The alarm on his phone brings him awake. Carefully, so as not to wake the sleeping woman beside him, he sits up. With a sigh, he reaches into his neatly folded clothes and pulls out the pistol concealed there. He stands up and slowly walks to the foot of the bed. The women stir and slowly wakes. He lifts the gun and aims it directly at her chest. There’s no chance of missing at this range. He looks into her eyes and finds sadness and pity. She knew. Even before bringing him back to her apartment, she knew. A tear rolls slowly down his cheek. She smiles softly and slowly gets up, making no attempt to rush him. She walks slowly to the blackened window of her apartment. Turning to face the man, she opens her mouth to speak. He hardly notices the recoil as the bullet leaves the barrel. For a moment, she hangs motionless. Before the glass shatters and she flies out into the morning sun, bursting into flame. The man returns to his clothes and gets dressed. After pulling on his boots, he examines his reflection in the wall mirror. Black unruly hair frames a handsome face that contain vividly green eyes. A bright blue jacket loosely bucked over a white shirt and black trousers that are tucked into black riding boots. He slowly pulls on white gloves and places the pistol into its shoulder holster on his left side.
“Is this what you had in mind, uncle Dorian, when you made me like you once were?” He softly asks the empty room before turning towards the door.
Pushing me hard, he stood in front of the approaching mob.
“Get out of here Valayna. They’ll kill you.” Shaking my head, I tried to fight back against him.
“They’ll kill you too. Please don’t do this. Come with me.” Turning toward me, he smiled that cheeky grin of his.
“It’s worth it.” Before I could do a thing, his arm wrapped around my waist, and he pulled me into a kiss.
“I love you.” Releasing me, he ran at the crowd before I could grab him. His blade coming free from its sheath as he roared. With tears in my eyes and hatred burning in my heart, I turned and ran. As I ran, I ignored the sound of metal striking against metal and flesh. Clearing the building’s back door, I fled. Running through the streets late into the night. Finally stopping as the sun rose on the horizon. With tears in my eyes, I sat and watched as the sun came up and its warmth spread over my face. The first sunrise I had seen in three centuries. Cursing the witch and her potion, I turned and walked into the forest, swearing vengeance as the heat from the sun slowly became more uncomfortable.
Sitting down heavily on the pew in the front row, I place my gun down next to me. Reaching into my jacket pocket, I pull out a deck of smokes and flick one out. Putting it between my lips, I pat down my pockets in search of my ever elusive lighter. With a soft growl, a flaming tail waves in front of my face. Smiling, I lean forward and light my cigarette, taking a long drag before replying.
“Thanks, KP.” The black hellhound gives me a huff before wondering off and investigating the area. Looking around, I actually take in my surroundings finally. This was probably a nice church before I arrived. Very fancy with a marble alter and stained-glass windows. Not that many of those are intact and the altar is smashed in half. Dead priests and holy warriors lay amongst the rubble and wreckage. Their guns and blades broken or bent and just beyond their outstretched hands. Sighing, I pick up the black pistol by my side and eject its clip. Clattering against the tiles, it echoes loudly through the empty hall. Pulling a fresh clip from the leg holster, I slide it in and rack a shot into the chamber. Getting to my feet, I drop my smoke and crush it beneath my foot. I know you’re probably thinking I’m a bad guy. Well, I am a demon after all, but let me tell you something, you got this all wrong. Actually, humanity itself has had this wrong for millennia. What if I told you everything was a lie? That the ones responsible for all the madness were not demons as the holy bible claims but actually angels. Since the dawn of time, they have whispered in the ears of men. Swaying their hearts to perform the foulest of deeds. All to keep the wheels turning. I turn and walk down the aisle toward the exit when the sound of flapping wings causes me to stop. Turning, I grimace as an angel alights upon the shattered alter.
“What have you done, foul demon?”
“What needed to be done. Your control over the world ends now. When you ‘re sent back, you tell Michael that I’ll be seeing him real soon.”
“Ha if you think you have power enough to..” before it finishes I open fire. My shots clean and the angel hits the rear wall with enough force to leave an indent in it. Racing towards the alter I vault over it and land lightly as the angel struggles to right itself. Walking forward, I kick it over to face me before stepping onto his chest.
“Who are you? You ‘re no lower demon.”
“Correct. The names Nero. Give my regards to the twelve.” As I raise my gun once more, his eyes widen.
“No wait. You can’t..” anything else he was planning to say gets cut off by the sound of my gun. With a flash of light, he disappears, leaving behind a few feathers. Holstering my gun, I turn and leave, whistling for KP on the way out. Looking back at the cross hanging above it all, I shake my head. Even though they started this, I can’t help but feel like the bad guy here. Oh well. Soon enough this will all be over. I hope.
