Rudra no Hihou: Return of the Dark Ones

Chapter 3

"No matter how many times we've gone through here over the last four centuries, this place always gives me the creeps…" Dune stated as he and Scion walked into the odd, organic bowels of the Netherworld, the catacombs of the grand tower of Shumisen.

"You still haven't grown out of it yet?" Scion said with a laugh "Even when I went through here the first time to get to Gomorrah, this place didn't scare me."

"Tch, you act all tough, but I know you're really just a softie under all that armor."

Scion gave a glance at Dune, and then jabbed him with his elbow.

"Ow! Okay, you're not a softie, you're tough, you're strong!"

"That's better."

Dune sighed and shook his head as they continued their walk. It wasn't long before they reached the deepest chamber of the place, in all of its odd gray, cancer like glory. The only real light in the place was the odd, red mushroom like growth in the back, which bubbled with the bright blue and green of life essence. However, it was a little odd that Surlent wasn't to be seen anywhere.

"Well, Scion, he's not here, obviously. We wasted all our time just coming down here for a lot of nothing."

"Oh, shut up. We'll just have to wait for him to come back…"

"Right. Uh… how long do you think that will take?"

"I have no idea. You know how he can be…"

"What if he's already out there looking for… them? We could have missed him by just seconds."

"You worry too much," Scion answered as he stepped up to the glory of Gafu "What's waiting for a few minutes or hours? It's not like we're on some time limit."

"Have you already forgotten the destroyers? Who knows what they'll do if we just stand around here and wait!"

"Tch, once we all get together we'll send 'em back to where they came from."

"Cocky as ever, I see," a voice suddenly rang out from the dark.

Both of them jumped several feet into he air.

The folds of a cloak were suddenly illuminated by Gafu's light as the figure of Surlent came forward.

"There you are! Geez, don't scare us like that again!" Dune yelled.

"Us? You mean you, right, Dune? I wasn't scared at all." Scion responded, flashing a fake grin.

"I think you went in the air a little higher than Dune did. I can tell those sorts of things, you know. Twenty point five centimeters, to be exact…"

"Not all of us can be a smarty-pants like you, Surlent," Dune responded "But yeah, I think he DID jump higher than me, ha ha!"

Once again, Scion jabbed Dune with his elbow.

"Calm down, both of you. Now, could you tell me what's going on? Have THEY really arrived again? Gafu went insane a few hours ago… I thought that might have been the cause, but I wasn't sure."

"Oh yeah, they've arrived, or at least one of them did," Dune answered, rubbing his sore shoulder.

"One?"

"Yeah, Scion ran into it when it arrived…. The thing kicked his ass."

"Well, I still put up a good fight, nonetheless. Malevol just had the advantage that time, is all."

"Malevol?" Surlent asked, tilting his head.

"That's what the thing called itself, yeah… Strong, tall, ugly, hell of a fighter and spellcaster… I'm not exactly a magician. That's you an' Riza. If the four of us were fighting him, using the power of our Jades, we probably coulda taken him down easy."

"Don't be too sure of that… hatred is a strong feeling…"

"Hatred? What does that have to do with anything?" Dune stared.

"Malevol, Dune. Shortened version of the term 'Malevolent'?"

"Malevolent, malevolence, hatred." Scion began "That… thing was the embodiment of hatred! I could have sworn I felt hate coursing through 'im… I may have been right."

"Aha…" Dune said, drifting off into his own mind suddenly… and suddenly, he went limp.

"Dune?" said Surlent

"Dune!" Scion yelled.

Suddenly, he snapped back.

"Hatred, fear, anguish, death, and nothingness… The banes of existence…"

Scion and Surlent looked at Dune, quite confused.

"The manifestations of these things will come, and they will enact the end of All…"

"What's he blabbering about?" Scion asked, quite surprised by this sudden event.

"The Jades, they will stop these beings, held by the chosen ones, at the height of evolution, the true inheritors of the Gods…"

"The Jades…? He must be talking about us!" Surlent stated "But if there's more than hatred… and if Malevol is hatred, who are Fear, Anguish, Death, and Nothingness?"

"But whether the destroyers or the chosen ones will be victorious, it is unknown… The Gods must chance it, they must create the chosen…"

And with that, Dune snapped back into the real world.

"Okay, what the hell?" Dune asked, rubbing his head "What's going on, and what's with this sudden headache?"

He turned around and looked at the other two, their mouths agape.

"What? Why are you looking at me like that!"

"Well, you went limp and then started babbling, first off." Scion replied.

"That's not all, though," Surlent began "It was talk about the Jades, the Eternal Engine, the destroyers, stuff pertaining to us and them…"

"Okay… I see. I don't know how that happened, though…"

"Your Jade probably reacted to Scion talking about Malevol… And triggered the knowledge that was given to you…"

"If Riza hears of this, she's gonna yell at me. I promised specifically NOT to use the knowledge at all."

"You couldn't control it, though, it would seem. She'd understand."

"I hope so… You know how she can be sometimes."

"True," Scion said, looking around.

"Speaking of Riza, where is she?" Surlent asked.

"Dunno," Dune replied "I and Scion decided to check up on you first. She's probably still at her tower or someplace close. She couldn't have gotten too far."

"Thing is, though, it's already turning nighttime up on the surface… We should probably just rest for now and start out in the morning. Riza should be okay without us…"

The other two nodded.

City of Babel

"She awake yet?"

"No, she's still out cold. Whatever got to her really did a number on the poor woman. If whatever attacked could take her down, who knows what it could do to regular people like you and me.

"Well, she'll either wake up eventually, or she'll die. I hope for the former…"

"As do I, Brother."

"It's getting dark already. Probably should get dinner started."

"Indeed. Hey, maybe she'll wake up from the smell of food?"

"Maybe. Only way to find out is to start cooking!"

"Yes. Let's get to work!"

But Riza kept on sleeping, through the rest of the night.

End Day 1

To Be Continued…