Trials of the Junsuikaoni: In Pursuit of a Prophecy: The Final Act (Book 4)

Noah and his team return home only to find that their lives will once again be turned upside down with the arrival of the new Academy Council. Their arrival triggers old wounds that they didn't even know they had, while precipitating their current ones. This all couldn't have happened at a worse time as the foretold Prophecy has finally been set in motion as Judas makes his move. After arduous training, Noah and his team set off on their most dangerous journey yet to gather the sacred shards of the Great Sword of Sorrow, the only weapon that can end the reign of Judas and eliminate the Junsuikaoni demons once and for all. However, the trials they each will have to face along the way will hold more danger than they've ever known. Witness the epic conclusion to a battle over 20 years in the making as Noah faces off against his brother Judas and the prophecy is at last fulfilled. Just which way will the hands of fate turn in the end? Will they ever find the happiness that they seek?

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8. The Final Act

     Noah opens his eyes and awakens with a start. His body feels strange, as though he’s become lighter and may just disappear at any moment. However, he also feels a power within him, unlike before. His chest however, suddenly feels heavy and upon touching his hand against it as he sits up, he can feel the steady beat of his heart. “What? How is this possible?”

“Well, well, welcome to the mediocre life of mortality…well, sort of.” Noah turns to the direction of the deep voice that speaks in the darkness. “Welcome home little brother.” He grins.

“Judas?” Noah gets to his feet and observes his surroundings. They look somewhat ancient and medieval. “Is this some sort of castle? Where are we?”

“Aren’t you the naïve one? Though, I suppose this kind of noble life would’ve never suited you anyway. This is our home Noah, our birth place, where this all began. Look at grandfather’s picture on the wall.” Judas walks into the light and over to the fireplace. Above it, hangs a large portrait of an older gentleman, his hair of fire and his expression strong.

“Grandfather? Ours? Father never spoke of him. Where is he now?” Noah asks curiously.

Judas laughs out loud. “Well, I guess you can just say he was an inconvenience that I had to rid myself of.” He taps the ledge of the fireplace panel, his face looking a bit grim.

“Wait, so are you saying that you….” Noah finally understands. “You killed him?”

“Oh please, why are you so shocked as though you’re such an innocent little boy? He was a cruel man, so trust me, his death was well deserved and no one was mourning him after. Even his children despised him, that’s why I’m sure Mika never talked about him, nor did mother.”

“Why don’t you call him father? He’s always thought the best of you, you know, even with your wrong doings.”

“Call that man father? Please, don’t even joke Noah. On what occasion was that man ever my father? He doesn’t care about me. I mean, who’s the one he saved from this dreadful place all those years ago, you or course. You were his everything and so he swore to protect it. He’s done just that, even when he was gone from your life during the time you lived as a human, he was always there watching over you. He never came to me though, he never watched me!”

“That was only because of Remy. She made sure he’d never get anywhere near you. He knows he made a mistake in not taking you too, but by the time he could rectify that, Remy had you too tightly in her grasps. She’d completely corrupted you and he knew there’d be nothing he could say that would make you turn around to be good. But he’s always thought of you, just the same as me and even Tahno. He loves all of us and Tahno understands that now too. He resented him just as you do for not being there, but now he’s accepted him as his father. Father’s last wish is that you will one day can call him father too. He prays for it!” Noah pleads with him.

“Nonsense! You’re the only one father ever truly loved. He saw me and thought that because of all the dark energy inside of me, I was beyond saving and destined to be evil. Mother has always been a nuisance, but at least I know she loved me, even if it was in her own way. You ask me why I don’t call him father, why don’t you call her mother? She is after all right?”

“Don’t be absurd, she’s no mother of mine. I had a wonderful mother, she wasn’t it.”

“Well, then you should understand how I feel about him then. But anyway, why are we even discussing such things? Aren’t we a bit more pressed for time? We’ve got people counting on us. So, let’s stop these pleasantries and get down to business, yeah?”

“What do you mean? First of all, what did you mean about having a life of mortality?”

“Come on, can’t you feel it? You have a heart now, your own heart beating in you.”

“I can feel it, I know it’s there now, but I don’t understand how. I mean, Mia is my heart, therefore she held it in her chest. How did it end up in mine and if it’s here, then where is she?”

“The same place Rachel and Elias are of course I would assume, though if she no longer holds your heart…well I guess it’ll be a sad day. However, I don’t intend to let that woman destroy the only piece of happiness I’ve found, so I think our fun and games are over. Let’s get serious now little brother.” Judas transforms into his demon form and loudly growls, “come on!”

Suddenly it all makes sense to Noah. Macy’s words and Judas’. Macy must have taken Rachel and his son hostage and is using them as ammunition to get him to fight. The pain behind his eyes and under all that empty rage is proof of that. No doubt then, Macy is going to make Mia her chip against him, so he’ll fight Judas. The only end goal Noah can figure is that she wants them to take each other out, or have there be only one in the end, the prior preferred.

“Judas. I don’t want to fight you. I don’t want to play this game anymore and neither do you. We’ve been blinded for so long by other people’s words and prophecies, but we’ve never really talked things out like this. I always thought you were pure evil, but I cans see you’ve got goodness in you too. Your love for Rachel and Elias is proof of that. As for me, I’m not this divine savior or anything, I’m not holy, I’m just human. Maybe not in being, but in mind and soul, that’s how I feel. So, let’s not fight. Forget the prophecy. Right now, we have a shared enemy and that’s Macy. Perhaps if we work together, we can find a way to save her and liberate her from the demons that plague her. The demons that have caused her to become so evil.”

