In the eye's of a young man:
In the middle of a night filled with stars, I sit in the top branches of the tallest tree in my town. I always come up here when I have something important or frustrating on my mind. I have come up here less and less as I grow up, at sixteen years of age, this is the first time I came up here in months.
I am in more trouble that any kid my age should be in at my age and I have nowhere to go. You could not imagine the irony that I feel as I sit up here. Not more then two weeks ago, I didn't even believe in magic and gods, but now I'm up to my neck in a battle of godly proportions.
My name is Nathaniel BriRidge, and my tale began a mere two weeks ago; I can remember it as if it happened yesterday. But you want to know what the strangest thing is; up until few days ago I learned that a whole chunk of my life has been a lie, but I digress,
I was never what people would call a normal kid; in fact no one has ever called me that in my whole life. I remember this because I could always remember something that happened, as soon as I opened my eyes on that day.
Something was wrong with me, I always thought when I saw people enjoying a game or something, perhaps it was the challenge in its self, but if I never felt challenged, how could I know, so I went along with the routine and mastered each step one by one with no joy at all. It was because I mastered them, I could never really find a challenge that was something that little boys wanted, to be able to get better. Even school which many kids my age dreaded because it was school I hated it because I knew everything that they could teach me, it was mind numbingly boring. It was the worst possible thing to make me go somewhere everyday for eight hours.
So once again, I listen to my Ipod and roll down the sidewalk on my skateboard like I do every day. As fate would have it, I skated past a crowd of people who were hysterically yelling on a bridge overhanging a river, so I decided to check it out. It turns out, there was a little boy who fell in the river and he was being swept away so fast no one could get him and people were using long sticks at the banks of the river and trying to reach the kid. I jump in, and give an Olympic style dive, I was a good swimmer, and after a week I had an Olympic time, so catching up to the kid and pulling him out was an easy task. This wasn't the strange part, being crowded and being a hero didn't really matter to me, if I could of I would of just ran, but I couldn't go and save the kid without even asking if he was okay.
Like I said, the hero worship wasn't really what was bugging me, but after I had a weird feeling. It was as if every hair on the back of my neck just stood up at the same time, it was so strange that after I pushed my way through the crowd, I picked up my skateboard and just ran with my own legs. I pick things up rather quickly as I have said before, this was not my town, all the trees were twisted and dead unlike the thriving trees that stood there earlier today.
As I turn around, I see something that everyone should only see one time in his or her lives. Standing before me was what people would call the grim reaper, or Death, and it wasn't the cartoon version that was a bag of bones with a robe wrapped around him, or her. This thing was like something from a nightmare, every time it took a step it seemed to make the temperature in the air grow colder and colder. As well, when he walked passed a healthy yard of a young couple that had just moved into town, each time it passed a blade of grass or a budding flower it just withered and died. And its scythe was not the type you would see at in a history book to cut down wheat to be made into bread. This was a weapon that would be used in a battle a thousand years ago too split the heads of your enemies in battle, not a toy.
I thought that it was my time, whether or not, I was going too die, I don't think it would matter if I were supposed too or not; it was just a feeling that I was picking up. "So you realize that I'm coming for you boy, come now, everyone has to die sometime, it's just yours. Come on, if you're really that nervous I guess I could give you a few minutes to run, it won't do you any good but it could be worth it." It was his voice that disturbed me the most. It was a man's voice, but it wasn't a voice that was described in those creepy books, 'a voice that made the coldest winter on earth seem like the hottest fires in hell", as it was described. It was different, it was a calm voice, one full of something that I couldn't put my finger on, but it wasn't the bitter coldness or burning hatred that I expected, and in its own way I guess it should have been its own warning that this isn't what it appeared to be.
My legs told me to run and so did every conscious sense in my body, but I still couldn't move, something in the back of my mind stopped me from moving. I liked to read of the heroes that could stare in the face of death and not even flinch, but I wasn't like that I was only sixteen, I shouldn't have to go through this. But I didn't feel anything back then and I couldn't even comprehend what was waging in my body. So I said the stupidest thing that I could of said that in fact led to my internal struggle on top of my tree. "No, I'm not going to run, not from you, if this is my time then I'm not going down without a fight." Like I said, it was an incredibly stupid thing to say to someone who could not only kill but would in fact most likely kill me.
But, he didn't kill me right then and there like I supposed he would, instead, he let out a laugh, a human laugh. "While I appreciate you trying to make my line of work easier, but it takes all the passion out of my work. I don't actually go around killing people and take their souls to hell, it would get very boring quickly, and life has been here even longer then I have. Contrary to your human beliefs, death isn't something that is bad, it's not good, but it's not bad. Death is in all in essence part of natures beautiful balance, my kind only monitors it to keep that balance." He said this and in a second he disappeared and was behind me, "this however is a 'special' case, you aren't all normal kid, so I hope to enjoy this. The only thing that brings my life a bit of pleasure when I work is when people try to make a deal or run away, so please be a sport." So this scary incarnation of death wanted to play games huh, I'll play it's little games but he doesn't realize, I never lose.
