Original Stories Fan Fiction ❯ Capricious Infection ❯ Act 41: Warrior King Ares’ Return ( Chapter 41 )
[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]
By: Melissa Norvell
Act 41: Warrior King Ares' Return
“Let's get things straight,” Ares glared at the incarnation of chaos with malice in his black eyes, “I'm only here because I promised my stratos that I'd help you all out if I could exact my revenge on Diablo.” In all honesty, he wouldn't have come back if he couldn't. There was nothing to gain or lose from being involved in their silly little adventures.
“So, that's what Dante's injuries were about.” It all made sense to Lannad now. Dante must have been fighting against Ares. “You must be the one who runs the Death Factory.”
“I am Warrior King Ares,” the Dius introduced himself to the group.
“The Nazi Dius clusterfuck,” Dante shot in irritation. “Don't even try to force your fucking Social Darwinism on us…because no, fuck you.” If he thought he was going to influence anyone there, then he was dead wrong. Tarvos might believe in his fucked-up ways of thinking, but his human friends weren't even going to consider his left-winged religion.
“Tch,” Ares sneered, “no one wants to listen to jaws mindlessly flap. I am merely making an introduction, it's rude to interrupt.” Dante was always so quick to say something to him. He just couldn't let him have his five minutes of fame, could he?
Oz cut through the crowd and walked out in front of everyone. Bi-colored spectacles reflected the visage of the Warrior King in their frames. The two stood there for a moment, wordless as they simply stared each other down. “Ares…” he finally spoke, “it's been a while.”
“What do I owe you, Oz?” Ares' voice took on a sharp edge to it and his eyes narrowed. The last person he wanted to put up with was Oz. He had really done enough to him in the past, and just thinking about the fact that he is his wellbringer didn't make things better.
“I know that things,” Oz paused for a moment, as if trying to search for the right words to say, “Aren't exactly kosher with us-“
He was cut off.
“That's a gross underestimation.”
“I know that you probably don't think much of me, either,” Pregmacia was pretty sure that behind Oz she was next on his list of people he'd rather not see again.
“As a victim of circumstance, you could say that I'm a little pissed at it, but I'm moving on and so should you. I can only get rid of my mark as this body dies, and the fact that it was unlawfully placed there makes it worse.” It was like a curse, a terrible scar that marred him forever. It infected him with shame and disgust. The mark of the traitor.
“We jumped the gun, and maybe we see that now.” Even if it was too late, Oz knew that his logic was flawed back then. As a result, Ares suffered the consequences.
“Even the Balancer was uneasy about what happened. He didn't want to punish me. You should have talked to him.” Did they even give that any thought? The Balancer was absolute justice, and forcing him to act based on shoddy decisions did the one thing that no one wanted - cause absolute purity to become corrupt. That only helped heighten Ares' irritation.
“I know that you're bitter,” Oz couldn't defend himself. There was no reason to in this case. He knew he was wrong, and he had done him wrong. The Dius of Time didn't want to give him any reasons to go back and not help them.
“You know why,” Ares' frown deepened. There was no use in pretending for the sake of those humans. They would find out eventually.
“You know why,” Ares' frown deepened. There was no use in pretending for the sake of those humans. They would find out eventually.
“Diablo disgraced our clan,” Karkatta spoke up. They too, were one of the Karka, and because of their actions, now all of their clan was branded and damned.
“And my blood color became a symbol of hatred and discrimination,” Ares added.
“He didn't have to paint a symbol around town in Ares' blood,” Karkatta folded their arms over their flat chest. A lot of thing that happened would have been avoided if not for that one incident. After it, everyone was thrown into a myriad of segregation that made it hard to be a member of Karka Clan.
“I…did that?” Dante was shocked. He knew that Diablo was a terrible person, and that he made Ares suffer immensely, but he didn't know that Diablo caused something as terrible as hatred towards a whole clan of people. Now he felt disgusted with himself even more.
