"WHERE IS IT!?" Kazir shouted, his laid-back demeanour replaced by a cruel... well, crueler... and angry one.
"I don't know... what you're even talking about... please..." Mizu croaked, his arm bleeding even more, pain-induced tears trickling down the sides of his face.
Kazir had forgotten that the White Star had told him that Mizu had no idea about the Yamiokami Gem, or where it was, but his psychopathic rage had shoved that thought into the recesses of his twisted mind. The only he wanted to do right now was find out where his enemies were, and his 'guest' wouldn't say a word.
"You just have to make this worse for yourself, don't you?" he growled. He raised the knife.
"W-what the-!?" Jinsoku tripped over his own words, flabbergasted by the sight before him: a huge, circular area of the spire, illuminated by large hexagons on all surfaces, tesselating together like honeycomb. Otherwise, it was empty, but the sight was simply spectacular.
"What is this place?" Shinji gasped, the others staring in awe.
"This...is not meant for you to see. This is a paradox."
"This is a makeshift realm, made specifically for us."
"Each set of people related by mutual unfinished business have their spirits deployed here, to communicate with the living with which thier business lies. When we are done here, this place will cease to exist. As such, there may be many paradoxes here."
"So, you're saying there are many Hidden Realms?"
"Precisely. Anyway, I doubt it is something that any of you will ever be able to comprehend, as well as myself. What is important is climbing this tower. Come, we must take the stairs," Nina said, pointing to a spiral staircase climbing the wall of the tower, going up and up and up, so high that the end could not be seen.
"Climb all those steps!? No freakin' way!" Skylar moaned, awestruck and annoyed. This outcry sent the whole group into an argument about how to negotiate this scenario, until they were silenced by a soulless, paned and terrified scream echoing from the top of the spire, all the way to here. Gale froze and her skin paled. Rakurai caught her as she threw herself at her old friend, beginning to cry.
"Tell me... tell me he's gonna be okay...!" she sobbed.
"We will get to him. Don't do this to yourself." he said calmly, unusually sympathetic. He pulled Gale off of him, holding her at shoulder length. "It's what Kazir wants." Gale smiled weakly, wiping away her tears.
Suddenly, a cloud of white mist coalesced in front of them, forming the shape of Kazir. He was laughing as always. "Oh, hi! I'm so glad you could make it!" he yelped, a familiar twinkle in his eyes.
"Oh, joy. The thespian is here," Nina sighed impatiently. Kazir glared at her.
"Y'know that joke's gettin' reeeal old right about now. Haven't you got anything else to say? Meh, thought as much... you're only filth, after all."
"The only filth around here is you."
"Ooh! Burn! See, I even have to spoonfeed you your own insults! You're no fun! Not like my 'guest', oh no, he's lots of fun! Of course he does scream a little to much, and he doesn't like to talk, but he's a damn sight better than you..."
"Cease your incessant rambling! I've had quite enough of you to last more than a lifetime!"
"Oh, well if it ain't someone's time o' the month... Anyway, does Gale wanna talk to me?" He inquired, a false sweetness in his tone. Gale silently drew her sword. Kazir rolled his eyes theatrically.
"Oh, yeah, I forgot you were all filth. Not really capable of proper speech, are ya?" he pursed his lips. "Well, this just about screws everything up," he added, gazing absentmindedly at his surroundings. Gale ran at him, swining her Lost Black Katana wildly at him. Kazir sidestepped and stuck his leg out a little, tripping the angry nineteen-year-old up. Kazir clapped half-heartedly.
"A sterling effort from Miss Kaze! Can she do better next time? Meh, probably not," he chortled haughtily. Shinji rapidly fired her bow with vicious speed, Kazir dodging the almost invisible projectiles like it was nothing.
"Hm? You done? Good. Huh?" he tured to face all the others, who had banded into a nucleated group, aming their weapons at him. He rolled his eyes again, this time accompanied with a bored and angry sigh.
"Oh, will ya quit it with the bullshit camaradarie? You're giving me a headache," he grumbled.
"The only reason that convivality gives you a headache is because you have no friends for yourself," Nina snapped. Kazir stopped a moment, then burst into laughter, stopping to breathe halfway through before continuing.
"Oh, dear! Oh, oh you lot are a riot!" he gasped. "I haven't had this much fun in seconds!"
He stopped laughing when he felt the tip of Gale's sword on his back. He rolled his eyes again. "What?" he grunted.
"Where's Mizu?" Gale demanded flatly. Kazir began to laugh again. "WHERE IS HE!?" she bellowed.
"Alright, alright, God! Looks like we've got two girls with sychronized menses..." he murmured. He teleported away from Gale and into the centre of the room. A gust of wind began to flow from where he stood.
"Catch me if you can!" he taunted lyrically, before being blown away up toward the top of the spire. Gale quickly followed him. The others ran to go after the two, but a blue barrier appeared around it, stopping them from going up. Skylar sighed. "This means we gotta take the stairs, doesn't it?"
"I am afraid so, child," Nina said. The frustrated group slowly trudged toward the stairs.
Kazir was flying far above her. Gale would never catch up to him from here - she had to get further up. She used her powers to channel the wind, helping her go faster. Kazir looked below him, seeing the girl cathing up. He merely huffed confidently (inaudible over the noise of the wind), and laid his hand upon the stream of air. Gale slowed down, pulling out of the wind as it grew icy cold. She was still below Kazir, but not nearly as far as before.
