The battle outside of the city had begun to die down. With the help of Lucifer’s forces, the Choirs of angels managed to push the Imp armies into full retreat. As the angels dealt with the last remnants of the imp army, Xaphine, Ariel, Roselyn, and the demon Xaphine had met earlier joined Gilles and Morgan on the deck of the Black Vengeance.
The ship sailed as close as they could to Paeles before the wind overwhelmed her sails. Several crewmen wanted to lower longboats and go find their captain, but Xaphine stood in their way, “This is something they have to do alone. This cursed land is too dangerous for humans.”
Though in her own heart, she desired to be there to help them. She still felt responsible for Legion gaining enough power to break out of the underworld and cause so much turmoil. The dishonor of knowing that Adaline’s great-great-granddaughter had to suffer for crimes that she had committed was unacceptable, but she could not interfere, she knew this.
Gilles stood by her side at the railing, “Did you know Gavreel?”
Xaphine turned to look at him, “Excuse me?”
“Gavreel,” he repeated, “Did you know her.”
She nodded, “Yes, Gavreel was a special angel amongst the Choirs. I didn’t know her as well as I would have liked, but from what I’d heard about her, she was very kind hearted.”
Gilles lowered his eyes, “She died protecting me…”
“I know,” Xaphine replied, “I can feel it when one of my troops falls. It is truly a shame, but she died doing the job she loved; protecting people.”
Gilles nodded, “Yes… she said the same thing.”
The demon stood on Xaphine’s other side and spoke with a sarcastic tone, “I have a question for you ‘General,’ if it wouldn’t be too inconvenient?”
Xaphine rolled her eyes, “What is it Baʿal Zəbûb?”
“Legion is one that is many,” he replied, “One consciousness, one voice, but many minds and many forms. How do you intend that one angel should be able to defeat a creature that can take the form of as many creatures it wants?”
Xaphine smiled, “Leave that to the Choirs. Legion can’t hold multiple forms for long. It drains his energy. So we’ll wait for him to revert to single form. Once he does, our agent, Lailah, will signal us. That’s when the Choirs of angels will focus our powers together to lock him in that one form.”
“How long do you think you’ll be able to hold that,” Baʿal Zəbûb asked.
Xaphine shrugged, “Who knows… a few hours maybe? Hopefully it should be enough time for Aralyn to defeat him.”
Baʿal Zəbûb scoffed, “You’re putting an awful lot on the shoulders of a mere half-breed. Do you seriously think that this has any chance of success?”
“She may have the drawbacks of being a mortal,” Xaphine replied, “But she is far more powerful than any other single angel. When her powers manifested themselves, she was able to do incredible things with no training at all.”
Baʿal Zəbûb didn’t say anything in response. He was too deep in thought, contemplating what would happen if she did fail. Xaphine sighed, “You know… I owe you a thank you… if you hadn’t come, we probably wouldn’t be standing here now.”
Baʿal Zəbûb snorted, “I never thought I’d here that from an angel… even one who spent many years on our side.”
Xaphine smiled, “We did have some fun times together.”
“Yes we did,” Baʿal Zəbûb replied, “Before you turned on us.”
“Don’t,” Xaphine shot back, “You of all people know what Lucifer tried to do to me, after everything I sacrificed for him. After everything I did to help him, he still could not even grant one single request on my part. At that point, he proved to be no friend of mine, and I sided with the one person who had shown me unending loyalty.”
Baʿal Zəbûb nodded, “Forgive me Xaphan, I didn’t mean to sound like I was accusing you, far from it. I didn’t agree with your decision, but I understood it. You were always a fine general and I’m glad to see that after everything, the Most High was smart enough to recognize your abilities. “
“Xaphine,” She replied, “My name is Xaphine Lorenzi now.”
“Ah yes,” Baʿal Zəbûb chuckled, “So I heard… Well Xaphine, I must say, after watching you fight, it’s nice to see that your chosen allegiance hasn’t dulled your abilities at all.”
“Or yours,” Xaphine replied, “I think that, when the dust settles, Lucifer and the Most High may have a few things to discuss.”
Baʿal Zəbûb nodded, “Perhaps, once all this is over.”
