Disclaimer: Based off the comic series Imaginary Range by Square Enix. Title and Lyrics property of Zebrahead. All credit and references go to their respective owners, I do not own Soul Eater.
Wake Me Up
For the best writing partner and friend a guy could ever ask for, happy birthday Mariana.
Down, down, down
When it all falls
Down, down, down,
Who will you blame?
Of all the worlds left to destroy, it never occurred to him that a scene from a video game might be one of them.
This scenario wasn't one he'd planned for, and it surprised him to say the least; how many times had he gone through this as a child? Growing up without a care in the world, hacking and slashing through villains in order to save the princess. Every kid went through it, only none of them could have guessed that those button-smashing skills would be a life saver in the future. Even now, as he held up his sword and shield, the lone hero couldn't help but to take in everything around him. Abstract trees surrounding him in a forest, almost as numerous as the dozens of wolves closing in for their next meal.
It was all so cool. At least it was, until he realized what this world had given him for clothing...Tights were just so, well, tight. He could hardly breathe let alone hold his blade, and the clothing itself wasn't doing much for his morale at the moment. Even being surrounded by packs of starving canines couldn't keep his mind off the fact that his only real shred of decency left was a goddamn pieces of green cloth that barely covered his waist, which was basically a pathetic excuse for a kilt. Tights and a tunic, dear god, what kind of place had fate dropped him in now? Why couldn't it have been an action world-?
His thoughts snapped back to the task at hand when suddenly shriek growls broke the crisp, silent air, the tell-tale call of an animal whose dinner was just inches away from being consumed. For the moment, his gripes would have to wait. His priority now was to stay alive and figure out where to find her, but in order to do that he'd have to skin a few pelts first. So despite his reservations about killing an animal, the lone hero kept his wits about him and drew out his sword. A mere second later and the first wave of wolves were at his doorstep, and it was his pleasure to greet them with cold, hard steel.
It wasn't even real, anyway. This was just another world, another reality, which needed to be erased. And it was his job to do it, if not for himself, then for her.
That was the calming thought, his moral compass; everything was for her and always it was worth it. So in that instance he didn't care about the tights, didn't care about the ridiculousness of looking like an oversized man-fairy. He didn't think twice as that sword sunk cleanly into a poor wolf's head and the pitiful thing fell to the ground as dead flesh and bones. Those canine fangs that sunk into him from every angle? They didn't hurt, not really. Not nearly as much as the thought of losing her all over again, a stinging pain that thousands of wolves could never hope to match. Which is why he didn't stop swinging, didn't stop bashing their skulls in with his shield. This was a video game world, after all. It was his job to do this anyway.
He was the lone hero, Soul Evans. Apparently a warrior from the desert, at least that's what this world had to say about him anyway. His prize; the fair princess from the house of Albarn who, off the record, was also quite bitchy when pissed off or ignored for too long. Just the thought was enough to make him give a toothy grin, despite the situation he currently found himself in. As another dog came round to sink its teeth into his leg, Evans bit into his lip till it bled to prevent himself from screaming. Hero's didn't scream, and if he was going to win this video game then he'd have to play the part. His only job to stay alive and find her, which he repeated over and over again. That was his one job, his only job. To protect her after this second chance, because he'd already fucked up the first time.
A wolf leaped out in front of him, catching his immediate attention. With every ounce of strength this world gave him, he heaved his shield-arm at the creature as it came. Steel and skull collided, resulting in a echoing crunch. The beast fell dead, but more came to take it's place. Growling, the lone hero quickly gave them similar fates. He took his shield once more and with a primal roar pummeled one to death, while at the same time slashing another one's head clean off its body. Both savagely killed, the remaining wolves seemed to back off slightly at the display. At least in video games, it looked like animals had a little more sense than in the real world.
Noticing them start to cower, Soul bore his teeth like the wolves trying to kill him. "Come at me again and I'll fucking slice you open!"
Thankfully, they weren't stupid. Looking at each other as if speaking without words, the evil things decided against another attack. They simply stood their ground and waited, staring down the hero as he leered down at them with menacing red eyes. Perhaps that's why the wolves were so hesitant; not so much that he had a sword and shield, but because of how evil he looked himself. Crimson eyes that matched the blood on his clothes and hair, the latter of which stood out as snow white against the backdrop of painted blue skies. This was his persona, the body that formed the moment he and she began surfing realities together.
It did it's job. After a quick standoff, the creatures had had enough of this warrior from hell. Without looking back, they howled a retreat and turned with their tails between their legs. Soul stood in the middle of that clearing as they ran back to safety, leaving him by his lonesome as the bodies and shadows disappeared into the wood. Soon, it was just him by himself. Alone in the forest full of monsters ready to kill him, and without a shred of information or knowledge about where to go. Not that he worried about that, since his focus was elsewhere. More towards the puncture wounds all over his body, the damn things just begging to be infected. And with every shuddered breath he took, Soul could feel the pain shoot up his spine.
"Video game logic," he closed his eyes, hissing as his body shook uncontrollably. "I'm the hero. The hero always gets cool stuff."
Not that it made any sense, but Evans had a feeling that he had something tucked away in that tunic of his. Despite there being no pockets or really anything else to put an object in, he knew firsthand the ridiculous physics of a fantasy video game world. Through the pain, the lone hero shook his head and reached behind him on a whim. As if by magic, a moment later there was something in his hand. Shocked as shit, Soul scrambled to bring it out and gaze at whatever it was; a glass simple glass bottle, nothing out of the ordinary about it. Expect it wasn't the bottle that was interesting, but the glowing fairy inside that was so special.
