“The names of heroes in a card game seems to be a rather bad thing to base your morality on.”
“His cause is pure?”
“Pure? Pure rubbish maybe. Any cause which involves killing people to get what you want could hardly be considered pure.”
Berardo continued to batter at Angel and Angel kept was the one who was now being pushed back. What his opponent did not know was that he had snuck the Bead of Gravity into his mud mace. He had some control over how its weight grew and used that to make the mace a dangerous weapon.
The man was now silent as Berardo pushed him back. Berardo continued to talk however, “If that is how easily you fold then his true hardly means anything now does it? It doesn’t have to be like this. You don’t have to serve him.”
“I do have to serve him!” The man was basically screaming now.
“It is a pity you feel that way. Hopefully you feel differently after you are imprisoned. Activate, Speed Boost.” The spell filled him, a strange tingling as the world felt like it slowed down around him. Without the support of Cockatrice it was impossible for this lone hero to beat a Dreamer with crystals to spare.
Berardo swung around the man and brought the mace down heard against his back knocking him down and probably shattering bones. It was the second hit with finished the job causing Angel of Broken Destiny to return to his card form.
However Berardo didn’t want to waste time picking up the card so he just left it there. Instead he spun around to find out what had happened with Demon of Forgotten Soot. He had caught glimpses of what was happening during his fight but hadn’t been able to make out anything clearly.
What he actually saw when he paid attention was impossible.
Rose was standing out in the unkempt garden with Reader of Wandering Souls. His robe’s hood had fallen back revealing a skull. He was swinging the scythe he held back and forth clearing the area around him of bushes.
Rose watched him for a moment before saying, “Berardo said that we should give the opponents we face a chance to repent and surrender before we beat them. However I have one question to ask you before I consider that.”
He was not capable of facial emotion since his face was only a skull. “That is a terrible final request before I kill you but I will grant it.”
“Were you the one that killed Kathie Picozzi?”
“Vengeance, that is what you are seeking? You know I was there at her home with Cockatrice and Hunter Stained with Blood but you were defeated and your card hide before you saw how it ended. Certainly it was the three of us that killed Kathie.”
“But were you the one that ended her life?”
“It does matter does it? I was there, Kathie Picozzi died there. Would it really matter whether Cockatrice did it himself or ordered either me or Hunter to do it?”
“It matters to me. Did he order you to do it?”
His calm voice changed to be haunting and sinister, “Order me to do it? He he he. He didn’t order me to do anything. I would have done it without being asked. However I’m sorry to burst your revenge bubble but it was Hunter Stained with Blood that got to her first. A knife across her throat. She bleed out clawing at the floor. It was excellent.”
Rose snapped. She was finally here with one of the people who was responsible for Kathie’s death. It might not be the own that slit her throat but he was one of them.
“Alright then. Unfortunately for you I don’t feel like offering you the chance to surrender.” Then she pulled all her fire. It boiled up bursting out around her. Bushes and trees ignited as fire spread across the ground fueled purely by her will.
Only seconds later the entire garden was filled with fire all except the small section around Reaper. He had cleared the bushes and undergrowth around him with his scythe during the conversation and because of that was safe from the initial ignition.
“Your fire, so very scary. However I don’t know why you are so intent at fighting me. You know your flames have limited effect on me.” He took several steps forward. Licks of fire caught onto his robes and began to burn. The flames intensified as he walked and soon his entire body was covered in flames.
Then the flames were gone. Nothing but a skeleton stood there. A skeleton holding a scythe. “See, you power is useless against me. Your flames might be hot enough to burn flesh but they are not enough to burn bones of melt metal. You knew this just you continued to want to fight me. Is it because you keep losing to me and want to win? You will never win against me. Had your teams split us correctly you might have stood a chance but like this. It is pointless.”
He swung his scythe toward Rose who deflected it with her sword sending it crashing to the ground. She was then able to use her sword to slice back and forth across him. However nothing happened.
“Any your sword. A light one, more like a saber. If you had something with heft you might be able to break my bones but with that light weapon you will never be able to harm me. Pride and emotions make people weak and predictable.”
“And you don’t have emotions?”
“A tool for violence has only need for one emotion. Bloodthirst.” He swung the scythe with a large amount of force toward he. He didn’t need to protect himself from her and could leave himself open. That allowed him to use as much force as he could muster.
