A sudden chill ran down Angel's spine. She froze. Nobody else seemed to be moving. Angel couldn't pay any attention to that now.
"Hello my dear sister." Grinned her alter ego. "I know I'm a bit second rate, now you've found yourself a new evil twin, but I'm still around."
"What are you talking about?" Angel found herself saying. "You have no relation to me." The Shadow Lord began to pace around Angel, and let out a stark laugh.
"Oh no, of course not. We just look identical." She grinned. "Ever wondered why?" Angel paused. She gulped.
"The thought had crossed my mind."
"I died." The Shadow Lord stated. "It was unpleasant, but it happened. The citizens of Vana'diel rose up and destroyed me. They defeated me. Me. The Shadow Lord. The saviour of the beast men. The one who was supposed to rule the land."
"Go team." Angel smirked.
"Save your humour." The Shadow Lord shot. "I was forced to return to this world. I couldn't leave it to you pathetic mortals. No. I had to return. But I needed a spirit. I couldn't take physical form without one to claim for my own. Your daughter managed to return me to this world, but I knew it was only temporary. I needed a vessel to keep me here permanently."
"Me." Angel guessed. "I was the only one powerful enough."
"Oh, please. You flatter yourself. It was mere coincidence. You were simply an easy target. So I bound my own soul to a doll and murdered you, then used the power from your spirit to return to this world. I shall confess you have become powerful. That whelp Terra's summoning of you, combined with the power of my own that passed into your system, has made you a worthy adversary. Worthy enough to kill your own daughter, at least."
"I will destroy you!" Angel suddenly snapped.
"Settle down. I'm telling a story." The Shadow Lord said apathetically. "Your spirit died, so I took it, and warped it to my own shape. I used it to return. This we've covered. But your daughter summoned the real you back from the netherworld, and then there were two. We are two of the same whole, you and I. Two of the same spirit. And as much as I hate to admit it, this pathetic resistance will never die while there is still good to contend with."
"Exactly, you can't crush us. We will defeat you. It can take us a thousand years, but your reign will fall." Angel began to pace around the Shadow Lord.
"Wrong!" Roared the Shadow Lord. "We are parts of the same whole. You are good, I am evil. When the good dies, evil shall triumph. When you die, I shall rule this land and finally all life shall be crushed beneath me!" Her voice had suddenly erupted to one of fury. "I will destroy you and this land will burn! You have corrupted my soul with your own spirit as I have corrupted yours, but when you die, I shall be purified."
"Oh, I don't think so." Angel smirked, preparing to shift into Apathy and allow the battle to begin.
"Planning on changing forms?" The Shadow Lord's voice was suddenly sickly sweet. "I'm afraid that's impossible. You take on your 'evil' form and my power triples. For you are the only good holding me back from total domination. When you are evil, I am a God." Angel clenched her fists.
"I can take you." She decided.
"Can you? Look around you, Angel." Angel did so, peering at the forms around her, her friends, her allies, all frozen with black energy crackling around them.
"I am at the peak of my power. These pathetic mortals can't even move, or think. They are frozen before me. Even if I unfroze them, they would serve only me. Imagine what I can do in battle, Angel." The Shadow Lord suddenly became distracted. "Angel? How ironic. You're no Angel. You're the instrument of the demise of this world. You created me. Devil."
"I did not! You created yourself. You were born of the evil in this world, and are pure evil yourself. You just used me, abused me, and brought my whole family into this. You killed me! You killed her! You took my daughter from me! It's your fault!"
The Shadow Lord began to grin as Angel rocketed at her. Angel's huge magnificently white wings had sprung from her back and seemed to glow with energy. She had drawn no weapon. She didn't need one. This was a battle of pure hate.
The Shadow Lord flew backwards as Angel slammed into her, and stopped, floating in the air some distance away. Two huge black angel wings burst from her back, and a sinister grin formed on her face.
"Ah, this is it. The climatic battle between good and evil. Feel up to it?" She asked sarcastically.
"You will die!" Angel shrieked as she flew at her.
"Nothing like a little optimism in the face of danger, eh?" The Shadow Lord laughed, rocketing downwards at her opponent.
