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CHAPTER 256

IMMORTAL SWORD MAIDEN

Ella was currently floating high in the sky, her face scrounged up into a frown. A one-piece, simple and slightly dull dress fluttered in the high winds, draping perfectly over her body. Her eyes gazed off into a distance, piercing and strict, as though she was looking at something beyond the reality. Sighing faintly, she glanced down toward the Palace and beyond, at the entrance of the Titan Realms. It has been three months since she last heard from Lino, and though she wasn’t really worried about him as Hannah was there, she certainly wished the two had left a bit sooner.

Space rippled open next to her as a stout figure walked out, sitting on-top of a pair of mechanical wings tinted silver, shaped like an elongated kite. Eggor’s arms were crossed, face contorted into an ugly expressions, eyes veering off into horizon similar to Ella’s.

“You should go back,” she said. “Can’t help me with this one.”

“... yeah, I’ll definitely do that.” Eggor replied yet show no intention of leaving.

“Eos isn’t that dangerous,” she chuckled. “I’ll be fine.”

“... it’s been over two thousand years since you last saw her, El’,” Eggor said, glancing at her. “Hell, even if you hadn’t seen her in this past decade alone, you would still be reasonable to doubt.”

“... I know,” Ella sighed. “She must have been sent out because of Hannah.”

“That bastard is sure taking his time,” Eggor grumbled. “Unaware of others’ troubles, as per usual.”

“Hey, it’s fine if you pretend to hate him when he’s around,” she said, chuckling. “But you don’t have to keep making up lies just to tell them to me. You know I’m not buying any of them, right? So what’s even the point? ‘Cause if this is how you’re gonna be like toward our kid, I’ll smother you to death.”

“Humph, of course I won’t,” Eggor said, glancing at Ella’s slightly bulged stomach pronounced through the draped dress. “Our kid will be an angel... unlike him.”

“Yes, but our kid also won’t have to go to sleep knowing the whole world is out to snuff him out.”

“... she’s here.” Eggor said, moving back slightly. “You talk. I have a feeling I might say some unsavory things.”

“Might? Might? It used to be adorable over how in denial you are. Now it’s just sad.”

“I know you love every inch of me,” Eggor smirked. “As to why you feel a need to make lies up and tell them to me... ah, I’ll never figure it out.”

“... touche big man. Touche.” Ella smiled back, slowly turning her attention from him toward the front.

A mere moment later, a flash of light brighter than the sun itself blinded them temporarily. Unlike Eggor, however, who was forced to close his eyes and cover them over with his arm, Ella stood seemingly unaffected, not even blinking while the blazing light assailed her. She merely raised her arm lightly and snapped her fingers, causing groaning Eggor behind her to relax as pain vanished.

Light subsided as quickly as it grew, revealing behind a beautiful woman with a prideful expression and indifferent eyes, donning golden, holy-looking armor. A pair of angelic-looking wings made entirely out of light fluttered behind her, creating a holistic halo behind her back that spun into a blazing ring.

Next to the woman was a much younger girl, curiously looking ahead and then glancing at the woman next to her, seemingly wondering why they had stopped so suddenly.

Eos’ eyes shifted over onto Eggor for a moment before disregarding him entirely, re-focusing back onto Ella who stood calm. She quickly noticed the small bulge draped over by the dress, her lips curling up into a smile.

“... I never imagined the Sword Maiden would bring a child to this world.” Eos said. “Especially his. Whatever could the child have inherited from you has been polluted. Shame. Truly a shame.”

“... in my memories you’re a young, cheerful girl who knew her manners,” Ella spoke out, sighing. “This... is the real shame here.”

“... I’m very much still someone who knows her manners,” Eos replied. “But, not to those who have turned their back on everything and vanished like cowards. Respect isn’t given, Sword Maiden. You of all people should know that.”

“Why are you here, Eos?” Ella asked straightforwardly.

“It is none of your business. The question is... why are you here? And why are you intercepting me?” Eos replied indifferently.

“...” Ella looked deeply into those eyes for a moment before smiling bitterly and suddenly drawing out a thin, needle-like shaped sword. Eos expression quickly shifted as she frowned.

“Are you going to defy the Mother, Sword Maiden?”

“I don’t remember you giving birth to me, Eos,” Ella said. “You should turn around. You can’t win this battle.”

“... ha ha ha ha,” Eos suddenly burst out into maniacal laughter, as though she’d heard the funniest thing in the world. “Can’t win against a washed-up traitor? Your bravado is certainly impressive, though very much folly.”

“Then move that child away.” Ella said.

“... you are serious about this.” Eos said, her laughter stopping. “I very much doubt you have gone insane and forgotten what it means to attack the Bearer, Sword Maiden. However much you once mattered to your Sect, they are already on thin ice. They will not cover for you.”

“... why would I need them to?” Ella cracked a faint smile. “Do you think An’, Selvor, Ryne, Crane... or any one of them would actually stand up for you? The whines and moans of the Bearers are much less important at the moment than you imagine, Eos.”

“... very well,” Eos said as she waved her hand gently, causing the girl who was standing next to her to suddenly disappear. “It seems you have forgotten who stands on top of the world, Elanor. Whatever talent you may bear, we’re the Chosen Children of the Mother. And she’s always on our side.”

“...” Ella said nothing, merely smiling for a moment before suddenly opening her closed eyes.

The Qi from within tens of thousands of miles burst into a complete mania, bending the reality itself as storms quaked and roared well above the clouds. It all darkened, all grew stiff, silent and numbing; Eos stood shocked for a moment before suddenly realizing she had made a huge mistake. Spreading her arms wide, the blazing halo behind her expanded into a massive, blazing ring spanning far and wide, keeping the torrential and crazed Qi at bay for the time being.