She let the wind carry her still, unsure of how to negotiate this. Kazir notcied her indecision and fired a ball of freezing blue fire toward her. Gale, on instinct, caught the ball of - fire? Ice? She wan't really sure - and threw it back at him. Unfortunately, it wasn't very accurate, merely grazing past him, a few scorch marks on his left arm. Within this time Gale had already sped up to match Kazir's speed, closing in on him. He growled, kicking to his right, nearly knocking Gale out of the airstream and to her death. She pushed him back. She would gladly thrust her sword through his throat, but there was no time or room for weapons. She looked to her right. Nina and the others had already nearly matched their progress to the top of the tower.
"How did we get up here so fast!?" Gigas yelled.
"When one is used to dealing with this realm, one can manipulate the very physics of it in its entirety. For example, I could easily bring this tower crashing to the ground without batting an eyelid. Which I might just do, once we have finished our business here. Furthermore, because you are around Rakurai and myself, you are bending the same rules that we are, without even realizing." Nina explained.
"And which rules would they be?" Shinji asked.
"I and Rakurai are currently walking up these stairs at about five hundred times the normal walking speed, give or take. Becuase you are in the direct vicinity of that distortion, so are you. Anyway, that is an inaccurate measurement, and it it also extraneous. What is important it that we get to the top."
The top of the tower was in in sight. Gale finally pulled up next to Kazir. However, he was expecting this, and pushed her to the edge of the airstream again, this time following up with another fireball (if it really was fire), which hit Gale square in the chest, pushing her out of the airstream. before she could fall to her rather messy death, she thrusted herself through the air with her powers to join the others on the staircase. She watched in disappointment as Kazir flew up, far out of her reach.
"Come, Gale! There is no time to waste! We are almost there!" Nina hurried her. As they ran up the stairs, Gale noticed that the stairs were more like blurs, as if they were walking super fast. As she turned to ask Nina about this, Nina hushed her.
"I know. Do not notice it, or the distortion will dissipate. Don't ask about that either."
Finally, Gale heard more tortured screaming as the stairs stopped spiraling, stopping at a plain wooden door, rectangular and rather frail-looking. Despite this, it was rather tough, and they group began to ram into it, desperate to get inside. Gale began to freak out as she heard more and more screaming and desperate cries. Shinji took her aside to calm her down, as Gigas and the others rammed their hardy shoulders against this door that appeared to have them stumped. Altair signalled for them to stop. He drew his four-barrelled pistol, shooting the hinges of the door accurately, then rammer his shoulder into it. It began to fall away, but not enough to get inside. Gigas grumbled in frustration, vexed. "All o' ya get back! I'm pisssed off now!" he howled, raising his Agnablaster at the door, and firing at it continuously until it literally blew into flaming splinters. When they stepped inside, an invisible barrier blocked their path. Kazir turned to smiled at Gale. "Watch," he sneered cruelly.
Kazir was kneeling down at Mizu's side, drawing his knife out of Mizu's arm as he finished writng out the Old Language glyphs onto his left arm.
When he had finished, he stabbed the knife into Mizu's right shouler, making him cry out in utter terror, following which he twisted it cruelly, clockwise and anticlockwise, before pulling it out forcefully. Nina (who had been silently working on dissipating the barrier) finally put her hand through the open space, breaking whatever curse Kazir had put on it, and the group rushed forward, attacking Kazir (who defended himself completely) while Gale and Rakurai rushed to Mizu's side, Gale almost slipping over as she skidded over the floor. She clasped his hand as he cried frightened and painful tears.
"It...hurts..." he coughed.
"I know." Gale whispered, trying not to cry. She looked at Rakurai as he bandaged Mizu's bleeding arm gently. He gave a small phial of green liquid to Gale. "Here. This will heal the wound to his shoulder. His arm must heal naturally."
"Why can't this heal his arm?"
"Becuase this particular word is a grave insult among the Wyrms. As such, such a word is cursed in any form in which it is uttered, verbal or otherwise. The only thing that will ever heal that wound is time."
Gale slowly turned back to the distressed nineteen-year-old, pulling his shirt back a little to administer the liquid to his shoulder. She recognized this particular mix - she had used one on Remy once when his leg was bitten by a monster (luckily not a very large one, or he'd have lost it).
"This won't hurt, I promise." she soothed, watching the liquid take effect, closing the bloody wound, leaving a small scar. Rakurai began to speak again, holding Mizu's left shoulder.
"His shoulder is dislocated. I will have to fix it."
Gale knew from experience how painful fixing a dislocated bone could be, so she cupped her other hand around Mizu's face to get him to look at her.
"Look at me, okay? Don't concentrate on anything else," she said gently, her voice cracking a little. *Crack!*
Mizu screamed as his arm was put back in place, the pain from that and all the other wounds rushing through him. He squeezed Gale's hand so hard she thought it was going to break, almost. Gale and Rakurai helped Mizu to his feet, hooking his arms around their shoulders. The whole ten strong party glared at Kazir.
"Let me deal with this," Rakurai grunted, stepping away from Gale and Mizu (Gigas then ran to hold Mizu up with Gale), drawing his Espinas Great Sword. He ran his hand gently along it, manipulating the physics of the Hidden Realm, turning the cumbersome Great Sword into a thin and nimble Long Sword. Kazir chuckled, drawing his uchigatana, still bloodied from whe he had stabbed Guretosutomu. Suddenly, the ground rumbled beneath their feet.
"Come! We must go!" Nina said. She too had manipulated the Hidden Realm (somehow) into bringing the tower crashing to the ground, albeit slowly. The others left Rakurai and Kazir alone, Nina using her Descendant abilities to whisk the others away in flash.
"You sure you wanna do this?" Kazir chuckled, curious.
"I have my reasons. Besides, makes no difference to me. I'm already dead." Rakurai said bluntly.
"Well, then... I guess I'll just have to kill you again!" Kazir yelled, their blades locking in swift and aggressive verve.
To Be Continued in: Legacy of the Descendants XV: The Brutal Truth pt1