Springtime at Shylenin Academy is my favourite season. The flowers and trees bloom, and most days are sunny with a pleasant breeze. It’s a day like that today. I cut today’s classes and am currently laying under a teekay tree with my eyes closed. The breeze blowing across my face is amazing and the leaves block out just the right amount of sunlight. Laying there, I drift into a light sleep and dream. Standing in front of me is a black-haired beauty dressed in a skirt and tank top with a mage’s long coat over the top. Slowly she walks towards me while taking off her coat. I blink and she pressed against my chest. A faint scent of flowers comes off her hair as the top of her head rests against my chin. Tracing a pattern on my chest, she reaches up and touched the side of my face. With a soft smile of longing, she pulls me close and whispers in my ear.
“You belong to me, Arbelest.” A jolt runs through me and I wake with a start, sitting straight up.
“Bad dream?” I look to my right and find a big man sitting against the trunk of the tree.
“Not much Remy. The prof was asking after you again.”
“He just wants to know if I finished the modifications.”
“Yeah, like last week. But I’m still not sure going for an air drive was the right choice.”
“Well…” I extend my hand out and open a portal to my personal armoury. A long-barrelled rifle slowly comes out and hovers in front of me. I grab hold of it and set myself in a firing position.
“For one the recoil is higher now. As well as the consumption rate. But shots are steadier over longer distances and I can also bend them to my will if I so choose.”
“Sounds like the pros outweigh the cons.”
“Ish. The higher consumption of my force is annoying. I lose it maybe thirty percent faster than when I was using a fire drive. How about you? I heard you were adding a secondary drive you your sword.”
Smiling, Ky reaches into his armoury and pulls out a single-edged great-sword.
“I added it. This sword now contains both a fire and earth drive. It means my power slashes can have more destructive power behind them.”
“I see. That makes sense. Given that your role is vanguard more power is better. Unlike my scout role.”
“Speaking of which, did you end up getting your new close-range weaponry?”
Smiling, I reopen my armoury and put the rifle back into it. And instead this time I remove a pistol.
“Yeah, I got two Nomad pistols. Both running fire drives. Good up close and personal weapons.”
Handing the pistol to Ky, I get to my feet and stretch. Looking down at the academy, I feel a desire to turn and walk the other way. I’m what they would class as an elite among the students at the academy but I’m also the largest truant and slackest student.
“Not bad. What’s the consumption rate like on these bad boys?” Says Ky as he hands the pistol back to me.
“Considerably low. Considering their close-range capabilities.” I place the pistol back into my armoury and bend down to the ground. Picking up my black duster, I shrug into it and turn to Ky.
“Well, shall we go get some lunch?”
“Sounds like a plan.” Together we set off down the hill towards the academy.
Arriving at the academy cafeteria, my hunger outweighs my dislike of the school, and I head toward the counter to order with Ky. I place my order and we go sit at a table by the window.
“So how are the new students coming along?” I ask Ky while leaning on my hand.
“Hmm, most are doing alright, but there’s one girl who’s struggling. She’s a couple of years older than the rest, so she doesn’t learn as quickly. But you would know this if you actually showed up to teach them once in a while. You should you know. You are the arbalest after all.” A Cold chill runs down my spine as he calls me by my call sign.
“Remy Leevencor!” Turning towards the sound of someone shouting my name, I find the student president standing at the entrance, her eyes ablaze with anger. Getting up hastily out of my seat as she approaches, I move so the table is between myself and danger.
“Hey Prez, how you doing?”
“Don’t you hey Prez me, mister. Do you know how many lessons you’ve missed this week alone?”
“Ummm….” A tingle is my only warning as a voice echoes through me.
“Mark. 600 lels.” Time stops as a red line appears. Running from the top of the hill behind the cafeteria, it goes through the president’s chest and ends on my stomach. Without thinking, I launch myself across the table. Grabbing the prez with my left arm, I drag her to the ground with me. A bullet whistles above my head and glass shatters. Just before we hit the ground, I put out my right arm and use it to roll forward into a kneeling position. I extend my arm with a mutter.
“Come arbalest.” My armoury opens and, in an instant, I’m clad in white armour. My rifle appears in my hand and in one motion I bring it to my shoulder and fire. I don’t need the announcement to know my shot was true. But it comes anyway.
“Mark. 600 lels. Target eliminated.” It’s times like these I wish I never possessed my artificial eye. Standing, I wave my hand and my armaments go back to where they came from. Turning around, I find the president kneeling, tears streaming down her face.
“That armour. Remy…,” she whispers. Turning from her, I mutter to myself.
“I didn’t need your tears or that look to remind me.”