He couldn't pop to lid off fast enough. After all, nothing bad came out of a fairy in a jar. "Alright, so, do you heal me? Or give me advice, or what-?"
"-Fool!" the little creature shouted in its squeaky voice. Soul watched with mild interest as it floated up to meet him at eye level.
The hero waited for it to say something else, but only silence fell between them. "Fool? Is that all you do is call people-?"
"-Fool!" it repeated, and this time Soul couldn't help but to scowl at the thing. "I only help the true hero, not you."
"What the fuck are you going on about!" he shouted back, still shaking from pain. This conversation was shit.
The little fairy with an unusually big nose laughed haughtily, "Just because you invade someone else's world doesn't mean I have to help you."
Annoying little fucker. Soul had no patience for smart-ass fairies at the moment, especially since he looked like one himself. His left eye twitching with anger, in a snap he whipped out the glass jar from before and soundly trapped the damn creature inside it. The little thing caused a ruckus as he slapped on the lid, the pain in Soul's wounds feeling just a little bit better at the sight of the fairy's smug self getting put in its place. Without another thought, he put the jar behind him once more and the thing disappeared into nothingness. Maybe there was something else that could help him? Something less annoying.
His palm waited pleadingly for something to fill it, and eventually something did. A moment later and he was pulling it out, looking over carefully the milky-blue liquid inside another glass bottle. No fairy in sight, and he knew that in a video game world, if there was anything edible you'd mine as well eat it. With nothing else to lose and every fiber of his being screaming out in pain, he popped the lid off and threw his head back to down the stuff. It slid down his throat like liquid silk and slightly burned on its way down, but immediately he knew this potion did the trick. Soul twitched at the feeling of dozens of puncture wounds closing as if by magic, steam coming from them as they closed for good and left no trace of themselves behind.
"That's one problem taken care of," he sighed in content, his pain washing away for good. "Now I gotta find Maka."
Testing out his arms and legs, Soul was quickly satisfied with the results. He swung his sword and shield in the air, then promptly put them up behind him so as to think about what to do next; in order to destroy this world, he had to rescue the princess and beat the game. In order to beat the game, there was always a boss to defeat at the final level. And the final level was always an insanely large castle guarded by hordes of monsters, hidden somehow or inaccessible to lower level players. But he was the hero, he could do whatever the hell he wanted. All he needed to do was find out where to go next.
It took him longer than it should have to figure it out, but when he did he smacked his head, "A map!"
Another swipe behind him, another item miraculously appearing in his hand. At this point nothing surprised him, and pulling out a map from empty space was just another day on the job for him. He unwound it and looked the thing over, snorting a bit when he spotted a bright red arrow where he was standing that said 'You are here.' At least it was easy to read, and in a moments time he already had a sense of where to go. Ironically, back towards the desert where this world said he was from. The place was far away but, thankfully, the map had drawn a path for him to take. Straight through the forest, back behind him towards a range of mountains off in the distance.
Soul looked up towards the sky and noticed the sun already starting to set, meaning all sorts of creatures would be up and about to take him on. And if he was going to find Maka anytime soon, he needed to get the hell out of there before something delayed him even more. But first thing was first; he needed to take off these idiotic clothes. With a scowl, Evans ripped off his long sleeves, followed by his pant legs. Just enough to where it rose above the knees and he could move freely, while still maintaining his dignity. Then that damn tunic; he ripped it up as best he could, enough to where his clothes resembled a t-shit and shorts.
When that was done, he took off right away. There was no more room to slack off, since the stars were coming out and the sun was slowly making its way over the mountains. That's where he needed to go, just beyond those craggy rocks waited what he came here for. The end of the world, and another step closer to making his own. With her. Just the two of them. If not in the real world where they belonged, then another false reality just like the countless others they'd ended together. Only this time he wouldn't fuck it up like before, he wouldn't fail her and she definitely wouldn't let him.
They just worked out like that. And the sad part was, the only person who realized that was him.
I want to be what I'm not,
I want to care a lot,
I want to stop your fall,
I want to take it all
Something about this princess didn't seem right to him. Weren't they all just mild-mannered women scared of little more than rat's droppings? Not that he'd ever really met one before but, damn this one was more trouble than she was worth! If it wasn't one thing it was another; rattling around in her cage like a feral cat, shouting obscenities at him, threatening to rip his balls off. If he had known capturing one would have been this much trouble, he'd have just blasted her into oblivion like the king. But alas, it had to be done. After all, what good is an evil ruler without a wench to clean up after him?
"You son-of-a-bitch!" the fair princess Albarn hissed like a cheetah, shaking the bars to her cage. "Come over here so I can strangle you!"
"Oh, no my princess. As much as I'd like that, I think I'll stay over here for the time being." Lord Noah mumbled, putting on a noticeably fake smile.
Women. Actually, humans in general. Such vile creatures, and people wondered why he had no remorse for slaughtering villages and cities alike. Monsters and demons were much better company, though a bit on the silent side. At least they did everything he told them to, which was damn sure better than these bumbling buffoons the king kept to guard his palace. It was so easy to destroy his castle that he actually felt slightly bad for just coming in and leveling the place...slightly. Then again if he hadn't, the provinces's only princess wouldn't have been his for the taking. And, despite her vulgarity, she had her uses.
