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Tales of a Lost Sword 95

Tagged as: ToaLS 95, ToaLS.

Written by AznRiceFan on October 26, 2011
Edit: Ugh...uploaded unedited version of new chapter. Reuploaded to higher quality new version.

Okay, so I realize I'm late with this new chapter. But here's my excuse. I basically rewrote this chapter from the ground up to satisfy my stringent quality standards. In fact, this chapter started out at 1800 words. It's now topped 3000. So enjoy this beast of a chapter. I worked really hard to make sure it's an extremely high quality chapter.
Episode 95 The Choice at the Summit of the World
Blood drips down from Arai’s face onto the frozen ground. A low mist has settled over the area where Kunai stands, and Arai lies fallen. In the silence at the summit of the Fatalists’ castle, Kunai bears down upon Arai, his black eyes filled with the gleam of cold justice as he holds Myou over Arai’s throat.

The black blade glitters brightly in the starlight, inches away from Arai’s throat. Kunai holds his sword steady, his hands clasped tightly around the hilt of his sword. Yet still, Kunai does not move.

Kunai and Arai both stare into each other’s eyes, daring the other to move. Finally, Cynthia, her breath held tightly as she clutches her chest, bounds forward. “Kunai!” she cries.

Noticing her for the first time, Kunai’s frame tightens even further. His eyes slowly widen as he looks down at Arai. Images flash across his mind as the memories of the Phonemes, Ryuu, Arai, the Triplicates, the Myougun, Azuma, Lord Kimura, the ARES Project, the Anti-Paradox, and the Fatalists all rise up in a sudden onslaught.

His hands shaking, Kunai continues to look down the length of his black blade at Arai. “I see,” he mutters, “it is the right thing to do after all.”

At last, with a struggle and a grimace, Kunai pulls his sword away from Arai’s throat. Arai lets out a sigh of relief, though his eyes remain widened with surprise. Slowly, Kunai reaches out a hand to help Arai up. Arai stares at Kunai’s hand with complete astonishment.

“Kunai…” Arai whispers, “why…?!”

Surprisingly, despite the enormity of the situation, Kunai breaks into a tiny smile. “I said I’d take a different path than you, Arai. Instead of killing you, I will help you.”

“Help me?” hisses back Arai, still staring at but not taking Kunai’s hand.

The light of war rekindles briefly in Kunai’s black eyes, before disappearing once again. “Arai. This is a chance to atone for your sins. You will make your mistakes right. Spare my dimension…and I will help you defeat Grendel.”

“What?!” gasps Arai. A flood of confusion and shock enters his eyes as he watches Kunai.

“What the hell is he thinking?!” Fayvard howls from the sidelines, hobbling forward shakily on his sword. He stumbles, causing Cynthia to turn to help him regain his footing. “Damn it…finish him already, Kunai!”

However, Cynthia shakes her head, her eyes wide but steady as she watches Kunai. “No…this may be the best solution after all. Grendel is a threat to both of our dimensions, not just this one. In the end, defeating Arai means nothing if we can’t defeat Grendel…”

“The Maple Hero’s Sword alone is not enough, right?” continues Kunai, still hovering over Arai with his hand stretched out. “But if we were to combine our powers… I can help you defeat Grendel, Arai. The two of us will do it. We’ll find a way to defeat him. Together.”

Grimacing as a fresh stream of blood runs down his mouth, Arai bursts out, “I see…so you’ve even thought it through that far, have you…”

Kunai answers with a confident grin, even as Arai coughs, unleashing another steady stream of blood onto the ground.

“Is this your wish, Kunai?” Arai whispers in the softest of voices. The faintest of smiles reappears in his cold face.

Kunai nods, continuing to hold out his hand. “Yeah. That is my wish.”

Closing his eyes briefly, Arai issues a little sigh of resignation. “Very well. Then I suppose I have no choice but to accept your offer.” Nonetheless, Arai grins as he speaks. He raises his own trembling hand and takes Kunai’s.

His eyes glittering good-naturedly, Kunai easily pulls Arai back to his feet. For just a couple more seconds, their hands remain clasped as they stand facing one another, comrades once more.

As if heaven were shining down upon them, an inexplicable white light engulfs both Kunai and Arai. “Thank you for your help, Kunai.”

Nodding, Kunai issues a reassuring smile in return. “I—”

At that moment, Arai realizes that the white light is coming from Kunai. It shines straight through him, like a bullet of white light shining through his chest.

