My lungs were burning.
A dull ache spread across my chest, stifling my breath and making me wince.
My legs felt like lead and blood dripped down my lips.
But I didn’t care. I’d found him.
My tormentor. My eternal enemy. The one being I hated the most.
The one responsible for locking me in the Haze. Floating in limbo in a body I couldn’t control and a mind that didn’t react to anything; it was a traumatizing experience that made me seize up whenever my body was restricted, whenever I felt unable to control myself and whenever I felt powerless.
The one who created death in this world or, more importantly, the one who took Jeffi and Yunni from me.
I was immortal. My sisters were immortal. Some monsters were immortal. We couldn’t die. I know I couldn’t, no matter how hard I tried…
So why could they?
Why did they?
Why couldn’t I save them? Did he enjoy watching me suffer?
Was it entertaining? Did he laugh while I cried over Jeffi’s dead body? Smile when Yunni took her last breath?
Was all of this just a game to him?
For all those lonely years, I endured with one thought, one goal, one unwavering desire.
To find Fate…
And crush it.
I felt heat rising up my body but it couldn’t compare to the blazing heat in my head.
I found him! I found him! I FOUND HIM!
I opened my eyes.
I shifted my neck and saw him floating in the air, looking at Kai and the girl we’d picked up outside the shrine.
She said something and Kai replied but I couldn’t tell what they said.
And I really didn’t care either.
A red glow gathered around me as I lifted my hand towards him.
A ball of deep red lava shot out of my hand. Fate- or Origin- didn’t react at all. Not because I’d caught him unaware, but because he didn’t need to dodge it. And sure enough, I didn’t even ruffle his robes.
I grit my teeth in frustration and stared at him. Kai noticed my attack and signaled for a coordinated follow up.
But no, I had to do this myself. It was the only way to satisfy my anger.
Burning Desire! Flame Armor! Blessing of Fire!
Flames licked my skin as a glowing red armor appeared on my body. I felt power surge through my veins as the Blessing took hold and Burning Desire increased my stats.
I jumped off the ground with Blast Off and rushed at Origin, slashing my sword in a frenzy.
But it went through him, again.
He grabbed me, again, and threw me at the ground, again.
The wind was knocked out of my lungs, again, and pain shot through my body, again.
I couldn’t hit him, couldn’t touch him. He was toying with me, throwing me around like a doll and I was powerless to resist. Powerless to resist Fate…again.
I couldn’t accept this. I couldn’t!
He was here! Right in front of me! I could see him. I could hear his unhurried breathing. I could feel his punches.
He wasn’t an invisible enemy. No intangible force without a form. He was a real person, with a real body.
But I still couldn’t hit him…no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t hit him.
A wave of anger washed over my mind as frustration bubbled inside me.
I couldn’t accept this. Not being able to hit him, hurt him, destroy him. Not being able to avenge Jeffi and Yunni, to pay him back for tormenting me in the Haze, to make him suffer for making me suffer for a thousand years.
I couldn’t accept it. I couldn’t. I wouldn’t.
I roared. The ground around me shook as a wave of hot, searing energy scorched the earth around me. My skin glowed with a fiery light, my vision dyed red, and my mind full of just one emotion-Wrath.
I pounced at him, enraged, swinging my sword savagely.
Again and again and again and again…
But he just stood there, unfazed, unperturbed, not troubled in the slightest. He didn’t care.
My anger, my pain, my suffering, none of it mattered to him. They went through him just as easily as my sword.
I was a Goddess; one of the most powerful beings on Erath, but in front of him I was nothing. No one could resist him. No one could oppose him.
Because he was Fate.
He swung his arm, casually swatting me away. I flew through the air and out of the shrine, finally crashing into the ground as I lost momentum.
Pain surged through my body and drew sharp, ragged breaths.
Why…Why…Why…WHY? It’s not fair!
“Hey, you’re too close to the edge, you might fall off.”
I picked myself up to see Kai standing in front of me. Even though he was beaten up all the way across the country, there wasn’t a single crash on him. It made me remember how he’d managed to land a hit on Origin. It made me feel jealous. Why could he hit him when I couldn’t? Why can’t I get the satisfaction of smashing Fate’s skull in?
But what did he say? Edge? Falling off? What-
I turned around.
Waves crashed against the rocks far below me, spraying water into the air and slowly chipping away at the cliff.
“We’ll need to work together to beat him. You can’t just go rushing at him, wildly swinging without a plan.” he said, stretching out a hand.
He’s right…I can’t do this alone.
I accepted his hand.
There was a loud crash as a figure flew out from the shrine. Kai turned around quickly and said something under his breath.
The figure changed direction and fell in front of us, gradually slowing down and landing gently on the ground.
“Glad you could join us, Runir.” Kai said, nonchalantly.
“Damn, my head hurts.” Runir groaned as he got off the ground.
“Lily should be here any second now- ah there we go.” said Kai, as another figure flew out of the shrine. He muttered something under his breath and Lily landed on the ground in front of us as well.
“Fuck.” she said, holding her stomach and clenching her eyes shut.
Kai muttered something again and she opened her eyes, shooting him a grateful look.
“Right, this is the part where I tell you I have a plan but…” Runir sighed.