Limp, blonde hair that fell to her shoulders. Emerald green eyes that the promiscuous king Spirit was well known for, set in her sockets as well. She had a small frame, though her strength was enough to make him take notice. A fine example of humanity; for all intents and purposes, the best of the worst. She'd make a fine wife or slave, depending on how nice she was when he let her out of the cage. Either way, there'd surely be children. Five or six, depending on his mood. Ah well, such things could wait. He had bigger things to think about now, like which of the remaining countries should he burn to the ground.
"Soul, where you?" she growled from behind him, causing him to turn around.
Lord Noah raised a brow, "The little boy from the village? You think I didn't already dispose of him?"
"Of all the worlds, we had to get stuck with this one," she blabbered on, completely ignoring the dark lord and his taunts.
A twitch of anger swept through Noah; this woman was crazier than she was brash. Not an attractive trait in a future wife, and the thought made him lean more towards the side of letting her remain his slave. Whatever the decision, he had to be cautious with this one. Knowing that, Lord Noah kept his eye on her as he made his way out of the room. If nothing else, he could make sure she didn't try to pick the lock and jump him from behind, which was quite the possibility. Luckily it didn't come to that and she remained silent as the door opened for him. Giving one last look and a fake smile, he soundly sealed off the room so there'd be no hope for escape. Even if she did get out of her cage, where on earth would she go? The thought boosted his confidence, and soon he was out of there for good.
That just left Maka there to stew in her own misery; it didn't really occur to her that she was by herself until the silence set in, and soon that fiery resistance gave way to wallow and self-pity. With no one to yell at, those feelings only magnified as the minutes past. With a sigh, she looked down at her emerald-green dress and shook her head. To even be in this situation as humiliating enough, let alone the consequences of what this meant. Maka knew all too well that this was a video-game world and that she drew the short end of the stick being made a princess. Now, that meant relying on Soul to do all the work and set her free. The bastard would be so smug about it too, she just knew he'd sneer at her and make some smart ass remark when he got there.
Her lips pursed in annoyance at the thought, but after a minute of wondering she finally relented, "Never thought I'd miss him, though.
Soul was a good friend, something she could never say otherwise. Ever since all this bullshit started, he was there for her every step of the way. From the first world they invaded till this one, she could always rely on him to hold up his part of the work. And now that it was up to him to do everything, she knew her faith was well put in him. True, it was a tall order, but he was almost as stubborn as she was. Soul just needed the right motivation; he was pretty lazy otherwise, but maybe her being in danger was enough? It wouldn't be the first time one of them got captured but, this time seemed different for some reason.
They'd been through so much together. A water-world where both of them were sharks...that was an interesting one. Then of course there was that time they invaded a jungle planet and she was the one who had to bail him out, making Maka smile at the memory of it. Soul always acted like the tough guy, the manly-man, and for the most part he was. But sometimes he could be a big baby, much like when he got abducted by an entire village of intelligent monkeys. By the time she came to rescue him, his pants were about as soaked with piss as her forehead was with sweat. For two days straight, she laughed...
...Then the world ended. At least, that one did anyway. They completed their mission by then, which was the same for every other; kill the world's leader. For the water-world, it was a gigantic squid. The jungle planet, a great, white ape. And for this one they found themselves in now, it was obvious that Lord Noah was their next target. And unlike many others, Maka had no remorse for this killing. The bastard deserved to die, and the sooner they destroyed this fake-reality, the sooner both of them could finally stop chasing after their freedom and just go home. Back to peace and contentment, back to-
"-Whatcha thinking about?" a familiar drawl rumbled in her ears, making her jump up to meet its owners eyes.
What she saw made her gasp; different shades of burning scarlet, with only one of those shades being Soul's telltale crimson eyes. The rest was unmistakably blood, in all its different stages of age and consistency. Some was new, some was old, but no matter what it was everywhere. Maka gaped at the realization that some it was his too, with a noticeable gash marring his otherwise smooth face. She didn't know how on earth he got in without anyone knowing, but that part wasn't important now. She knew it was him without a doubt, and didn't hesitate to poke her hand out to cup his cut-up cheek.
He flinched at the feeling of her touch, but quickly melted into her comforting eyes. "It's just a scratch, trust me. The blood's mostly from everyone else."
"God, you're such an idiot!" she told him with concern, simply leaving it at that. With her thumb, she began stroking his wound gently.
It was painful, but Soul really didn't mind. He simply closed his eyes and smirked, "Yeah, I know. You keep reminding me."
Without even looking, the hero reached behind his back and pulled out a ring of keys as if from thin air. Maka blinked in surprise, but her expression quickly fell flat when Soul gave her that smug look she knew he'd give her. Without needing to say anything, her eyes told him all he needed to know; shut the hell up and open this damn cage. Knowing his partner all too well, Soul relented. He still smiled though when the door swung open and Maka quickly hopped out with his help, her long dress making it difficult to climb down on her own. She thanked him for the help, but cocked her head when he continued to smile.
As if reading her mind, he chuckled. "Oh, nothing princess. Just saying to myself how awesome you look in that dress."
"Cut the crap, Soul," she sighed. Despite her response though, there was no hiding the blush across her cheeks. "I just want out of here."