“There’s no demons that have caused her to become evil Noah, life is more than enough to do that. You’d have become evil just like the rest of us if you hadn’t had the love of your human family and of our father. You even have a devoted team who’d die for you, it really doesn’t get better than that you know? So, of course you can’t understand why someone might turn to the dark side. I was there all my life and it was only when Rachel accepted me and gave me our son that I found a little good. So, if I must kill you to protect them then that’s what I’ll do. We’ve been preparing for this for far too long to back out now Noah, get ready because I’m not backing down and I’m not going to show you any mercy!” Judas charges Noah and pounces.

Noah manages to jump out of the way, but Judas doesn’t allow him a moment to breath, slashing at him with his sharp claws. “Dammit Judas, I hate that you’re making me do this!” After just narrowly missing a slash to his throat, Noah realizes Judas isn’t messing around is out for blood. He transforms into his Junsui form and begins to counter Judas. “I don’t want to hurt you, but if you’re not going to back down, then neither will I. But I’d rather not make Rachel a widow or Elias a fatherless boy, so please reconsider this!”

“So, confident you’ll win, are you? Good, I want you to be like that, it’ll make my win that much more satisfying!” Judas becomes blood thirstier by the minute and Noah is finding it harder to hold back. He fears that he may really have to kill him and that’d be another sin to add to his list. They continue to fight, like two beasts, made enemies, by a broken world.

###

     Nik stirs from his sleep, to find himself waking up in a castle. He gets to his feet and looks around. “Where am I?” He starts to walk around, until a chilling voice stops him.

“I’m afraid I won’t be letting you go any further kid.” The voice is deep and taunting.

Nik turns around to see a tall man in a red cloak standing on a window ledge. His hair is a wild and spiky mohawk, looking like a dragon tail. His black hair contrasts his pale face and his yellow eyes seem to bare into him. He looks like a true dragon, in human form. “Who are you?”

“My name is Lavern and I’ve been ordered by my lord to eliminate you before you can regroup with your master, so that’s what I shall do.” He summons a fire ball into his hands and reveals himself to be a Fire Elemental Junsui. “I will not transform, as I wish to fight you man to man. But don’t think that will make me any weaker!” He jumps down and tosses the fireball.

Nik easily avoids it, but Lavern quickly follows it up with another, catching him off guard. It glides across his arm, singing it slightly, but it’s nothing he can’t handle. “Ok, I can see you’re serious, then I’ll get serious too!” He powers up, his fiery aura encasing him. He charges Lavern and soon they are going head to head, blast to blast, fire illuminating the stone halls that were previously dim. They go toe to toe for quite a while, before Nik finally gets overtaken.

Nik falls to the ground and feels far too weak to stand now. Lavern stands over him, smirking. “Seems you were not as strong as you thought you were. Though I’m willing to admit, you had me on my toes and made me put in more effort than I ever have before, so I’ll commend you on that at least. But this is the end of the line for you. Rest in peace kid.” He prepares to send Nik a massive blast, one that will certainly kill him. Nik closes his eyes and smiles defiantly, ready to die. He fought his hardest, so he has no regrets. However, nothing happens and instead, Lavern let’s out a roar as there is a loud bang as he is forced into the wall behind him.

Nik sits up weakly and looks around to see who it was that blasted him away. His eyes finally come to rest on a man, in black clothing, with white hair and a single green eye, while the other burns red. Nik almost can’t believe it, but he’s sure. He calls out to him to confirm. “Jove?”

The man turns around and smiles at him. “Hey Nik, it’s been a long time, hasn’t it?” He walks over to Nik and lends a hand to help him on to his feet. “That was a close one, huh?”

Nik takes his hand and gets to his feet. He laughs and says, “hell yeah it was. Thanks.” He takes a step, but is still weak, causing him to stumble. However, Jove is ready and catches him. With his head laying against his chest, he can take in his warmth, his scent, his everything and impulsively he hugs him tightly, not wanting to let him go. “Jove…I…I….” He tears up.

“I know Nik, I missed you too. I’m sorry it took me so long, but I’m here now. I’m exactly where I’m meant to be. I’m here for you, only for you, until my time is up.”

Nik snaps out of his moment and finally looks at Jove in his eyes. “What do you mean?”

“Don’t worry about that now, we need to get you regrouped with the others right away.”

“Yea, but-.” Nik jumps, having just remembered Lavern. “Wait, he’s still-.” He starts to think Lavern was ready to attack again, but looking at him now, Nik sees he’s very dead. “But-.”

“I’ve got myself a bit of power now, more than before. So, that blast was pretty lethal.”

“Wow, that’s hardcore man. It’s also really hot.” They laugh together, like old times.

“Ok, we should go. I think I can sense Mai nearby, let’s hurry.” Jove pulls Nik along and he obediently follows.

As they run, Nik looks at Jove’s shoulders and wonders to himself, has he always looked so manly? He snaps out of his daze, deciding to put his happiness aside and focus on his task.

###

Mai gets up on her feet and looks around. She stops and stares at a fountain for about a minute, before finally saying, “are you coming out of hiding now, or should I make you?”

The water in the fountain bubbles and then slowly, a woman materializes, completely nude. She’s got caramel skin and raven hair. She’s beautiful and sexy, but Mai doesn’t let that distract her. The woman smiles seductively and chuckles as she says, “I guess my body doesn’t do it for you? Is it that you prefer white meat over dark? I’m much tastier, I swear.”

“I don’t eat spoiled meat, so sorry to disappoint you. Now, are you going to introduce yourself or should we just skip the introductions and start fighting?”

“Hmm, you are as serious as Lord Silas mentioned. I had hoped to sway you just a little with my body, but it seems you don’t favor me. I must admit, that stings my ego just a bit.” She walks over to a chair and pulls down a blue robe. She slips it on and faces Mai again. “My name is Elvira and I’m here to face you Mai, Hybrid Water Junsui to Pure Water Junsui. Pleased?”

“I don’t really care to be honest. I need to return to my team, so I don’t have time to waste here with you. No more wasting time talking!” Mai charges her, unsheathing her Katana.

