~Into the Darkness~
Rud Han x Anichella
I owed her a debt, he thought as he laid dying.
The bleeding from three gaping wounds on his chest had been so severe that the light in his eyes started to fade. In exchange for his life, his friends would survive. With no time to decide and no chance to escape, he turned his claws on himself. As the reaper closed in on him, he remembered her.
It was a long time ago, on the coast, where he laid dying from an illness. A girl—No, an angel appeared before him, offering him salvation. Her smile brightened his world.
A few years later, her grandpa passed away. With no other choice, she could only turn to Reunion. Never wanting to leave her side, he followed her without regret.
Reunion was a hell for those who didn't possess the ability. With his health constantly deteriorating at inopportune times, he was worse than even the normal students, only possessing a portion of the breathing techniques of Southern Taek-Gyun, and Feline Claws, which was considered an inferior art. His only reason for staying, and being allowed to stay, was to be by her side.
With this art, he found himself facing off against Reunion's monster, Vera Linus. Unable to even approach her, he nearly lost his right eye to her Void Strike. Despite everything, no matter what they thought of him, he struggled to remain there. All to repay his debt to her, regardless of the price.
During this time, he saw how they, the Traditionalist were humiliated. Forced to abandon their arts and conform to Reunion's standard, they were slowly being killed off. Overwhelming pressure, from that broken system, made it so that they had no choice.
On that fateful day, he watch Anichella fight against someone named Guhoo, one of Vera's guard dogs. She was supposed to win against him and face off against Vera. She was rumored to be the only one who could fight against Vera directly.
So how did she die by the hands of someone like him?
To a mere punk like him?
In anger, he took up his claws and tried to avenge Anichella. But his claws were too dull and couldn't even scratch Guhoo. So he trained.
He fought Guhoo countless times, lost countless times, and trained countless times. Until one day, his claws broke through his Iron Soul.
After that, Vera forbade them from fighting ever again. To protect her little cub, she took away his vengeance. However, he realized that even if he killed him, nothing would change. The Traditionalist would always be the ones crawling on the ground, as long as this system called Reunion was in place.
No, he had to break this system apart. And to do that, Vera had to fall. So, he plotted with Honse to revive Anichella's art, despite both her and her grandfather's wishes. It was his anger that led him to choose this path, one where he chose five students to use the art…and they died from it.
Those five deaths were unforeseeable. But, in order to get revenge for Anichella, he was responsible. To avoid the risk that it would end up in Reunion's hands, he kept the breathing method a secret and allowed them to die.
He carried the weight of their lives on his bloodstained back, as his sought another way to topple Vera. He used deceit, trickery, and manipulation, all for this goal.
He was no longer the person Anichella knew.
He was no different than Vera now.
Therefore, he could no longer fight against the system that claimed her. With Guhoo killed by Vera, he could not get revenge for her. Vera took his Veritas from him.
But at the very least, to atone for the deaths of those five and to make sure that his friends would survive, he decided to go gently into the darkness. His Veritas may have been lost, and he knew that he would not join Anichella in the afterlife, but as long as they survive, he would go into darkness without regret.