The wind began to blow hard inside of the ruins of Paeles. Each step Aralyn took forward was met with a strong force pushing against her. She held tightly on to Baltazar’s arm as the two pressed on closer and closer. Lailah stood behind them and looked back toward the sea. She couldn’t see anything, but was hoping against hope that her people were winning the day. Overheard, she couldn’t see anymore imps, but for all she knew, they could still be there, the clouds from the whirlwind blocked her view.
Once they reached the edge of the whirlwind, Lailah stopped walking. Aralyn turned back to her, “What’s wrong?”
“This is as far as I dare go,” Lailah replied.
Aralyn shook her head, “What are you talking about, I need you, I can’t take on Legion alone!”
Lailah smiled, “You are not alone, trust me on that. I have to alert the Choirs of your progress.”
“But…” Aralyn began to protest, “I need you…”
“No you don’t,” Lailah replied, “I have already fought Legion and failed. Long have I watched over your family… and you. But you have grown into a strong young woman, and a powerful angel. You don’t need my help anymore. It’s time you stand on your own.”
Aralyn lowered her eyes, “I… I understand…”
Lailah turned to Baltazar, “You are her support now, her protector, and her love. Keep her safe.”
Baltazar nodded as he turned back to face the violent wind. Aralyn grabbed his arm once again and wrapped her own arms around it. She pressed her head against him, “I don’t know if I’m ready for this.”
“I do,” Baltazar replied, “I’ve seen you handle everything else that has been thrown at you, and you have had an unreasonable amount to deal with in a short span of time. Ever after all that, here you are, still standing. If I didn’t think you were ready for this, I never would have let you come this far. I believe in you.”
Quivering, she forced a smile, and nodded, “Then I’ll do my best not to let you down.”
With a renewed sense of confidence, she drew her sword and pointed it at the vortex. The blade responded by glowing green. She looked at the blade for a moment, “You have defended my family for many years… don’t let me down.”
Aralyn sucked in a deep breath, squeezed Baltazar’s hand and stepped through the spinning winds. Baltazar stepped through at the same time and held on tight so that he would not lose her in there.
The pair was instantly surrounded by a gray fog. The wailing of Paeles and the sound of the harsh winds were gone. All that remained was low whisper that sounded muffled. Baltazar turned a couple of times to see if they could make out anything, “So now what’s the plan?”
Aralyn shrugged, “I don’t know, but standing here won’t do us any good.”
She tugged on his arm, “Come on, let’s keep going forward.”
“Okay,” Baltazar agreed hesitantly, “Just don’t let me run into any invisible walls or step off a cliff.”
Aralyn smiled, “No worries.”
She took a step forward onto the unseen surface. When she felt solid ground, she took another step and pulled Baltazar to stay with her. The two walked through what could only be described as oblivion. Their breathing and footsteps echoed as they moved like they were in a large amphitheater.
Moments later, the gray began to clear like fog being lifted. In front of them was a massive cliff that seemed to protrude slightly upward into the vortex. Aralyn and Baltazar walked cautiously out to the edge of the cliff. When Aralyn looked down, she realized that there was no bottom to this whirlwind. Looking up, she realized that there was no top either. It appeared to stretch on endlessly. Aralyn was starting to get impatient and turned to Baltazar, “Stand back.”
Baltazar nodded and moved backwards to where there was more ground underneath him. Once she was convinced he was on stable ground, Aralyn turned her attention back to the vortex. She stared upwards for a few moments before calling out, “Legion!”
Her voice was met by a hollow sigh, but no other response. She waited a second and then tried again, “Legion!”
This time the entire whirlwind shook and a deep voice answered her, “Aralyn!”
An enormous entity that could only be described as a cloud of black smog appeared in front of her. In her right hand, Aralyn’s sword glowed even brighter as she aimed it at the cloud. The entity spoke, “Aralyn… so you have finally come. We must say it took you a little longer than we expected.”
“Happy to disappoint,” Aralyn replied, “Perhaps I can do it again some time?”
The entity laughed, “You are Adaline’s descendant indeed. Unfortunately, there won’t be another time. You will not leave our vortex alive. We have finally restored ourselves to full power and do not even need you now.”
The entity paused a moment and began to shift in shape. It slowly took human form, but it was little more than a black silhouette. A pair of yellow eyes opened on the area where a face would be, “However… we could still benefit from the powers you possess. Join us, and spare yourself unceasing pain and anguish.”