She slices at her, the blade just narrowly missing her. “I can see you’ll be holding nothing back. Very good, as neither will I.” She holds up her hands and all at once, long, sharp icicles rise from her fingernails. “I see you like your sword, so I’ll use some sharp objects of my own.”

“Whatever you wish.” Mai continues her relentless assault with her blade. They fight fiercely for several minutes, neither one giving in or slowing down. They are formidable foes, but Mai finally starts to slow down and this allows Elvira to hone in on her and strike.

She manages to find an opening and with impressive agility, she impales Mai with her ice claws in the abdomen. Mai grunts and slumps over, against her. Elvira laughs. “It’s over dear.” Mai looks up at her and although Elvira expected her to look in anguish, she was smiling. Elvira was shaken, unable to understand how she could smile at such a critical moment, but then she feels something hardening around her arm. “What is this?” She looks to see Mai’s blood oozing from her wound and rather than dripping down, it travels up around her arm, turning to ice and freezing her arm into place. “No, let me go!” Elvira tries to pull her arm out, but it’s already been frozen solid within Mai’s ice cage of blood. Elvira feels the cold blade touch her neck.

“You may be just a little stronger than me, but unless you’ve got the same resolve as me, you’re never going to win. I was prepared to die in this battle, but tell me Elvira, were you?”

Elvira stares into Mai’s cold, focused eyes as they gaze at her, unyielding. Elvira begins to laugh and looking Mai directly in her eyes she says, “yes, you really are the alluring one.”

“Thank you.” Mai says this with an icy tone and no sooner than the words are out of her mouth, she slices her blade cleanly through her neck, causing her head to slide off and on to the floor, her body going limp. Mai unfreezes her blood and retracts it back into her wound. She then uses an ice patch, to seal the wound temporarily. She returns her Katana to its sheath and looks down at Elvira. “Too bad for you, you didn’t master the control of blood, isn’t it?”

“Wow, you never change. You’re ruthless as ever I see. Didn’t even need my help.”

Mai turns around slowly and comes face to face with a ghost. Her icy exterior collapses and she falls to her knees. “So, I really am dying now. You’ve come to claim me.” She looks up to Eve and with tears in her eyes, she says, “I’m ready now. With you, I’ll go anywhere.”

Eve walks over and takes Mai’s head into her arms and allows it to rest against her stomach. “Since when have you been such a crybaby? You never showed this much emotion when we were together. Though, I can’t say this isn’t sweet. As much I’d love to go away into the oblivion with you, you’ve still got some work to do here and I’m here to help you.” She gets down on her knees and touches her abdomen where the ice patch has sealed. The ice melts and it heals the wound completely. “There, as good as new. Nice abs by the way, they’re so sexy.”

Mai looks at her abdomen and sees her wound really has been healed. She looks back to Eve in shock. “How? You didn’t have healing abilities before, did you? Also, how are you here? Last time I saw you, you’d been sinking to the bottom of the river of lost souls. So how….”

“I know you have a lot of questions, but we don’t have time now to answer them. You need to regroup with the others right away, so you can get back to Noah. I can sense Nik nearby as well as Gunther and Lili. So, let’s go now. Later, if possible, I’ll explain what I can.”

Mai wants answers now, but she can hear the seriousness of her tone, so she decides to let it go for now. She follows behind Eve, watching her closely as she walks. How long had she ignored the way she walked? The way her jeans hug her in all the right places? How long had she had such an amazing woman in front of her and didn’t notice at all? When she finally did realize, she had something special, it was too late and she lost her forever, or so she thought.

Eve looks back. “Hey, everything ok? Why do you look so deep in thought? You staring at my ass or something?” She laughs and it sounds angelic. “Come on, get a move on it.”

“Sorry, I’m coming.” She picks up her pace to match Eve’s. “It’s a really nice ass though.” They laugh together and for the first time probably ever, Mai takes her hand in hers voluntarily. Eve looks at her in surprise, but also blushes bashfully. “I just felt like doing this.”

“It’s about damn time. Only took you like three years and watching me drown into a damning river.” They laugh together again and finally Eve says, “I love you Mai, so much.”

Mai grips her hand tighter. “I love you too Eve and I will forever and always.” She smiles and they walk even closer together. Mai feels so much happiness in this one moment, for the first time in forever, yet she feels a sense of dread, as somehow, she feels this moment is only a wrinkle in time and that time is almost up. Reflexively, she grips Eve’s hand even tighter.

###

     Lili wakes up to something heavy on top of her. However, she’s not startled, because she’s used to it. His scent, his soft breathing, his weight, it’s familiar. She remembers him grabbing her into his arms as they were sucked through that portal and he held her tightly, holding on to her for dear life. Even now, he’s still protecting her with his arms wrapped around her. She smiles, never feeling so happy and at peace in this kind of position until now. Even when she and Gunther were together before, she’d always felt like something was off, but that was due to her indecisiveness between him and Mai. However now, she’s only looking at him and even in this moment in this unknown place, things have never felt more right. “Gunther.”

Gunther finally stirs upon hearing his name, but he’s still tense. He reflexively tightens his grip around Lili as he says, “I’ll protect you Lili. Everything will be ok!”

Lili begins laughing out loud, finding his reaction hilariously cute. “Relax Gunther, I think we’re safe for the moment. Good job though soldier. My valiant hero.” She hugs him.

He blushes, but smiles. He finally loosens his grip and they sit up together. Gunther looks around to see a fancy ballroom. “Where are we? This looks like an ancient castle of some kind.”

As Gunther helps them get to their feet, Lili says, “I think this may be Noah’s birth home. I remember seeing it in the visions of his past that I happened to see one time. Though he didn’t consciously remember considering he was a newborn, but it’s a subconscious memory.”