“Of course you did, but nothing can be done about it now. Besides, this is the time to start over. Yes, you were humiliated back then, but that's no reason to have some pride and want glory. Make yourself that person. I shouldn't have to tell you that,” Tarvos knew that was what Dante had planned to do in the first place, but perhaps the boy needed to hear it in order for it to sink in more.
“It only lessens the blow,” Ares added.
“It's easier to let go of a heavy load than it is to keep carrying it and piling on the burdens. Something has to give,” Dante knew this for a fact. When he let go of the past, he found it easier to become more of what he believed to be Dante and less of Diablo.
“He's right, you know,” as much as Tarvos hated to go against Ares, Dante had a point.
“All I can do is apologize. I know it doesn't make the load any less, or the pain healed. I'm shocked you're even here,” Oz surely thought his offspring would have denied alliance with them. Ares had every right to turn down the offer and throw it back in his face, and yet…he didn't.
“If you're here, then who's at your Death Factory?” Pregmacia didn't understand how it was operable without him. Wasn't he the only one who operated it?
“I have an assistant and a few others who help operate the facility.” There was no way that Ares could operate it on his own. He had a small crew, and a few others who could easily take his place when he decided to be absent from his confines.
“It's nothing but a flying murder house,” Dante grumbled. Visions of what happened assaulted his mind. The screams and cracks of his parent's bones echoed through his senses and the stench of blood and death was strong in his nostrils. Shaking his head, he rid himself of the vivid imagery.
“The Death Factory has its place. Your parents had to die. You've been told this from the beginning,” it shouldn't have been a shock to the boy. Tarvos' goals were clearly stated. His job was to take their parents away from them. Dante wasn't anyone special. His time had to come.
“It's not easy to just let it go and accept it.” Not to mention, Tarvos didn't have to indulge in Ares' sick plans and force him to watch them die like that. He could have easily just stuck his scythe through them and ended their lives swiftly.
“We have strong bonds with our families. It's not easy,” David tried to explain how human family systems worked as best as he could.
“How strange,” Ares didn't seem to understand it. Why would humans value such relationships with their wellbringers? Did all humans want ties like that?
Sensing that the conversation was growing uncomfortable to Dante, Lannad decided to avert the subject. “All we need now is the Balancer, right?”
“He's coming here?” The Warrior King found it hard to believe that someone like him was going to descend to this rotting world.
“It's important that he show. This is bigger than you think,” Pregmacia's features hardened.
“Calypso is involved,” Karkatta let that integral factor be known.
“So, that's how it is,” Ares didn't need to know anything more after being told that.
“I assume that you're accustomed to her by now,” Oz noted.
“I am her offspring, after all,” Ares was more than accustomed to her.
“Dude, no,” David's eyebrows rose, “you serious?”
“I am the son of Calypso and Oz, one of two, actually.” As much as Ares hated it, there was no denying what was the truth.
“Then,” David glanced around at the others, “who is the other one?”
“That Balancer,” Karkatta educated.
“So, Unwine is-“ Rezzi was a little shocked.
“Precisely,” Oz confirmed her suspicion.
“He's my brother, although we look very different. He has a mutation. He's a teal blood, and his hair turned white from his methods of torture. The ionization of his once black hair differed him from other Dius. I do not envy his position,” Ares never wanted what his brother had. If there was anything in the world he'd never want to do, being the Balancer was high up on the list.
“Well, I guess that we should explain everything to you so you can fall into our vicious cycle,” Karkatta smirked and hooked an arm around the muscular male's neck. White, pointed teeth flashed at the Warrior King as they smiled impishly.
“Why do I get the feeling I'd rather not know?” Ares narrowed his eyes and frowned at the unisex Dius beside of him, looking at him with shifted eyes.
“You're so smart,” Karkatta told him in a mock-happy tone.
“Sometimes…I wonder about you,” Ares sighed as the group dissipated, walking off in their own separate directions. The sound of footsteps sounded in his ears as their forms reduced in size.