The struck in the air causing a titanic crash. The two sprang back, and rocketed at each other again. Thunder crashed and rain began to fall. It wasn't coincidence. The Shadow Lord's growing anger was reflected in the weather her dominance over the world had grown to such levels.
The clash in the air seemed to last years and yet only seconds as the two fought at superhuman speeds, clashing and striking with powers far beyond any being on the planet. The Shadow Lord slashed Angel and sent her crashing down into the ground below. Angel sprang out, wings fanning out and sending shards of rock flying everywhere from the rubble. The Shadow Lord shot at her and knocked her back into a building which simply caved in around her.
"Really. Would an Angel fight like this?" The Shadow Lord laughed. "Devil. You're a fighter. You always were. You're no Angel. You're a murderer. You're more like me than you can possibly know. If you were so pure, so innocent, my powers would never have become what they are."
"Shut up you arrogant bitch!" Screamed Apathy as she rocketed out of the rubble.
"Oh, excellent." The Shadow Lord managed to grin before the streak of blackness smashed into her. The Shadow Lord simply spun with the momentum of the attacking form and flung it back into the ground. Apathy sprang up again with an angry shriek. She rocketed at the Shadow Lord, and before she knew it crashed down into the sea.
Apathy sprang out from under the water only to feel the Shadow Lord rip into her flesh and throw her back into the ground once more. Apathy let out an angry sob, clearly losing the battle, and badly injured.
"Did you not listen, Devil?" The Shadow Lord asked. "You cannot defeat me in that form. You only make me stronger."
"So why would you be giving me advice on how to beat you?" Apathy tried to grin from the ground, but in her beaten form, she was finding it difficult.
"Because Angel is a weakling. And one that is easily crushed." The Shadow Lord landed on the ground, her wings folding behind her. "You have strength. Courage. Angel is just a broken little slave girl. She's pathetic, and weak. An easy target."
"Angel's not weak!" Came a sudden cry. "And believe me, I know what it means to be weak!" Vivli had an unusually cocky grin across her face, stood behind the Shadow Lord. The monster raised one curious eyebrow and turned.
"I seem to recall dealing with you." She stated.
"I'm a light sleeper." Vivli shot back. Apathy raised her own eyebrow.
"Vivli. You're being a bit more confident, aren't you?" Apathy asked, not allowing any emotion in her voice.
"S-sometimes you have to be." Vivli stuttered. "I mean, I can't escape. And I'm going to die. I have to fight. It beats going down without a battle."
"You?" The Shadow Lord laughed. "Put up a fight? I could kill you now with a mere thought. But where's the fun in that?" The Shadow Lord strode over to the little mithra, and folded her arms before her. "Go on then. Fight." The Shadow Lord laughed. "I won't defend myself. Fight. Hit me. Harm me." Vivli scowled, and hit the Shadow Lord as hard as she could. The resulting noise was a light tap. The Shadow Lord cackled in maniacal laughter. "So pathetic. You mortals never know when to just give up and die." The Shadow Lord slapped Vivli with such force she flew backwards into one of the nearby buildings, her frail body collapsing, twisted, broken. She didn't move. Life faded out of her eyes.
"VIVLI!" Angel suddenly screamed, Apathy being thrown from her. Angel forgot the Shadow Lord for a moment and rushed to fallen mithra. "Speak to me Vivli! Say something!" She begged. "I'm sorry. I know I've been mean to you! I know I've said some nasty things! But don't die! Come on! You have to live!"
"I…was….wrong…." Vivli managed to say.
"What?" Angel asked.
"I was wrong." She repeated. "You don't….have….to….fight…." Vivli's eyes fell shut, and the little mithra breathed her last.
Angel glared up at the Shadow Lord.
"You didn't. I do." She stated. "Enough death! You didn't need to kill her! She wasn't a threat! It was meaningless! Senseless!"
"Yes. But she had nothing to live for anyway. The greed of your friends took away her only purpose. Andrew and Lucia? Andrew was that little girl's one light. Lucia took it in her greed. She had nothing to live for, so she doesn't live. I did her a favor." The Shadow Lord laughed. "Oh, what an interesting drama your friends make."