“Why would Macy transport us here? I get Judas is probably here, but why here?”

“Why not here? There’s probably no better place. This brings everything full circle, back to where it all began, the day those twins were born to become enemies. It’s kind of poetic.”

“I guess, but this place is creepy. Let’s try and find the others. I know they’re close.” Before he can take a step, a large boulder smashes in front of them and a strong blast of wind force forces them apart. “What the hell!” Gunther turns around to see Lili is ok. “Ok, Lili Bear?”

Lili stands planted in that spot, he eyes focused before her, glaring at something, or rather, someone. In a serious tone, she replies, “I’m fine Gunther.” She stares ahead with such intensity and with such terrifying eyes, her fists clenched. “You dare stand before me, bastard!”

“Lili, what’s wrong? Do you know them?” He looks at the man in a white robe and the woman in a green robe. They don’t look familiar, but the man grins and licks his lips. “Is he…?”

Lili grits her teeth and nods. “Yes, that’s him. The one who stole my innocence and ruined my life, by making me a sinner. Others followed after him, but he started it all.”

Gunther frowns and glares at the man. “I see.” His voice is suddenly sharp and serious. “Now I know who I have to kill.” Gunther moves towards him, but Lili holds up her hand.

“No Gunther, don’t. I appreciate your passion and I love that you want to avenge me, but he’s mine. I must face him and beat him alone. I have to do this, so I can finally be at peace.”

Gunther sucks his teeth, but he understands. “Fine, but if things seem like they’re going downhill, I’m stepping in. For now, I’ll deal with this chick.” He looks at the woman, who grins.

“How cute is that Kalum, he thinks he stands a chance against me. It’s so…disgusting.” Her mahogany hair that falls to the side and down her chest, flips along with her head and her sharp, auburn eyes glare at Gunther like he’s the scum of the earth.

The man laughs, his blond, curly hair brushing across his forehead. With his evil grey eyes, he looks at them, like ants on the ground. “Yes, I agree Cena, it’s quite deplorable.” He then turns his attention to Lili specifically. “So, nice to see you again Lili, and looking so… grown.” He grins and this drives Lili mad, causing her to attack him. He avoids her blast, jumping from the ledge. “My, haven’t you gotten strong? No longer that scared little girl.”

“I promised myself to never become that girl again!” She continues her assault against him, causing quite a considerable amount of destruction around them. Lili knows she could easily use her mental abilities to end this fight and so does Kalum, but they both know there’s nothing to be gained from that. This must be resolved with blood and sweat, until only one remains. Lili has been waiting forever for this day and so she’s not going to waste it.

Gunther watches their battle in concern, wanting to assist, but knowing she’d never forgive him if he did. “Worried about the girlfriend?” Gunther turns his attention to Cena. “That’s real cute kid, but you’re a fool to think my Kalum will lose to a loose little girl like that. Your assistance will do nothing. Besides, I believe I’m your opponent right now. But never fear, I’ll be sure to send you to meet her in hell very soon!” She jumps down and attacks him.

Gunther avoids her blast, but the aftershock sends him flying back and through the wall. He ends up in a garden outside. Both in their element, the battle picks up, rocks and trees flying all around and at each other. However, Cena is able to get the upper hand and knock Gunther hard down into the ground. She stands over him tauntingly and says, “any last words?”

Gunther smirks and replies, “yea, beware of sharp objects.”

“Huh?” Cena is confused, but suddenly, a metal bar from a broken fence nearby impales her. “Impossible….” She looks down to see the pipe sticking out of her chest, blood oozing out.

“Looks like you underestimated me. Well, also too bad you can’t control metal, but….”

“You…are…disgusting….” She falls to the side, as she continues bleeding out and dies.

“Tell me something I don’t know lady.” Gunther stands up, feeling a bit weak, but ok.

“Wow, good going Guns!” Gunther turns to see Nik approaching hand in hand with Jove.

“Nik, hey, you made it. But I’m most surprised to see you Jove. How are you?”

Jove laughs. “I’m alright Gunther, thanks. You look great by the way, really great.”

“Thanks.” Gunther blushes. “You look good yourself, I’m sure Nik thinks so too.”

Nik grins at Gunther and says, “yea, I do. So, hands off my guy.” He’s playful, but also slightly serious. He looks at Jove. “And you stop flirting with my buddy, you got that?”

“Yes, or course babe!” They all laugh, feeling like it’s old times. “We should go now.”

Back inside, Lili and Kalum are still fighting fiercely, neither backing down. However, he finally gets the upper hand and pins her down. “Well, doesn’t this seem familiar?” He laughs wickedly and Lili squirms, trying to free herself, but his raw strength outranks hers. “What do you say, how about we have a little fun, for old times’ sake? Will you moan for me darling?”

Everything about this situation and his words is too familiar and triggers Lili. So much that she no longer cares about fighting fairly and simply wants to make him suffer. Her eyes go white and with newfound strength, she grabs him by the neck, and flips them around, slamming him into the ground. She squeezes his throat and with intense focus, she siphons the air from his lungs. His eyes go wide as he struggles to breath, but she shows him no mercy. “It doesn’t feel good does it, to be held down again your will, scared and breathless? This is how it felt for me all those years ago, when you forced yourself on my five-year-old body. Suffer as I did!”

“I-, please-, mercy-, my chi….” He pleads with terrified eyes, begging her to spare him.

“No mercy. You didn’t care about my pleas and cries, so why should I care for yours now? Die, scared and alone, just like the scum you are!” She tightens her grip even more until finally his opposition stops and his eyes go pale. A single tear falls from his eye. “Pitiful.”

“Papa!” A small child, a little girl, comes running over and drops to her knees beside Kalum. Her Mahogany hair falls over him and large tears fall from her big, grey eyes. “Papa, no, don’t leave me. Mama’s gone too. I’m all alone now. I don’t want to be alone.”

