THE FORGOTTEN TALE (III)
A stone-paved road stretched wide across a flatland, void of life, with turned off lanterns hanging by its side. Within the distance, Lino saw the rising walls of stone and the dome-like barrier above the whole city, exuding a cyan sheen. Eve walked evenly, humming a low tune, donning nothing but cheap-looking robes and a sharp-looking, teethed sword.
She walked with confidence that even surpassed his own, as though there was nothing in the whole world that could shake her. Up above, looming at the dome’s edge, he spotted six figures hovering, all staring in her direction -- four men and two women, all bearing ugly expressions, mixture of anger, scorn, repulsion, but all still masking just a single one: fear.
For the first time Lino had begun to understand the sheer value of Eve’s name, of her posture, her very own being -- merely walking slowly, as though she was checking out the scenery, had rendered the six Bearers silent and fearful. She, however much similar, was also very different to other Empyreans; unlike Eshen, she didn’t let the madness depress her dead, and unlike Q’vil she didn’t stand for something bigger than her...
Her shoulders were broad and imposing, her eyes piercing and honest, the lips curled up into the faintest of smiles denoting confidence rather than arrogance. The attention she demanded by merely walking had rendered the world around her silent, causing the sounds of her wooden sandals clanking against the stone to echo out wide into the world.
She had stopped only a few dozen meters away from the wall and casually looked up, assessing each of the six floating in the sky briefly before moving on. None -- Lino noticed -- dared meet her gaze squarely. Rather, they came closer together, almost huddling in a bunched-up hug, as though to ward off the cold.
“... this is what the Bearers are like,” she mumbled softly into her jaw, speaking to Lino. “On any other day, they’d be shimmering with pride, with ego, with inflated sense of self. But... put them where they can’t flaunt the title they didn’t earn... and they crumble. Like children being scorned by their parents.”
“The Bearers for the Empyreans who make something of themselves,” she continued. “Aren’t the wall; they are like a rite of passage. It is inevitable you will conquer them. Because, for the billions of years, unlike Ataxia, they’ve done nothing to improve. Take him, for instance.” she pointed at the leftmost man; he was bald, tall and muscular, wearing a peculiar, green-dyed armor set. Yet, despite the imposing stature, he still now looked like a small child. “Bearer of Immortality -- the only other Bearer besides us who specializes in Body Cultivation. Is that... the frame of an indomitable one? Someone who’s ready to throw their bodies through inferno and come out smiling?”
“No, it most certainly is not,” she scoffed. “They always act like shields for others. They cannot harm you -- even if they are literally tens of thousands of levels higher than you. Their job is to keep you distracted and keep others safe. Just ignore them. Let them punch you or stab you or kiss your ass. Won’t make a darn difference. The woman next to him?” she looked further to the right where a hooded woman was floating, a few strands of her shining, cyan hair fluttering outside into the world. “Bearer of the Spoken Word... a Carnonian. What to do about them?” she smirked for a moment. “Just... ignore them.”
“Eve,” a woman clad in silver armor suddenly stood in front of the rest, her golden hair fluttering back as she looked down at Eve. “If we fight here, a lot of innocent will be entangled.”
“... and how’s that my concern?” Eve smiled widely. “I’m the Harbinger of Chaos, right? And you lads are the holy saviors. So, by all holy means, save ‘em from this Harbinger over here. Hey, look at it in a positive light,” she added. “At the very least all those stories you’ve been using to brainwash those innocent will finally have some shred of truth to them, you know? I mean, it can’t have been that easy just lying your asses off all this time. Oh, what am I saying. Of course it was.”
“If you kill us all, Mother won’t leave you alone.” the man Eve introduced as the Bearer of the Immortal Writ cried out.
“Oh, jeez. For a grown man, you sure are a tattletale. What? Are you gonna tell on me to your mommy? Ring her up and ask her to whoop me dead? Dead idiot, that whore can come down here and lick me good and then I might just reconsider not shoving a sword up her swollen cunt. I mean, it is swollen right? She did, after all, give birth to a whole lot of parasites. That must have taken some toll on her poor old coochie.”
“... this is all pointless,” the woman who spoke out first sighed, shaking her head before suddenly landing in front of Eve. Upon closer inspection, Lino quickly realized that she was the Bearer of Order as her aura was eerily similar to Hannah’s. “You may say whatever you want about us, but you’re just as far gone Eve, if not more. Whatever we have ever felt and said about the Empyreans, at the very least we always knew they reigned their lives with honor and dignity.”
“...” Eve said nothing, still smiling.
“You? You... are just a mad, crazed beast. Today it’s us... but what of tomorrow? Will you hunt the children the Mother chooses to succeed us? Will you hunt our relatives, our friends, our Brothers and Sisters? Where does the chain of hatred actually end? When no one who isn’t shivering in fear before you is left alive?”
