Broken Eternity

For centuries, Kaizo and Griffin have fought in a constant cycle of reincarnation with no end in sight. Kaizo as a hero and Griffin as a villain - figures of legend.

However, one cycle, they wake to find themselves in the wrong roles, unknowing of how they ended up in their positions and lacking memories of their former cycle. Now, they need to find out the truth and the reason behind their sudden swap.

But do they even want to know the truth? And can they ever return to their eternity fighting as hero and villain, or to the normal life they once knew?


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8. Chapter 8

Chimes tinkled in the wind, their silver bars clinking against each other as they hung from the criss-crossing wooden bars. The spire of the Time Shrine stretched above the clouds, slathered in russet clay tiles the same shade as the rest of the building. Thick iron doors stood in their way – the last gate between them and the truth.

“Are we all ready?” Kaizo asked, glancing around the group.

Hira, Aynos and Sonnet nodded.

Felica shrugged. “As much as I’ll ever be.”

Kaizo glanced towards Griffin, frowning. “How about you?”

“I want to know the answers just as much as you do, Kaizo.”

Kaizo grinned. “Then let’s go!”

The talk faded as Kaizo and Griffin approached the doors and shoved.

Creaks echoed as the doors swung open, revealing the shadowed passage behind them. Kaizo strolled inside, and with a sigh, Griffin followed, as did the rest of the group.

Flames burst into life on ivory torches as they headed down the hall. Kaizo gaped, while Aynos took out an empty journal and scribbled down notes.

“This is your discussion,” Hira said, “so we won’t interrupt.”

Both Kaizo and Griffin nodded.

An altar rested before them – a rectangular slab of white marble with a towering velvet-backed throne in front of them.

Kaizo pulled his fingers through his matted hair, sliding his other hand into his pocket. “Er, Lady Goddess? Could you, um, help us out here?”

“You sound like a nervous wreck,” Felica muttered.

Kaizo flushed red.

But a shimmer appeared in the air, right in front of the throne.

The glimmers took shape into a woman.

Aynos stared, before returning to his writing, murmuring incoherent words.

Kaizo bowed, and Griffin dipped his head.

Goddess Nirvana placed her elbow on the throne’s arm with a sigh, bracelets jangling around her wrists. Mauve hair flowed in a loose ponytail over her shoulder, and she glanced over the group with violet eyes.

“Should have known you two would turn up,” she said, smoothing down her sleeveless indigo dress. “Kaizo, Overlord of Evil, and Griffin, the… er, hero.”

Griffin raised an eyebrow. “I don’t get a title?”

“No.”

Kaizo smirked. “Now you know how it feels, Griffi, to have no title!”

Griffin shot him a glare.

“But Lady Goddess,” Kaizo said, turning back to Nirvana. “Look, I’m sure you’re busy and all, but why in the world am I the Overlord of Evil?”

“And why can’t we remember last cycle?” Griffin asked.

No response.

Griffin tapped his foot. “Why?”

Nirvana averted her gaze. “Both of you are sharp in mind. Surely you’ve realised?”

A pause.

“What do you mean?” Kaizo asked.

She glanced back towards them. “Because the two of you still feel the same way as you did last cycle about all this. The only part you forgot is how you went too far.”

Kaizo blinked. “…Don’t get it.”

Griffin frowned. “Excuse me, but we don’t remember any of last cycle.”

Nirvana curled a strand of her hair around her finger, gaze softening. “Oh, you two… I don’t know how to explain.”

“Can’t you just give us back our memories?” Kaizo asked. “Couldn’t you explain that way?”

“…I suppose.”

“Wait,” Griffin said, scowling. “If you can give us our memories, did you take them?”

Nirvana only nodded.

Wisps of magenta magic formed in her palm, like strands of translucent fabric. The goddess snapped her fingers, causing the streams to dissipate.

Then the memories came. Visions and voices of the past.

“Why can’t this end?”

“I don’t want to fight. Not anymore.”