“Tarvos,” Oz looked to the reaper.
“Something you want?” Tarvos asked, looking at him in curiosity.
“We need to talk,” his eyebrows knitted, “privately.”
“Okay,” Tarvos obliged and held out his hand. The same, purple and black vortex swirled around in the air beside of them and sucked them into it at warp speed. Their forms stretched and contorted as they disappeared.
“I swear, I'll never fucking get over him doing that,” Dante commented from the sidelines. That vortex was weird. Being in it was weird, unlike anything he had experienced and anything he wanted to experience.
“I'm going to rest a bit longer,” David dismissed him as he retreated into the house. “I have this feeling that I'll need to. Since Ares is here, it'll make things more difficult.” He could already tell that the black-blooded Dius just spelled trouble. Not to mention, he and Dante were obviously not going to see eye-to-eye on anything. Things were getting even more complicated than they were before.
“I'm shocked he came here and the fact that he's the son of Oz…” Rezzi trailed off. She could sense it. There was something impending upon them. It shook her to the core, and she couldn't help but think about the fate that was to befall them.
“So is your beloved Unwine. I have a feeling when he shows up; shit'll really start hitting the fan.” All they were missing was the most important factor. Dante was sure that they were in for the fight of a lifetime.
“I've had that theory for a while,” she was no stranger to that immense feeling. Rezzi just didn't know what to do about it.
“Man, this is getting more complicated,” things were moving so fast Tony could barely wrap his mind around it all.
David looked thoughtful for a moment and held a finger to his chin in contemplation, “I'm suspicious of something.”
“What?” Tony wondered and looked to the black-haired boy.
“You don't know the half of it. I don't like Ares. He's shady and crazy as all hell,” Dante was going to stand firm in his word. Nothing Ares could do could have been worse than what he'd already done.
“He doesn't seem like it. He seems regal and composed,” Rezzi didn't get the same feelings from him. Granted, she couldn't see him to make a judgment on how he looked, but his tone of voice and word choice didn't give off the impression Dante projected.
“That's what he wants you to think,” Dante seethed. There was no way in hell that he was going to let Rezzi buy into that ruse.
“Why did Oz need to talk to Tarvos, David paused momentarily, “without everyone being there?” It was odd behavior for him. It was even more strange that they teleported away to have whatever conversation that they were having. What was the big secret? What could be that terrible that they have to go to another dimension just to talk about it?
“That was kind of strange,” Lannad noted. Oz had never done that before.
“I'm going to go and train. I've been lying around too long, anyway,” David picked up his Time Sword and turned to go back outside. All of the time he'd laid around was working on him. He wasn't going to get stronger, or follow in the footsteps of the great Time Guardians of the past if all he did was lay around.
“Are you sure that you're alright?” It was kind of soon for him to just go back to strenuous work right after he healed. Lannad was worried.
“I need to do something,” David wasn't just going to wait to get better. They didn't have that kind of time.
“That's a good idea,” Dante agreed. “I didn't get shit done before I was abducted.” He was trying to train, until Tarvos showed up and turned his world upside down. Maybe it was a good idea to go back to doing that. It would get his mind off of what just happened at least a little.
`I'm going to do a little time hopping.' David thought to himself as he entered a clearing. He was far enough away that he didn't have to worry about anyone seeing him. He just hoped that no one came looking for him while he was out `training'. He often came to this field to test his skills and magical abilities. It was nice and secluded. He could concentrate better when he was here.
Holding the Time Sword up, he pointed the blade skyward and looked up to it. The sun hit the tip, causing it's reflection to sparkle in his shades. `I've never time hopped to this place before. So, let's see if I can get to the vortex that Oz and Tarvos are in. I just hope it has a sense of time flow.'
Concentrating his energy on the blade, it began to radiate an orange, foggy-looking energy. “Okay, Time Sword, show me what you're made of.” The hands on the Time Sword began to venture around the clock face as everything around him swirled in a pool of psychedelic color. A clear bubble encased his form as he shoots through the ever-changing, swirling colors.