All my life I taught myself to believe that all humans no matter what were on the inside incredibly greedy creatures. I was different, but not an exception to this rule, "so what your saying is that I have too challenge you, but what do I get out of this?" I knew it was probably a stupid question to ask seeing as I was about to challenge death for my rights to keep my soul, looking back I never really thought that I would ever say something like that. But I had too ask, I always thought when reading through religious books that all they seem to say is, 'stay alive as long as you can and at the end, find out how much your soul is worth', so why not ask if I could get anything from it.
To my surprise, Death laughed at me, or rather as I found out later what I had said. "Well human I have to say, you are definitely one the more interesting soul I've come to collect even for a special case. Most people are more interested in staying alive and trying to run away, but you weren't even going to run in the first place, and now you're asking what you could get for it, does being alive not quench your thirst human? What a world that we live in where interesting people like you are born. I'll make you a deal human if you win your challenge with me, one of your choosing, not only will I not take your soul but also along with that, I will grant you one wish in my power. Do we have a deal human?" He asked taunting me.
"We have a deal Death, on one condition thought, my name is Nathaniel not human and not boy, its important to remember the name of the man who will beat you." At the time I knew that I was annoyed, I was my own person not a generic species. But now I wish I wish I was just a normal human, and not going to be forced to make a terrible decision. But enough of that, I knew at the time that I was playing for keeps, my soul was on the line, and if I won I would get a wish from Death himself, it was a prize in itself worth dying for.
A duel, a fight, a massacre, that was the challenge, I had never felt like I did that day, I was going into a fight and I felt scared, that has never happened. I never felt anything going into a fight, except the occasional cases of excitement and almost joy of the fact that I was about to hurt someone, but I wasn't supposed to be afraid, I knew that. But the terms and rules were set even though I barely listened to him when he talked, I was to busy in my head to realize what he was saying. Three hours, that was all the time we had before we started our battle, just a fight three hours from then, but it was the worst three hours I've ever lived.
Three hours too most people it doesn't seem like a long time too wait to die, but I realized, it wasn't the fact that it was a matter of time that it took so long, it was that if you knew it was coming, time seemed to inch by. I immediately run too my house, just too say good-bye to my life that I was about to leave behind. My home was nothing to brag about, but it was a good place to live. A moderate two-story house that had a large backyard and a large amount of flora in both the front yard and the back yard. And my favorite piece, a giant tree that resided in my back yard, back then I just wanted to come home in four hours and be able to climb up my tree's branches.
My family was just like most families, we didn't really get along but we could stand each other, there was my older and younger sister, my mother, and my dad. Each had their own quirks but everyone does. My older sister Sage is a Goth, Satanist, or at least that's what I call her, she is obsessed with being evil and living in the dark. She was the only one in my family that I actually fought with, and it surprised me, I had no idea what I had done, but she still didn't let me go without her venom. We had never really got along, even when we were just kids, we were just one year apart but she had always hated me.
She had always tried too be able to understand and do the things that I could, and because she was a year older, she always wanted to be better, she considered it fair. But she never could, she was always better then normal but she was never better then I was. She had always spited me and I hated her, but we never were in each other's company long enough to actually figure out why. But still the damage was done, and even though we never learned why, we just let the hatred flow and didn't even try to stop it.
My father was and still is a man who has is own ideals about the world, he is semi-understanding but still disappointed with me for quitting so many things, so we really don't talk a lot. He was the first one to realize how I felt about the world, and he showed that he disagreed with it; to him life was something to be enjoyed, not to master. I wanted to enjoy life, more then I was even willing to admit to myself, but it didn't matter because we could never see eye to eye and we just let the argument drive a wedge between us.
As for my mother, she was the most like me, she would try a different theme every week or so, this week is hippy last week, it was being a stay at home mom from the 70's and when I say she was like me, she could pick up these personalities without much trouble. She was always so happy that even my sister couldn't stay gloomy around her she had this vibe around her that seemed to make everyone feel good, and it even worked on me. Out of everyone in the house she was the most sympathetic and relatable, she understood why I did what I did, she was a little disappointed but she never let me feel bad about it.
My favorite family member was my newborn Emily sister who is as cute as a button but doesn't really do anything really but eat and sleep, but she doesn't cry like most babies. My mother said that Emily and me are the most alike in our family even more then her and me. She said that when I was young I didn't cry at all and when I did it was something that needed attention. I remember a lot from when I was a baby but I remember that I also didn't do much but eat and sleep, thought I'm not too sure about the crying thing. She also said that Sage was always crying when she was a baby and no matter what happened she would keep crying.
My family had their flaws but I said goodbye to them all, silently in my own way, good-byes were the only thing I couldn't master. Mom was home, but I didn't want to talk to her, not right now, it would be to complicated to explain, especially because I didn't even understand it my self. So I climbed through my window and into my shabby little room before I went to see Emily.
