Introduction - Tale of Two Brothers
On a remote village, near the border of the human kingdom, was a village called Sunflower village in respect to the crops grown in there. Villagers lived in peace, even though they were located near the border of the human kingdom and what was rumored to be a border separating demons from humanity. Villagers were afraid of demons and would regularly read rites in order to make sure the village had no demonic influence within it.
Although there was a fear of demons, there were no attacks for hundreds of years, so the tales of the past just faded into fairy tales.
In a village, many families lived their happy lives without knowing the atrocities around the world. They were protected by the rulers of the kingdom. Out of all the families there wasn’t a family that was as happy and prosperous as the Finnerman family. The family consisted of husband and wife, and two sons. The sons were twins named Shengyn and Sabgyn. The older one, Shengyn, was a talented rascal who loved to learn many things and was the more physically robust of the two. The younger one, Sabgyn, although he lacked in talent he made up for it with his sheer determination.
Their parents and subsequently their jobs was taking care of the crops on the land and collecting them. No matter what crop it was Sunflower, rice, or even vegetables, it was always fun to take care of them and watch them grow.
The brothers helped each other and worked together in order to get their jobs done.
Although the younger brother Sabgyn was determined, his body was too weak at times. He was the sickly brother who would go into uncontrollable fits of coughing that resulted in him spitting out blood. It has once gotten to the point that his father had to contact the village healer and had him examine him. It turned out that Sabgyn was extremely susceptible to common cold due to the fact that his body was very weak. In order for him to heal, the healer had magically transfused blood from Shengyn to Sabgyn’s body in order to help him heal. Slowly, but steadily, Sabgyn made a full recovery.
When both boys reached the age of seven, Shengyn discovered that he had the aptitude for magic. He did so after accidently conjuring a small ball of fire on his palm. Sadly, Sabgyn did not make such discovery no matter how hard he tried. Shengyn was so passionate to learn how to use magic that he requested the local magician to teach him the basics of the skill. Not wanting to be left behind, Sabgyn also requested to become the magician’s disciple. Yet when he was told to produce an element he could not do so. Magician informed Sabgyn that his body had too little energy within it, so he has to learn how to build up the energy within his body and be able to use it.
Through hours of work and concentration, Sabgyn was able to collect the energy within his body and make it grow. At the end, he was able to use it to create a small spark of flame on his palm. It was that the difference in power between two brothers was very large. Shengyn effortlessly learned every concept one after another to the point that he could now manipulate the shape and size of the flame.
Although overshadowed by his older brother, Sabgyn was determined, and Shengyn’s talent as a motivating factor to him. He was not jealous of his brother, instead he was proud of what his older brother could accomplish, and grew to admire him. He knew by now that his body was far weaker than Shengyn’s but Sabgyn did not want that to hold him back.
By the age of nine, Sabgyn was able to increase the size of the flame in his hand to size of a large ball. It took him two years to reach the point that his older brother reached in an instant. Yet, instead of feeling dejected, Sabgyn was happy that he could finally catch up to his prodigy older brother.
Shengyn in turn knew full well that his brother was the type of person who would keep trying even without talent or power, but he was still worried for his younger brother. Sabgyn had a very weak body, which prevented him from using magic to its full capacity. He couldn’t produce enough energy to maintain a spell due to this handicap. Sometimes, Sabgyn’s body would give out, causing him to pass out from exhaustion. Shengyn told Sabgyn many times to not push himself too far, yet Sabgyn proceeded to disregard the advice in favor of catching up to his brother.
What worried Shengyn was the fact that Sabgyn’s health seemed to grow weaker. His body was much weakened and he would pass out from loss of energy. This worried their parents who had to take him to the healer many times. Sabgyn’s body was highly susceptible to diseases, and even though he developed immunity to them over time, his body was naturally weak. At one point it has gotten so bad that Sabgyn had to resort to leaning on a crutch in order to not fall down.
Sabgyn hated the fact that his body held him back; he hated it so much that he wanted to grow strong enough to ignore that weakness. He trained himself relentlessly in order to make his body stronger, but it didn’t seem to have much of an effect other than making Sabgyn able to work the fields again.
Finnerman parents knew full well that Shengyn had a bright future ahead of him, but they were worried for Sabgyn future. Sabgyn’s weak body made a death a high possibility in the future, the possibility his parents dreaded. They wanted to make sure that both of their precious children grow up well and healthy. They even asked Shengyn to watch out for Sabgyn in case he might need help.
At the age of ten, Sabgyn’s health has seemingly improved, which relieved his parents and brother. It seemed like every bad thing in the world was gone and they could lead happy lives without anybody passing away. It seemed like the happy times would last forever.
Sadly, this was not the case.
After years of happy life, the Sunflower village was ransacked, and not by demons, but by soldiers of human kingdom. It was rather unexpected; the protectors have turned on the ones they were protecting. The villagers were not prepared for the attack. Everyone who resisted perished. Village magician was the first to fall. Others were captured and taken to a high ground that was connected to a waterfall.
Shengyn’s and Sabgyn’s father pleaded for the capturers to release the people, but they wouldn’t listen.
“It has come to our attention that your village is hiding demon children, this sin against Humanity and God is unforgivable!”
“We have done no such thing!” Mr. Finnerman cried out.
“Silence!” one of the knights punched helpless Mr. Finnerman causing him to fall on the ground. Every captured person had their hands tied in front of them so Mr. Finnerman was helpless when the soldier decided to punch him.
“Father!” both Shengyn and Sabgyn cried out.