Arai immediately wrenches his hand out of Kunai’s grasp and teleports away backwards, just as the light turns black with the force of a volcanic eruption. A fountain of black light erupts around Kunai, obscuring his figure completely from sight. In the meantime, a black bullet of light barrels out of the wall of black light, heading straight for Arai.

With a flash, Arai summons the Sword of Nexon, using its shining blade to deflect the bullet of light. Instead, the blast smashes into a marble pillar nearby, completely obliterating it with a crash.

“Kunai!” Cynthia shouts, stepping forward worriedly.

But Arai turns immediately towards her, his golden eyes madly wide with fear and adrenaline. “Don’t come any closer!” he warns, the Sword of Nexon held tightly in front of him for defense.

Cynthia pauses in her tracks, fear and awe crippling her legs’ ability to move. Instead, she merely watches with trembling uncertainty as the chaos unfolds.

Gradually, the explosion of black light around Kunai begins to fade, leaving only a murky haze of black and gray smoke and ash. A ringing silence fills the air as Arai, Fayvard, and Cynthia each holds their collective breaths, waiting to see what emerges from the storm.

An immense black form emerges from the shadowy haze. From afar, both Fayvard and Cynthia jump with surprise. They stare with the same wonder as Arai at the massive metamorphosis that is taking place before their very eyes.

“Kunai…!” Cynthia whispers frightfully. She rounds upon the others. “What’s happening to Kunai?!”

“It can’t be…” mutters Fayvard in the lowest of voices, his eyes wide and his face going a sickly pale color.

A pair of black leathery wings unfolds with a snap. Flexing for a brief moment, the wings suddenly open and with a thunderous gust of wind, blow away the haze still settling in the air nearby, unveiling to the world once and for all the monstrous transformation that has taken Kunai’s place.

Feathery wisps of black mana fall to the ground as the creature flaps its wings once again. The blast of wind nearly blows Arai, Fayvard, and Cynthia off their feet. Myou has twisted itself into a hideous, grotesque form, a twisting black blade from which oozes black mana. A number of black spires and tentacles have emerged from the hilt of the blade, entangled in a disorganized lattice around Kunai’s right arm. Where the hilt joins the blade, a round yellow eye with a blood red pupil at the center has appeared.

Kunai rears his mutated face, rendered completely unrecognizable by his metamorphosis. His black eyes have turned blood crimson; a demonic red glow flashes out of them. A black, dragonish snout complete with snarling fangs has replaced his face. Finally, a lengthy black tail has sprouted out of Kunai’s back, every few inches of it lined with foreboding black spikes. On the ground lies Kunai’s Dark Identity in tatters.

Stepping forward, Kunai issues a thunderous roar that shakes the heavens and the very foundation of the Fatalists’ castle. His wings stretch open to their full width, and he opens his mouth wide in a fit of rage. His clawed hands grasp the air wrathfully, searching for a target to annihilate.

Below, Arai can only watch with awe. “It’s the Anti-Paradox,” he whispers, shock etching itself onto every fiber of his face. “It’s interacted with him far too quickly and grown out of control. Kunai’s lost control of his powers. He’s going berserk!”

Suddenly, the transformed Kunai turns his attention to Arai. He howls angrily, a cry that echoes throughout the entire valley of Henesys. Flapping his wings, Kunai soars into the air and flies straight at Arai with supersonic speed, the full force of his wrath bearing down upon the tiny blue-haired figure below.

In response, Arai hurriedly raises the Sword of Nexon in his hands, his staff having been destroyed by Kunai. He teleports away just as Kunai reaches him, demolishing the ground below Arai’s feet and leaving a smoking pit of ice and marble.

Arai watches cautiously as Kunai soars past the castle and makes a U-turn in midair, intending to head straight back for the castle. He narrows his eyes as he watches with bated breath, the Sword of Nexon clenched tightly in his hands.

Cynthia watches the scene unfold worriedly. “Arai, can you save him?!” she cries, abandoning all caution and sprinting forward to stand just behind Arai.

But Arai merely continues to stare at Kunai with blank eyes, all traces of a smile gone from his pale face. He barely shakes his head. “It’s too late…” he whispers, more to himself than to anyone else. “It’s too late… I…can’t do anything to help him anymore.”

