This was the story of a girl who only wanted to live. But her very existence seemed like a curse, causing those around her to succumb to tragedy. First her parents, then her friends and relatives. It seemed like no matter how hard she tried, none of them could be saved.
Even when a spark of hope granted her a final burst of momentum, that soon faded in her arms. His brown hair was matted with dried blood. His brown eyes raging with a fire that burned for her would never open again and look at her with confidence. His lips that gave into her advances, now cold and stiff.
The tears, they blurred her vision. They wouldn’t stop coming. Why was it so hard to live? To simply be normal and happy like any girl her age? To not have to constantly sigh in relief that another day had passed by, only to worry about the next?
For Eryn Faulkner, everything she had done was to obtain some sense of security. But now, none of that seemed to matter anymore. She felt powerless – like a single cog in the wheels of time, her meaning too insignificant to upheave any part of the fate given to her.
Her hand trembled as she gripped her sword so tightly that her fingers dug painfully into the handle, but she didn’t care. Rage burned within her, and when she looked up, Eryn swore that the world looked broken. As she followed the glowing lines that marred every surface, a heat from within seemed to surge out, like it was eating her from the inside out.
Yet, she would let herself burn up in the heat of her flames if need be. Power surged along with the pain, and as noises clamored in the distance, she knew that she would be needing it. The Prince had returned, with many more reinforcements than before. The horizon swarmed with an army that numbered close to a thousand, all to take her down.
At least, her vendetta would bring about an end to something. She had already lost everything anyway. This time, she would hold nothing back.
Eryn raised her hand, fire surging from her fingertips. A quick succession of fireballs shot out, littering the sky with tens of them before they showered the first line of troops.
Quickly, the armored men raised their shields to block, but as the fireballs whizzed by them and struck the ground, they dismissed them and continued charging.
But in the next moment, the ground exploded beneath them.
Eryn could now see the mana ley lines near the surface, due to her glowing eyes. When struck with an excess of mana from a spell, these ley lines could overload and trigger a chain reaction. Caught completely off guard by the sudden loss of stable ground, these men fell into chaos.
But within the dust and ashes thrown up in the explosion, a glint of metal soon passed by their visions. One by one, heads rolled as a shining blade severed their necks cleanly. Strokes that were near masterful in accuracy, their quickness aided by the high level of its user. These targets shone with purple guiding lines, allowing Eryn to strike their weak points without hesitation.
For the next half hour, the very earth was scorched by fire, the skies darkened by soot and ash, and blood rained down to quench it. A continuous cycle created by a lone girl, lost in madness, driven by sorrow. Even as thick crimson marred her features and her skin roasted from her own magic, she wished that it would go on and on. She didn’t care that her mana and strength were depleting. She begged the Gods to let her feel satisfied, if only for this one time, as her sword continued slashing rivers of red. She begged for death to come upon her enemies and to keep living until the last one fell.
Her body wavered in exhaustion, skin riddled with cuts and burns. It became impossible to tell which blood was hers. Still, she fought on, not giving in. Somehow, her prayers hadn’t fallen on deaf ears for once.
“My child, why have you called for us?” a tiny voice rang in her head.
Eryn paused, noticing that her opponents had frozen in surprise as well. Perhaps, it was the fact that her surroundings were glowing, like the charging of a giant magic spell, but the nature of it felt different than her own magic.
In her vision, the entire battlefield was bathed in mana, likely from all the people she had slain. For some reason, much of it was drifting like a current towards a spire that lingered in the background. Despite the mystery, it didn’t stall her fighting as she was compelled to move towards it. The soldiers around her had also recovered, trading stupor for panic.
The voice repeated itself again, this time louder. Eryn felt like it was calling out to her specifically. As if by pure instinct, her magic and blade weaved between the attacking foes, a last burst of energy invigorating her.
Little did she know, Eryn had ended up next to one of the old Altars of the Divine Gods. These were places where divine beings were sensitive to the presence of mana in the surroundings. And the fierce battle that resulted here had harvested a significant amount from the deaths of many.
Normally, just that wasn’t enough to call upon the Gods. But in this exact moment, one particular goddess had an utter indifference to her own self. Eyeing the grand battle, she couldn’t help but feel exasperated from Eryn’s persistence.
“My child, do you wish to cling so desperately to life? Do you not wish to simply give up?”
“If there’s any way I can be happy, if there’s anything that I can do to break through this horrid fate, then I don’t care! I only have one life. I will keep going until I can no longer go anymore!” Eryn yelled out to the unknown voice around her, slashing down a few more men.
Perhaps, Eryn had gone mad. In the chaos of the battle, maybe that voice sprung from the midst of grief. At this point, it didn’t matter if she answered it. Other people could think that she was insane. She was far too broken already.
“Then… I shall lend you my power. Will you accept?”
Eryn laughed maniacally. Truly, she had gone crazy if she was daydreaming of some sudden boost to get her through this fight. “Sure! Give it to me! I’ll take it! All of it! But what do you get in exchange? My soul? I’ll give it to you! Even if it’s a deal with the devil!”
There was a momentary pause, like the goddess herself was stunned by Eryn’s answer. But then, she replied.
“You intrigue me, human. It has been a while since I have felt such longing, such motivation. This feeling seems so foreign to me after so long… Very well. I shall take over your core as you so wish. I shall see to it that you get your tomorrow, and many more to come. We shall see how far your obsession takes you!”