“Execute every single one of them for the sins they have committed!” The leader of the knights commanded. He was a man wearing white robes and armor that made him look like and angel. “In the name of the venerable angels of Arch Angel Cult, servants to the Supreme Gods, purge the sinners from this world!”
The man near him wore purple robes that made him look like a monk. The robe was embroidered with golden patterns. He cried out:” Prove your loyalty to the gods my children! Prove you are worthy by purging these demon lovers!”
The man in white robes then proceeded to stab Mr. Finnerman on the back. Mr. Finnerman cried out in pain before collapsing.
“NOOOO!” Sabgyn and Shengyn cried out in unison.
The soldiers then proceeded to hold the people down in order to execute them. Sabgyn was caught in a death grip of one of the soldiers. The soldier wanted to kill him by slitting his throat while he held Sabgyn down. Sabgyn was overpowered, this meant a certain death. He looked at his father’s body and saw for a faintest second that the body moved, he was alive… until he was stabbed again by the soldier.
Intense emotion overwhelmed Sabgyn. Before the man holding him down had the chance to kill him, Sabgyn bit him on the arm. He bit him so hard that he managed to sever one of the man’s fingers. The man clutched his hand in pain while Sabgyn managed to slip away.
Even with his hand tied in front of him, Sabgyn ran like a berserker towards his father. Somehow he managed to get the ropes off his hands. He saw blood, so much blood flowing out of his body. Feeling of dread combined with the desire to protect his parent made Sabgyn rush forward while ignoring everything other than the knight harming his father. He jumped towards the knight fully intending to tackle him down while screaming on top of his lungs. The leader of the knights easily caught Sabgyn by the throat.
Shengyn watched in horror as his brother was caught by white armored man. “Please don’t die, please don’t die” Shengyn kept praying in his head. Why did Sabgyn have to be brave now of all times? He will get himself killed! Please just don’t die! Shengyn struggled against his oppressor but could not get himself free. He only managed to turn his head enough to watch as the other knights were massacring the villagers, including his mother. He watched in horror as a knight with an ax dropped it on his mother’s head. Shengyn could no longer hide his tears as they overflowed. Mother! Everyone! Father! His body was shaking from the dread of knowing that everyone he knew was getting killed. He ignored the fact he will be killed as well and proceeded to struggle desperately against the man holding him down, yet to no avail. Just screams of people before they were killed filled the air. This is hell, Shengyn thought, this must a some sort of a nightmare! Please let it end, please let Sabgyn live, he begged in his heart.
“A tiny demon, I shall make you suffer before ending you!” the man in white armor took a knife and stabbed Sabgyn on his thigh. Sabgyn screamed in pain. “Feel the pain demon child, feel the pain, regret ever coming into existence!” He took another knife and pierced it into Sabgyn’s chest. Sabgyn could barely move from pain. The sensation of knives piercing his body was nigh-unbearable.
“Now for the last one” white knight took the third knife at proceeded to stab Sabgyn’s stomach. This was the last knife meant to kill the person. The white knight always used three knives in order to first torture then kill the target.
The knife connected, but not to the boy’s stomach. Sabgyn managed to block the knife with his right palm. The knife went through it rather painfully but it avoided hitting vital organs. Blood leaked from his palm, but Sabgyn held on to the knife with his right palm. The white knight was so surprised by Sabgyn’s action that he allowed his guard to slip open for just a moment. Seeing an opening, Sabgyn grabbed the knife from his thigh with his left hand and proceeded to slash the white knight across his face.
The white knight was injured. The slash completely destroyed his right eye. From the pain he felt he could no longer hold on to Sabgyn’s throat and let go. He was clutching his face in pain with his left palm. Enraged he screamed: “Shoot him down!”
The other knights took their bows and arrows and started shooting Sabgyn. First arrow grazed his left cheek, the second one landed on his left leg near the place where he was stabbed. Still, Sabgyn tried to move. He tried to run before falling down. He was still dead set on saving his father. Then, the third arrow landed on his shoulder. Sabgyn screamed out in pain.
Then the man in purple robes pointed his palm in Sabgyn’s direction and shoved the air. This resulted in Sabgyn being thrown away from his father’s body towards the waterfall. The strength of the blast was formidable and Sabgyn felt like some of his ribs were broken because of it. Ignoring the pain from his wounds, he still tried to walk towards his father’s body.
The knights kept shooting arrows. Shengyn watched in horror how Sabgyn’s already injured body was repeatedly shot by arrows. One arrow landed on his arm, another on his foot. The knights seemed to be toying with him, as though he was some sort of game to be shot. “Stop! Please stop!” Shengyn screamed on top of his lungs. Another arrow landed on Sabgyn’s shoulder. He was bleeding from every spot, he would die… Shengyn was helpless as his brother was beings shot to death.
With each arrow, Sabgyn’s body felt weaker and weaker, he felt his strength going away. Two arrows pierced his torso on the right side; he felt blood coming to his mouth as he started spewing blood. With each arrow, Sabgyn was pushed dangerously close towards the waterfall; there was just one step between him and falling to his death.
Then, the last arrow landed on the left side of Sabgyn’s chest. Sabgyn felt cold, he could no longer breathe, and his body lost its feeling. The balance was lost. Then his body fell backwards down the waterfall.
Shengyn watched in horror, how in his last moments Sabgyn, covered in arrows and bleeding all over, met his end falling down the waterfall.
My brother is dead. He is dead. My only brother is dead. The thought of losing my brother never occurred to me. The one I in my family I loved the most is gone. He is dead. He is dead. He is dead.