Evans nodded whilst taking out his sword, leaving her to roam around the room and find that hidden passage he'd used to get inside. Meanwhile, Maka's priority was to fix her dress into something more manageable. She bent over and ripped the lower half to pieces, enough so she could properly walk around instead of tripping over herself. Torn to shreds, it wasn't easy on the eyes, but it got the job done. She sighed tiredly, shrugging it off as Soul searched the giant mason stones that littered the walls for a way out. The passageway must have closed behind him, either that or he really was a complete idiot.
Ah, but she couldn't complain. He made it back to her in one piece, even though it did take him a while. His ripped clothes were a testament to that, and...wait a minute, were those tights? Tights and a tunic? They definitely were! The bastard probably ripped them up himself, and he was the one making fun of her for wearing a dress? Suddenly the blush returned to her face all over again, but only because she tried her damnedest not to break down and start laughing then and there. They needed to get out of there, the sooner the better. That way she could rub it in his face how much of a dork he looked like, and the thought had Maka pleading with herself to keep quiet. If Soul found out she knew, it'd be a half hour before she convinced him to get back to work.
With a grin she looked him over again, expecting to reminded of how funny the whole thing was, but instead something else caught her attention. Blood splattered on the top half of his tunic, some more obvious gashes along his legs. In this video game, gore seemed to be the main attraction. And even though she knew most of it wasn't his, the sight was still a little heart wrenching to say the least. Instead of laughing at him, now Maka wondered just what he'd gone through to get here. He could've been cut to pieces for her sake!...which might have already happened for all she knew. There were always extra lives in the violent games, right? Maybe Soul had already been killed on the way over? Stabbed? Burned alive? Eaten?
As he continued to search the walls, Maka stewed in her own worries until it became too much for her. "Soul? Please tell me you didn't die getting here...did you?"
"Did I die?" he repeated in amazement, stopped dead in his tracks by the question. "Maka, if I was dead, how the hell could I be talking to you right now?"
The fair princess smiled awkwardly, embarrassed. "Well, I just figured you might have since the hero always has more than one life..."
"Not this time, Maka. If I die it's game over," Soul answered back casually, not even turning around to look at her as he did.
Her smile quickly faded; she just stood there and stared, unable to find the right words to say to him. Soul could have been killed on his way over here! All that blood...he shrugged it off like nothing, but it wasn't. Orcs, goblins, whatever else was out there, any one of them could have cut his adventure short. This was a fantasy game so, did that mean there were dragons too? Suddenly, Maka's heart started to pump just a little bit faster. And as if knowing something was up, Soul stopped yet again and turned around to face her this time. He didn't make it any easier to hide her worry with that concerned look of his, either.
"What's bugging you?" he asked with a raised brow, dropping the task at hand to come towards her.
Maka feverishly shook her head and ground out, "Nothing's bugging me, Soul! You just have to avoid fighting from now on, that's all!"
"Oh, I see," Evans quickly grinned, sheathing his sword. "Well, look. If we're gonna obliterate this place, I've gotta kill Lord Noah. But we have to get out of here first, so let's just-"
-Silence. Cold, immediate silence that followed soon after Soul finished those words. Because neither he nor Maka noticed until it was too late, that small hissing noise that started up just a few seconds ago from underneath the doorway leading out. Their focus on each other, they didn't see an imposing figure muttering words of power for a spell. The hero never got a chance to hear it, let alone see it. All he did was feel that swirling ball of pulsating energy slam into the side of his skull, blindsiding him. Before she even realized, Maka was watching her savior fly into the air and across the room, leaving her in the open.
Then a split second later, it finally registered across her face. Terror and shock at the sound of a body slamming into solid rock, followed by frantic desperation as the cackling of a madman echoed through out the chambers. She knew who it was; Lord Noah, back to take care of one loose end. But Maka couldn't face him, not when Soul was down. She turned and ran towards him, shouting out his name at the sight of his limp body up against the wall like a rag-doll. In her head, thousands of things rushing around like white-rapids. The thought of Soul dead being the loudest, and it shouted through every fiber of her being.
"No, no! Can't have that!" Noah shouted quickly, waving his hand in the air. At his call, a demonic worm came from the shadows. "Bind her."
Giant, ringed eyes homed in on its prey. The dark lord's creature rushed through the air, it's open mouth ringed with razor sharp fangs fit for consuming. As fast as Maka was she couldn't outrun the thing, and before she could it make it to Soul, the demon cut her off. With a terrifying growl, it coiled around her like an anaconda and restricted her till even her chest could barely move. The princess tried to fight the beast off, but to no avail. In a mere seconds time she was trapped, unable to move and at the monster's mercy. Pleased, Lord Noah snapped his fingers and summoned his pet back to him.
"Dammit, let me go!" she screeched, eyes wild with fear at the sight of her motionless partner in a heap on the floor.
Satisfied with the panic he heard in her voice, Lord Noah sneered at the maiden's plight, "And tell me why in hell's name would I do that?"
Maka tried with every ounce of her strength to struggle and break free, but most of it went towards the strain of breathing against tightly coiled muscles. They constricted her greedily, not leaving even the smallest opening of which to take advantage. Each passing moment sapped her energy till even holding her head up as a chore, and quickly the support in Maka's neck gave way as well. She slumped forward, conscious but just barely. Her legs, still dangling as the rest of her disappeared in a demon's coil, became near-lifeless like a rag doll. No longer could the woman spit venom and soon, the darkness started to set in from the corner of her eyes. Air was leaving too fast to take back in, and soon she'd pass out-
"-Fuck you...piece of crap...I knew I stopped playing games...for a reason...!"