Aralyn’s eyes glowed as she thrust her free hand forward. Hot beams of white light emanated from her fingertips and shot through the air towards Legion. She clenched her teeth as the beams flew, “Never, Legion, die!”
Her attack struck Legion and passed right through him. His laughter echoed through the chamber as the beams of light vanished. Aralyn placed both hands on her sword took a step back. Legion roared, “You are a fool. We tried to be generous with you and this is the insult we receive? We are many and cannot be killed so easily.”
Legion raised his right hand, “Let us show you…”
Instantly, Legion disappeared from view and Aralyn heard Baltazar’s voice behind her, “Lookout!”
She turned to see Legion standing next to her. She was quick enough to be able to deflect his attack and push him away. As quickly as he appeared, he disappeared. Aralyn had a feeling that she knew what was going on and turned around. Sure enough, Legion was standing behind her in a different form and attacked again.
Within seconds, Legion attacked her from all four sides. He would alternate when he would appear in each position and what attack he would use. Baltazar ran to her side, but the moment Legion appeared, he went flying to the back of the ledge. He tried again to reach her, but again was sent flying through the air.
The sword she had given him when they first left the Black Vengeance, glowed brightly, but he had no idea what it meant. As much as he tried, there was no way for him to reach his love and he was forced to watch as she fought through this onslaught. He continued to look for a way to get to her, but could not find a way through this invisible barrier.
Aralyn fought hard, swinging her sword in defense, but she was having a hard time keeping track. Eventually she lost track and turned the wrong way, expecting to be attacked from behind, but Legion wasn’t there. Instead she felt a blunt pain in her side. She gasped as the wind was knocked out of her. She was now unable to deflect any more attacks. Legion hit her in the back, slashed at her leg, and then connected with her cheek. Baltazar threw himself at them as blood sprayed from Aralyn’s nose. Again he was unable to reach her as she fell to the side and her head hit the ground.
Aralyn’s world suddenly went black. She wasn’t unconscious, or at least she didn’t think she was, but her eyes couldn’t detect any sign of anything. She struggled to stand up and called out, “Baltazar… “
The only response came from a blue orb that appeared in front of her. It suddenly became very bright and approached Aralyn. It became so bright that she had to block her eyes to stop the light from blinding her.
“What is this, who are you?” She demanded.
There was a sudden flash and the orb disappeared. In its place was a beautiful young woman with blond hair and blue eyes that matched Aralyn’s. In fact, she looked exactly like her. Aralyn rolled her eyes, “Legion if this is another one of your tricks…”
“Shh…” The figure replied, “I’m not Legion.”
Aralyn looked at her oddly, “Then who are you…”
“I think you know,” the figure said with a smile, “I am a part of you.”
“Then you’re Adaline, my great-great-grandmother.” Aralyn replied.
The figure nodded, “That’s right… “
“What do you want,” Aralyn demanded, “I don’t have time for this.”
Adaline frowned, “I didn’t expect such hostility from my own kin…”
“Hostility?” Aralyn scoffed, “What do you know of hostility? Because of your short-sightedness, I had to grow up trapped behind the walls of an ancient abbey, I had no parents, almost everyone I ever cared for is dead, and now it looks like I might be too! Now I am stuck with your powers and abilities and I never wanted any of this!”
“No one asks for things like this to happen,” Adaline glared back, “Do you think I asked to be kicked out of the Celestial World, or be blinded and tortured to within a mere thread of my life? Do you think I asked to have people fight and die for me and in the end watch the person who loved me the most suffer? When all was said and done, I did what I had to do to be happy and so that your great-great-grandfather would survive. I make no apologies for that and I never would. It may sound selfish, but I love Giovanni and I would have done anything in the world to be with him.”
Aralyn could see a tear in her ancestor’s eye, “I am sorry for what happened to you, but believe me, I had nothing to do with it. I’m not a member of the Choirs of Angels anymore. It was the price I paid for a mortal life. Once that life was over, I would return to the Celestial World, but I would live in paradise as a human, not an angel, so I would have no say in their workings. It was a choice I’d make over and over again.”
“What about your powers,” Aralyn demanded, “How did I get them?”
“There was no way to completely remove the angelic essence from my being,” Adaline responded, “Not even the Most High has that capability. So he removed what he could, leaving just enough to prolong my life as long as my husband lived. We didn’t know until it was too late that the remaining essence would begin to manifest itself in later generations until it manifested itself in my last descendant.”
