head slightly, like a small bow of gratitude. "Thank you," he said.
Sunflower bobs a little in turn, "..strength comes from the heart - so when you judge a man look to his heart.. you'll see.." - with that the Nix flies back towards Ginga and Chiang, watching Thirteen leave.
The scene shifts to the streets outside Ginga's palace, to a young Felid standing as several guards remove carts of Zaqqum Fruit as well as several dead bodies - an older female appears behind the young Felid and holds their shoulder.
"Daddy's not coming back, is he?" the young Felid said.
"No, he died doing his duty for Felidia.." the older female replied.
"Chiang should of saved him - he's a hero.. heroes are meant to save us.. or Ginga.. she's the ruler.. even that man.. whoever he was.. he was strong.. he should of done something.." the young Felid growled.
"They couldn't of prevented it, Leya - they did what they could.. yet Faungli acted too quick.. yet if it wasn't for them even more would of died.. your father would not want you to hold onto hatred.. come.. we should make preparations for a decent burial.." the older female said, her voice growing a little weak near the end as she tried to stay strong despite losing her mate.
The young Felid continued to flick her tail a little, pinning her ears back as she looked to the Palace, growling a little before she turned around and followed her mother down the dirt path.
As the girl left a shadowy mass slowly surfaced from one of her pawprints, dark chuckling emitting as the paw-print bubbled like a pit of tar and a voice spoke out - unheard by any save itself <<..how nice.. they win.. yet everyone still loses..>>