Completely forgotten amidst the chaos happening, a motionless body suddenly came back to life. Lord Noah, too preoccupied with the suffocating princess to take notice, suddenly found himself spinning to face his nemesis as he slowly picked himself back up. The hero coughed in a fit as he rose, finding it hard to breathe let alone act as though he could fight, but still managed to work in that shit-eating grin all the same. He wobbled terribly, with dust and small rubble collected at his shoulders from when he smacked into the wall. His sword lay at his side, and with a growl he bent over to retrieve it. Thankfully Noah did nothing to stop him, though mostly out of shock than respect.
The dark lord instead scowled with distaste at the sight once his surprise dissipated. Attention redirected, he snapped his fingers and called off the binding coil of his demon worm. Almost immediately, the beast retracted and let Princess Maka fall to the floor pathetically. Her body limp and immobile, she plopped on the hard stone with a thud and remained there. Soul barked for her, calling out his partner's name in the hopes she'd respond. But all he got back was silence, that and Lord Noah's cackle at the piteous sight in front of him. With another snap of his fingers, the worm went on the offensive. It's gaping mouth chomped at open air, spike-like teeth ready to skewer at any moment.
Evans threw his sword up in front of him as the beast came. With every ounce of himself, he tried to keep his strength up to meet the thing head on. And as the clang of metal and tooth resonated through out the cramped room, it became clear to the lone hero that his choice was the right one. There was no room to gain speed, and the worm could only throw itself so far. With little momentum, the monster didn't have the strength to breath through. But neither did Soul and both enemies held each other in place, struggling for control.
"Give it up, boy! You can't win!" Noah shouted from across the way, folding his arms in annoyance.
Shaking from exhaustion as the beast roared in his face, Soul bore his teeth. "I'm doing this for her, goddammit! I'll never surrender!"
"This is reality. You should get that through your thick skull," the evil king muttered, scowling when Evans roared back in defiance. "So be it."
Another snap came, and to Soul's utter horror the demonic worm shook with a sudden power. All of a sudden he was at the creature's mercy, no longer its equal he instead fought just to avoid being crushed. With everything he had, the hero tried to drive his feet and put what little upper strength he had into pushing back with his sword. But it was no use, he was getting tired and the worm wasn't. In fact, with every second past the thing came down even harder on him. After a certain point, his legs buckled. Pushed down towards the ground, Soul reached his limit faster and faster. Then came his arms and finally that was it; exhaustion had taken its toll.
The worm trampled him. Its head smashed into the ground with such force that the stones on the ceiling fell everywhere, except of course where Lord Noah stood, satisfied. He watched his pet writhe, its body coil and shaking like a snake as its head stuck clean to the floor, Evans no doubt somewhere in the creature's mouth. No resistance came, though the villain didn't expect any. A second was all it took to confirm his kill, and with a wave he beckoned the monster to return to his side. It pulled it's head out from the ground, revealing a motionless body face first on the floor. His sword somewhere undearneath him, there was no way the hero could've made it out of this one.
Content, Noah smiled. Out of arrogance and celebration of his supreme victory, he made his way over to the unconcious princess and shook his head; such a beautiful girl, yet far too much trouble for her own good. The king sighed, while at the same time taking his boot to her face in order to step on it. He'd have to get rid of the both of them, since there was no way he'd have the patience for a girl with so much spirit. His enemy's body would be the first to go, probably down the garbage schute...or perhaps the furnace? Yes, that would be perfect. No, nevermind, such a disposal would be particularly smelly. The last thing he needed was to stink up a brand new palace-
The ranting in the maniac's head came to a complete halt. It wasn't possible, no man could survive that. And yet to Noah's utter dismay, when he picked his head up to glance over the body of his seemingly deceased foe, there he was. At most a pathetic attempt to push himself up from the floor, but the fact that he could even breathe after that was impressive enough. Dirty and wet from the demon worm's mouth, Evans dripped with blood and sweat as he lifted himself to meet Noah's face. Both men stared each other down, the former's eyes solid with a determination that disgusted the latter; his body was broken, but there was nothing he could do to extinguish his fire.
"This is a dream," Soul weezed, coughing up something he'd rather not look at. "Nothing is real. None of it."
Noah raised a brow, not sure whether to be amused or surprised. "That blow to the head must have rattled your brain, pesant."
The hero growled in pain as he summoned his strength, one last attempt to get up on his feet and stay there. Intrigued, Noah allowed his nemesis to gather his mangled body into something presentable. He watched the man push up onto his knees, face towards the ceiling in a moment to catch his breath. Still huffing, it took Soul eveything he had to rise up on his feet without falling over. He picked his sword up as he did, using it as a cane of sorts to steady himself. By the time he made it up he was still a wreck, but alive at least.
With one eye closed, he stared the dark lord down with the other. "This place is your dream. You're the master of this world."
"Of course I'm the master of this world! I alone can control monsters and demons!" Noah sneered, but his expression quickly faded at Soul's sudden chuckling.
"You don't get it, Noah." The hero trembled as he pulled himself straight, hand held tightly around his sword. "Your real self is in our world, the true world. All this is just your imagination."
Evans threw his head back and sucked in air, his chest puffing up just enough to give him some leverage. With a shove, he pushed himself off his support and steadied himself all in one motion. Blade in tow, with his free hand he decided to try something different. With nothing left to lose he reached behind him, the same as he did earlier to find something to heal himself. This time however, instead of a bottle or a fairy, the hero pulled out a sparkling new shield. His old one nowhere in sight, this one would prove much better; a kite design made of solid steel, bolted at the ends for decoration. It looked damn well better than he did, all cut up and bloodied.