Aralyn sighed, she didn’t like the response she received, but it was something she would need to live with, “Fine… what about those swords? What is so special about those?”
Adaline smiled, “They originally belonged to a group of Lutheran revolutionaries. We needed them to defeat a terrible threat. So we travelled to the Underworld to coat them with venom from the Eden Serpent.”
“What is an Eden Serpent?” Aralyn asked.
“Not an Eden Serpent,” Adaline replied, “The Eden Serpent, there was only ever one of them. Think back to your studies. This was the serpent that got humankind kicked out of paradise. We hunted it down, killed it, and used its venom to curse our blades. The venom infused itself into the steel and now those swords can kill an immortal as easily as a regular sword can kill a human… they have been passed down in our family, and now they belong to you….”
Adaline touched Aralyn’s chin gently, “I am very sorry this has all been put on your shoulders. If I could take your place, I would.”
“But you can’t,” Aralyn replied, “So where does that leave me, dead?”
Adaline shook her head, “No, not dead… in a perilous situation perhaps, but not dead.”
“What do I do,” Aralyn insisted, “Please, you have to tell me, if I fall, Baltazar, the crew, and the rest of existence die as well!”
Adaline smiled, “Baltazar… quite the handsome rogue you’ve taken as your lover.”
Aralyn rolled her eyes, “What of it?”
“Oh, nothing,” Adaline replied, “Legion won’t be easy to defeat. In addition to being powerful, his consciousness is made up of thousands of minds working together like a bee hive. That is how he is able to move so quickly and seemingly be in more than one place at once.”
“So what do I do?” Aralyn asked.
“If you drain some of his power, he’ll be forced to revert to his true form,” Adaline replied, “Every hive has a queen and so does he. If you can damage him enough to expose his central mind, he will be vulnerable.”
“How am I supposed to do that,” Aralyn asked, “I couldn’t even hit him.”
“Try something unexpected,” Adaline replied, “And rely on those around you…”
Aralyn rolled her eyes, “More cryptic responses… I need more then that!”
Adaline turned and looked behind her as though someone was coming, “Our time together is at its end. I’m sorry I can’t give you more than that. Just trust the people around you.”
As she began to vanish, Adaline kissed Aralyn on the cheek, “I love you, no matter what happens, you will always be family to me. Good luck!”
Aralyn had tears in her eyes as she watched yet another member of her family vanish from in front of her face, “I… I love you too… grandma…”
Aralyn lowered her eyes as the blackness turned to gray and she suddenly returned to reality. The sharp pains from the injuries she had received at Legions hands suddenly came rushing back. She opened her eyes to see Legion standing over her with a massive black sword in his hand, ready to deliver her a killing blow. She had no way of getting out of the way in time.
Baltazar saw his love hit the floor unconscious. At that moment, he saw that some of her blood had sprayed onto the gun on his belt. Remembering what happened aboard the Black Vengeance when the angels had blessed their cannons, he pulled the pistol from his belt. Lord God in Heaven, make this work, I beg of you… He thought to himself as he performed the sign of the cross over the pistol.
Legion brought his sword down on Aralyn. He was about to deliver the final blow when he suddenly heard a thundering boom. Searing pain ran through is back and he could feel himself getting weaker. He turned to see a smoking pistol in Baltazar’s hand.
Looking down at his hip, Legion could see what looked like gold dust slowly falling from where he’d been shot. He could feel the power draining from his form as he pressed his hand against the injury and solidified his form. Baltazar could see a nose and mouth form on Legions face as his features appeared.
Outside, the whirlwind died down for a brief moment. She felt the dark powers and the malice momentarily disappear and realized that this was their only chance. Her hand glowed white as she thrust it into the air and sent a white bolt of lightning shooting into the clouds.
From the Black Vengeance, Xaphine saw the signal and turned to Ariel and Roselyn, “Move your angels into positions, form a perimeter around the city, and begin focusing your minds. Hurry now, if Legion is able to restore himself, all hope for our friends will be lost.”
The two angels immediately took flight and organized their forces. Within moments, there was a circle of hundreds of angels around Paeles. Once the circle was complete, Xaphine took flight from the deck of the ship, shot through the sky, and landed at the last open position in the circle. She took a deep and placed her right hand on her temple. Her eyes snapped shut as she focused her mind. The ground began to tremble as a low humming sound emanated from her being.
