“Thank you, Eryk, for allowing me this amazing opportunity,” Rare says to me. They stand atop a pile of rubble, high up in the palace of South Spire, in the ruins of the former throne room destroyed during their battle with the Demon Queen Mestopholees.

Now that the palace is gone, there is an excellent view of the landscape around the region. With my 360-degree vision, I can see the wasteland and distant mountains... and the Anti-Mage Army advancing towards the city with little in the way of opposition.

I never realized just how high up the throne room was until I got this view.

“I cannot accept your thanks,” I say, “because you are saying the words of a foolish fool.”

“I defeated Miss M, did I not?” they ask, gesturing to the barely breathing woman lying on the ground next to us. “In effect, I am now the leader of the New Slayers. I have brought peace, in a way.”

“But you wish to bring the invasion to Mystix all the same?”

“Of course. Thanks to your advice, I opened a line of communication with Earth and coordinated with the United States government. Their invasion will begin as soon as I give them the signal... which is now.”

They make a magical gesture which ignites a flashy light. It does not appear to do anything, but I can only assume it is some sort of inter-universal flare.

“The U.S. will decimate us,” I tell them.

“No, they won’t,” they say. “They have promised to give Mystix autonomy, as long as we trade them resources and allow them to build their factories here. We receive riches, they receive riches, and best of all, I have already subdued the primary opposition leader. There is simply no downside here.”

“Until you yourself are made opposition leader, that is.”

Rare laughs. “Oh, you fool, Eryk,” they say. “You do not understand the full scope of my plans. You never have, I suspect. Always so single-mindedly focused on your own path that you have never stopped to consider that your plans might not be the right ones after all.”

I say nothing.

“I am about to end the Destiny Deck System,” they say with increasing volume and cadence. “I am about to break the shackles held on Mystix forever. Our power will increase and we will be able to hold back any invasion by these weakened soldiers who unwisely have taken the system onto themselves. Once we destroy it, they will have nothing.”

“And how, exactly, do you plan to destroy the entire system, again? And why do you think that will help us?”

“If we can all unleash our magic, free from the confines of levels and skills and classes, we will be able to gain much more power much more quickly. You know this, and so do I; otherwise I with no system would not be so much more powerful than every other being on Mystix. And I will ensure that happens by defeating The Goddess.”

They underestimate not only me, but the entire world, it seems. “The Goddess is not malicious. You must believe me. She only has the best, or possibly most neutral, intentions. The United States does not. They wish to reverse climate change on their own planet by accelerating it on ours. They will not stop until their economic growth has reached acceptable levels!”

Rare suddenly seems entirely disinterested in speaking with me about this matter, and in fact turns away from me. “See you on the other side, Eryk. Literally.”

Mestopholees, who up until now was entirely unconscious, stirs. “Rare, don’t do it...”

“What will they do?” I ask.

Still turned around, they laughed again. “You don’t get it, do you? I learned it from you, Eryk. There’s only one path to The Goddess’s domain.”

“Wait... Rare, no!”

“My karma may be low, but I will surely be granted an audience. I am a North Spiran, after all.”


Rare sprints as fast as they can to the edge of the palace, overlooking a grand cliff many hundreds of feet from the ground—

And then they jump.

Arms outstretched, smile on their face.

Their figure grows smaller, and smaller, until finally they are simply a blip in the distance. And that blip smashes into the ground. I cannot see the gore and guts that must have come forth, but just the image of it... I cannot bear to think of it.

Mestopholees is still unable to move but she does scream incomprehensibly, her voice hoarse and tears in her eyes.

“You must have some pretty choice words for me,” I say.

She does not have time to speak, though, because just minutes later a large portal opens up in the sky, and an F-35 fighter plane flies through. Then another. Then another.


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About the author

B. A. Baker (Thedude3445)

Bio: I like to watch movies.

Avatar art by Andrew Hussie

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