Soul swung the shield to test it out. Satisfied, he then let his arms go limp at his sides. "I don't give a damn about your dream, Noah. I'm ending it."
The villain's scowl became almost palpable; this boy was talking nonsense, and it was pissing him off. "You think you have the balls, maggot-?"
"-This isn't a fucking game!" Evans screamed back at him, silencing the shocked wizard. "We have our own dreams! And if I have to end yours to reach them, then that's fine with me!"
It happened faster than Noah could have predicted. The boy who couldn't even stand moments ago suddenly sprung towards him with a vigor he hadn't seen before, a wild look in his eyes as if his very life depended on it. The display nearly caught him off guard, almost dangerously so. Air whizzed as iron sliced through it, a bestial roar mounting in the back of Evans throat as ran towards him. Before it was almost too late, the dark lord crashed back to his senses. On his command, the demonic worm monster writhed to life and rushed to meet the enemy.
Shield in hand, Soul threw all his weight into the thing as he spun around. Every ounce of energy trickled down into his sword, its edge glinting eagerly for another kill. At the same time however, the worm put everything it had to meet him. In a flash, the two met with a grotesque ripping sound that echoed everywhere. From the sidelines Noah smiled, the scream that followed right after filling him with a sense of satisfaction. Pained squeals came from the beast as well, but that didn't matter to him. All he cared about was the horrific picture before him; the twerp's arm in his pet's mouth, thrashing about in vain to pull out but having no way to escape. The screams continued for much longer than necessary.
Then in desperation, Evans took his shield and bashed the creature's head with it. Again and again, until finally it sunk in enough to where Noah's worm had no choice but to let him go. The beast squealed and writhed, releasing Soul as it flung him away from itself. Back against the wall he flew, this time still very much conscious when he smashed against solid stone. The hero reeled from the blow, scowling in pain although thankful that he still had his senses intact. Meanwhile, Lord Noah gave the same expression as his demonic worm slunk back to the shadows in defeat. The thing quickly disappeared, leaving both men there to stare each other down. Between them, a disturbingly motionless Maka sprawled out across the floor.
Soul hissed as the air left him; every breath a sharp pain, made no better by the sight of his partner there on the floor. "Fuck...my arm!"
It was mangled. Bloody, mutilated, it was a wonder he could even move it. Thankfully Evans couldn't feel it, more than likely it was so injured that his body didn't need pain to know there was a problem. Instead, his back was the only thing that really got to him. Being smacked against a wall two times must have fucked it up, and he could hear it pop every time he shifted. But no matter the pain, he still struggled to get up. Nothing would keep him down, which is why the man who started this all in the first place could do nothing more than shake his head. Still agitated, what he really felt was confusion; just what the hell was going on here? This boy was playing hero, but not for the reasons he'd have expected. To say all this was a dream...
"...What is it that you're fighting for, Evans?" the dark lord asked. For once, there was no malice in his voice when he continued, "What's this dream of yours?"
Cracking his head to the side, Soul gasped in relief. He let himself fall back against the wall and muttered, "Maka's not herself. I'm trying to change that."
"The girl isn't sick, if that's what you're implying," Noah growled with returning agitation. He then raised a brow when Soul closed his eyes.
Against all odds and logic, the man's joints popped back to place as he rose yet again. There was no hesitation this time, no loss of feeling in his muscles to keep him down. All he took was a deep breath, and the next thing Noah knew his opponent was back for round two. Right arm still mangled, Soul held no weapon save for the shield he used to pummel the giant worm. That gash across his cheek, the one Maka had been so concerned over, was left an open wound from which blood trickled down his face. He had nothing going for him, and yet still Evans carried himself with such a determination. So much focus in a battered man, Noah started to wonder if what the boy had told him was true. This level of strength was unreal. Maybe, the only place this could happen was in a dream.
"She doesn't know who I am," the hero ground out with resolve, fire on his breath. "I want her to remember me, and that's why I do what I do."
A look of surprise swept over Noah, but soon gave way to a taunting grin. "Amnesia? You must be joking, all this for stupid memories-?"
"-Don't you dare call them stupid!" Soul roared. His entire body shook, along with loose pebbles strewed across the floor.
"I don't care if I have to split the world in half! I don't care if I never take another breath! Until she looks at me the same way again, I'll keep fighting till this body breaks down and I'm six feet under!"
The ground continued to shake. Even after Evans finished his rant, the room filled with a tension that Noah couldn't name. His eyes widened, confusion setting in both him and the hero as a sudden light started to shine out from between them. Barely a speck at first, the tiny sprite soon began to slowly grow. Soul watched, open mouthed and dumbfounded, as the thing expanded to a familiar size. In a second's time, it hit him that he'd seen that same white light somewhere before. And when he realized exactly what is was, his confusion only grew.
On the other hand, Noah hadn't the pleasure of knowing what he was coming his way. If he did, he'd have done something to stop it instead of standing there with a stupidly bewildered face. His guard was down, though Soul wasn't in a position to notice it, and wide open for an attack. Thus it came as no surprise when he suddenly found himself on the receiving end of a beam of light; white, shining, and aimed right at his chest. That light in the middle of the dungeon took the offensive, and the dark lord was helplessly caught up in it.