Eryn thought nothing of those ramblings… until the very ground began to shake and a magic circle appeared under her feet. An increasingly blinding glow enveloped the space around her. Immediately, everyone stopped fighting as they wondered just what in the world was happening. Even Eryn herself flinched in panic, realizing that voice had actually been real.
But just as soon as the light appeared did it fade away. Everyone simply took a moment to shake off the weird event before a roar ripped through the crowd to restart the fight. Once again, Eryn took up her sword, fired magic, and continued as normal.
Nothing had changed with her body. She could feel no difference from the power that she was ‘bestowed’. Her body was still in shambles, and her reserves had dwindled to almost nothing due to this whim. She clicked her tongue in exasperation.
“Heh, even a goddess’s supposed blessing is wasted on me-”
That was all she could conclude as a sword finally broke through her depleted magic barrier, stabbing into her side. All at once, blows carved sections of her. Bones cracked and blood spewed from metal piercing her body. She had run herself completely dry.
She flailed with her sword arm, but there was nothing left there to swing; someone had clipped it off. With several blades piercing her torso, there was little more that she could do. But as if finishing the job, she felt her head pulled back, baring her neck, before a blade came down to sever it.
That was the end of her story.
The Kingdom of Sistina lost hundreds of men, all due to two people. A Master and her Electi’s rampage had finally stopped. The two renegades that had slain the king and the princess were finally dead. A large sigh of relief rippled through the remaining army.
A cry of death sounded. And then another, and another.
All eyes turned to the source. A lone soldier had started to flail around and attack his allies, no matter how he was reasoned with. There was no choice but to cut down that madman. But minutes after he was put down, the sound of a battle cry erupted elsewhere once again.
Another madman. The ones around him fought once more to put him down.
One or two wouldn’t have been out of the ordinary, given the terrible battle. But this continued, again and again, each madman emerging after the previous died. Soon enough, a conclusion sprung from someone.
“They are being possessed somehow!”
It was supposed to be the end of Eryn’s story. But fate once again decided to completely flip her existence.
Possession – that was the ability bestowed by the Goddess of Life. When Eryn’s life ended, her core drifted to the next, randomly taking over another person to fight again. Their knowledge and memories seeped into her core, making her slightly wiser each time.
Soldiers, magicians, nobility – with each person possessed, she accessed more and more information. It didn’t matter how many bodies were slain soon after the possession. There was a whole army to choose from.
“Get away! Spread out and stop killing the host!”
The words of the wisest were drowned out by panic as Eryn possessed someone new and continued her assault in some random soldier’s body. In the heat of the moment, her surrounding foes couldn’t help but lash out, the crowd devolving into total mayhem in fear of being next.
The path of death zipped through the army lines, getting deeper and deeper through the ranks with each possession. Until finally, it stopped upon one person. Before this point, she had possessed people that weren’t strong or notable enough to avoid death from being surrounded.
Prince Oswald drew his sword. With a swift swing, he cut through ten men in one blow. Ending his swing with a grin, everyone froze in the face of Eryn’s new host, wisps of miasma exuding from him. The mighty warrior of Sistina, its next king, now glowed with purple eyes. Faced against him, any motivation to continue the attack evaporated instantly.
With her newfound power, Eryn was nigh unstoppable; she merely had to discard the weak husk that was her previous self. Now, there was hardly anyone left to oppose her. Sistina’s army dispersed as they made distance from the possessed prince, who cackled in glee.
That left only one person remaining firmly rooted in his spot; the sole opponent that could fight an Electi was another. His lack of sight didn’t deter him from sensing the mana signature of Eryn Faulkner hopping from body to body. He had a feeling that it would be coming for them.
Lamps Magellan raised his hand, which held some gun-like device. It wasn’t the standard portal gun that he used, nor anything else that he had created before. He hesitated to use it as it was still experimental, but this was his last resort. A weapon that even he wasn’t sure what would happen when fired. He poured his mana into it. The tool lapped it up like it was a thirst-crazed man gulping water.
Even for the Electi of Mana, this device required nearly all that he could offer. After all, the spell used to cast it was on par with the summoning magic that he felt not long ago. When faced with the likes of another Electi, he couldn’t be too careful with how far he needed to go. A reverse-engineered anti-summoning magic, hoping to undo the divine connection that was bestowed by the Gods – he only prayed that it would work.
Oswald charged toward him, recognizing the genius as the sole remaining hazard to Eryn. But given that the possession had just set in, it wasn’t perfect. Oswald’s limbs fought to restrain himself, causing his body to trip and tumble to the ground. Lamps could sense the internal struggle that was happening before him.
“D-Do it! Y-You have to!” Only those short cries managed to escape Oswald’s lips.
Lamps knew exactly what he meant. The Prince was willing to sacrifice himself to be rid of this demon, who possessed other people endlessly. If he was to be controlled anyways, then he would use his last strength to give Lamps the opportunity to end it. With a nod, Lamps clicked the button, activating a deity-class spell with unknown capabilities.
It was magic so powerful that it ripped apart the very fabric of existence where it hit. Nothing could defend against it, and amidst the friction of energies colliding, Lamps could no longer decipher what was happening. An ear-splitting pop sounded across the area before things died down. The disturbance had disappeared along with its target, like it simply ceased to exist.
Seeing that his friend was no longer with him, Lamps fell to the ground, holding his hand over his face to hide the tears.
He didn’t want to use it against Oswald, who would have been a brother to him if not for Katalina’s death. But every conclusion in his mind pointed to certain doom if he did not. The tears continued to roll from his closed eyes as all signs of Oswald, and Eryn Faulkner, left without a trace. The battle had been won but at a great cost.