The angels on either side of her mimicked her movements as did the angels next to them. Within moments, the hum became so loud, it could be heard for miles. As their energy manifested itself, the angel’s skin began to glow white and bright beams shot from their foreheads. The energy from their focused minds struck the whirlwind and disappeared into the vortex.
Xaphine sighed, “It’s all up to those two kids now.”
Inside the vortex, Legion laughed as he turned his attention to Baltazar, “What were you planning on accomplishing here, boy?”
“Get away from her you freak,” Baltazar replied, “Come try that with me!”
“You,” Legion scoffed, “A simple mortal… we didn’t come all this way to be chastised by an insignificant parasite. You’re in way over your head.”
Baltazar smiled, “Ancient demons, trips to hell, ugly winged beasts… it seems like a normal day for me.”
His words made Legion laugh even harder, “Very well then, if you are so anxious to meet your end, we will oblige you.”
The sword is Legion hand spun like a wheel as he turned and attack Baltazar. Baltazar extended his blade, which was now glowing bright green and struck Legion’s. The two swords impacted with a loud clang and a flash of white light. Legion struck again with an inhuman grunt that sent chills through Baltazar’s body. The blow almost knocked the sword from his hand, but he managed to keep his grip steady.
Legion’s attacks were brutal and relentless. Baltazar could feel the sword begin to buckle under impact. The green aura began to pulse as Legion brought his sword down once more. The blade of Baltazar’s sword shattered and sent shards flying. One shard grazed Legion’s cheek. Gold dust sprinkled out of the injury as Legion quickly pressed it closed with his finger.
Baltazar looked at the remains of his sword and realized that he now had no way to defend himself or Aralyn. Legion’s right fist came around and impacted on Baltazar’s cheek. The blunt force of the impact sent Baltazar flying on his back. Legion smiled and stepped forward with his sword in front of him. Baltazar rubbed his cheek and stood back up. Legion moved closer and pointed the sword at his throat.
Baltazar backed away slowly as Legion moved forward. His feet slid back across the floor until he was right on the edge of the cliff. His eyes never left the yellow burning ones of Legion. Seeing that Baltazar had nowhere else to go, Legion brought his sword back, ready to strike.
Baltazar closed his eyes, certain he was about to die as he waited for the death blow. Legion began to bring his sword down, when he felt a sharp pain in his back. He turned to see that Aralyn had found her feet and managed to sneak up behind him. In solid form, Legion didn’t have the same abilities he’d had as an entity and was unable to sense her.
Aralyn’s eyes burned like blue fire as she glared at Legion. Her sword was glowing and pointed directed at Legion’s chest, “Your fight is with me.”
“So it is,” Legion agreed, “That suites us, we grow tired of dealing with lesser beings.”
Aralyn spread her wings and jumped over Legion, using them to elevate her out of Legion’s reach. She landed between him and Baltazar, keeping her wings spread, “Do not touch him!”
Legion spun around and brought his sword down. Aralyn parried his attack with her own sword which was glowing bright than ever before. She clenched her jaw as the two swords scrapped together. Finally, Legion pulled back a few feet. Aralyn pointed her sword at him again and stepped forward, “You’re going to pay for every single person you have hurt. Papi, Sister Mary, the crew… and my family… give them back to me Legion, give them all back!”
Legion laughed, “So you wish to kill us? That’s not a very angelic reaction.”
“No it’s not,” Aralyn replied, “But I’m not much of an angel anyway. I’m a human being.”
“A human, you say?” Legion scoffed, “The thought that someone would choose the life of a pathetic creature over a superior being… it’s actually quite troubling.”
“Enough,” Aralyn replied, “You have spent too much time in Hell. You speak of things you do not know.”
Legion nodded, “Perhaps, but once we kill you we’ll never have to find out.”
“You can try,” Aralyn replied in a calm voice, “But even if you succeed, the battle is already over and you have lost.”
“Lost huh,” Legion cackled, “Perhaps you refer to imp army that flocked to us? We could care less as to what happened to them. They were mere pawns who have served their purpose.”
Aralyn’s eyes narrowed, “What are you talking about?”