Soul jumped at the sight of Noah tossed aside like nothing. Just like him with the worm, his opponent flew into the rocks behind him and smashed his head against the wall with a crash. He didn't get a chance to look him over and see if he was still alive though, because before he knew it that familiar light was heading right for him. On pure instinct he threw his arms out in front of him and closed his eyes, ready to be thrown back as well. But instead of being blown in the air like a rag doll, all he felt was a kind of safe, powerful warmth.
"Fool! You think you can defeat a wizard without the help of a magical weapon?" That damn voice called out to him, and immediately Soul knew who it was.
"Fairy guy? What the hell are you doing here!" he shouted in amazement, partially blinded by white light. "I'm kind of busy at the moment-!"
"-Fool! Haven't you figured it out yet? I'm the magical sword Exalibur! Not some run-of-the-mill fairy! Give me my due credit, simpleton!"
Suddenly, the little fairy-thing appeared right before Soul. And just as quickly, he realized the light wasn't nearly so bright anymore. Slowly he let his hands fall, eyes still tied up in adjusting to both the little man floating in the air in front of him and the miniature sun he found himself in. Almost like their own little world, the two stood there without any interruptions. Maybe this was the point in those video games where the hero has a life changing moment...or maybe he was already dead and in hell, because this little creature was surely the devil incarnate.
"Sounds pretty important," he drawled. First with a grin, he quickly moved to cut off Excalibur before he said 'fool' again. "Why come here if you're not going to help me?"
The tiny man with an upturned nose closed his beady little eyes and sighed, "I help the true hero, boy. Quite suddenly, I've come to find out that you meet my strict qualifications."
Excalibur floated up with his nub-for-an-arm and poked Evans in the forehead with it, then his chest. "You've got a lot going on in both those areas to risk everything for a pretty damsel."
"So does that mean you'll finally do something? Because you're really starting to piss me off little guy," Soul sneered, more as a taunt than anything else. With a scoff, his new fairy-friend disappeared in a flash.
Just as quickly as everything came, it all disappeared along with Excalibur. The hero watched in amazement as the light receded back into a single point, the ball of light that now floated directly right in front of him. Everywhere else was the same; Noah groaning as he tried to pick himself back up, his poor partner still face first on the floor. The latter sight had his blood boiling all over again, and without hesitation he did what needed to be done. He'd played enough RPG's in his childhood to know what came next. With his fucked up arm, he reached into the ball of light and growled as light washed over him and glowed through his skin. His sharp teeth cut the air as he took a deep breath, pulling out something from the sphere with all his might.
In his hand, a beautifully golden sword with an ornate hilt to match. His old weapon was nothing compared to it, and immediately he knew this was the blade he needed to finish things once and for all. On top of that, it became immediately clear that his arm was fully healed now. Not a scratch on it, every muscle felt good as new, even better. He surged with an energy that must have been from Excalibur, this kind of magical power that made him feel like if he really wanted to, he could probably cast spells just like Noah.
"If you end this now, I'll overlook the fact that those clothes make you look more like a fairy than I, fool!" a taunting voice called out from the sword.
With an overeager grin, Soul nodded; everything up until this point, all the blood, pain, and shit he'd endured to end this world, it was all going to be worth it now. He didn't even think twice about picking up that shield of his, all he did was grab the hilt of Excalibur with both hands and run forward as if his very life depended on it. With this new energy of his, he poured almost every drop of it into his stride. Never before had he sprinted that quickly, and before Noah even knew it he was at the bastard's doorstep.
The dark wizard, still in a daze, looked up in sheer horror at the glowing edge of a blade heading right for him. "No! Stay away from me, dammit!"
He scrambled to get up but couldn't. Despite having all the knowledge of the dark arts behind him, what it all boiled down to was the man's physical strength. And unlucky for him, the dark lord that had taken control of the kingdom just wasn't strong or quick enough to make it out on time. He sat on the floor and watched in horror as Evans gave his final roar, behind him a stream of gold and silver that whited out everything except for the image of him. Running towards him. With the sword. A foot away. Barely an inch.
In his chest. And all of a sudden, it was quite. Soul was silent as she slid his blade into the bastards heart, his red eyes wide and watchful as Noah's mouth opened wide to scream but just couldn't. He was helpless to stare as his arch-rival sunk the damn thing in deeper, their faces close enough to where Evans could feel the villain take his last breaths of life. Then, neither man breathed. One because he couldn't, and the other because he wanted to make his last words clear enough to hear one last time.
"Sweet dreams, Noah." Soul shuddered as the man's eyes rolled into the back of his head. Just like that, their mission and ordeal over.
He took a deep breath, knowing without a doubt the wizard was finished once and for all. He pulled the sword out from Noah's chest and watched him slump to the side, motionless. The hero wanted to rest, but knew there was one more thing to do. Ignoring the hollow congratulations of his newly-acquired fairy sword, Soul turned his attention to the other body in the room. Now very much tired, it took him a little bit of effort to make his way over to her. Once he did though, the man collapsed next to her and scooped her up in his arms.
She was just sleeping, he thought to himself. If there was ever a point during any of this he thought she was close to dying, he'd have ran to her no matter what. Thankfully though, she just slipped out of consciousness when the worm squeezed the air out of her. More than anything, he was concerned with how to wake Maka up without pissing her off; she'd absolutely die knowing the fact that her role as captured princess was executed perfectly. If anything, this was the most useless he'd ever seen her and he absolutely loved it.