Lili watches this girl cry, no older than four and she suddenly feels guilty. He was scum, he needed to pay for what he did to her, what he must have done to this little girl too. However, upon scanning her memories, Lili realizes that he did nothing to that little girl but love her dearly. “Seriously dude? Why couldn’t you have stayed the scum I knew you to be?”

The little girl finally looks up to Lili, tears still in her eyes, as she asks, “why did you kill my Papa? Did he do something wrong to you? Mama too? Is that why that man killed her?”

Lili is at a loss for words, torn on whether to enlighten her on the terrible man her Papa was to her, and allowing her to retain only the good memories of her parents she’d experienced. However, Gunther comes to her rescue. “I’m sure your parents loved you dearly. I’m sure they did all the things they did for your sake, even if those things weren’t always nice. We’re sorry that you had to see your parents like this, sadly there’s not much we can say in justification, but just always remember your parents loved you until the end.” The little girl starts to wail and Gunther gets down on his knees and embraces the girl in his arms. “We’re so sorry.” He says this again and again as he consoles her, tears in his eyes.

Lili can only watch in remorse, recalling her own experience of losing her mother. She gets down on her knees and touches the girls head. When she looks up at her, Lili smiles and says, “We can never know why things happen as they do sometimes, but we can decide how it will shape us. This is a traumatic moment for you, one that will likely haunt you forever. As the cause of this pain, I’m willing to offer you a solution, but only if you wish to take it. I can make you forget all of this and it’ll be nothing more than a bad dream, but in return, you’ll forget all the memories you shared with your parents. However, if you wish to keep them, then you must be prepared to live a life full of pain and sadness, but learn how to deal with it the best you can.”

“Lili, I’m not sure if she’d understand such a big thing. You should just do it and-.”

Lili holds up her hand, silencing him. “Let her decide for herself. I wish someone had spoken to me like this back during that time. She’s just learned that this world is a cruel place a bit earlier than me, but the crossroads is the same. I made my choice and I’ve had to deal with that, so she needs to do the same. However, unlike me, I’m giving her an opportunity to forget it all and live an oblivious life. This is my way of penance for this sin that I’ve just committed.” She turns back to the girl and looks at her seriously. “What do you want to do? Decide now.”

“I don’t want to forget. I want to remember this day, so that I’ll never forget you two. I want to get bigger and mature and learn more about this cruel world, so that I can face you again. I’ll have you both answer to me on that day and depending on what I’ve learned and what you say, only then will I decide if to kill you or not.” She stares Lili in the eyes defiantly and with fire in her eyes and Lili smiles. Gunther is a bit shaken by her switch, but can understand.

“You’re a really strong girl, I’m impressed. What’s your name? I want to remember too.”

“Talia, daughter of Kalum and Cena. What are yours?”

“I’m Lilianna and this is my partner Gunther. Nice to meet you Talia, we won’t forget you.” They both hold out their hands and Talia shakes them with each of hers. “Well, we s-.”

Talia doesn’t let go of their hands. “Can I stay with you for a while longer?” She looks at them with pleading eyes and they realize she’s all alone right now. “I’ll be a good girl for now.”

They look at each other, silently in agreement, but Gunther speaks for them. “If you don’t mind us, we’d be happy to watch over you a little while longer, but only for a little while, ok?” She nods happily and jumps into Gunther’s arms. He picks her up and they stand together.

“Well, isn’t that sweet.” They turn to see Nik and Jove walking towards them. “It’s like a twisted, happy family.” They laugh together, just as the last two arrive.

“Well, if it isn’t Mai and….” Gunther trails off when he sees Eve beside her and looks at Lili. She doesn’t look particularly surprised, but she also looks a bit uneasy at Eve’s presence.

Mai looks at Lili and then at Eve, also feeling a bit uncertain, but to her surprise, Eve is smiling. “It’s been a while, hasn’t it Lili? You’re looking pretty well and much happier now.”

“I am. Mai’s looking much happier now too and you’re the only one who could do that, so thank you.” She steps forward, slightly nervous. “And, um, well…I’m, I’m…sorry about-.”

Eve shakes her head. “It’s ok, no need for that. I know you were in a really dark place back then and I believe everything happened as it was meant to, so let’s just make it water under the bridge now and move forward. Would that be fine with you?”

“Yes, that’d be fine with me. I was in a dark place and I still am, but the difference now is that I know Mai and I can’t work and that our hearts belong to other people.”

“Well then, everything is good.” Eve smiles. “Looks like the gangs all here, so we should go find Noah now. He’s going to need you all very soon. Let’s be on our way.” They don’t ask any more questions and simply follow Eve, to arrive at where Noah is.

###

      Noah and Judas continue their fierce fight, both significantly battered, but neither backing down. Noah knows that if only the others were here, he could end this quickly with god mode, but they are likely busy with battles of their own. So, he again tries to reason with Judas. “Please, let’s stop this Judas. We don’t have to do this. I don’t want to fight you anymore, my brother!”

“Shut up!” He slashes across Noah’s face, drawing blood. “Fight or you’ll die!”

Noah can tell there’s no way he’s going to get through to him and he realizes he may have to make the difficult choice to end this. “Noah!” He and Judas are both caught off guard by the sudden interruption and turn to look. They see Nik and the others arriving, along with some other surprise guests. “Noah, we’re here! Use us and end him once and for all!” Nik shouts.

“It’s about time you guys got here. Let’s do this!” Noah pushes Judas back hard, putting some distance between them and then he quickly focuses his eyes and calls forth the energy of his team. As before, tattoos representing each element appear on the relevant limb of the others and all four appear on Noah, with a spiral of tattoos around each limb. The power up is so great, that there is an aura of pure elemental energy surrounding Noah and his eyes glow yellow, signifying the perfect unity of all the elements. He wastes no time, and goes on the attack.