The realization hit Shengyn like a tidal wave. He trembled and shook hysterically. Tears overflowed his face. The one he cherished the most just died in front of him. The sheer intensity of his emotion made his body shiver uncontrollably.
He wouldn’t tolerate this. He wouldn’t accept this! Shengyn clutched his fist. He screamed “I WILL NOT ACCEPT THIS!”
As though something was triggered, Shengyn proceeded to push of the knight holding him down with a force that he was not capable of mustering just a minute before.
Blinded by rage, Shengyn proceeded to punch through the Knight’s body with his bare hand.
He didn’t know where the strength came from and he didn’t care. He just wanted to kill every single one of the murderers who took away his family, his father, his mother, and his brother.
The punch made a squishing sound followed by Shengyn’s hand sticking through the back of the knight’s body. The hand was clutching still beating heart. The knight’s mouth filled with blood before he collapsed.
The knights looked at Shengyn. His eyes wide open as if in a mad trance. It was as if he awakened some sort of monster within himself. They have to be cautious and take the kid seriously.
A fat knight with an ax, the one who murdered Mrs. Finnerman ran towards Shengyn while swinging the ax at him. First swing, Shengyn easily dodged it. Second swing, he ducked. At the third swing, ax knight deliberately aimed it down in order to crash the ax on Shengyn’s skull. He dropped the ax on Shengyn with full force.
The ax was stopped by Shengyn who used his right palm to catch the blade of the ax. The ax was designed for battle, made to be as large as a sword and have very sharp blade. Ax knight was in disbelief of what he was seeing in front of him, the boy caught the ax without hurting himself. He was some kind of a monster!
With a clutching motion, Shengyn put pressure on the ax. Suddenly cracks started appearing on the ax. After a few seconds the large ax was broken with sheer strength of Shengyn’s hand.
As ax knight watched his weapon broken into pieces like glass, Shengyn took a sharp splinter from the broken ax and proceeded to stab the ax man in the throat with it.
The other knights started coming at him as well. One of them swung his sword at Shengyn, but instead of cutting him it only managed to push him with its impact.
Some of the knights gathered together. They made strange hand signs and various elements appeared. Some of the knights pushed Shengyn with a gust of wind from their palms. Other ones sent streams of lightning that kept shooting Shengyn until he was pinned against the mountain.
The wind prevented his movement and lightning bolts were damaging his body. Yet, the pain no longer held any meaning to Shengyn. Only thing in his mind was “They are gone, they are gone, they are gone…” he was still crying while shaking. The realization that he has lost everything, everyone he has loved and cherished has made him want vengeance. He wanted to kill their murderers at any cost.
Intense rage overflowed his body. The type of rage he has never felt before. All consuming, all engulfing rage. It was burning inside his body; it was doing something to him. Something was emerging.
The knights watched in astonishment as the boy who they were trying to kill was changing in front of their eyes. A single white horn grew on the center of his forehead. The horn’s size was about one third the lengths of boy’s head. Not only that, boy’s left eye started to glow completely white as if there was white fire within it.
Shengyn ignored the fact that he just grew a horn on his head and that his left eye was glowing white, most likely not realizing the transformation he has triggered within himself. He only knew that his body felt more powerful.
He pushed against the mountain with his feet and jumped forward towards the troops. The gust of wind could no longer push him back and he dodged the lightings.
Shengyn proceeded to massacre every knight that was on his way. Seemingly monstrous power was overflowing within him, allowing him to strike his enemies with such force that they were torn to pieces with his attacks.
The man in white and man in purple, he must kill them!
For a moment there it seemed like Shengyn could massacre all of the knights, but then his body started feeling weaker, as if it was being drained of its strength. Regardless, he pushed on forward. Shengyn grabbed a sword from the belt of the knight he just killed and rushed towards the leaders.
For some reason the knights didn’t appear to block his way, instead they were leading him on towards the man in purple. As if it was a trap… but at the moment he didn’t care.
“Supremacy of Power!” man in purple shouted out. When Shengyn was just a meter away from killing him, some colossal weight fell upon him. There was nothing on him, but it felt like something was crushing him beneath its weight. Shengyn could barely hold his head up from the crawling position. He saw that the man in purple was holding his left hand forward. It was obvious; he was the one responsible for Shengyn being restrained. Shengyn clutched the sword as hard as he could, but the more he struggled the less strong his grip upon his sword became.
“Don’t resist, it’s futile, little demon” man in purple said while smiling at the fact that Shengyn could no longer pose a threat to him. He was just within hand’s reach, so close, but Shengyn’s right arm clutching the sword just wouldn’t move.
The man in purple called the man in white. “Akjau, he no longer is a threat, come and help me sacrifice him to the Supreme Gods!”
Akjau was still clutching on to his right eye with his left hand. The pain, so much pain. His only consolation is that he managed to kill that brat… Akjau approached Shengyn with a satisfied expression on his face.
“So there really was a demon in this village, huh”
“Indeed” man in purple replied
“That is surprising; I thought that was just an excuse for sacrificing the people for the kingdom’s fortune!”
“That indeed is the case, but in order to make sure people don’t suspect our actions it is necessary to have a reason, and what proof can be better than a real demon!”
Man in purple said “I will hold him down, finish him!”
Akjau raised his sword. He intended to decapitate Shengyn. “What a fine trophy your head will be!”
He swung the sword. It struck something. There was blood, but a head didn’t fall.
At the last moment, Shengyn managed to move his body towards Akjau so that his sword wouldn’t connect with his neck. Instead it struck Shengyn’s right shoulder.