“The imps thinned the Choirs numbers down significantly when they hadn’t even full rebuilt from the celestial wars.” Legion replied, “With their numbers dwindling as much as they are, they won’t be able to stop us. We are Legion…”
“For we are many,” Aralyn interrupted, “Yes I’ve heard that before. It didn’t bother me the first time and it still doesn’t. No matter how many forms you can take, or how many copies you can summon to your control, you still do not scare me.”
“No?” Legion asked, “Let’s find out…”
Legion focused his mind and his eyes turned red. Aralyn brought her sword up in front of her face, ready to defend against Legion’s attack. Suddenly, white lights flickered around Legion, and his eyes returned to their yellow color. He looked around, confused for a moment and tried again. The lights flashed even brighter this time as Legion growled. Aralyn smiled, “The Choirs numbers may have dwindled, but there are still more than enough of them. You have already lost Legion. Surrender and God may yet show you mercy as he did once before.”
Legion shook his head, “Where was the Most High when Lucifer corrupted our lair, where was he when the creatures of Sheol were trapped and brutalized, and where was he when Lucifer brought his damned souls to dwell there? No, the Most High’s mercy doesn’t appeal to us. We know him better than anyone, he will not stop what has happened. ”
“I do not care about what happened in Hell,” Aralyn shouted, “You’re actually using your mad lust to regain the dominance you let slip away as a justification for murder?”
“I’ve heard enough,” Legion spat back, “You die now!”
Legion lunged at her with his sword. She turned to the side and parried his attack. To her surprise, he took to the air and raised himself high above the ledge where Aralyn stood. The whirlwind suddenly vanished as Aralyn flapped her wings and took flight in pursuit.
Baltazar found himself standing only a few feet away from Lailah, “What happened?”
Lailah looked up, “His powers have been diminished. He can no longer maintain his powers. She just needs to keep weakening him!”
Baltazar watched his love give chase above the smashed buildings, “Well, come on, we need to help her! She can’t take him on alone!”
“We can’t help her,” Lailah replied, “Even in his weakened state, he’s more than powerful enough to take on another angel. If we break our hold on him now, he will be able to use his powers to morph into other forms, and we may never be able to defeat him.”
“We have to do something,” Baltazar insisted.
Lailah nodded, “Believe in her and be strong for her. That is what she needs right now.”
Above the city, Aralyn chased Legion around the sky. It appeared that Legion was trying to wear her down. Aralyn did not see this and pressed her wings as hard as she could. Flying was still new to her and she struggled to keep pace. Sweat poured down her body as she increased speed.
When Legion saw that she was gaining on him, he turned around and flew back to the middle of the city. Within moments, he settled over the ledge where they had originally fought and pointed his sword at her again in order as though challenging her to try to attack him.
Aralyn was breathing heavily as she wiped the sweat from her brow. Her sword continued to glow as she charged at Legion with it pointed in front of her. Her wings were sore and she was out of breath. She decided to slow down in order to reserve her remaining strength. Her wings ached as she soared through the cool air, but she eventually reached Legion. Her teeth were clenched as she brought her sword up to strike, “This is the end for you…”
The two enemies crossed swords again. The blades sparked as they struck and slid off of one another. Aralyn realized that she couldn’t do this for too long as she was having enough trouble keeping herself in the air. She performed a somersault over Legion again and tried to stab him from behind. Legion countered her attack and turned upside down to connect his sword with hers.
Aralyn broke away and tried to come at him again with a slashing attack, but this time, Legion was ready for her. When she got close enough, he performed a spin that resulted in his foot striking her on the right cheek. He also brought his sword down on hers, shattering it.
Having no other defense, Aralyn drew upon her remaining energy and blasted Legion with a beam of light from her right hand. The beam grazed Legion shoulder and caused him to jerk backwards. The force of the energy was enough to knock Aralyn from the sky. Using her wings, she was able to slow her fall, but she was unable to stop it. She struck the ground and lie on her stomach for a second stunned. The pain shooting through her body was almost unbearable as she finally struggled to get back to her feet.
Aralyn had been badly beaten and her body was failing her, but she knew that her only choice was to keep fighting. Victory or death, she thought to herself, I won’t be able to live with myself otherwise.
With tears in her eyes, she turned to face Legion as he began a sky dive towards her, ready to deliver a killing strike. Aralyn quickly looked over at Baltazar who running to her as fast as her could, even though it was obvious that he was too far away to get to her in time. She watched her for a moment and mouthed the words ‘I’m sorry, my love.’