The others, weak from the drain of Noah’s God mode, collapse to the ground, but into the arms of their loved ones. Judas has finally begun to weaken, unable to withstand Noah’s powerful strikes. So, in one final, desperate attempt, he draws all the power he has into a large blast of dark energy. It hits Noah dead on and causes him to stagger, but he doesn’t fall. Noah then counters with a final blow of his own, all the immense power within him in a single blast and weak from having used all his energy in his final attack, Judas cannot evade it. The blast hits him hard and he smashes into the ground. He’s so weak, it’s as though he’s paralyzed and so all he can do is wait for death. “Rachel, Elias, I’m sorry I failed you.” Tears begin to fall steadily.

Noah looks down at his big twin brother and seeing him in such a miserable state, he cries too. “Why did it have to be this way? Why? Macy! Show yourself already dammit!”

“I’m here Noah, I’ve been watching the whole time.” She walks into the large room, but she’s not alone. Rachel is behind her, carrying Elias, but looks away, no doubt wanting to see Judas in such a state and she shields Elias’ eyes too. “That was a great fight, I’m quite pleased, but now it’s time to finish it Noah. I had no doubt you’d be the winner, so kill him now, or I’ll kill them.” She points to Rachel and Elias. “Don’t think I’m bluffing, I will do it Noah.”

Noah looks at Macy with disappointment. “I have no doubt you would Macy and that makes me so very sad. But I won’t be killing him or anyone, because the sword is mine.”

Macy laughs. “How so? Last I checked I have the final piece, right here.” She holds up the base of the sword. “You think you can defeat me Noah? I’d like to see you try.”

“I won’t be fighting you either Macy, but I will take that sword now.”

“Look, I’m not handing it over, so if you want it, you’ll have to pry it from my cold, dead hands!” Just as she says this, she’s hit with a yellow blast that sends her to the ground.

“Mari, grab it now!” An unfamiliar voice shouts to a young girl in her teens. Her red ponytail whips around as she grabs the fragment and tosses it to a young man. “Thanks!” He catches it and throws it to Noah. “Here you are Uncle Noah, do your thing!” His black hair falls down his chest in a side ponytail and his lavender eyes are full of the excitement of his first independent battle. The girl joins him and takes his hand, also looking very excited.

Noah catches the fragment and wastes no time. “Let me have your pieces’ guys!” With no questions asked, Gunther, Lili, Mai and Nik toss Noah their fragments. He holds up his fragment, and like magnets, the four pieces are drawn to it and fit into place. The colored gem in each fragment is currently dim, not yet having been activated. “Thank you, guys, for everything.”

Despite being such simple words, they hold so much meaning and all four understand. They smile, having no doubts of giving their lives for their leader and best friend. Macy finally gets to her feet, but rather than be angry, she simply laughs. “So, you put the sword together, congratulations, but I hope you haven’t forgot what using that means. To activate it, your friends must die, though I suppose you all already know that and are prepared. But have you forgotten that using that sword on any of us will kill all living Junsui? All your parents and all the other innocent Junsui who have done nothing to deserve it. Can you live with that?” She smirks.

“My team has long been prepared to die for the cause, but you’re wrong about the rest.”

“That’s not all she’s wrong about!” They are all surprised to see someone they never expected to see. Ouran is there and behind him is Arias and most surprising of all, Mia.

“Papa!” The young man from before gets excited, revealing his identity to them.

“Zione, good job son. You make me proud as the new Reaper God.” Zione soaks up his Papa’s compliment with enthusiasm. Ouran looks at Noah and the others. “It’s true the sword must be activated and indeed someone must die, but it’s not going to be your team Noah.”

Noah looks genuinely surprised, as do his team. “What do you mean? There’s no way to activate this sword without draining the elemental energy from them. That’ll kill them for sure.”

“Indeed, it would Noah, had others not stepped up to take their sacrifice.” It seems no one quite understands what he’s saying, but Mai is the first to get it. She looks at Eve, pained.

Eve smiles. “That’s my Mai, figuring things out so quickly. You really are a genius.”

“Why? Why do you keep doing this? How many times do I have to lose you?!”

Mai’s outburst finally clues in the others. “Wait, Jove, you’re here to die for me? No!”

“I’m sorry Nik, but I couldn’t let you die. There’s too much you must accomplish still. I was never much cut out for being a reaper and I grew bored of being headmaster, but this is something I know I’m, good at. I’m willing to do anything for those I love, so please let me.”

Noah looks shocked and Macy looks angry at being caught off guard, but she grins again. “Oh, aren’t you so smart. Ok, maybe you beat the system on them, but what of Gunther and Lili? Where are their saviors?”

“I’ll happy give my life for Noah, we both will, don’t worry about us. Just do it Noah!”

“There’s no need for that Gunther.” Ouran signals to Arias and Mia who step forward. “These ladies are willing to take the bullet.” Gunther, Lili and Noah most of all are surprised.

Noah looks at Mia, who smiles and says, “I know what you’re thinking Noah and I know you don’t like this, but I can’t let you be the only one. How dare to think of leaving me behind.”

Noah looks pained, but smiles through it. “So, you figured me out, did you?”

“Well, I was your heart you know. Just because it’s been returned to you doesn’t mean I don’t know what you’re thinking and feeling. I’m not cut out for a human life, not without you.”

Their exchange has everyone confused and Macy becomes agitated. “Ugh! What’s with all this opposition? If you all want to die for each other fine, I don’t care, but then you’d better see it through. Activate the sword already! Stab Judas once and for all and finish this. I don’t care if I’ll die too, I’m ready to die. So just do it already!” Macy is slowly becoming unhinged.