Shengyn didn’t have any feeling in his right arm. Yet he could still fight. His action of evading a killing blow had distracted Akjau and man in purple for a split second allowing Shengyn to take action. His right arm was not responding, so he used his left hand to grab his sword and slash Akjau’s extended left arm in semicircular motion. With the same motion Shengyn’s sword had connected with neck of man in purple, using the moment he let his guard down, Shengyn proceeded to decapitate him.
The minute the head fell, the pressure on Shengyn’s body disappeared. Yet the weakness was still there. He felt like his body was going to shut down any second. His sight was getting blurry and his perception was getting shaky. Through sheer force of will Shengyn stood up.
Akjau couldn’t believe it. This kid… he cut off his arm! The first kid looked very similar to this one, they must be brothers, damn it! One cost me my eye, the other my arm! Akjau held on to the stump with his right hand to stop the bleeding. A sensation of holding on to his severed limb caused him to panic and try to run away from Shengyn.
Shengyn could no longer muster the strength to run after him.
Man in white escaped, but the other one lay down on the ground missing his head. Shengyn didn’t care anymore, his entire being screamed in wanting vengeance.
Yet, against his intentions, his body gave out under him. He had completely depleted himself.
The horn on his head shrunk and started disappearing, his left eye’s white light dimmed until it returned to its brown color. He has reached his limit.
“Blast him!” screamed one of the knights.
Another torrent of air struck Shengyn, but this time he did not have the strength to fight back. He was finished. He was flung against a tree and could no longer move himself; the wind pressure was too strong.
A squad of knights made a striking motion with their hands. Shengyn recognized it; it was the stance of launching a fireball. Each one created a gigantic fireball size of a boulder and launched it together. The wind mercilessly rushing at Shengyn made it impossible to evade. The fireballs combined together. They became even bigger as they neared Shengyn. He could almost see that the fireballs combined in a shape of a red dragon like monster. And this monster was about to devour him. Shengyn closed his eyes, resigning himself to his fate.
Suddenly, a black eagle flew in in front of Shengyn and spread its wings around him as if protecting him. Shengyn opened his eyes and saw the space around the black eagle distort and become misshapen. Everything seemed to be twisting and then everything turned to darkness…
“A peaceful night, peaceful night, peaceful night…” a strange song was the first thing Shengyn heard when he opened his eyes.
For a second Shengyn thought he was dreaming. He was lying down under a tree, sleeping. And the sound was coming from a black eagle? He looked at the black eagle with shocked expression.
“Young man, it is rude to stare for so long” black eagle said while preening its feathers.
“You talk? But how? Who are you?”
“Morphus” black eagle’s eyes suddenly focused on Shengyn.
“I do believe some gratitude is in order…”
“Gratitude, for what?” Shengyn asked confusedly, willing to believe that his recent memory was just a piece of hallucination induced illusion. Then he saw it.
He had his back turned away from it, but the second he turned his head he saw it. A large fire coming from the direction of the cliff near the waterfall.
No, that can’t be true! Shengyn ran towards the direction of the cliff as fast as he could ignore the black eagle following him on his tracks.
When he finally reached the place of fire, what he saw made Shengyn drop to his knees.
Burning, burning, all burning. Burning in large piles.
The corpses of every resident of Sunflower village were being burned in large piles. Burning bodies fumed an unbearable stench. Hands, feet, bodies, heads, some intact corpses, some severed. They were everywhere.
Shengyn trembled in terror. He was looking at sight that would haunt him for years to come. A place where all the people he grew to care about were dead, a place that was burning them as though they were firewood…
Shengyn’s eyes filled with tears, all the emotions within him were screaming “Why? Why did you all leave me here? Father? Mother? Sabgyn?” Shengyn wailed while he was kneeling on the ground. His voice was the only sound that could be heard.
He wished that this was just a dream, some sort of nightmare he would wake up from any minute. But as he stared at the bonfires made by corpses, he realized the futility of such a thought.
“No!” Shengyn ran towards one of the corpses lying on the ground. The corpse was lay face first on the ground. He flipped it over to check for vital signs. Instead, he saw that the body was gutted open vertically. It was missing it’s eyes, the chest was cut open, revealing that almost all of the organs were taken, leaving only a ribcage opening.
Shengyn dropped the corpse in shock after he saw it. He fell back on the ground, barely able to move from shock.
“What the hell is this?” He looked with wide opened eyes at the hell scenery right in front of him. This was the truest form of hell he could ever imagine. All burning down like a sack of wood over a cruel bonfire.
“Harvesting, I assume” Black eagle flew up and perched on top of one of the corpses high up on pile. It was watching with its right eye how the scenery before it unfolded. Curiously, the tone seemed rather entertained instead of horrified, of course Shengyn didn’t realize this at the moment. “There are many things one can do with body parts of humans”
“What did you say?” Shengyn was shaking, his teeth were clattering, not from cold, but from the dread.
“It is somewhat like butchering animals, except in this case it’s humans” the black eagle replied nonchalantly.
“Stop joking with me! Why did this happen!” Shengyn’s grief was momentarily replaced by an intense rage. Something protruded from his forehead, a sharp white horn which looked like it belonged to some beast. His rage was influencing his body, but the horn didn’t manifest without pain. His head felt like it was splitting apart. He clutched his forehead in pain. Then, he touched the horn.
He finally realized that there was a horn on his head.
“The answer is right in front of you, demon child” black crow swooped down and perched on Shengyn’s left shoulder.
“They were all killed…” Shengyn’s voice grew weaker. He clutched his horn with his trembling right hand.
“Indeed, because they were searching for you.”
Intense feeling of guilt came crashing down upon Shengyn; he came to realize that he was responsible for this tragedy, this inferno being created.