Aralyn immediately turned back to Legion with anger, “Die you bastard…”
She drew upon the last drop of strength she had left, outstretched her arms, and thrust both hands towards Legion. White hot beams of light flew from her fingertips and struck Legion, stopping him in his tracks. Legion’s form was thrust backwards slightly and he dropped his sword. The intensity of the blasts held Legion in place and paralyzed him.
Aralyn continued her attack, but was losing energy fast. She stumbled a couple of times, but managed to find her footing enough to keep her standing. She tensed her hands in order to push more energy into the blasts. Shooting pain passed through her hands, legs, wings, and entered her heart. Her wings spread and she screamed, “God, please don’t take me yet, it is not finished. Please, not yet!”
Her nose began bleeding again as she fought through the exhaustion and the pain. Her eyes squinted as she realized that she could not hold her arms up any longer. She began breathing heavily and was almost blinded by sweat dripping into her eyes. Her arms became extremely heavy and were ready to collapse. Aralyn closed her eyes and shook her head, “It’s no good… I’m sorry Baltazar, I can’t do it. I don’t have enough strength left.”
Suddenly, Aralyn felt an arm under her wings press against her back, holding her up and a hand grabbing her right wrist. She opened her eyes to see Baltazar standing next to her, holding her up. She breathed heavily and a look of relief came over her features as Baltazar smiled at her, “You’ve done just fine, now let me help you.”
A second hand grabbed her left wrist and held it tightly in place. Lailah whispered in her ear, “Use my strength, and finish him.”
Aralyn nodded as she drew upon Lailah’s strength and focused it through her hands. The beams of light became twice as strong as they had been before and the energy enveloped Legion in light. Legion screamed out in pain as his entire body began to burn. Aralyn began to breath heavily again and forced the last of her energy through her hands before collapsing in Baltazar’s arms.
Legion’s body had steam pouring off of it, and he was breathing heavily, but a sense of relief came over him and he smiled, “You have lost Aralyn. You are out of strength…. now there is no one to stop us from retaking the underworld…”
Aralyn looked up at Legion weakly, filled with remorse that she was unable to finish the fight. What pained her even more was that now she would have to watch as her friends die. Secretly she hoped that Legion would kill her first, but he was never that kind.
Legion was about to continue speaking when suddenly, he noticed that gold dust was flowing from his body. Unlike before, this time it was flowing upwards into the sky. Legion looked up toward the clouds frantically. His eyes turned to blue as they darted back and forth, “Master… no… You can’t take us! We won’t allow it! Leave us to complete my mission, we beg of you… no!”
Legions form continued to disintegrate into gold dust until his entire body exploded in a magnificent display of light and the remaining dust disappeared into the clouds. Aralyn sighed as she felt her body finally give out. Her eyes closed and she fell unconscious. Concerned, Lailah felt her neck and arm. After a few seconds, she nodded, “Aralyn will be ok, she just needs rest and time to heal.”
“Thank God,” Baltazar replied as he picked her up, “Let’s get her out of here.”
Suddenly, the ground began shaking under their feet. Large towers that were still standing in the city were beginning to collapse as the whirlwind began to pick up again. Baltazar looked at the city as it destroyed itself and turned to Lailah, “We have to get out of here, can you fly us out?”
Lailah shook her head, “I can’t carry two of you at once. We’d never get off the ground.”
Baltazar sighed as he handed Aralyn’s unconscious body to Lailah, “Get her out of here… get her back to the Black Vengeance.”
Lailah looked at him and nodded, “Don’t worry, I’ll see to it she is safe, but I’m coming back for you. I promise.”
Baltazar nodded, “Alright, get going!”
The whirlwind became stronger as Lailah flapped her wings hard, struggling to climb into the sky. The wind picked up and grew stronger and stronger until loose stones from the wrecked buildings lifted off the ground and entered the whirlwind. Lailah dove to avoid a building that was collapsing right in front of her as she continued to fly as fast as she could to get out of Paeles.
The wind picked up even more and it felt like Lailah was about to get sucked back into the vortex. Her wings ached as she pushed harder and harder to break away. It took almost all of her energy, but after a few more hard flaps she was able to pull out of the whirlwind and get to the Black Vengeance.
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