Noah is calm as he says, “Everyone, I really thank you from the bottom of my heart for your sacrifices. All I’ve ever wished for is that those four dorks would have a chance at life and so you doing this for them really means so much. I’m sure your sacrifices will be awarded.” He holds up the sword. “If you wish to say goodbye, please do so now.”

Mai looks at Eve, angry and in pain at the same time. Eve takes her hand and says, “I don’t expect you to be happy or even forgive me, but I want to do this, for you Mai. I want you to live, really live and be happy. Become the brightest scientist to ever exist and make the world a better place. If we should ever be able to meet again, that would be the happiest moment of my life.” Mai finally starts to cry. Eve takes her face into her hand and pulls her into a kiss.

Nik tries to be tough, but he can’t stop his tears. Jove wipes them away gently and looks at Nik directly in his eyes and says, “don’t cry for me Nik. I want to do this. You must become a strong and dignified leader, just as you wanted to be. If we could ever meet again, I’d gladly serve under you.” Jove pulls Nik’s face to his and they kiss in this final goodbye.

Gunther and Lili simply hold each other and look at Arias and Mia, unable to say anything, but their gratitude shines through. Arias says, “just know I’m doing this for Master’s sake only, ok?” They smile, knowing she’s nice, despite being Tsun as ever.

Mia simply smiles at them and then walks over to Noah, hugging him from behind. “We had a nice couple of years, didn’t we? I really cherished each one you know. It would have been so nice if we could’ve lived on like this, me as a demi-god human and you as a Mortal God. We could’ve adopted some babies of our own, maybe even opened an orphanage for all the lost and abandoned kids of the world, just like us. How wonderful that would’ve been, huh?”

Noah grabs her hand wrapped around his stomach and leans his head against hers. “Yea, that’s a real nice dream babe. But even if we can’t live that kind of life, I promise I’ll see you again. “I love you Mia. Thank you for showing me what that really was.”

“I love you too Noah, forever and always.” She kisses him passionately.

Noah grips the sword and draws forth the energy, and activates the sword. Each fragment illuminates one by one, the sacrifices falling one by one in conjunction with them. Mia is the last to fall to the ground and with a tear in his eye, Noah says, “I’ll see you soon babe.”

The room is somber, filled with tears and sadness at the ones who were lost. Macy however, begins to laugh. “How sad it is to lose a loved one, isn’t it? Well, that’s how I felt too. They died for you fools, you must feel so special, but you are fools just the same! Have you forgotten? You four are hybrid Junsui, so, when Noah stabs Judas with that sword, all of us are still going to die! They sacrificed themselves for nothing! We’re all on our way to hell!” Macy laughs manically, completely lost in her delusion and her madness.

The others, having realized she was right, feel even more broken, but also mildly happy, knowing they’ll be with their lovers again and Gunther and Lili are happy enough dying together, if they can always stay together. However, Noah has one final shocker, that surprises them all, except for Ouran. Noah turns to Macy and says, “I’m so sorry for the suffering and pain you’ve had to endure all this time Macy, I really am. I can’t rid the world of sin, but I can offer you the chance to finally be free from this cursed life. All of you in fact.”

Everyone is confused as to what Noah is talking about, especially Macy. “What are you even saying? You’re going to offer me freedom? If you mean freedom by death, then bring it on, I’m ready. I’ve already said I’m not afraid to die. There can be no other freedom but this!”

“You’d be right Macy, about all of it, if I was going to stab Judas with this sword.”

Macy looks flabbergasted. “What? What do you mean? If you don’t stab him, who else would stab? Even if you could stab me, the result would be the same. This is the end Noah.”

            “Yes, it seems it is.” Noah looks over to his team. “I love you guys, please be happy.”

            They all watch him, feeling slightly nostalgic and its Mai who finally realizes why. She looks at Ouran, who looks back at her and nods, confirming her suspicion. “Noah, you’re-.”

            Before she can get the words out completely, Noah impales himself, straight through the heart, with his sword. Having finally realized what he was doing, the others cried out stop, but it was too late. Macy too, screamed in anger, upset that she couldn’t see his plan until it was too late. There’s a large flash of light and the entire room shakes and then there is only darkness.

###

            When Mai, Lili, Gunther and Nik come to, everyone is gone, except for Judas, still lying on the ground. However, Rachel runs over to him, finally being free from Macy’s grasp, Elias in her arms. “Judas!” She kneels beside him and takes his hand. “Babe, are you alright?!”

            Judas wakes up to Rachel’s voice and seeing her worried face, he smiles. “I’m alive? Or is this heaven? Did I somehow make it there?” Elias is beside him too and pats his face. “Oh, Elias too? I must be dead after all. Hey there buddy.” He smiles and laughs, in a daze.

            “You’re not dead you idiot! Though I swear I should kill you myself, for making me worry so much. Idiot!” She yells, but her voice is full of love as she hugs him tightly.

            “I’m sorry Rachel, I’ll never put you through that again, but I don’t understand, how am I alive right now? If Noah used the sword, shouldn’t I be dead. Shouldn’t we all be?”

            “He didn’t use it on you.” Mai steps forward and speaks to him. “He used it on himself. I don’t fully understand myself, but somehow, Noah sacrificing himself didn’t kill us, but spared us of our affliction. Haven’t you realized it by now?”

            Judas doesn’t quite understand, but then he realizes he has de-transformed and he no longer feels the power he once did. “Wait, I, we’re…human?”

            “It seems so. But why? How is it possible? Noah was a type of Junsui god, wasn’t he?”