“I didn’t want this to happen!” He cried out while tears were flooding his face.
“None wants anything to happen by intention, but they still happen. That is the will of reality” black eagle answered in a rather mundane tone.
“That kind of reality can just disappear! I just want them back! My parents, my brother, the villagers, every one of them… ” Shengyn started losing it as his crying now border lined losing rationality.
“I am afraid no force in the world can bring them back” black eagle said mercilessly.
Shengyn was kneeling on the ground, screaming on top of his lungs his anguished cry.
The black eagle just watched as Shengyn broke down emotionally, almost as if he was waiting for the right moment to do something. From its eyes, the black eagle could see the feelings Shengyn was currently feeling from the intense aura he was emitting. It was getting darker and darker, almost as if it was beckoning itself to die along with the others. Yet, instead of being completely swallowed by darkness, the aura Shengyn emitted became more intense as if focused by a strong will. Then the aura began taking a distinct shape that could not be seen by human eye, but in black eagle’s perspective it was the unmistakable shape of a black tiger covered in white stripes.
“I will never forgive them! I will make them pay! I will make all of them suffer” Shengyn’s voice resounded like a roar that echoed throughout the forest.
Black eagle’s eyes squinted almost as if it was satisfied with the results.
“Is the path you seek- Vengeance?”
“What other path is there left for me to take? Everything I ever cherished is gone and the ones who are responsible are still living, I can’t allow that, I wouldn’t allow them to live in peace after what they did to them!” Shengyn’s was steadily losing his composure, now baring his fangs with outmost hatred. Only the thought of getting vengeance allowed him to break free from the heart wrenching despair he was feeling.
“Bravo, young one, truly remarkable” The black eagle flew off of Shengyn’s shoulder. It flew around, encircling Shengyn, and then as if something took its shape and changed and expanded it, the shape of black eagle turned into a form of a man with shoulder length dark hair that seemed red under the light of fire. His eyes were very strange; they emitted a constant white glow, making it impossible to tell the color of his eyes. His face was very handsome and looked like it was sculpted instead of being a natural face. He was dressed in clothes befitting royalty, all black, decorated with golden embroidery resembling feathers.
“Monster!” Shengyn stepped back, seeing the transformation that the black eagle underwent.
“Close, but it’s Morphus” The young man corrected him in a polite manner. Other than the appearance, his voice was exactly the same. His expression did not show much emotion except for his focused eyes staring directly at Shengyn.
“What are you? What do you want with me?” Shengyn was trembling. It was the first time he saw anyone transform, much less from an animal to a human.
“I am Morphus, the one who shall change it all” Morphus pointed around him. “This world, that is. And if you chose, you shall help me do so.”
Shengyn watched him with suspicion. Morphus realized it, which is why he continued.
“What I propose to you is an opportunity, follow me and you shall be able to take your revenge upon those who wronged you” Morphus said, extending his right arm in a gesture of handshake. “Or you can wallow in pain and despair knowing the ones who did this are walking free under the sun. It’s your choice.”
“How can I know you are not one of them?” Shengyn still had his suspicions.
“I didn’t kill you, if I was one of them I wouldn’t have bothered to rescue you, little one” Morphus said with a sly smile that made Shengyn rather scared.
“True, but what would you want with me?”
“You intrigue me, not many things catch my eye, so I wanted your help in implementing the great change.” Morphus was speaking in a grandiose manner.
“Eradication of the present reality” Morphus answered confidently.
“What you speak of is madness!”
“There is nothing in the world worth keeping it, you can see full well that is the case now, can you not?” Morphus gestured towards all of the corpses lying on the ground, littering the field. Shengyn’s looked at the sight, accepting that as the undeniable truth.
“If you can destroy the world, why not just do it already? Why do you need my help?” Shengyn screamed.
“If it were that easy, it would have been wonderful. But do not misunderstand, I don’t intend to destroy the world, I intend to change it, by eradicating all the impurities that currently exist within it and creating a new, brighter reality.”
“Human beings that killed every single one of your loved ones, do you think they care a thing other than themselves? And they are not the only ones who are like this, the world has plenty of these parasites that need to be eliminated” Morphus continued.
“But, unfortunately, I am rather restricted in what I am able and not able to do”
“Restricted?” Shengyn asked confusedly.
“Indeed. This body…” he gestured to himself. “…is my only way of interacting with the corporeal world, and even then it’s rather limited…”
“Isn’t that the same for everyone?” Shengyn asked.
“Not for me. This body is a vessel, a shell containing my essence within it.” Morphus explained. “It may sound unbelievable, but I originally didn’t have a body, so having a corporeal shell has both its merits and demerits.”
Shengyn wasn’t sure what he was talking about, but he didn’t question him further on this topic. The only thing that mattered now was vengeance.
“How do you intend to eradicate all of the impurities in this world” Shengyn cut to the chase, not wanting to hear more about vessels and wanting to know how he could get revenge.
“Answer is simple. Power. I shall take over control over every single being in the world and enslave them to my will, the ones who resist shall be eliminated, and the ones that remain shall be cleansed and turned, all of their impurity removed, perfected. Completely conquered.”
“That’s impossible” Shengyn was more and more astounded by the declarations this mad man made to him.
“Is it? Weren’t you able to find the answer within power when you fought the knights? You can’t deny that is the path leading to fulfillment of your goal-Revenge”
The sound echoed within Shengyn’s ears. He finally understood. Morphus was absolutely correct, there was no longer a goal worth living for him other than seek retribution.
“Revenge, yes, revenge. Power will help me find revenge.”