She shuffled her gaze over onto Ella who still stood in the same place, and met the pair of piercing eyes. Eos felt her soul go frigid, forcing every ounce of her Will to wrap itself around her Singularity and protect it from the self-imposed destruction. It wasn’t the first time she’d felt such sensation, but she still felt it only a few times in her life, and only ever for brief moments as a form of tempered training. Had she not underwent it... she was certain her Soul would have imploded unto itself already.

“... y-you... you...” she mumbled faintly, pointing her shaking finger at Ella. “... shit.”

Realizing she stood no chance, she turned around and attempted to retreat when she realized her whole body wouldn’t move, as though there was an ethereal hand clasped around her tightly, holding her in once place. Her whole body began shaking as she slowly turned around, a maddened shriek escaping her lungs when she saw Ella floating right next to her, looking down into her eyes, the needle-like sword an inch away from piercing directly into Eos’ heart.

“... make a vow, Eos,” Ella whispered into Eos’ ear softly. “That not a word of what you witnessed or experienced today will be shared, and I won’t kill you.”

“... k-k-kill me... kill me!!” Eos cried out. “I--I’d rather die... die than betray... the Mother...”

“... haah...” Ella sighed, withdrawing her sword as the world around them suddenly returned to normal. “I really wish that scoundrel was there...” she mumbled. “For all the pain his tongue enlists... he certainly is quite persuasive with it.”

“Aww, it’s nice to see someone appreciates what I bring to the table.” a jovial voice startled Ella who suddenly looked sideways and saw a crimsoned bird fluttering about, carrying a masked figure of a man who was currently smiling at her.

“... right. Of course you’re here.” Ella sighed after a few moments of silence. “You don’t call for three months but you show up at the most inopportune times. It basically defines your entirely personality.”

“... I don’t like what you’re turning into,” Lino frowned. “Leave the soul-insulting words to me. You go back to being a gentle soul who wouldn’t harm an ant instead of a chick who just forced me to burn through my Qi reserves to ensure nobody beneath saw what was happening. Not cool!”

“Oh, that was you? I was kind of wondering why no one came up to see what’s going on.” Eggor suddenly spoke out, nodding. “Good thinking. Finally, using your brain for something other than murdering someone with words.”

“Right, anyway,” Ella said. “Can you go on and convince her it’s for the best if he keeps her mouth shut?”

“Who’s she anyway?” Lino asked as Grim flew closer, stopping right next to Eos who was still shaking whole, unable to look up.

“Oh, right. How rude of me,” Ella grinned. “Meet Eos, the Chosen Bearer of Light.”

“...”

“That! That’s it!” Eggor suddenly exclaimed as both him and Ella burst out into laughter. “Finally!! We finally made him speechless! God, I was waiting for this moment for so long!! This deserves we pop open the bottle of Moondew, right?”

“Ha ha ha, of course!” Ella nodded fervently. “And we won’t even be stingy this time around! We both get at least two cups!”

“Yes! Fucking yes! Ha ha ha...”

“... you two are idiots,” Lino recovered relatively quickly, sighing yet also smiling widely as he saw the two of them laughing around like children. “I’m not around for a few months, and you bring a fucking Bearer into my backyard. Real classy guys, real classy.”

“Not us actually,” Ella winked lightly. “Someone else.”

“Oh. Yeah.” Lino nodded, realizing what she meant. “That makes a bit more sense. Anyway, does she know?”

“No reason not to. Might make her reconsider.” Ella said as she and Eggor withdrew on his flying kite and took out a bottle shining in silver which they handled as though it was their child.

Lino commanded Grim to fly lower until he saw Eos’s face clearly; she was rather beautiful -- no, calling her beautiful was certainly an insult, he mused. She could easily compare to Ella’s actual appearance, rather than her housewife figure she loved showing off so much.

“... D-descender?” Eos finally calmed down enough to look up, meeting a pair of jet-black eyes hidden behind the mask.

“... how do you do?” Lino grinned, waving. “Ah, sorry, it’s, you know, an expression. Considering you look like absolute shit, you certainly aren’t doing great.”

“...” Eos frowned yet said nothing, unable to rip herself away from his gaze; there was something about it that chilled her soul even more than Ella, yet in a much more subtle, nuanced way.

“... right, introductions,” Lino said. “I’m indeed a Descender. Seventy-Two at that, a very young, yet startling prospect that even the old geezers over there were happy to recruit. Geez, have you ever met them? They’re just like the rest, those fuckers. Talking in cryptic ways, talking about some vague shit that doesn’t even matter... they really piss me off. But, oh well. The mask’s pretty cool, right? Works wonders with the ladies, actually.”

“...” Eos found herself dumbfounded, confused, and dumbfounded. She had heard the Great Descent, and its members, being referred to in many ways, but never in this one... and especially by one of its members... either the man in front of her was the bravest soul alive, or the greatest fool to have ever lived.

“But, I’m pretty sure my other identity will be of much greater interest to you,” Lino grinned, closing further in until he was a mere inch away from Eos’ face. “And might make you reconsider your options.” within the speck of the second, Eos underwent an illusion inside her very own mind; nothingness... and everything... bound together... and ripped apart... her very own being saddled with all of the past and present, her heart crippled by every emotion ever felt by everyone... her body ripped to pieces by every injury ever inflicted... her soul feeling every bit of pain everyone has ever felt... she had stared directly into the eyes of Chaos... just for a speck of the second... yet by the end of it, her eyes were bleeding profusely, crying tears of blood, her whole body numbed as she stared at the jet-black eyes that had twisted her soul with a mere gaze.

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beddedOtaku

Bio: Bad writer, worse painter, terrible singer. Accumulation of all things gone wrong. Rather proud of it, actually.

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