“Go! Leave me! This is my match to settle!!”

“…I’m sorry. I’m so, so, sorry…”

Griffin pressed a hand against his forehead, eyes wide.

“…Is it… is it true?” he whispered.

He glanced towards Kaizo, who stared at Nirvana, breathing heavy. “Good grief…” the hero murmured. “We…”

“…What happened?” Sonnet asked.

Kaizo turned to her, slowly shaking his head, his eyes squinted. “…We died.”

Sonnet frowned, and Aynos cocked his head.

“We died,” Griffin repeated, throat tight, “long before we were meant to.”

Kaizo’s hazel-eyed gaze met his, and the heroic Overlord of Evil swallowed. “I… don’t like the cycle. Griffi… Griffi’s okay with everything. But… we made a pact.”

Griffin didn’t even speak up about the usage of his rather unfortunate nickname. The pact – made during the early hours after the two of them woke, a desire to break free of their cycle.

A wish to stop fighting.

Kaizo sighed, fidgeting with the cuffs of his worn ivory sleeves. “I’m sure you think it was an accident the ruined castle on the canyon’s ‘island’ fell. It wasn’t. Griffi destroyed the castle for one purpose. To end this.”

Hira gasped. “What?! Father told me Canyon Castle was destroyed during your last cycle, but… but…!”

Griffin pushed his lenses against his eyes, hoping, praying his stomach would stop churning.

“…I don’t understand,” Sonnet said, biting her lip.

Kaizo let a deep breath, tears his eyes. “We killed ourselves. We killed ourselves, believing not playing along with Lady Goddess’s games would stop our cycle. End all this pain, this warring… that’s all we wanted.”

Felica’s jaw dropped.

“They disrupted the balance.” Nirvana’s fingers traced the grooves in the throne as she avoided their gazes. “Left no victor, and as a result, created a reality where neither the Daylands nor the Nightlands are the supreme rulers. If I’d placed them in their normal roles, they could easily end themselves again. By swapping them…”

“You thought they’d panic and quell their thoughts of rebellion,” Aynos breathed. “But why erase their memories?”

“Yes. As for their memories… well, I’m no cruel beast of a goddess. Their memories would be a constant reminder of how they’d failed to end their so-called ‘pain’.”

“Then why are you doing this?!” Felica spat. “If they don’t want this, why make them fight?!”

Nirvana met Felica’s glare. “Their cycle is part of the balance.”

“Balance?” Hira’s eyebrows furrowed. “How so?”

“…Mortals like you wouldn’t understand.”

Hira scoffed. “Seriously?”

Kaizo drummed his fingers against his thigh, eyebrows furrowed. “Can’t all this end, Lady Goddess? I understand you want ‘balance’ and everything, but…”

Nirvana frowned. “If you want to break the cycle, you face your own consequences. There’s only so much a goddess can do. Do you understand? There’ll be no turning back.”

Kaizo and Griffin exchanged glances.

“…What consequences?” the mage asked.

Nirvana shrugged. “Whatever happens is your problem.”

Griffin groaned.

“…Yeah.” Kaizo strode forward. “I’m tired of this cycle. Tired and sick of it. Stop this… please, stop this all. We’ll handle anything afterwards, no probs.”

He flashed a grin at Griffin. “Right, buddy?”

“Buddy…?”

Kaizo pouted. “Come on! You don’t like this either, right?”

…Well, his nemesis made a decent point.

“…Yes. The Great Griffin will not be stopped by some… whatever.”

Nirvana’s gaze dropped to the stone tiles. “…Very well.”

She snapped her fingers together.

Kaizo cocked an eyebrow. “Um… is something supposed to hap –”

Boom.

The sound of an explosion rang out through the shrine. Windows shattered, and the flames of the torches burst into nothing.

Kaizo paled.

Griffin whipped around to Nirvana –

But the goddess was gone, leaving nothing but a dull, empty throne.

“…Guys?” Aynos’s voice piped up from behind them. “…I think we just made a huge mistake.”

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