As Kunai comes right back at Arai, Arai raises the Sword of Nexon. Behind Arai, Cynthia’s green eyes widen with realization. She runs up to him, but Arai holds her back with his arm. “You can’t do it, Arai! There has to be another way to save him!”

“It’s too late,” Arai mutters again, completely ignoring Cynthia’s protests by now. His hand tightens around the hilt of the Sword. “For the good of the world, I have to stop him now before he goes even further out of control. Before Grendel decides to usurp his power for his evil deeds!”

Arai raises the Sword of Nexon against his former ally. “KUNAI…NOW IS THE TIME TO MEET YOUR DEATH!”

In an instant, the full might of the Sword of Nexon rushes straight for Kunai. The sheer force of the attack tears through the air, issuing an earsplitting shriek that threatens to completely obliterate everything in its path.

However, the attack is stopped. A wall of glassy mana shines and crackles loudly in front of Kunai, holding back the awesome power of the Sword of Nexon.

Arai watches this development unfold, absolutely nonplussed. “That’s impossible…” he breathes, “nothing can stop the Sword of Nexon like that! Do you mean he is now stronger than Grendel?!”

But at last, the strength of the Sword of Nexon breaks through. The glass shatters with a crash, sending splinters of fragmented mana flying across the sky. Pushing through, the force of the Sword of Nexon crashes into Kunai in multiple waves, each washing over him relentlessly. Kunai thrashes wildly in the air, howling madly again and again.

All of a sudden, a cross of white light emerges from Kunai’s chest. It glows brighter and brighter, until it subsumes the entire battlefield. Those below cover their faces with their arms to shield themselves from the immense light. In another instant, the onslaught from the Sword of Nexon has stopped completely. The Sword then suddenly begins glowing with an out of control light instead. Three prisms of white light seem to transfer from the Sword of Nexon to Kunai. The cross continues to glow relentlessly from Kunai’s heart.

Then, inexplicably, several new shapes begin coalescing around Kunai. They are dark and blurry at first, but gradually they begin to clearly take the form of human shapes. The blurry figures slowly condense, solidifying, transforming into human beings to the wonderment of the others witnessing the miraculous scene.

Fayvard is the first to realize what is going on. Watching with his arm shielding his eyes, his eyes widen with disbelief. “No…way…”

Arai takes a step backward as well, pummeled into silence with shock and awe. However, Cynthia watches with confusion. She looks from Fayvard to Arai quizzically. Arai proves the most shocked by the turn of events, as the forms take shape in front of him.

Slowly, the shapes of three women have solidified around Kunai. Faintly at first, but with unyielding persistence, the outlines of their faces and bodies begin to become clearer with every passing second. A girl with long purple hair stands at the center, while beside her stand a girl with a flowing curtain of black hair, and yet another girl with shorter brown hair. The faint outlines of the three girls glow brightly with white light, but their faces prove unmistakable.

Fayvard nearly falls backward as he steps away from the magnificent sight. His eyes bulging incredulously, Fayvard turns slowly to an even more shocked Arai. “A-Arai…what the hell are they doing here?! Do you seriously mean to tell me that Kunai has reincarnated the Three Phonemes?!”

Hearing Fayvard, Cynthia immediately rounds upon him. “What did you say?!” she cries, looking desperately from Fayvard to Arai, who remains deathly still. “Just what is going on here…?!”

“Reincarnation?” Arai repeats shakily. “That’s impossible…” His eyes are still locked onto the Phonemes. “Not even the Shield of Wizet can do such a thing… Do you mean to tell me that Kunai’s powers have surpassed the power of the Shield of Wizet?!”

Ayame, her outlines still glowing brightly, turns to Kunai. She reaches out and places a silvery hand upon Kunai’s head, but he shows no sign of recognition. Instead, he gives forth another earsplitting roar like thunder and snaps at her. In one quick motion, he raises a clawed hand and swipes at the three girls.

They quickly disappear, fluttering away with the breeze in the blink of an eye. Only particles of golden, glowing mana remain, floating up towards the moonless sky in a million tiny bubbles. Arai, Fayvard, and Cynthia all jump with surprise as the Phonemes vanish without a trace.

“Where’d they go?!” Cynthia gasps with surprise.

Even as Cynthia speaks, Kunai launches himself into the air again. He flaps his large, dragonish wings as he snarls down at them. Another roar threatens to split their eardrums. Before anyone else can react, Kunai spits forth from his mouth a gigantic ball of simmering black energy.