One note for all of them except little Emily her, I can't just leave behind. Even then as I was about to embark on a short journey that would change my life forever she was still fast asleep, well she is just a little kid so I forgave her. One kiss one the forehead, and I leave my life behind, forever, even if I can come back, I will never be the same. So I go too my empty room, it only had my bed, a chair, a TV, and a few clothes and books thrown about on the floor, I went to my shelf, the only thing on it was an actually sword. My father bought it for me on my last birthday because martial arts, was the one thing I still haven't quit yet. I grab my lucky coat and head out the window, I was ready to face what ever comes, that was the only thought that was going through my head, how wrong I was.
So I went to the park, an hour earlier then I was supposed too but I figure it would be better too just go there and work out my nervousness and say good-bye to the park itself. I had never been a fan of the outside, too buggy and too hot most of the time, but the park never seemed like that, it was always full of life and flowers. It was the perfect setting to die if it was too be, so I picked a flower and stuck it into my coat pocket, just for a bit of luck I set my watch for six and just though about stuff until it was time.
I came too work out my nervousness out before the fight, it didn't help, it just made my memories come flooding back too me. It made me anxious, and I'm not ashamed to say it, it made me cry, it was a horrible feeling knowing that I was going too die. I know that it may seem unreasonable; people die all the time, why should my life matter more then anyone else's? But up until that day, I had never felt fear, I had never thought that I could ever lose, but now I had fear by the ton and I didn't know how to deal with it.
I even threw up a bit, before I got the same feeling that I got before, the one where Death came, I knew that he was coming and after the worst and longest hour of my life I finally felt relief. Death did not walk on the grass like I did too the spot were we would begin, he just walked on the dirt road that led too the lake. But he didn't say anything, he just sat down next to me and looked at the lake with me, it was strange, even though we were about too try to kill each other, we just sat there, as if the moment of truth wasn't only a few minutes away. Whether or not he considered me a threat or not didn't really matter right then and there, for those last few minutes, I just wanted to stay alive.
The alarm on my watch rang and cut the silence, and in a moment, without even looking at each other we stood up. "Why me?" I suddenly blurted out without thinking, but as so as I started I couldn't stop, "why the hell do I have to die, what the hell did I do to deserve this." I looked at him with unfamiliar tears falling from my face, I remember the fear and the anxiety in me, I needed an answer and it was all I could think about.
"Kid honestly I wish it didn't have to go down like this, I wish that we never would have had to of met each other, but the world has plans of it's own, no matter what we want. This is my job, and you are part of it, so please don't make this harder then it has to be. As much as I want to enjoy my job, it would leave a bad taste in my mouth if I made a game of someone's life. Please kid just lay down and we can end this." He said this gesturing towards me, I think that he thought he was being generous with his offer, but I couldn't just lie down and die, it wasn't who I was.
But I had his request, and I chose to answer it with steel, so I slowly took out my sword, and make a jumping slash at him hoping to catch him off guard. Remember how I said that his scythe looked like a weapon, there was a reason for that. He blocked me and cut across my chest without even bothering too look at me; the only thing that saved me was my great reflexes. I was bleeding form a long cut right across my chest that was pouring out blood like a fountain.
Before I even could register him, he was right in my face, and he picked me up and threw me across the dirt path. I flew until I fell to the ground and my had felt water, I was near the lake in the in the middle of the park, a good fifteen feet from where me and Death were standing a mere moment ago. I was in such a daze that I still hadn't been able to keep up with his speed, and I was snatched up into the air and held there.
"So boy how is this challenge, huh. Were you expecting something a bit easier? Don't worry, my scythe won't be what ends your life this day, I'll make it look like you drowned in the lake. But that doesn't mean that I'll let you off the hook, I offered you a deal, no one has a right to defy Death, do you hear that boy no one?" he was strangling me to death, and I could feel the darkness engulfing me. But before I succumbed to the dark I heard him whisper, "I really am sorry about this kid."
I think it was then that I bit my lip trying to breathe, and it cut through my lip and blood was coming out of my. All I could think about in my jumbled mind is that it hurt so much, I knew that I should be worried about being strangled but it hurt so much. And the strangling didn't actually hurt that much, Death's hands were incredibly cold so it numbed the pain.
As much as it hurt to have a tear in my mouth, it was that, that saved my life. Death is and extremely powerful creature, in both strength and as I found out later, magic, but it turns out he had one weakness, blood. The blood that flowed out of my lip just touched his had and it sizzled on his skeletal hand. He dropped me in surprise, I guess he's not used to being hurt, but it didn't do much of anything except get him angry.
But now I had a weapon that I could use against him, my blood, so I took some out of my chest wound and threw it into his face but it just hit his robe. It let out a hissing steam but that was it and he charged again, striking me with the staff of his scythe knocking me over away from the lake and into a tree. He walked carefully too me, taking his time, and my life was almost up.