After seconds passed, he was spit out in an open field. The snow-white grass crunched beneath his sneakers as he glanced around at his surroundings. There was nothing there but a purple, cloudless sky and long, white leaves of grass on hills. It was eerie and silent. Above him were suspended long, winding roads that were made of some kind of white stone.
`So…this is another paradox? I wonder where in time I am, and if this world runs parallel to our own.' Suddenly, two figures came into his view. `Huh?' It was Tarvos and Oz. `Never mind where this is. I want to know what's up. Let's see if I can spy on them.'
“You know what I called you here for, right?” Oz asked the reaper in a serious tone.
“You want me to kill someone, right? Well, or you're just mad that I brought Ares back,” there was no telling with Oz sometimes. They might have been two halves of a whole, but Tarvos still couldn't read that guy for shit.
“It's not just one person,” Oz's face became hardened and his voice lowered, “it's many.”
“Genocide?” Now Tarvos was interested. “Even better!” The aspect of killing a whole slew of people again sent his adrenaline pumping. Tarvos missed the feeling of blood and flesh hitting his skin.
“I want you to kill the remaining population in the main sector of town.” It was time to put the next phase of his plan into action. Oz wanted them all destroyed.
`What?' David's face lit up in shock. Oz and Tarvos were going to kill everyone? But why?
“It will knock out the power and send this place into its dark ages. It…has to be done,” Oz looked as if he didn't want to say that last part, like a part of him didn't want to do it. “Don't tell the others.”
“Usually, this kind of thing is common knowledge. Why isn't it this time?” Tarvos was a little curious why Oz was being underhanded about his plans now.
“The ones who are alive there are the parents of the humans Tony and David,” Oz offered his reasoning.
`What? Oz is going to kill my parents? Dude, I've got to try and stop him. It's time that I play a little game and dash against time.' If Oz thought that he was going to sit idly by while he murdered them, then he was dead wrong. David felt betrayed by his mentor. For what reason did his parents need to die? They could survive and flourish with the rest of the remaining population. There wasn't a need to slaughter them like he was planning on doing.
“I assume that you want this done soon?” Tarvos asked.
“Try to do it as quietly as possible….Well, I realize who I'm talking to,” he folded his arms over the clock symbol on his shirt. As if Tarvos could do anything quietly.
“I can't guarantee silence…” Tarvos looked thoughtful for a few moments, “or maybe I can. I can always just make them drop dread.” That was as silent of a method as he could offer up. It killed them instantly, so they didn't have time to scream in agony.
“Your silencer attack might be most effective,” Oz noted.
“That's what I'll do. It only kills those of the marking time, and while it's not my forte', it gets the job done by immediately stopping their life functions. No bathing in blood.”
The reaper frowned and pouted, “You make me so sad, Oz. What did I do to you?” Surely, he must have made him angry in some way to endure the cruelty of not being able to make his victims suffer.
“Get over it,” Oz glared, “just get the job done.”
Tarvos sighed dramatically, “alright.”
David held the blade flat against his forehead and teleported himself back to the field. A sense of dread and urgency washed over him. Worry painted itself onto his visage as the sword tip dug into the ground.
At the same time, Oz and Tarvos appeared to see Karkatta, Lannad and Tony talking among each other. They stood in a small group and were in the middle of a conversation upon their arrival.
“I see you with it around your horn all of the time. I was wondering if it was special to you,” Lannad was curious as to what the bow around Karkatta's horn meant.
“It was given to me,” Karkatta paused, their voice gained a sentimental tone to it and a softened gaze morphed onto their visage, “by a friend.”
“Is your friend here?” Lannad asked.
“She's dead,” they said with chill in their voice.
“So, it was a girl? Was she your stratos?” Lannad could tell that Karkatta had deep feelings for whomever it for. Perhaps they were in a relationship of some kind.