            “No, he was the second coming of the Bakemon God.” They turn to see Mika and just behind him are the other four Junsui lords. “Noah was the reincarnation of the Ancient Bakemon God, who first created that sword and set the prophecy in motion. His spirit must have entered Noah, after Noah agreed to take him within him and they became one. Therefore, by sacrificing himself, he liberated the sin of his own creation, namely, the Bakemon. You see, not only have us Junsui become human, but every Bakemon has become human too. Noah rid the world of what it could no longer handle, all Bakemon. However, by doing so, he erased himself as well. Remember, gods cannot exist without people to believe in them and need them. A world without Bakemon, has no need of a Bakemon God. However, because he’s the father of all Bakemon, lesser Bakemon Gods will not be erased, they will simply cease to be Bakemon and become human like the rest of us. So Zione and Macy for example, they will live out their remaining days as humans, no longer having Junsui or Reapers to serve. All the unnatural forces have been wiped clean from this world and left to the divine realm, as it should remain.”

            Nik speaks now. “So, we’re all human now? Like, we’re going to grow old and die?”

            “That’s right Nik, you are human through and through now. Which means you can and should live a free life as you want to. There’s no more prophecies, no more missions, no more battles. You four are finally free from that cursed existence and can live on as regular humans with regular lives. That’s all we’ve wanted for you too, so I speak for us all when I say, I hope you’ll take advantage of the opportunity Noah has given you. He has given all of us. Hermias and Aquaria will no longer have to wonder if they will watch their girls die before them. Even Judas and Rachel, will now be able to raise their human son as humans also. The curse of the Junsui will no longer rip families apart and it’s all thanks to Noah’s sacrifice.” Mika looks a bit chocked up, but he controls himself. He walks over to Judas. “I know you don’t consider me a father and you resent me for leaving you behind and you are entitled to that. However, I want to spend the new life we’ve received trying my best to make it up to you and be an active part of your life. I’ve lost one son, I’d rather not lose a second, when he’s still here on this earth.”

            Judas frowns, not feeling very interested in his words, however when Elias hugs him and calls him Papa, he realizes that he very well may have left him all alone. He too could’ve grown up to feel abandoned by him, when that was never his intention. Judas comes to realize that maybe his father too, had his reasons and that maybe he should give him break. He looks at him and accepts his hand. “I’m willing to give you a chance, but don’t expect us to be a big happy family any time soon, got it?” Mika nods and laughs out loud.

            Mai walks over to Aquaria. “I don’t want to take for granted the ones I love ever again, losing Eve made me realize that, so can we try and become closer too…Mom?”

            Aquaria hugs Mai tightly, tears in her eyes. “Oh Mai, I’d like nothing more baby.”

            Lili approaches Hermias similarly, but is not nearly as affectionate. “Listen old man, I’m not going to expect you to get all sappy, but I want you to be in my life too. I want you to make Gunther nervous to be in the same room as you and I want you to be the grumpy old grandpa to our kids. So, will you suck up your pride and just say ok this once? For me?” She’s suddenly pulled forward and finds herself in his arms. “What the hell, what is this?”

            Hermias speaks, in a gentle voice Lili’s never heard before. “I’d like nothing more.”

            Lili suddenly finds herself crying hard, like a child, at experiencing her father’s warm affection for the first time ever. Something she never realized she wanted until now. Aquaria and Mai smile, happy for them to have such a tender moment and Gunther looks on happily too. He turns to his mother, who looks a bit uncomfortable, but also gentler than before. “Mom.”

            She looks up at him. “I guess this will be ok. I’m growing too old to be such a serious woman anyway. I expect you to give me several grandchildren, understand?”

            Gunther laughs out loud. “Of course, Mother.” He walks up to her and takes Talia’s hand. “What do you think of meeting your first one now?” Scorpia and Talia look at Gunther with surprise. Gunther looks at Talia and says, “how’d you like to be a part of our family?”

            Lili walks over to them now and takes Gunther’s hand. The others are also surprised, but not all that shocked. “We decided together, but this is the first time we’re saying it out loud. We feel that as the ones that took her parents from her, it’s only right we take her in and allow her to see who we really are. That way, she can make the best decision come the day she must decide if she will seek revenge or not. So, what do you say Talia? Want to be our child?”

            Talia begins to cry, but nods as she nuzzles into Gunther’s chest. “Mmhmm.”

            Everyone is happy, but Nik is struggling to show it, still hurting from losing Jove. Igneal places his hand on Nik’s shoulder. “I know how hard it is to lose your love Nik and I can’t say it’s not going to hurt for quite some time, but it’d be a waste for you to squander the life Jove gave to you. Find a way to turn your sadness into good and become someone worthy this life.”

            Nik knows that his words are right and he doesn’t want to waste Jove’s sacrifice. He gets up and faces his dad. “I will live in a way that will make him proud and I hope it’ll also be a way that makes you happy too. Will you be a part of it and watch me get there? I want that so much.”

            “Of course, I will Nikoli, I’d like nothing more.” He hugs him tightly and they smile.

            “Um, just out of curiosity, where did Ouran, his son and friend and Macy go?” Everyone seems stumped at Gunther’s question, but Rachel answers for them.

            “Ouran said he had to tend to the souls of the dead, his son and his girlfriend returned home as they were going to be needed and Macy skipped out before you all woke up. I asked her where she was going, because she looked lost and broken, but she managed to mutter one thing. She said she was going home. I’m not sure what that means exactly, but that was it.”

            No one says anything more, as only Macy can understand what that means. However, they all silently wish her happiness too, as they all look at the rising sun, bringing forth the dawn of a new day and new life, given to them by their savior, Noah Gremory.

###

“Master, everything is set! Should we send them on their way now?”

            “Yes, we should.” Ouran motions to send them on, but then there is a flash of light.

They turn to face their unexpected visitor, who simply says, “I shall see it done.”

            Ouran backs away and bows down. “Of course, my Lord, as you will.” Ouran smiles to as there is another flash and just like that, all the bodies and the visitor have vanished. Ouran stands and sits back in their throne, Arias at their side smiling. “So, it seems their sacrifices have not gone unnoticed, how splendid! Let’s celebrate Arias. Oh, how I love happy endings!”

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