You know how everyone says that your life flashes before you eyes when you're about to die. And then you see memories of your life that bring comfort to you, like your mothering sing a lullaby too you when you were a baby, or that first scoop of ice cream at the start of summer. Its complete load bull, all that was going through my head was this sucks, maybe its different for other people but it wasn't for me.
As he took the final step towards me I could remember the moment clearly even though I was leaking blood at a quickened pace. He raised his scythe too kill me and as it came down I lost control of my body. Even today I can't understand what happened, I watched myself grab the flower from my jacket with my stained hand. Then I threw it strait at his eye socket, it glowed slightly when it hit him and it seemed to cause him extreme pain.
He actually fell, with his skull smoking and his hood falling backwards. If he was awake before I would of thought him to be unconscious, but it was more like a trance. He didn't seem to be coincidence of anything because I poked him with my sword a couple of times with my sword and didn't get a response.
The next decision that I made changed my life, and it also led me into my tree hide from my life. I stood over him with my sword like an executioner's ax ready too cut and as I swing I stop myself. It wasn't an honor thing I know that or I most likely wouldn't have thrown the flower at all; it was just a feeling that I really shouldn't kill Death. It was a weird feeling to consider that I was talking about killing someone; up until I met Death I had barely gotten in any fights, and I would always win those. But now I not only fought Death and I was trying to stop myself from killing him, it's a strange world.
"So you're not going to finish me off huh kid?" said a voice from behind me that made me jump. It was Death, he seemed more normal, like he was when I first met him and that actually scared me even more. "There's no need too fear, you won the match, congratulations." He actually seemed happy for me.
"So what happens now?" I ask I really had too, now that I think about it, I really shouldn't act this normal. It made this feel sort of off and made the world seem off kilter. I wouldn't of considered myself a coward in any degree, but no one in their right mind thinks so little about Death like I did, I still remember the sweat that ran down my face as I realized what happened. This had been staged, I don't know how much of it, maybe even the kid drowning was part of this, I was in way too deep, and I knew it.
He looked at me with a genuine smile, "kid what happens now, now you make your wish. What else did you expect? I may be many things, but a liar isn't one of them, I never go back on my word. Anything that is within my power is in your hands; all you have to do is ask for it
I sort of wanted that wish but I could live without it if it meant not playing into his hands. My mind was still jumbled but I was beginning think clearer. "So I still get it, even though it wasn't a killing blow?"
"Of course, of course you get the wish, that was the bait too lure you to the challenge but it was worth it to find someone worthy to fight, I didn't expect you to actually almost beat me. You are just the human I'm looking for, but first what is you wish, immortality maybe?" He needed me for something that was all I knew and practically all I still know.
I got my wish, the only problem was that I didn't know what too wish for, immortality didn't suit me, and I doubt that he would just let me walk away with living forever without some sort of consequence. With my mind working I searched for an answer that I could use to my advantage. After much thought, I knew what I wanted, "so I could have anything that I want, anything?" I could hear the heavy breathing in my voice; I could tell that he could tell that I was scared.
"Well not anything, I am Death, and there are thousands of domains that I have no say in, magic is something that is given to many, many of its forms belong to the other mystics, and I can't interfere directly. The land of the dead and the dying is where I get my true strength from, but I can do a few other things as well, death just happens to be my specialty.
"Could you stop someone from dying, could you bring back someone from the dead and let them live again?" I asked him, trying too figure out the very depths of his powers so I didn't waste my wish.
"Well that's an interesting question actually, I can easily do those things, stopping someone from dying isn't really that. But bringing someone back from the dead is harder mainly because of the complexity of the act of dying, but it is doable. However I prefer not to engage in these activities with my powers, as it sort of disgusts me, playing with dead bodies like that. Like I said before though, death is a part of nature, and it happens and it eventually grows beyond our control and it occurs." he let out a shiver which surprised me. "I have had too do these things in my line of work of course but I would not do it by choice, so please, I urge you not to make a wish like that." He actually seemed to worry that I would make a wish like those ones.
I really didn't want to wish for any of those things, no one I cared about was dying so I didn't need him to let them live any more, and I really didn't want to meet anyone who was already dead so I didn't need to wish anyone back too life. But I did know what too wish for, "I wish, for one soul too go free, some time in my life, I will ask you too just let one soul go and just walk away." As I spoke those words, I knew that my fate was sealed; my life was now forever changed. My body felt like I was about to collapse and my body still couldn't stop wobbling but I wanted too keep looking Death in the eye, until I collapsed and couldn't move.
He held out his hand and I shook it, with a firm grip that covered his bony hand. As we shook a bolt of power seemed to go through me, I saw what he had done, and what he was going too do, and it wasn't as scary as I thought it would be. I saw so many people be happy after they died, so many people were in so much pain, and when they died all the pain was gone it was really a beautiful thing too see. And then I felt so much pain, and I was gone, all I could see was the inky blackness all around me and a numb feeling, back then the only thought that ran through my head was where was I? But I also remember thinking why I wasted my wish on that something that I didn't even understand.