"How did you know that? You've been watching us, haven't you?" Angel began to figure out.
"Nothing so sinister. Every soul I corrupt gives me their knowledge. I am the most knowledgeable, powerful creature in the whole universe now. You are nothing next to me. So embrace your destiny and die!"
"NEVER!" Angel screamed.
She ran at the Shadow Lord and the two clashed on the ground, exchanging punches, blows and scratches. Angel began to drive the Shadow Lord back, hitting harder every time. The Shadow Lord tried to retreat, fly backwards to get more distance, more power into her attacks, but couldn't. Angel relentlessly pounded her until she delivered one firm upper cut and the Shadow Lord crashed into a nearby building. Angel stood, panting.
There was a slight noise, and the Shadow Lord emerged from the rubble, cackling.
"Good show, Devil." She began to walk towards Angel, who was also panting, rage burning in her eyes. "But futile. You can't beat me. Every bit of your anger makes me stronger. Every bit of your rage brings you closer to death. Now, feel the wrath of your own hatred!"
Before Angel could even blink black lightning leapt from the Shadow Lord's hands and tore through her body, causing her to collapse with a scream. A horrific screech as she fell. It tore through her body like a pain beyond any she could imagine. It ripped her apart and made her burn. But she would not die. Her body would not let go. It held on and endured that torture. It would not fall from the world. Hours seemed to pass before finally the Shadow Lord stopped.
"Why?" She asked softly. "Why won't you die?" She began to pace. "You cannot take that pain, Devil, you are weak. Yet you live. Why!?"
"Because, I cannot…die…" Angel rose. "Me and you. Parts of the same whole." Angel slowly unsheathed Angelsheart. "We are the same. As long as one lives, the other lives. We cannot kill each other because we are one and the same."
"Then what are you doing with that feeble sword?" The Shadow Lord asked sceptically.
"Vivli was right. I don't need to fight." In one swift motion Angel spun the sword around and stabbed in through her own gut. "Just as you were born of my death, so you shall die by it." She spoke calmly, despite the blood dripping from her mouth. "We are two of the same whole. If one half dies, the other half dies. That's why you can't destroy me. But I can. I can take my own life." Angel dropped to her knees, wincing in pain. The Shadow Lord laughed.
"No. You're wrong." She quickly said. "You have to be." The Shadow Lord suddenly dropped to one knee. "No. You…must….be…..wrong…."
"Goodbye." Angel managed to say. "Goodbye, everyone." She collapsed.
"No! You are wrong! You have to be wrong!" The Shadow Lord shrieked, her voice beginning to distort, Angel's form leaving his body. "You must be wrong!" He screamed in his deep male voice, his body shimmering. "You must be wrong!" Light began to crack along his form. "DAMN YOU ANGEL! DAMN YOU!" He yelled. "AAAAAANNNNNNGGGGGGEEEEEEELLLLLLL!"
There was a spectacular explosion of light from the Shadow Lord's fallen form. It spread out across the entire land, crossing over every crack, every nook, and every part of the world. It was like one big whitewash, cleaning away the Shadow Lord's evil. Everywhere, his influence faded. The demons became uncorrupted. The world was purified. The dead rose. The destroyed buildings were rebuilt. The planet itself felt like it was turning back in time. His influence was all but erased. The world was saved. Every soul was reborn. Save one.
In Windurst, there was a lone mithra fishing off of the docks.
"I hope some fish bite." Vivli said to herself.
Something caught her off guard. She turned around to see another mithra wondering over to her. She watched the mithra uncomfortably for a moment, and then decided to speak up.
"Are you lost?" Vivli asked softly.
"No. I'm looking for my mother." Terra responded.
"Your mother? You've lost her?" Vivli commented sympathetically. "Come on, I'm sure we can find her together." Terra shook her head.
"No. I don't think I'll be seeing her again." She explained.
"Oh, don't say that." Vivli smiled. "Windurst can be a big city. I'm sure she's around."
"No. She's gone." Terra said, before grinning. "To a better place I'm sure."