As Gale, Mizu, Altair and Gigas slowly crept toward the supposedly lifeless heap of dead matter that was the (Undead) Yamiokami, it made a death rattle causing them to stop immeaditely in case it decided to get back up. But it merely just closed it's eye, clearly for the last time.
"...Something isn't right. I don't think this "rebel leader" is coming. I believe we have been deceived," Altair said quietly.
"How right you are."
Gale and the others scanned their surroundings for the voice, but they knew deep down who it was...and where it was. Their eyes quickly found the Yamiokami again, who was know enveloped in shadows. It's eyelid flickered open to reveal a catlike purple eye. Immediately, the shadows obscured the corpse from view entirely, and what appeared when the shadows had gone was no Yamiokami. But it was equally familiar.It was pitch black, and had a leathery gleam to its body, and a silver trim. It's entire body was covered in malicious-looking spikes of various sizes jutting out and various angles. It's entire face was covered by a black mask that pulsated a little when he spoke, leaving only it's purple (once red) eyes and black catlike pupils. It sported four (as opposed to two, before) large, sinister wings that had holes in the webbing, and some areas were bare bone. It also wielded a long, dark silver sword that was about half a foot taller than a person, that hummed sharply and quietly every time it moved through the air. The hilt was black, spiky and ornate. The pair of neon-purple eyes stared flatly at the four, the being taking small steps forward in a triumphant manner, the wisps of shadow slithering around it as it moved.
"Shinkaiyami!? Why are you here!? Where's the rebel leader!?" Gale barked angrily, raising her weapon gallantly at the familiar entity, the other three following suit.
"There is no need to shout, woman. I am not deaf," Shinkaiyami purred absentmindedly. "But, honestly; did you truly believe that the leader of a cobbled together resistance would ever be able to access the Necropolis Boneyard, let alone meet you here? 'Tis preposterous, and you know it as well as I. You were fools to venture here. And now...you will all pay the price."
The barbed tyrant lunged at Gale, his lengthy silver blade clashing with her Lost Black Katana, sparks flying, a great screech reverberating from the two interlocked blades. Gale tried to psuh her body weight on the sword, but it was no use, the dark Wyrm overpowered her and slapped the girl away with a swift and brutal backhand. Gale collapsed to the floor, concussed. Blood welled from her nose and her lip.
Mizu took his chance and surged forward, sweeping the blade through the air. Shinkaiyami simply let the blade cut through him. A few miniscule shadows ligered around the area that Mizu's blade had made contact, before dissiapting, revealing a totally unscathed body. Mizu couldn't see the dark entity's face, but he knew he was smiling. However, he wasn't prepared to go down as quickly as his girlfriend. He blocked the Wyrm's follow-up sword slashes, then countered with a 360 dropkick, tripping the apparition up. He then plaunged his Wailing Cleaver Shin into the creature's black heart. A few moments later, the humanoid body evanesced into shadowy wisps, which darted like eels away into nothingness. A short, tense pause followed. Then, immediately, Mizu's eyes widened, as he felt Shikaiyami's cold hand on his shoulder, which shoved him to the ground with unbelievable force. Shinkaiyami then proceeded to wrap his hand around Mizu's throat, constricting the boy's airpipe, forcing him to gasp for air. The sinister monster lifted his quarry up off of the floor, his legs dangling helplessly, his hands desperately clutching on the Wyrm's wrist. Shinkaiyami sneered at him triumphantly.
"'Tis frightening, is it not? Rather painful too, I would imagine. But it matters not how you die, just as long as you do. All of you," the deadly phantasm hissed.
"Please! Please stop it! We'll do whatever you want, just...! ...Just don't hurt him. Please..." Gale whimpered, her eyes filled with fear. The Wyrm slowly, ever-so-slowly, twisted his neck to the right to face the girl on the ground. It was like watching a rusty cog turn, as if a corpse had been reanimated. Terrifying.
"Very well, Gale Kaze," Shinkaiyami agreed with sly politeness, dropping Mizu to the floor. He began to cough and retch immediately after, taking a huge a breath as his body would allow in order to keep himself from panicking. Gale crawled speedily through the mud, clamering over her lover, helping him up as he continued to cough. The winged dictator loomed over the pair, shrouding the pair in his imposing shadow. Gigas and Altair stood pised at the ready throughout this, ready to blast the enemy away if necessary, watching with careful, beady eyes. Shikaiyami slowly extended his alarge, insidious claw toward the girl, palm outstretched.
"My Heart, if you please," he demanded, his natural sotto voce voice making the request all the more threatening.
"The Yamiokami Gem? I don't have it," Gale said honestly. Shinkaiyami scowled at first, but that quickly became a wry chuckle.
"Don't be silly, Gale. It's lodged in the Decoration slot on your sword. I can see it plainly." Shinkayami pointed at the crimson blot on the hilt of the blade. "Right there."
Gale gasped curiously, before her breath stopped altogether. The Wyrm was absolutely right. She yanked the gleaming, blood red jewel from its slot, and slowly held it out to Shinkaiyami, who snatched it greedily from her like a hungry peasant being offered a large cut of Aptonoth. He then corrected his posture and manner, to avoid tarnishing his dignity. He placed the jewel right in the middle of his chest, like a trophy.
"But how-?" Gale began to ask.
"Dear child; did you not think a heart would follow it's master?" Shikaiyami asked cryptically. "There. That will keep it safe until it regains its dark energies. Thank you very much, Gale Kaze. Now die."
As Shinkaiyami prepared to impale the nineteen-year-old with his sword, a bright white gateway appeared behind Gale. Everyboy watched with awe as Nina delicately emerged from the portal, which stayed open behind her this time, instead shutting like usual.
"You used Divinum Intercessio!? You fool! That practice is outdated! You'll undo everything!" Shinkaiyami bellowed in alarm, anger and surprise.
"Outdated it may be, but it is the only way to teleport to a Sealed Realm. There is a key, no matter how rusty, for every lock," Nina snapped impatiently. "I can avoid "undoing everything", as you claim, by holding the gateway open, but I cannot hold it for long. Come along, all of you! No dilly-dallying! We must vacate the area posthaste!"
Gale quickly hauled Mizu to his feet and sprinted toward the poratl along with Altair and Gigas. As Shinkaiyami stepped forward to stop them, Nina stepped in front of him. He growled guttrally.
"Do not test me, tyrant," she warned forebodingly. Shinkaiyami huffed haughtily and backed up a couple of paces.
"I won't. Not yet," he retorted with equal foreboding, before wrapping his four hellish wings around himself and fading away in a cloud of writhing black shadows. Nina paused for a moment, before slowly retrurning from whence she came, the portal snapping shut behind her.
To Be Continued in: Fate and Freedom XXI: Return to the Wind Village