The pit of concentrated black mana lands in front of the three below and begins spinning rapidly, turning into a cyclone of energy. Suddenly, it explodes, unleashing a merciless torrent of dark matter in every direction.

Acting quickly, Arai hurriedly conjures a massive lattice of ice in the air that shields him, Fayvard, and Cynthia. The three of them huddle desperately behind the thin layer of pale blue ice, praying for it to hold its ground against the fury of the attack by a fully evolved Kunai. The black sparks flying free from the ball of energy slash and tear angrily at the wall of ice, imprinting several deep cracks into its scratched surface.

With a loud crash, the wall of ice collapses entirely, caving in against the overwhelming might of Kunai’s attack. On cue, Arai rushes back in and cuts the air in front of him with the Sword of Nexon. At once, a magical invisible beam flies out of the blade and consumes the rest of the energy from Kunai’s attack, swallowing it from sight.

As the fearsome attack fades away, Arai falls over panting heavily, just as Kunai roars again and sails ever higher into the air. With another roar that echoes across the valley where moonless night has fallen, Kunai kicks off into the air, soaring away with supersonic speed until he vanishes into the blackness.

“Wait, Kunai!” Cynthia shouts suddenly, futilely chasing after Kunai. She reaches the very edge of the platform at the height of the Fatalists’ castle, helplessly watching Kunai disappear from view. “Kunai! Someone has to stop him! We can’t let him go—KUNAI!” Shakily, Cynthia falls to her knees, tears flowing down from her clouding eyes.

“Kunai…”

While Cynthia sniffles, Fayvard leans over Arai, checking him for injuries. “Now I’ve done it…” heaves Arai, a weary smile on his face despite the deep bags under his eyes. His voice is barely audible. “I’ve expended almost all of my mana trying to stop Kunai. Now I don’t even have the capacity to destroy either Kunai or Grendel with this Sword of Nexon. Our last ray of hope is gone.”

“It’s not hopeless!” Cynthia protests, abruptly rising to her feet again and facing Arai confrontationally. She shakes her head vigorously. “We’ll find a way to stop both Kunai and Grendel! There has to be a way!”

At that moment, with a soft clatter, something falls to the ground in the space between Arai and Cynthia. It is a faded sapphire necklace. Arai gazes at the object with astonishment. Fayvard’s eyes widen with recognition as well.

“The Anti-Paradox!” Fayvard hisses.

Cautiously, Cynthia steps forward and picks up the fallen object in her hands, turning it over carefully. His face pale, the light of understanding finally glows in Arai’s eyes. “I see now…” he mutters, his voice filling with awe. “It wasn’t a copycat power after all… It’s manifestation. He’s actually summoning and bringing to life the power of those closest to his heart with the Anti-Paradox.”

“It doesn’t matter,” whispers Cynthia, turning to face the boundless country stretched out before the summit of the Fatalists’ castle. “It doesn’t matter what Kunai’s power is. We have to find a way to rescue him, as well as defeat Grendel. That is all.”

“No,” Arai disagrees, shaking his head. He slowly rises to his feet, with the help of Fayvard. “It’s too late for that. The Anti-Paradox managed to greatly increase Kunai’s power by integrating all of the disparate presences in his soul. That means Kunai’s soul has coalesced with the fragment Ayame’s soul, as well as the presence within him known as ‘Dark Kunai.’ There’s no going back anymore. It is hopeless: Kunai must be destroyed.”

Amazingly, Cynthia stands firm. “I refuse to believe that! Kunai promised that he would find a way to succeed, and I will choose to believe in him! We cannot give up on Kunai so easily! He is the only one that can help us win this war!”

“No, maybe it is hopeless,” Fayvard growls under his breath as he walks up to the very edge of the platform as well. He shakes his head as he stares up into the night sky. Only stars fill its massive black canvas. Kunai has disappeared completely without a trace, leaving only the silent, moonless night behind.
---END NINETY-FIVE---

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AznRiceFan

October 26, 2011
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Comments

 
Thu Oct 27, 2011 12:19 AM +

Aww. Killjoy moment halfway through.

Nonetheless, sweet chapter.

 
 
Thu Oct 27, 2011 02:57 AM +

Lame. Accidentally uploaded unedited version of rewritten chapter. Reread for best quality.

 

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