Sanji awoke to a prison cell. Her body was weak, but her heart beat strongly. Slowly, she looked up, taking the room in.
Her arms and legs were chained to the wall behind her. There was a single door, with no handle or keyhole on her side. There were no windows.
Sanji hung her head in despair. I have failed them all. Those that had followed her with bravery and loyalty were most likely now dead. It was nearly enough to break her there and then. She had wanted to help them.
The door opened, and the angel strode in. "You are Sanji?"
She said nothing, doing her best to stay defiant.
Abruptly, her head whipped backwards of its own accord, smacking against the wall. She let out a pained groan, and the angel laughed.
"I will ask one more time. Are you Sanji."
"Yes," she spat. "I am."
"I have heard much about you. The leader of the rebellion. What would prompt one so young to lead something like that?"
"Your kind killed my sister," she snarled.
"Ah yes," the angel smiled cruelly. "And you killed my sister. So who is the true devil here?"
Sanji was silent for a moment. The angel she had killed had family?
"I do not care," she hissed. "Do what you wish to me. I will not break. I will not bend. I will stand tall even as the flames burn me to the ground!"
"Then you will enjoy your death," the angel murmured, approaching her. Sanji looked him straight in the eyes. None of the afraid girl that she had been was left. "You will ascend."
"Ascend?" Despite herself, Sanji was curious. What could that mean?
"You will be fed to the gem," he hissed with pleasure. "It will consume your essence. And you will burn. You will burn, child!"
He flicked his hand, and Sanji's head hit the wall again. Darkness took her again, and she slumped helplessly as she returned to unconsciousness.
Ascend. Ascend. Ascend.
The chant brought Sanji back to consciousness. She found herself back in the main hall- the hall with the gem. Angels surrounded her, those cruel, black eyes boring into her. They watched her, and chanted quietly.
Ascend. Ascend. Ascend.
"We are here," a voice drawled behind her, "for the ascension of Sanjiria Feylan. Her essence will sustain us and make us stronger. The crimes are murder and treason. Let her ascend."
An angel approached behind Sanji, jabbing her sharply in the back with a long spear.
Sanji sighed- resisting was pointless- and started forwards.
So this is how I die.
She wasn't afraid. Just... calm. She would do what she had to do.
They reached the gem. It gleamed before her- the light almost blinding. She approached the gem, dreading what was coming.
And then she tripped.
It was a simple stumble, but she landed on the floor, scrabbling to get back up. The angel kicked at her and cursed her until she stood.
"Now, ascend!" the angel ordered.
ASCEND! ASCEND! ASCEND! The angels roared all around her.
Sanji looked into the depths of the gem, and inside, she accepted her fate.
Then plunged her hidden knife into the gem.