Then a voice rang out and a brilliant light came out of the darkness somewhere, I couldn't understand what it was saying and I woke up too find I was in my room at my home. I got up too check too see where I was and I felt a sharp pain in my chest, it was the cut that I got earlier in my fight with Death, it was all stitched up and cleaned.
Without really thinking, I asked groggily, "How long have I been out?" and my question had been answered.
"Don't worry, you've just been unconscious for an hour or two no need too worry." Said a voice from the far side of my room. I was so surprised that I reached for my knife underneath my pillow, it wasn't there though. "You know you're the strangest person I have ever met, I mean most people would still run away from me. You're like sixteen, and you're already willing to throw your life away, it is a strange thing. And for your wish, so many people would greedily ask for immortality, or the ability to kill a lot of people with a word and they get punished for it. Those who want immortality get to live forever, growing older each year, until their bodies literally turn to dust and get blown away, and yet they live. And those who want to kill most likely die horrible, horrible deaths, most likely getting hit by an eighteen-wheeler and die after that, so they die in pain. But you, you wanted the ability to save someone's life, I can't really imagine what you're going to do with that, but I actually want to learn what you're going to do. But that's beside the point, what I'm actually here for is to request the debt that you owe me is repaid." He said this while balancing my knife between his bony fingers.
That surprised me, I didn't really remember that I owed him, and I still feel that I didn't, but I decided to ask politely, "What favor do I owe you," and in a much lower voice I asked, "and why do I owe you a favor?"
"How could you forget about that time that I saved your life, you know in the park when you passed out? You know, you should never try to close a deal while bleeding to death; it's not really healthy. I carried you here and healed up your wound, don't worry about the wish though, I'll still let you wish for someone else's freedom for me. But don't try too weasel out of you debt too me, otherwise not only do you not get you wish but I will take your soul." The way he talks, it's always as if he was talking too his pet, instead of a person.
I figured a long time ago, too just go with it instead of trying too face him head on, it has been like that ever since I met him. I was like a huge tidal wave that could smash up a beach full of sand with ease, but he was the one rock that I always broke against, unable too conquer it, but someday I would, but as for back then I had no idea. "Fine I can tell that you won't go away until I agree to owing you a favor for, 'saving', my life, so ask and I'll see what I can do." I did feel in some strange way that I did owe him, whether or not I did really didn't matter in his strange way of thinking.
"Well, its not really a favor, it's kind of an awkward situation," he said beating around the bush.
"This sounds as though I just made a big mistake, what is this a big favor or something more?" I asked and I still regretted asking that even today.
"Well the thing is I don't really need a favor, what I am in dire need for is a champion. You see a battle, of between almost every mystical creature your kind has ever dreamed world is about too go to war with it each other. That's the gist of it, oh and it was decided that we would all take a young human, give them part of our powers and basically let them decide how the life of the world is split. It is my duty to choose a human champion for the battle, and guess who I chose to be our trophy boy."
I had too admit that in that few minutes that he basically told me that up was down, and I didn't take it so well. "What," I was trying too calm down.
"Well you see every hundred years give or take every mystic for my world comes and chooses a human to fight against the other chosen. You see a long time ago there was a war, between almost all of us, every magical, divine, or out of the ordinary creature you humans go on about are real. So, long ago chaos ruled, thousands of mystics fought, for the sole reason to become the greatest of all mystics, it was incredibly bloody, and I had too work for days after the fighting stopped just too get back to my normal job. It was then decided, that we could no longer let open battle reign among us, so every century we chose the strongest of each race to empowered humans to be their chosen, or their avatars that have to fight, for the crown of the mystics, whoever gets the crown, their race is the kings of my world. Do you realize the power that our king could wield, thousands of beast that humans can only see in there nightmare's at his control, he would be unstoppable. Luckily for the past five centuries, the noble and wise dragon race has always won the tournament, and would of most likely won this year if not that-," he explained it but I was getting worried when he described himself as a mystic.
"Stop, stop I think I know where your going with this and I really don't like it" I was scared, I thought that he was going too make me his avatar to fight in this war thing. A wise man once said, 'the only thing that I hate, more then being wrong, is being right,' those words spoke to my soul at that time.
"But I thought that you would be interested in what your getting into, I mean your going to be fighting in the war as my avatar." He said, I hated him so much at the time that I honestly snapped.
"There is no way that I'm fighting against people who are given the powers of gods and other things of that nature. For god sakes man I'm only sixteen, can't you get an adult or something too do this for you?" I asked even thought something told me that no matter what I said I was going to fight for him, I just knew it.
But surprisingly he didn't push the issue, he looked disappointed and sad but he didn't try to force me into anything or argue with me. He just said. "No, honestly I wish that I could choose an adult to fight for me, to try and win this thing for me. But I can't, the rules state that we can only make teenager and children fight for us, it was written long ago in the laws, after the first king. The demon, the first how pick a man Herculean strength to win, he wrote on a slab of ancient magic, with his claws that we were no longer allowed to choose adults to fight our battles. Instead form no on we were to send children to their deaths instead of adults, it's not fair but it's the way it is. In all honesty I do sympathies with all of them, it is the worst part of my job when I have to see a kids who probably don't even know what their fighting for kill each other for a stupid contest. You are the strongest child that I have ever seen, if anyone has a chance survive this fight its you, please don't make me doom another child." And that was when I realized something, no matter what he said about taking souls, the main reason he didn't was because he had one too.