“... I don’t know Lara,” Eve said, lifting her sword and pointing it at the woman. “War never ends, haven’t you heard? Today it’s me who’s fucking you over, but what of the hundreds of other times you’ve fucked my predecessors over? Where was that holistic attitude then? When, the moment you’d learn of the Empyrean’s identity, you first slaughtered everyone who’s ever as much as brushed shoulders with them before finally hunting the source of your ‘problems’? We’ve all played the morality card before, but, in the end, the mortality card is always the ‘at least I’m dying while thinking I was right’ nonsense. This way, no matter what the world says of me, at least I’ll ease a bit of regrets of all those who came and went before me, and before they even had a chance to become someone. Alas, words are just words. And words are for idiots who can’t pick up a sword. My name’s Eve... and today I’ll be your nightmare.”
Just as she finished the last word, Eve ignored Lara who stood befuddled on the ground for a moment and instead shot up toward the sky. Her feet heaved off of the ground, causing rumble and earth to shake and crack into a massive crater; she was in front of the five looming in the sky within a flash, slicing her sword sideways directly at the balded man at the far left and cleaving him in two. The remaining four quickly scattered while crying out, trying to gain some distance from her while she commenced her hunt.
Down below, Lara’s face contorted, eyes steaming in bloodshot red, as she clasped her hands together. A massive mirage, reflecting her own appearance, appeared above her, calling with it the elements of the world to converge. Fire, wind, water, lightning, earth... the bellow of the world sounded out as Eve came to a halt and turned around.
Staring at her was a ten-miles-tall visage of a transparent woman shimmering in light blue, the pair of eyes milky white and shining, hands clasped in front of her chest while the world around her bowed and obeyed. The steep mountain in the distance cleaved itself in half and flew over at her command, the deep and rapid river just beneath it rose from its roots and drizzled over, the fire came to life from seemingly nowhere and cried out in her name, the clouds above bunched and scrunched and screamed, spitting out bolt after bolt of lightning while the thunder hummed the world to silence.
“... Bearer of Order is always the most troubling,” Eve mumbled. “You most-likely know of the Avatars, right? Nearly every Cultivation Method of Primordial-tier and above has the Avatar Form as its last technique. Well, the idea of it stemmed directly from the Bearers of Order. Just on a much, much smaller scale, of course.”
“...” Lino listened intently while the images of Hannah going ape-shit in the similar Avatar form flashed through his mind.
“Every Bearer of Order innately has a complete mastery of the Law of Command and Governance; they can command winds and clouds, and govern queens and kings. The Origin Philosophy states that Chaos and Order lead, while the other five support. While I can’t tell you how true that is as the book was a written by a loony who believed ghosts used to posses his shit, the book at least says one right thing: Order... is the first thing the Chaos spawns, which means it inherited the most.”
“Avatar of Creation ---” Lara suddenly cried out, rising slowly into the sky as her body attained strange, ethereal cyan glow. “First Form -- Elemental Creation!!”
“There are six Avatars they can embody,” Eve explained. “But can only ever master one. And each Avatar has seven stages -- but, it’s a pyramid-like structure. In order to activate the last stage, they have to go through all others. So, whatever you do, do not ever -- ever -- allow the Bearer of Order to achieve the Seventh Stage - Genesis... unless, of course,” she chuckled suddenly. “You can match it with something of your own.”
“...” Lino’s eyebrows arched as he saw Eve perform similar movements to what he did once.
“Sword of Chaos--” she mumbled. “Create Form -- Birth of Matter; Augment--” the reality around Eve suddenly blended unto itself, existing and not at the same time. “Chaotic Birth -- Commence.” the whirl of savage, world-ripping energy suddenly exploded out of her in the form of ghastly, reddish shadows, consuming everything in their wake. “Sword of Chaos -- Twelfth Form -- Cyclic Rebirth.”
Within the span of a single breath, Lino witnessed something that both terrified him, yet also made him feel hopeful; the shadows exploded from Eve like a swarm and devoured everything within a mile radius, rendering it essentially a void. While Lara used her form to shell out a bombardment of elements, the reddish shadows simply swallowed it all. And then, through a miracle Lino did not understand, those shadows slithered about and cleaved themselves into a straight-laced blade, superimposed over Eve’s sword.
“... this is the Matter of Creation,” Eve explained. “One of the hardest forms of <Sword of Chaos> to master. While not the most powerful, it is the most flexible; devour whatever... create whatever -- that’s its essence. And when I say whatever, I truly do mean whatever.” she sliced her sword in a slow manner as the reddish, blade-like reality stacked with blurbs and orbs of light exploded like a star, giving birth to a Dragon -- a life-like, two kilometers long, scaled, fully-on-fire Dragon whose roar shook the world once over and made Lino realize something -- the Empyrean Writ isn’t uncool... it was just that he was too weak to do any cool shit with it. That realization, in turn, made him feel very, very depressed for a moment.