“I can’t even hit him. I mean it’s one thing if he dodges everything I throw at him, but my attacks pass right through him. What the fuck am I supposed to do?” Lily complained.
“Yes, he’s a very troublesome opponent.” Kai said, nodding his head.
“Yep, almost as annoying as you.”
We turned towards the voice.
“What are you doing here kid?” asked Runir, frowning.
“Complaining.” she said, with a deadpan expression.
“Claire, we can talk later. It isn’t safe here.” said Kai, speaking to her without facing her.
“You’ll run away again.” she said, in an icy tone.
“I don’t know what you want with Kai, kid, but you should leave before-”
A ring of violet flames erupted around us, swirling as it closed in. Kai waved his hand and the flames dispersed.
I shifted my gaze to the sky and saw him standing there with his hands behind his back. I felt my anger bubbling up again when I saw how relaxed he was; how completely and utterly sure that we couldn’t do anything to him.
But what made me feel even worse was that I couldn’t help but think that he was right.
No! He’s wrong! I can’t accept that! I have to defeat him, I have to crush him!
“Kai! You’re the only one who can hit him directly so you’re the vanguard. Lily, Amy and I’ll cover you from here.” Runir said, calmly.
“Right, take care of Claire.” said Kai, as he floated towards Origin. “Not interested in the hot springs, eh? How about going for a dip in the ocean instead?” He smirked as he rushed forward.
He thrust his fist but Origin blocked it with his arm. Kai followed up with another swing which was stopped just as easily. Soon, a flurry of punches rained down on Origin, who kept parrying them at dizzying speeds.
Kai feinted with a jab and Origin raised his arm to block it, leaving himself open to a kick that caught him squarely in the chest.
He flew through the air before crashing against the ground. Kai was on him before he could get up, pummeling the ground and sending cracks racing across it.
Kai stepped back just as a violet blade slashed in front of him. Origin stood up, brandishing his sword as he stared at Kai.
“Enough,” he said, “Cease your struggles and accept your Fate.”
“Screw Fate. Ice Age!” shouted Runir.
Tendrils of ice snaked across the ground and surrounded Origin. Frosty winds clashed against his body as shards of ice swirled around him.
“Fuck you, asshole! Exorcism!” roared Lily.
Origin’s body shone as light converged on it, sending beams of energy ripping through the air and reflecting off the ice surrounding him.
“It is futile. No one can resist Fate, not even the Goddesses.” He waved his hand, casually dispersing the frenzy of ice and light.
“I don’t want to resist Fate. I just want to beat you up.”
The world was dyed red again. My anger bubbled inside me, helping me muster the mana needed to use the strongest spell I knew.
“Supernova!” I roared, sending a small ball energy out of my hand. It reached the ground at Origin’s feet and expanded.
A blinding flash. A searing heat. A deafening explosion.
Even I grabbed my head and shut my eyes as the Supernova struck but I didn’t register the pain at all because my heart was full of joy.
I did it! I did it! I did it! Fate! I hit him! I finally hit him! I-I resisted Fate! No, I destroyed it! I-
I opened my eyes.
He was standing in the middle of a crater, completely unscathed and unconcerned. I felt my heart sink as I saw him shrug off my strongest spell.
One hit. I couldn’t get one hit on him.
Why? Why? WHY?
I have to make him pay for the Haze! For Jeffi and Yunni!
But why can’t I hit him? Why can’t I resist? Why am I…so powerless?
I stared at him with trembling fists and opened my mouth to shout at him; to curse him for all the pain and suffering he’d brought me.
But I couldn’t.
“Enough. It ends, now-” He was interrupted by a loud crack.
The edge of the cliff crumbled, rocks tumbling down into the sea below.
I heard a scream.
“Claire!” Kai shouted jumping towards her.
But Origin stepped in and swatted him away.
“Kai!” Claired screamed, as she tried to step towards him.
But the ground beneath her crumbled and her feet fell on empty air.
She disappeared into the raging waves below.
The cliff gave way around Lily and Runir, and they fell into the sea.
And then the ground in front of me cracked.
No! Not yet! I haven’t crushed him yet! I haven’t avenged Yunni and Jeffi yet! I haven’t made him pay! I haven’t…I haven’t…even hit him yet!
The ground crumbled and I fell off the cliff, staring at the masked figure standing on the edge.
His cold eyes stared back at me indifferently as he vanished behind the cliff.
I hit the water and blacked out.
The sound of crashing waves carried over the gentle sea breeze. They crashed against the cliff face, knocking into the rocks and chipping away at them slowly but surely.
At the base of the cliff lay a body skewered on the jaws of the sea. Blood stained the rock and no matter how many times the waves swept over it, they couldn’t wash it away.
“Waon!” A purple kitten popped out from under the body’s clothes. It raised its head and sniffed the air before snuggling against the body skewered on the rocks.
The girl’s fingers twitched and she opened her eyes.
“He got away again, didn’t he Waon?” The girl asked, with a sigh.
“It’s okay, I’ll find him again. After all…” She put her hands on the rock protruding from her chest and heaved up. The rock slid from her body, leaving a large hole through her lower chest.
Strings of flesh knit together and the hole was gone.
The girl pet the purple Hell Kitty on its head and looked out to the sea as the sun set over the horizon.
“You can’t hide from the stars.”