“See! Now you get it!” Morphus laughed out loud. It was the first time his expression had apparent joy in it, but after a second it turned cold again.
“Do you want to take control of this world?”
“Not just this one, little one, every single one of the worlds. I shall enslave them all.”
“Why would you want to do so?” Shengyn was more and more confused by Morphus’s argument.
“The reason is simple, to become the true God. To make the world feel the despair that it has put us through, to get the reality in the palm of my hand and completely rearrange it” Morphus smiled in satisfaction.
“Join me in the conquest of this world, and you shall get your revenge!”
Shengyn’s eyes opened wide. He was still unsure of what Morphus was saying, but at the moment he didn’t care. He wanted to avenge his loved ones who lost their lives. He felt as if he didn’t do anything, he would be dishonoring all of the ones who were killed. He was the last one left; it was up to him to bring judgment upon the wretched world. ‘Just you wait, brother, I swear I will avenge you.’
“I accept” Shengyn took Morphus’s extended hand. Both shook hands.
“Splendid” Morphus waved his arm. A golden goblet appeared on it. With a swift motion he cut open his palm with his thumb and poured blood into the goblet. The wound on his palm disappeared momentarily as if there was nothing there to begin with. “Then, drink my blood as a proof of your allegiance to me”
He extended his hand with the goblet to Shengyn who took it cautiously.
“This isn’t poison, is it?”
“Of course not, why would I want to poison my future subordinate?”
“Then, here it goes” Shengyn drank the full content of the blood.
As soon as the blood entered his system, great change has appeared over Shengyn. His body felt like it was gaining power, his mind became more focused, all thoughts concentrated on getting revenge. The fatigue from before was gone, completely erased. The wounds on his body began closing up. The small scratches slowly faded into nothingness. His body fell on one knee in Morphus’s direction. Somehow the blood inspired absolute loyalty to Morphus.
“As of now, I, Morphus, have marked you as my subordinate and my son” Morphus said in a commanding tone. “Rise, Shengyn Finnerman, user of Tiger spiritual form, one horned demon, and my direct subordinate. From today, you shall be one of the Divine Overlords!”
Shengyn stood up with his face held high. The formerly sad and crying face was replaced by a cold expression of pure hatred.
This was the start of Shengyn’s exploits as Morphus’s loyal servant and enforcer. The blood inspired absolute loyalty to Morphus only enforced by the hatred he held in his heart.
“You will find soon enough, my son that this grim reality is the result of contributions of every mortal. Not just humans. Demons, Dragons, Elves, Elementals, and any other creature. They are indirectly responsible for this massacre. But worry, not, I will help you in making them suffer.”
Shengyn’s mind automatically accepted the idea that Morphus gave him. Blood’s influence made him not question the integrity of the statement and believe it completely.
“Yes, we shall make them pay with their lives” Shengyn replied.
Unbeknownst to them all, the younger twin, Sabgyn, did manage to survive, but that is the story for another time.
Chapter 1- Survivor
Sabgyn Finnerman awoke on the ground feeling intense pain on his left eye. He was in the middle of nowhere, in a place covered by luscious greenery and long rivers.
Sabgyn stood up and walked over towards the lake, to inspect how bad the damage was. One glimpse at the surface of the water under the light of the moon has told him enough.
His left eye was completely gone. It seems like the poison from Snake’s claws had its effect; completely destroying the eye in the process. His right eye was still functional, but for some reason it was still red.
“Damn It!” Sabgyn screamed out his frustration. Aldan had completely beaten him. Snake had escaped and gave him a permanent injury. Now there was no telling whether the City of Jambol was safe or not. The objective of sneaking into the city was to get rid of one of the Divine Overlords, but that Divine Overlord was far more powerful than he thought. Because of Aldan, the Greed, the entire mission was a disaster.
‘Shadelin, yes! She did escape mind control, which means others have as well.’ Sabgyn thought.
He glanced at his left hand; it was clutching a strange object.
“Dragon Tongue Sword, Right, I remember.” Sabgyn nodded.
With a small flicker of wrist the tiny object in Sabgyn’s hand expanded into a flaming longsword. A powerful artifact that worked due to Crimson Knight’s soul, which means…
Sabgyn concentrated his mind upon his soul.
He could feel countless dead souls, but among them a single soul stood out. Sabgyn didn’t know why but that soul felt heavier; almost as if it was made of another type of material altogether.
“Crimson Knight, can you hear me?” Sabgyn resorted to talking to himself, knowing that the sentient soul would respond through his body. For some reason he didn’t feel the presence of the soul named Nayas, which was probably for the best; he was unbearably annoying.
Sabgyn’s mouth now involuntarily twitched; it was no longer under his control.
“I hear you, loud and clear.” Crimson Knight responded.
“I see, so the duty is not yet complete.” Sabgyn reflected upon the contract the dead souls made with him. Life in exchange or fulfilling their unfinished business-their duty.
“By far not, at least not for me.” Crimson Knight responded. “There were many who found peace due to our actions at Jambol, but my priorities are different. We still have a long road ahead of us.”
“That is true” Sabgyn solemnly agreed.
With a motion of his hand the sword turned back to small sized rough object.
“I wonder if I still can…” Sabgyn tried to use his splitting ability.
Nothing occurred, no matter how hard he tried. His body stayed singular, not splitting into two sides like it normally would.
“How is this possible? But wait…” Sabgyn’s mind flashed back to Aldan overloading him with his energy. “That bastard! He did something to my powers! I can’t use them anymore, damn it!” Sabgyn tried to conjure a small fireball, but nothing came out of his hand.