At first, it was as if he was talking to an inferior, and maybe I was, and I might still be. Right before the fight he played the puppeteer, being sneaky, just too fight me, and then during the fight, he was scary, I have never been that scared of things, some things that I keep secret but he was the scariest thing I have ever seen. And then when he first came into his room he seemed like a kid with his talk of favors and what not.
This was a different Death, and a very strange; it almost made me want to agree to his request. But I just couldn't I was scared back then and I'm still scared now, but I had been forced to grow up a bit and face things of that world. "Please could you just give me some time, this is a lot to take in, and I can't make a decision like this without some time to think. You're asking me to go too war and fight as you're champion against other champions of other mystics, do you realize how crazy that sounds?"
He nodded back then, I think he knew that I just didn't want to say an outright no. He agreed, "two weeks, I'll give you two weeks do decide, no more. If you don't want become my avatar I won't bother you, until you make your wish or die, which ever comes first, you won't see me again after. But if you do fight for me I can make it worth your while, and besides, it won't ever be boring again, I can promise you that." He said the last words as a whisper but I could hear it as if he was shouting them.
As he started to turn away and leave there was something that I had to ask, something that's been bothering me for a long time. "Wait, please just wait a moment longer."
"What is it?" he asking in a surprisingly gentle tone.
"I need to ask you one thing, please answer it truthfully, please." I stopped for a second, fearing my answer, I wonder if I had always been as cowardly as I was then, it seemed that back then fear was all I knew. But when he nodded, I had to ask, it wouldn't of done me any good to wait for another time. "What is going on with me, there is no way I should of acted like that, even if I was confident that I was going to win, I shouldn't of been that calm around you."
"Nathaniel, you are strong, you are brave, but you are right, no one would act like that when confronted by death. I needed a champion that had some worth, so I used my magic to help convince you to agree to my challenge to see if you were the one of worth." He said this looking right at me with his hollow eyes that seemed to see to my soul.
"So this whole thing was a test, you were planning on using me this whole time." I think that going back, I should of yelled or shouted those last words, but I didn't. I should have been full of anger at being a puppet, but I couldn't, I remember clenching my sheets so hard I thought that my hands were going to bleed. So I just said, "thank you for your honesty," and let him leave.
After he had left, I could only lie awake in my bed and stare at my clock, which read 10:00 on the dot. Six hours, to rewrite my entire belief system and make my world come crashing down around me, but I'll be damned if I'm going to play into his games. Tomorrow, the plan was that I was just going to go too school and act as if nothing happened.
In the eyes of the Reaper:
It was a sad sight to see the child Nathaniel trying too ignore my pleads, I knew that he didn't want to become my avatar but it wasn't up to him. I was the first Death who would actually try to win this tournament, for all time, death was part of the world, but it was never a force to rule it. Each and every battle a death lost simply because they picked the worst possible because they wanted to always observe the contest, instead of participating in it. But if the dragons didn't compete this time then who there was a chance that the winner could be one of the worst possible mystics, like the gorgon, or the ghost, I hate them so much, they're a mockery of my profession.
In my head I grew bored of the view of Nathaniel's house from his tree so I decided to go into the town. In a puff of smoke, I am on top of a building overlooking the bright town; it was bigger then most human town's that I've been in it was more of a small city then a town. Even if it was bigger then I thought it should be, it actually was pretty, and calming, it let me think about the fight, it was like a vacation to me, all my work was covered by another death until my avatar lost, so I could wander along this world for a year until all the avatars have been chosen, then I have until my avatar, hopefully Nathaniel loses, and if what I saw earlier was correct that should be a while.
I could sense the others; at this early in the tournament that no one hid there powers and let their energies be shown. It felt strange, that in this small town, so many mystics were here, normally they spread all over this planet, but so many were here now.
But I didn't dwell on that, there was a more unusual feeling, with the powers of the others spread about in the cosmos, I almost felt like I was part of it, and not just a piece of it. One month since the start of the tournament, a month of endless celebration and fighting, and it was eleven months until the first round closes.
I went into my head again, but was immediately forced out when I sensed the presence of another mystic. While it was against the rules to fight openly against each other, there were always the troublemakers that decided to break the rules. As I turned around, I grip my scythe harder in case I was forced to fight, but I smile inwardly when I realize that it wasn't needed.
Standing before me was possible the most beautiful women I have ever seen, the representative of the race of the phoenix. Her skin was glowing light orange in the darkness of the night and her dress was a blend of ever changing reds and yellows, with feathers adorning her wrists and hips, she was a goddess, to the eye and to the spirit. Or as I call her, Nell, my ex and an uncomfortable friend, even when she smiles at me like she is now, I get nervous around her. "Reaper," she was one of the few people that call me by my actual name. "How have you been, I haven't seen you in so long?"