“We weren't that close,” Karkatta frowned, looking a little irritated before becoming defensive. “Why the fuck is it your business, anyway?” Lannad was getting a little too close for their liking. The last thing Karkatta needed was someone poking their nose into their personal affairs.
“Hey, she's just trying to get to know you.” There wasn't a reason for Karkatta to snap at his girl like that. Tony didn't think Lannad deserved to be treated like that for trying to be friends with…whatever the hell Karkatta was supposed to be.
“Well, maybe I don't want to be gotten to know, or whatever,” Karkatta placed their hands on their hips and leaned in with a scowl on their face.
“I will find out what gender you are!” Tony proclaimed, as if it was the world's biggest mystery.
“You're stupid,” Karkatta looked twice as irritated now, “I can't even believe this miserable shithole was picked to save. You should worry about more than finding out my gender.” Out of all of the things he could be doing, there were way more significant things to take care of.
Just then, David darted past them, nearly knocking the two of them into each other.
“Where the fuck are you going?” Karkatta shouted at the boy, who momentarily stopped at and glanced back at them.
“I'm on a mission,” David panted the words out. “Can't talk now,” he held up his hand, “later, bro.” He continued on his way and vanished from sight.
“Ugh,” Karkatta crossed their arms over their chest, “how nail-strappingly annoying.”
“Something was wrong…but what?” Lannad was concerned.
“Do you think we should follow him?” If something was wrong, Tony wanted to find out what it was.
“Wouldn't he tell us if it was important, though?” She trusted that her friend would alert them if he found something truly disturbing. Lannad didn't want to worry about him, but at the same time, she couldn't help but to do so.
“You'd think,” Tony wasn't completely sure, but he wanted to believe David wouldn't do anything stupid.
David ran through the dilapidated streets, occasionally hopping over a dead body or an uprooted piece of asphalt. He ran past the destroyed houses, left to decay in the sands of time as he tried desperately to make his way towards the sector of the town that held the remains of human civilization. Each step drove him forward, each huff of breath gained him ground.
`It'll take a while to do this, and I don't know how to teleport or do the weird ass vector thing. Tarvos and Oz can do. I hope I get there before Tarvos. I have to. I didn't even tell Tony that his parents were still alive. Hell, I didn't even know Dante's adopted parents were still alive.' A small smile crossed his face as thought about how far ahead of the game he was. `If I save them, I'll look so badass!' Then his expression changed into something dire. `However…Isn't this kind of selfish? Everyone else assumed their parents are dead….and Oz…dude, what the fuck? Why would he do this? I don't understand why he wouldn't even tell me. Come on, just be honest already! You think I won't understand or something? You always treat me like a kid! That's alright…I'll bust his clock and get some serious swag on this shit.'
Tarvos landed and glanced over the town around him. It was a small area of town that looked virtually untouched by the destruction going on around him. He stood on top of the highest point in town - the large energy plant that fueled what little conveniences they had left. Pointing his scythe skyward, he uttered the words `stay silent' and an invisible wave of energy expanded from the scythe. It washed over the land and everything it touched dropped to the ground, motionless. Everyone was killed but the teenagers and small children.
The chaos was reflected in David's shades as the distortion of energy approached him. Shock lit up his face. “What the hell?” He turned to run, but the force of the energy was so strong that it knocked him off of his feet and propelled him forward, knocking him to the ground.
Tarvos glanced over the village as the lights faded out in all of the buildings and houses. One by one, they burnt out just as the lives left their bodies.
The lights suddenly flashed off in Rezzi's house, leaving everyone in darkness. They chatted among themselves, being left in a state of confusion. It was right when everyone had been eating. The group sat at the table and looked at each other, wondering what was going on.
“What the fuck?” Dante asked as he put down his chop sticks and glanced around in the darkness.
“The lights all went out,” Pregmacia was a little confused.