“Even my magic is gone, great.” Sabgyn said sarcastically.
“Your powers seem to have been drained from you; however I wonder if the same could be said about me?” Crimson Knight still using Sabgyn’s mouth conjured flame from the tip of the Dragon Tongue Sword while keeping it in small form that resembled a rough pocket knife. A small fire lit on the tip as if it was a match.
“How is this possible? I cannot use magic right now, so how can you?”
“The answer is simple, I am not using magic, I am simply manipulating the Dragon Tongue Sword, it is producing the flames, not me, I am simply controlling them.”
“But it has to have an energy source from somewhere in order to be conjure flames, right?”
“The energy source is the mana in the atmosphere surrounding us; Dragon Tongue Sword absorbs that mana into itself and converts it to flames.”
“You sure are an expert about this sword? Did you have a part time job as a magician as well? Perhaps you had a hobby of slaying dragons while you actually were a sorcerer all along?”
“Your sense of humor is baseless. A warrior would know more about his own weapon than anyone else, after all Dragon Tongue Sword was my weapon till my demise.”
“I see” Sabgyn nodded now standing up. Not used to seeing with only one eye, he was still unbalanced. His depth perception was affected as well. Damn that Snake! She is going to pay for what she did!
‘I need to prioritize getting back with the other Chosen Ones’ the Chosen Ones was a group led by Shadelin. Long ago the Chosen Ones were a group of twelve heroes who possessed strong spiritual forms. Currently, Shadelin was trying to revive that legendary group by gathering allies of her own. Sabgyn wasn’t sure why she recruited him to be one of the Chosen Ones, but when she met him she did save his life, so he joined her out of feeling of debt. She told him he was Tiger Chosen One because he had the Spiritual form of tiger. Apparently it wasn’t a very common spiritual form, but anyone who possessed it could become Tiger Chosen One by joining her group, Chosen Ones. She told him she was lucky to find him before Morphus did, she didn’t explain but apparently Morphus was her enemy. Another reason I joined her was because my teacher who taught me everything about surviving in this world was killed by Divine Warriors, followers of Morphus. She told me Morphus planned to kill many innocents, at first I truly didn’t care, but after seeing the atrocities for myself I proceeded to change my mind.
And look where that foolish bravado has gotten me! No Spiritual form, no magic, no left eye, and stranded in the middle of nowhere! I am regretting ever joining that Dragon Spiritual form user; my naiveté combined with my quest to seek vengeance upon those responsible for my Master’s death was my sole motivation for fighting against Morphus.
After I was thrown of the cliff into the deep water, while my parents and brother were killed, I was rescued by my Master. She cared for me, nursed me back to health, and taught me most of the things I knew. She was an irreplaceable existence to me, the one person I respected and admired above all. In many ways, I saw her as a parent I longed for after my own were taken from me. But even she was taken from me by none other than Morphus!
I thought I knew what I was up against, but now I know that whatever illusion I held in my mind was just my wishful thinking. Oh, how I wish I had just refused Shadelin’s offer to join the order of new Chosen Ones! If I hadn’t done so, maybe just maybe I wouldn’t be in this state.
Well, it is too late for regrets now. I have to keep going. I can forget about the Chosen Ones or whatever they are up to. The last time I saw them they were under Morphus’s control, trying to kill me, so I not so eager to see them right now.
To begin with, only Shadelin told me her name, in private in fact. Others only referred to each other by the spiritual forms they possessed because they could not trust each other enough to share their true identities. My identity was never a secret; everyone knew my name but never bothered to tell me who they really are. The Snake must have taken advantage of that while she was Morphus’s spy; she even wore a mask that completely disguised her gender to pretend as a male. And now she most likely escaped amidst all the confusion caused by the battle between me and the angel. Seriously, I am done with the Chosen Ones!
They bring just trouble, so why did I feel so much loyalty for them? Did I see them as irreplaceable comrades? Yes, at one point I did consider them that. Were they close to me? Nope, they were rough bunch to say the least. I don’t know from whom Shadelin received her missions but in a way we were like a team of adventurers, at least that was how I visualized myself. Of course Shadelin always said that we were a guild called Chosen Ones, or sometimes she referred to us as an Order of Chosen Ones, she could never decide which one was cooler. The fact that she borrowed a name of a team from three hundred years ago told me a lot of how much she knew history. Honestly, I just went with the flow. With each missions we each did receive rewards, not too large sum, just enough to make a living. Sabgyn checked his pocket where only two gold coins remained. It was the remainder of the last reward he received before his team was brainwashed and turned against him.
I visited the city of Ashu at request of the spirits inhabiting my body. Many of them held grudge against the particular Divine Overlord, Aldan the Greed. I complied with their request, but looking back on it now I realize I let the dead spirits in charge too often. I have decided that no matter what I would be in charge of my body now, those spirits can just scram for all I care!
“We cannot really do that you know. We are stuck to your body until we finish our business” one of the spirits whispered.
“I don’t care! Ok! This body is mine! I will do whatever I want with it! If you don’t like it then just beat it!” Sabgyn true fury saw no bounds, the spirits in his body immediately quieted down. This level of intense anger was rather scary.
I don’t care if they have a duty to complete; I just want to live my own life. That is all I will do from now on, no duty, no loyalty, no obligation, just seek a way for an easy sweet honey of a life. I have suffered enough from this messed up world in all the seventeen years I have been alive. Everywhere I go it is mayhem.
Now the only ambition in my heart was to find a stable job in the city and maybe buy a house and settle down. I truly hoped this world does not have any more surprises in store for me.