But for the sake of his own skin, he'd keep those thoughts to himself. The last thing he needed was another fight, and all Soul really wanted was someone to lean on since his entire body was now killing him with exhaustion. So with a sigh he did what he could to wake Maka up, simply shaking her while repeating her name over and over. At first, it didn't do much. Then as he continued doing it, he was relieved to see her eyes flutter a little. Like sleeping beauty, he sneered to himself as Maka's face suddenly flushed red. Maybe their faces were just a little bit too close?
She scooted to the side, away from him. Then as her head fell the opposite way to look around, Maka gasped. "Soul? What happened? Where's Noah!"
"Dead. This world is toast." Soul sighed tiredly, falling into place right next to her. He stretched his legs out flat and exhaled with lazy content.
"Are you kidding me!" Maka shouted, flabbergasted. "I was asleep this entire time? I was nothing but a lazy, worthless partner-!"
The princess stopped when her hero let his head fall on her shoulder and sighed, "Consider it payback for monkey-world."
Maka blinked, slowly letting her eyes fall to Soul as he closed his own tiredly. She remained absolutely still, a smile creeping across her face at the sight of him. He really was just a big baby deep down, no matter how cool and tough he acted on the outside. Then again, that's why he was such a good friend to have; Soul would always do his part, whether that meant do everything on his own, splitting it with her, or nothing at all. And no matter the amount, he'd demand some kind of compensation afterwards. This, what they were doing now, was sometimes part of it. The term 'lean on each other' was something far more literal to them, since it was what they did every time they collapsed from exhaustion after destroying a world. They were partners, it was expected.
And as he slipped in and out of consciousness, Maka looked around and took everything in. Her heart sank at the destruction around them, especially since she knew Soul was the one who'd gotten the short end of the stick. This was a video game world and the hero was expected to do all the rescuing, but Maka still hated this feeling of uselessness. She'd didn't care what the next world was like, he wouldn't be doing all the work. Especially since, Maka secretly knew, he didn't like this any better than she did. The killing. The dream ending. At the end of the day he'd tell her the same thing, that this was all to get her precious memories back. But at times like this one, where he craved some kind of comfort for all the things he'd done, she knew it killed him just a little inside.
Which is why she didn't mind being his escape, and vice-versa. "Soul, look! I always love this part."
Still lucid but just barely, Soul creaked open a bleary eye just in time to see a lone feather start to fall from the ceiling. At the sight of it, he immediately rubbed the other open and found that the entire ceiling started to give way to tiny feathers. First a few, they fell to the ground softly like a leaf. They fluttered as if upturned by an un-felt breeze, their pink and white hues dancing across the darkness like a candle in the night. Such a scene had Soul smiling with relief, since he knew that this was finally the end. The feathers always came at the death of a world.
One became two. Two became many. Soon, it didn't look like the feathers were falling from the ceiling anymore. Rather, it looked like every object and surface started to become an entire swarm of them. They covered everything, and everything became them. No longer was it a dungeon, but almost an entire cloud of the softest feathers that Soul and Maka had ever felt before. Noah's body was no longer with them, it too swept up in the surreal haze of what looked like angels. At a loss for words, the pair simply stared in awe at the scene.
"You do realize that I too will cease to exist, right?" Excalibur's voice suddenly called out from somewhere. Soul looked down and found the blade strangely gone.
He figured it best to go ahead and break the bad news to his little friend, "Sorry, Excalibur, but I don't think you ever really existed in the first place."
Surprisingly, there was a chuckle. "Fool! That means I couldn't die even if I wanted to! We'll be seeing each other in another world, I'm sure."
With a lazy smile and a nod, Soul bade his bizarre friend farewell. There was no response after that, and the line of sight in front of him grew shorter and shorter. Soon the feathers enveloped everything, including him and Maka. Things were almost done, but not quite. And in that little time they still had before the world ended, the duo did what they always did. Soul started to turn around, trying to let his partner lean her back on his like always. But instead, she wrapped her arm around him and kept him still. Head on her shoulder, they sat there.
"Did you make a friend?" she asked with the widest smile, so cute it was almost sickening.
Soul looked up at her and grinned, shrugging it off like nothing. "Yeah, some little fairy guy. Annoying as fuck."
"I can't believe I slept through that," Maka sighed, still smiling as the feathers came. "You never make any friends while we're doing this."
Grin fading, Evans remained quiet while the two of them stared at the world's end. The he mumbled, "I never make any friends because all I need is you."
Maka's eyes became so much softer. He couldn't see them, but then again he didn't need to. All she needed to do was threw her other arm around him and lay her head on his, and Soul knew that he'd said the right thing. Together, the two of them stayed still as the feathers finally started to envelop them too. Every inch of their skin, all over their clothes, the little pink feathers made them disappear into the nothingness along with everything else. And just a second before everything came to an end, when they held each other close and for the first time in a long time both partners felt like they were so close to accomplishing their goal, Soul looked up and found what was left of her face. Nothing but lips at the point, the rest covered in feathers, they mouthed the words,
"See you on the other side."
I can't believe what my eyes are seeing,
Yeah wake me up, I can't find a meaning,
Nothing really matters when the world is sinking,
Down, down down, who will you blame?
Hell, I can't think of anything to say. If you don't know who this story is dedicated to then you probably haven't been following me very long, and if you haven't been following me long you don't really need to know lol.
This is just the first chapter of a story I will probably be writing for quite some time along with White Haired Reaper. Though the next chapters definitely won't be 10k long like this one.