She then did the thing that no one, mortal or mystic should do, she hugged me, she hugged me, me, a death. I try to use my coldest way of speaking when I talk to her, just to stop her from hugging me. So I coldly interact with her, "hello phoenix, I would prefer if you didn't hug me or actually come within a foot of me. And what do you want; we both know that you never come to me unless I can do something for you, that one of the reasons that we broke up?"
She then gave me a hurt look when she backed away from me, which I knew was fake, and when she pouted I knew that I was going to go along with her. But she had to rub it in a bit more to make sure I helped her, so she piled on some guilt, "if I'm not mistaken we broke up when you decided to focus more on work then our relationship. And you also wanted, how did you put it, spread your wings and not be weighted down with one person."
"We both know what the reason is and it's not that, we broke up on even terms, don't make this harder then it has to be. Just please tell me what you need and let me do it alright." It honestly hurt to be around her sometimes, and I was sure it showed up on my bony face because she just let it go.
After she stayed quiet for a few minutes I decided to change the topic, "so, have you chosen your avatar yet, we have a whole human year too but I know that you're always trying to keep ahead of the rest, even when you were younger." She was smiling, a very small smile, but a smile non the less so I decided to press my advantage, "when you were ten human years old, and the best of your class which in fact was the top class of all phoenixes, you stayed up days at a time just to be the best at everything. It was rather impressive." Now she had a full-blown smile on her face, but then her face was clouded again something was wrong, and I knew that I was going to pay for it.
"Yes, no, maybe there's a problem with my avatar a rather big problem. You see she has claws, fangs and long hair, all over her body, do you see the problem with making her my avatar?" I did, she had basically described a base, the punishment for an avatar that mated during the battle, their descendants are punished by taking upon the form of the mystic who granted the power to their ancestors. It was considered a crime, and their descendants are the ones who pay, when the next battle came around they would transform, into a human-mystic hybrid. They say that it was justice, to make sure the pawns stay focused of the game instead of the other pieces. What ever they call it, I call it cruel, love is never something that should be punished, and the children of that lover especially shouldn't be punished.
Well there was nothing that he could do and he was wondering what this is about. "You can't really be serious about this, a base for your avatar, you know that that's a bad idea. Besides, if I'm not mistaken that seems like something Wolf should take care of, not you." Wolf was the Mystic from the werewolves, he was also a good friend of ours, and perhaps the only one of the of any race that trusted after Nell. His kind was mostly a stubborn breed and prideful as a whole but Wolf in general wasn't like that, he was a kind person he would surely take the base in no matter what.
"I'm sure that Wolf would take her in, but he already has an avatar, and a bratty one at that. You know how Wolf is, he tries to save the world one person at a time, but I think that he has met his match this time. His avatar is a brat from one of the older families, the ones who consider themselves the elite because of their blood. He is a monster, he's already attacked my avatar before I could get to her, he has the mindset that bases need to be extinct." She looked at me with soulful eyes, I knew that her request would be coming soon.
"So you're going to make her you avatar why?" I asked trying to get to the point, in getting this base to fight for her.
"The thing is, she is a base, doesn't have a home anymore, her family abandoned her, they were wronged by the last were avatar so they cast her out after she changed. You know how cruel humans can be, if you don't look like them then you are an animal, its not that she's a base that's the problem. Its that she is such an emotional wreak that I don't think that she'll be able to fight very well, I need to be near her soon, so I'll get to the point. Could you please offer her guardianship, please Reaper for me?" She asked me practically begging.
"No, Nell, no," I practically roared, she stood her ground, something that only few could brag about doing the same. How could she ask me that, the oath of guardianship was my kinds most sacred oath, did she really think that I would offer it because she asked. "I've made too many mistakes in my life already Nell, I can't make another one for an avatar that I've never met," I said my piece and started to walk away.
I wanted to keep walking, I should have kept walking, to keep her in the dark, to tell her that whatever used to be between us would not change who I was and my duty. I wanted to, but she had other plans she spoke to me with a voice full of sincerity. "Was I just another one of these mistakes Reaper? Do you regret our lives together before?"
My heart, the one that I currently didn't have, froze when she said that. Even now, when we were only friends, I wanted to reach out and hold her, my body ached for her, and no matter what I told myself, I knew I wasn't going anywhere, and a small part of me was happy about that. I didn't answer her, she would never be a mistake, I would never regret the time I spent with her and if I talked to her I would have to tell her that. But thankfully I was able to gather the strength to walk back towards her and looked her in the eye. "I won't offer guardianship, I can't, and you know that as well as I do, but I'll do all I can to keep her safe and help you however I can to endure it."
"I do need something Reaper, human money, it has little use back home, but here I need it, and I know you have a lot of it." She said, she was the only person alive who looked me in the eye when she asked me things.