As Sabgyn kept walking forward for a few hours, he noticed a tall mountain-like structure not too far ahead of him. As he got closer he realized that mountain was completely yellow in color and was shaped as two large triangles on top of each other. The bottom part had an incomplete triangle with top part being a complete triangle. In a sense, it made the pyramid look like it had two levels. It was very tall as well.
“Well, what do you know, another unwanted surprise” Sabgyn sighed. This world just will not give me a break!
Chapter 2- The Twin Pyramids
Sabgyn just looked at the height of the structure and the surrounding land near it. The pyramid had a lake coming from underneath it. It looked like the water entered from one side of the pyramid and exited from the other. Sabgyn was pretty sure the water had to pass through the pyramid. Feeling the rough ground underneath his feet, with the sunlight making it painfully obvious his clothing was mere rags, Sabgyn proceeded to walk forward.
‘What the hell happened to my shoes or my clothes for that matter?’ Sabgyn mumbled. It seems like after the fight with Aldan, his clothing was shredded making him look like a homeless vagabond. To make the matters worse even vagabond would look better than this. It looked like he lived in the wild all of his life and never wore suitable clothing. Sabgyn was internally thankful there was none here to see how ridiculous he looked.
“Long would definitely make fun of this” Sabgyn thought of the Bull, the only member of the Chosen Ones other than Shadelin who told his name. Bull was a rather nice guy if not for his jealous side that got better of him every now and then. Combined with the fact that he felt that his strength put him above everyone else it was no wonder other Chosen Ones found him unbearably annoying.
While Sabgyn had some attraction towards Shadelin, she never truly showed any reciprocation. It could be that there were some subtle hints of affection but Sabgyn due to his usual obliviousness could have missed it. Sabgyn actually thought he had a chance with her before his allies ended up being mind controlled. Everything afterwards could be described as mumbo-jumbo of emotions and events. In the end, Sabgyn wasn’t sure how he felt about her at the moment.
On the bright side, she helped him fight against Aldan after she was back to her old self. She even admitted to him while he was in disguise that she liked him. Remembering her honest emotions, Sabgyn couldn’t help but sigh in his heart. ‘If the circumstances were different, I truly would have fallen for her.’
While he did think of her as a comrade, he still was rather traumatized after she beat the living light out of him and drowned him in the water.
‘Come to think of it, it is her fault I am stuck with couple thousand spirits in my body!’ Sabgyn now connected the dots together in fury. ‘I take my concerns back, I am not happy at all that she is ok, I am completely ok if she falls under mind-control again!’ Sabgyn knew he was lying to himself, but after all that has happened he couldn’t help it.
While he didn’t blame Shadelin, not completely that is, he knew she was indirectly responsible for everything that happened after meeting her. Because of that, Sabgyn was thankful she wasn’t here to see how angry he was at her.
He kept walking closer and closer to the large pyramid. While it looked like a single pyramid from afar, it actually was two pyramids, one larger than another.
“Well, nothing wrong with taking a look inside of them” Sabgyn decided after he saw the entrance of pyramids. The pyramids were indeed connected but not on top of each other, one simply was larger than the other, making it look like a pyramid was on top of another one. It was a clever optical illusion. That would explain how a large stone triangular structure could be places so flawlessly on tip of another.
Now Sabgyn was near the entrance of the pyramid. The entrance was above water underneath the pyramid. Due to almost dying by water, twice, Sabgyn was hesitant to approach the water until he saw a path that would allow him to reach the entrance by scaling the walls of the pyramid. It was rather fortunate that the walls of the pyramid were designed like steps, making it easy for him to walk on them to reach the entrance.
He half expected the door to be made of stone as well, but to his surprise it was made of white metal. ‘White Gold!’ Sabgyn clearly didn’t expect the door of the pyramid that was in the middle of nowhere to be some kind of a treasure trove.
When the door didn’t budge, Sabgyn used the Dragon Tongue Sword to slowly melt the lock of the door. He was using the sword in small form so it was taking quite a while.
A minute, five minutes, ten minutes, but the lock was still intact.
“OK, THAT’S IT!” The Soul of the Crimson knight overtook Sabgyn’s body for a second, and in that moment Sabgyn’s eye turned completely red.
The sword now transformed into a flaming longsword, which Crimson Knight pointed at the door. A blast of flame shot at the door, leaving a large molten hole where the metal door was just a moment ago.
As Sabgyn resumed control of his body, he was greeted with shocking sight, a door he was so meticulously trying to open was now gone, an enormous hole was in its place.
“Crimson knight, I think you may have overdone it.” Sabgyn said after a moment of silence. He now saw how truly impulsive the dead soul occupying him was.
“The door is open now, isn’t it?” Crimson Knight replied in a matter of factly manner.
Sabgyn sighed and muttered “Never mind.”
Now Sabgyn entered the pyramid.
Instead of being dark and gloomy like he expected, it was rather well lit. The walls had stones that glowed pure greenish white in the dark, making it easy to see. For safety’s sake Sabgyn lit the Dragon Tongue Sword to make it even easier to see in front of him.
What he saw inside the pyramid was rather surprising. After he entered, there was a short passage that led to a bridge inside the pyramid. Underneath the bridge the water was flowing, and strangely the water was glowing bright blue in color. He didn’t notice any glow outside the pyramid due to the fact that sun was still up, but here in total darkness it was clear that the water was not ordinary.
As he was crossing the bridge, Sabgyn made sure to hold on to the railings, his past experiences left him with a fear of heights as well, the fact that bridge was suspended above water didn’t make matters better at all.
This place was likely a treasury, but Sabgyn never would have guessed what he would find.