Lino was currently standing within the small cave, staring at the sleeping Eos. By now, he figured, the Oath should have taken root in her Soul which is also why he was ready to release her out into the wild yet again. He had no intention of stirring the trouble just yet by either holding her captive or killing her as that would do little to help him at the moment.

Walking over slowly, he shook her briefly before turning around and sitting down. Eos groaned lowly, waking up and looking around loosely until she saw Lino, her expression immediately souring.

“Oh, wow.” Lino chuckled. “There are sights for sore eyes... and then there are sores for sightful eyes. I just never figured I was the latter.”

“... the Oath has taken root.” Eos said. “Will you let me go?”

“I will, I will, but what’s the hurry? Why not chat for a bit? It’s gonna be quite a while until we see each other again, you know?”

“And I’m dreading that moment even now.” Eos scoffed.

“Ouch. Very well, I guess,” Lino said, sighing and getting up. “I really thought we formed a bond, you know? I mean, I didn’t think we were besties or anything, but I figured we’re at the stage where we can share our sexual frustrations, you know?” he walked over slowly and pressed his finger against her forehead. “Like, for instance, for me--”

“Please stop talking.”

“What? You aren’t interested in hearing Hannah’s shortcomings?” Lino grinned as Eos’ expression grew pained.

“... just... stop talking.”

“No funny business when we get out there, okay?” Lino said as he removed formations’ restrictions on her. “I may be in a good mood, but us Empyreans are known to quickly flip a switch. It’s both a burden and a curse, actually.”

“...” Eos didn’t say anything, merely glancing at him indifferently as the two stepped through a small spatial tear, finding themselves outside, on top of the mountain.

“Must be nice to see the outside world again, huh?” Lino mumbled, glancing at the cloudy sky above. “Sorry about the weather though. I’d have fixed it, but, eh.”

“... you are just like the rest of ‘em,” Eos said lowly. “Cocky, hardy, master at playing a fool. I’d be careful; play the role of a clown long enough, and you eventually become one.”

“What’s wrong with being a clown?” Lino glanced at her, smiling faintly. “At least I get to make people laugh, right?”

“You get people to laugh at you.” she replied. “But, I suppose, even that for you would be a blissful form of existence.”

“... I hope that by our next meeting,” Lino said. “You’ll have had a change of heart. If not... well, we’re all headed to one place, single-filed. So you won’t be missing out on anything.”


“Eh, Lino?” a familiar voice caused Lino to frown for a moment as he glanced sideways, spotting Lucky just down beneath, walking out of the forest. “What are you doing here?”


It was a moment, and he managed to react almost immediately; a blast of Qi shuffled the reality around him coming from the side, yet he too immediately stirred his Singularity and shuffled enough Qi into his feet to break apart his veins. Golden wings unfurled behind his back as he streaked sideways toward the light.

“NOOOOO!!!!!” a shrieking cry shattered the thinly-veiled reality as Lino stretched out his arm and hit Eos squarely on her cheek, blasting her sideways through the mountain, creating a massive, human-sized trail running onward for miles. But, it wasn’t only her jaw that cracked in that one sporadic moment.

Lino looked down and saw Lucky launching herself over, her face paled and covered in tears. She held onto the dismantled body of a young man, entirely covered in blood. His eyes flipped back in their sockets, blood gurgling out of his holed throat, body twitching relentlessly for a moment. Just behind him, two more dismantled bodies lay, limbless and headless, torn to shreds beyond recognition.

He shuddered, his eyes widening into saucers, body shaking as though it was winter. Lucky cried and screamed madly, having lost all her senses, helplessly crying out his name, shaking his listless body. Within that singular second, reason abandoned Lino’s mind, his jet-black eyes losing their luster as he shifted his gaze over and away from Felix’s corpse, toward the distance.

Flying over and leaving behind a trail of dust, he caught up to Eos immediately, grabbing her by the throat before shoving her down, bursting apart earth beneath him and forming a massive crater as the earth quaked and shook, crying in vain. Eos, however, laughed maniacally, her eyes blistered with glee, bloody lips curled up in a vicious grin.

Lino used his free hand and reached into her chest, ripping it wide open and grabbing her heart, pressing it firmly and bursting it into a shower of gore that covered his face. Yet, he didn’t even blink. Eos began coughing madly as he used the free arm to reach for her shoulder and rip one of her arms out, still pressing her throat with the other one.

However, a mere wince of pain later, and Eos returned back to laughing. The crackling sounds burst past his barriers and ventured into his heart as the corners of his eyes began shedding dry tears.

Unable to hold back any longer, he roared directly into her face, using his free arm to repeatedly strike it, leaving it bruised, crack and bleeding as her beautiful face quickly grew disfigured beyond recognition. Each one of his strikes ravaged the earth beneath, carving out the crater further deep. Over and over, fiercer and fiercer, until he was running out of breath.