“Did something happen down town?” Lannad wondered if the workers at the electric plant were alright.
`He did it,” Oz confirmed that the deed had been done.
“Were the people around the electric plant killed? That's the only way that the power can be off, right?” Tony was a little worried. It wasn't just that the power was an important source to them; it was that the armies were advancing closer and had found one of the few sanctities they had. It also meant that there were more casualties and more importantly, that his parents might not have been alive.
“What would it matter?” Ares wondered what the significance of that incident was. Why was an electric plant so important to these humans?
“My parents lived there,” Tony noted in a low and serious tone.
“Parents?” The Warrior King questioned.
“Human wellbringers,” Karkatta noted.
“I see,” Ares understood a little better now.
“That's why David ran back into town!” Lannad stood up as the realization hit her. “He knew what was happening!” She knew that she should have gone after him, and this was only confirmation on her gut feelings earlier.
Dante slammed his hands on the table-top, causing the silverware and fine china to jingle. “Fuck! We should have followed him!” How could they have overlooked it like that? They were so stupid!
“It wouldn't have helped. I told you, they will all eventually die. Why do you insist on going against me?” Oz really didn't understand why they wanted to change everything like they did. The deaths would have meaning. No sacrifice was without merit.
Tony looked down at the plate of half-eaten food below him. He felt a wave of emotions overcome him as tears stung at the corners of his eyes. “I don't…know what to say…”
“You shouldn't say anything,” Oz told him coldly. He should have seen it coming.
“David…” Dante could only image how this must have affected him.
“It isn't something I felt good about doing,” if they all thought it was easy for Oz, it wasn't. Even now, he felt guilty about ending their lives.
“So you have Tarvos do it for you? Are you still bullshitting yourself by passing the blame?” Ares wasn't going to let this go on any longer than it had already. Just hearing Oz spew bullshit from his mouth made him want to vomit.
“Ares…” Oz was felt the sting of his words.
“You chose to end this world, as you do all of the others, but you put all of the blame on others. It was like you could never take the blame and say it was you. You're not indirect; you're a coward in your own right. If you want human David to have respect for you, then you have to have pride and respect for yourself. If you did it, and it's to move the world forward, then take pride in it and just tell him.” What was so hard about that? What kind of proper Dius was his father to act in such a shameful manner? Ares couldn't believe the cowardice he expressed.
“How should I do that?” If his son had an answer, Oz wanted to know. Could he do the job any better?
“Be honest,” Ares was stern in his words, “it's far better than being such a two-faced, cod-swalloping, milksop. It's putrid.”
“It's harder than you think,” Oz argued. There were more factors to consider than that, and he knew it.
“Considering it's the worst habit you have, maybe it is. You should fix it.” Honestly, how long was he going to live with his cowardice? How long was he going to keep blaming others for his mistakes? Oz had done it since Tarvos' creation and fed off of it up until now. It had to stop.
David stood there. The blackened street was littered in bodies. They lay all around him, staring up at him with cloudy eyes. An eerie silence washed over the town, and never in his life had he felt so alone. It was as if all hope had been flushed down the drain and darkness had descended with the cold grip of death.
His gaze hit the ground, and his body slumped over. `I failed again…I have to be the most uncool guy alive. I know it was wrong and selfish to want this…but maybe I wanted to prove that certain aspects of time still accounted for something, and that the flow of time could be altered and still work in favor of his plans. Maybe I'm being punished for that. If Tarvos can do that in one hit, then I still have a lot to learn about the elemental powers of the Dius. Maybe I was foolish to think that with my limited knowledge, I could do something as great as they could do. Sorry Tony…I wasn't much of a bro to you. I'm even more pissed at Oz than I am myself.'
His knees hit the hard ground below and he felt himself crash into it, hands propping his tired body up. He stuck his hands beneath his shades, pushing them up as he wept silently at the loss of his parents, Tony's parents, and the few people who had once been alive.
`What a douche bag.'
…To Be Continued