Rose was knocked backward by the strength but managed to avoid a deadly blow. However she got a small cut. The blood flowed however it was only a small cut. One problem with being flesh and blood, she got hurt and she got tired but her opponent apparently did neither of those things. She supposed that he could get hurt but it would be different than her injuries. She just had to figure out how to properly injure him.
With him fully on the offense Rose had to move fully onto the defensive. She fell back through the still burning garden as she was forced to lose ground. She wondered what Berardo would do. Dreamers were always better at finding novel solutions for problems and he was superb at that.
It was different when she was with Kathie. Kathie had been an excellent player of Destiny Burst, a real ace who could beat opponent she had no right to beat but she was through and through a player of Destiny Burst. During that battle she had made mistakes because she was unfamiliar with doing an illegal duel however Berardo had excelled in those situations. Sure he made mistakes too but when those mistakes were revealed he continued to push forward and make new solutions and new plans.
She had trained with the others in the police training grounds but honestly she hadn’t really learning anything herself there. She had learned what other people could do and how she could fight with them by her side but she hadn’t really gotten better. She was already a honed fighter with plenty of experiences.
It was Reaper of Wandering Souls that always stuck in her mind. She had fought countless opponents with many victories and few loses but no loses stung her stronger then her loses against him because every time she fought him she didn’t know how she planned to win despite wanting to win so much.
Yet she felt as helpless against him now as she did that first time when she fought him with Kathie just before Kathie’s death. Every swing brought her closer and closer to defeat. A small cut here, a bruise there, the slow grinding down of her endurance. He knew that too and was taking his time, whittling her down piece by piece.
Step by step was went back, the land behind her continued but she knew with each hit that she took that she didn’t have much left. She would need to find something, anything, that could help her beat him.
She wrapped her flames around her blade heating it as much as she could. An opening was easy, Reaper was full of openings. She brought her sword down as strong and hot as she could against his bones hoping the heat and force would be enough.
It almost was. There were small cracks that appeared in the bone and she could tell that he felt it. However he brought the scythe directly up and into her sword. The heat on the sword had made it brittle and with the force that he brought against it caused the sword to shatter, the metal breaking violently and the hot fragments of metal scattered across the burning garden.
Rose screamed in pain as one of the shards lodged into her leg. She collapsed onto the ground unable to stand. She was helpless and defenseless. Reaper of Wandering Souls looked down at her, “See where your emotions have taken you. All the way to the bottom. Although that last blow was pretty good it also spelled your certain doom. Throwing your weapon away in one last glorious attack, pity it didn’t work.”
She couldn’t give up, she was so close to getting her revenge. She was still not going to give up. She pulled the shard of her sword from her leg. She could feel her hands burning while that happened but she ignored the pain. She raised the shard the best she could while laying on the ground and pointed it at Reaper of Wandering Souls.
“Is that your final stand?” He said as he raised the scythe above his head for the blow that would certainly finished off Rose and revert her to a card. “Such a pathetic end. I’m sure you know what will happen to your card after I do this. I plan on making sure you never interfere again.”
She knew it and it would certainly be better than being captured by Cockatrice, but she still didn’t want to give up, she didn’t want to die. She could still remember heading Kathie say those words, “Live” it was the last thing she had heard from Kathie.
Had revenge been so important to Rose that she was willing to violate the last instruction from Kathie. Rose had wanted to do both, live and take revenge. Now she feared that she would be able to do neither.
No, she would fail, she wouldn’t die. Kathie Picozzi had wanted Rose of Unyielding Flames to live. And to do that right now she need to win. The power to win.
To her it sounded like glass shards rubbing together. Like gears turning yet the gears were covered in glass. She saw it, the crystals. Five crystals glowing red appearing around her. The feelings that had been left with her, one last gift from Kathie, something she hadn’t seen before because she hadn’t thought to look.
Fire bubbled up around Rose, now the ground around her was on fire. The dirt burning. The pain from her leg was excruciating but somewhere she found the strength to stand. Fire plumed around her.
Reaper of Wandering Souls did not know what was happening but he was not about to let it finish. He brought the scythe down to kill her.
It never reached her. Droplets of molten metal scattered around her. The crystals around her flaring red with energy. She raised her hand pointing it at him and said, “Lets see if your bones can take the fire I inherited.”