She was not herself, both eyes popped, nose entirely flattened, innards of her mouth exposed through bleeding holes on her cheeks, her brain matter flowing down her cracked forehead. Yet, she was still alive, breathing and laughing despite the pain.

“... of all the people,” he growled in a voice of a beast, gritting his teeth together till his gums bled. “Him? Them? Coward. Fucking coward. Dragging innocent in your vanity...”

“Ha--guugh--hahaha, s-so w-what? Guughh--kill me, go on, hahahaha, see if t-that brings ‘im back... ha ha ha...”

“... kill you?” Lino slowly got up, still holding her by her throat, right in front of him. “We’re well beyond the point of kindness.” his lips suddenly stretched into a massive grin, creating -- in concert with his bloodied face -- a demonic visage. “Seya... was her name, I believe?” Eos’ laughter stopped at once as she glanced at Lino’s other arm, his hand grasping at a tiny, fragile throat of a frightened-looking girl shaking whole. Her purple eyes stared in fear and terror at the scene in front of her eyes; the indomitable Eos... Seya barely recognized her.


“Lino...” a faint, melodic voice grasped at Lino’s arm holding onto Seya. He shifted sideways and saw Hannah standing next to him, her eyes red, cheeks puffed, expression terrible.

“... how... is she?” he asked in a low tone, ignoring both Eos and Seya.

“...” Hannah didn’t say anything, turning her gaze toward Eos. “Are you proud of yourself?”

“...” Eos didn’t say anything, focused entirely onto the clenched hand around Seya’s throat.

“Take her,” Lino suddenly said as he let go of Seya. “And go knock Lucky out.”

“What about--”

“You don’t want to be here,” Lino said, turning his gaze back onto Eos. “Just go.”

“...” somewhat reluctantly, Hannah picked still-frozen Seya from the ground and left, occasionally glancing back at Lino’s back.

“... t-thank... you...” Eos stuttered out faintly.

“... he was a kid,” Lino said in a low tone, his eyes regaining some of their shine. “Blissfully ignorant, yet beyond passionate to do anything he can to help me. To be honest, I could literally do nothing and just wait. You’ve just condemned your Sect to a war that will lead to their extinction. Perhaps, it’s even what he’d want of me.”


“... and she... she was just beginning to grow whole again,” he bit his lower lip in agony. “To heal. I don’t know how I’ll look her in the eyes after today. How will I ever convince her that better things await. How will I ever reason today.”


“... but, it doesn’t matter.” he took a deep breath and looked up once more. “Today... I must teach this fucking world a lesson. One they’ll remember. One that will make them shake in their boots when they hear my name.” his voice grew colder and colder as he spoke on, eyes turning empty once more. “One that will never even allow them to think of harming anyone close to me. All this while, I genuinely believed, beyond all differences, in reason; that all people, regardless of everything, upheld it at least to a certain degree. That no matter how inspired by their ideology, they’ll stop for a moment and think. I still want to believe it, you know? That we are better than what we show to the world. That all of us, whatever else we may wish, ultimately want a world where we all get along just fine.”


“But,” he chuckled bitterly. “Eventually, one has to actually take a look at the world properly. We’re never gonna get along just fine. We are never gonna unite and realize everything we’re doing is just biting us back in the ass repeatedly. This is the world of morons, the age of idiots, the era of maniacs... and, by god, I’m tired of trying to see the best in everything and everyone. So, today, I won’t.” he slowly raised his free arm and brought it up to Eos’ forehead, pressing his thumb firmly against it. “I’ll just treat the world the same way it has treated me since the day of my birth.”

“---Ataxia!!” it wasn’t Eos’ voice that suddenly cried out from her lips, but rather Aurora’s. The panicked cry, however, did little to stop whatever Lino was doing. “A-are you insane?!! You can’t do that!! It will destroy the balance!!!”

“... then it will be destroyed.” Ataxia replied through Lino. “As all things shall eventually...”

“--NOOOO!!!” at that moment, the Light was snuffed out -- and the world was stirred into an abyss of madness that they couldn’t reason with or explain. Sun dimmed and dulled, golden colors turning muddy, the light of all things dying a slow, tepid death. Eos’ last breath wasn’t pleasant, yet she couldn’t voice out the pain.

She felt every inch of her being growing ripped as Aurora fought her own battle inside Eos’ Soul; bits and pieces scattered and burned, turning to ash, as she felt being devoured inside out, her soul splintering into millions of pieces, her singularity exploding within her, her entire body bloating up into a mess of blood and gore before melting like a candle into a pool of puss. With her death, the Light turned to slumber.


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About the author


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

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