"Why?" I had known her for a long time and she never asked for something material, favors and sometimes organs but never somethingg like money. Besides why in all heavens would a mystic besides me want human money?
"I may have a nice place to live on the other side but she doesn't it gets cold at night here and she can't exactly buy food for herself with air. So I need to find a place to stay in this world with her, if I don't she could die. Please the only thing that you'll spend your money on is that human candy and I really need to make sure she's safe." She was in tears, and it hurt me that I was the one who made her cry.
"Fine," I said as I gave her all the human money I had, I had no real use for it. Candy was and addiction, and obsession, but Nell was and would always be part of my life and she outweighed any obsession.
"Thank you, really it means a lot if I can keep her alive even if she can't fight." She bowed to me; it was strange, and it even hurt a bit knowing that she didn't love me anymore, she only respected me. During our conversation the world of the humans did not stay the same, the darkness of the night ended and led to a glorious sunset, if I was human, I would of considered it beautiful. But as it is, I'm not, so while pretty it is more of a distraction and not a work of art, but Nell was smiling again so it made me smile a bit.
She began walking towards the edge of the of the building, I had to stop her, she looked like such an angel standing I just had to do something. "wait Nell," and she turned with big hopeful eye's that I fell for so long ago and all I could do was ask her about the battle, "Nell why did you pick such an emotional base, most likely she won't be able to help you win." I felt like such an idiot but she did answer.
She gave me a smile and simply answered, "Because Wolf isn't the only one who believes that some people could change for the better." And then, as she leapt in front of the rising sun her feathers dress began to blend with the colors as she left me alone to contemplate my thoughts.
Through the eye's of a young man:
My day didn't exactly start out that bad but as it went on it got worst, and then it just got so eye gouging bad that I wanted to die, which I almost did. When I woke up the next day, it all seemed like a dream a very horrible and realistic dream but still just that. It was until I took my morning shower when I discovered the huge scar across my chest and all I could say was damn.
My body was sore but back then I still thought that if I ignored what had happened the other then it would just go away. Later I realized that it wasn't going to go away, not for a long time would my life ever be the same.
Breakfast at my house was as ordinary as it would get, my father not speaking to me when I reached the table, covering himself with the newspaper giving me an occasional grunt. I was happy though aside from my father my demon sister had gone to school earlier then usual so I was basically alone. And of course the fact that my mother was in the middle of her 70's homemaker mode meant that we were having waffles. This may not seem like a big deal for a lot of people, waffles are just waffles you get them frozen at the store. Well my mother no matter what her mood wasn't the type to buy frozen goods, she made the batter herself and it tasted like a bit of a cloud.
There she was, my mother smiling, holding the plate of waffles that smelled like they had just been made. "so honey are you feeling better today, I didn't even see you last night, did you go up to you room the minute that you came through the door?" she pushed the back of her hand on to my forehead to check my temperature.
"Yeah I'm feeling better, I think I was just really tired for school yesterday. Look at the time I forgot that I need to go to school early today to do something at a place." I pride myself on being very truthful; it was a trait that many considered outdated but it was the way I lived. Being truthful did pose a problem at the time, with all my skills and the way I picked things up I never acquired a talent for lying. Most of the time it didn't really matter but it was at times it made people look at me funny, they always wondered if I was crazy or just really bad at lying.
But she let me take a waffle with me as I sped through the door and ran to school. It was only ten minutes run; the school was a big building that stood on the other side of the bridge, when I was again reminded about yesterday. It was a bridge, nothing special about it, but it made me think. I looked out thinking; if I really was going to be the avatar of Death then this is where it had all started.
Would I of done anything different, he said that he would of taken that little kids soul if I didn't save him. And if I didn't jump in and save him he wouldn't of come for me and I wouldn't have to even think of these things. But could I of really abandoned that poor kid, he was going to die if I didn't jump in, Death made that perfectly clear. I would of preferred to think that it wouldn't matter; I would still just jump in without thinking of the consequences, whatever the voices said.
Everyday people wonder if they had the choice would they make the right one, and they always say that they would. I used to consider that arrogance, to believe that you would do the right thing without actually the repercussions, but then did saying that make me as arrogant as those people. I knew that I was arrogant to some extent everyone was, and with my ability to understand things I got more so then other people, but I never wanted to consider myself that arrogant. That I thought that no matter what came to me I would make the right decision and that made me just another arrogant person. Maybe if I did agree to become his avatar- no, no I will not think about this again, I told myself.
After the time in my head I decided to leave my thoughts and just concentrate on school. At the gate stand my only two friends in the entire school Gabe and Lucas. We are all incredibly different from each other; Gabe was a pretty strict religious guy, while Lucas is a strong atheist and constantly laughs at is views on god in front of him. And Lucas was the type of guy who was good at everything like me but he usually came up a bit short when he faced me, Gabe on the other hand was sort of like me, he didn't care about being the best but still did good. They usually fight about religion or laziness before I come to school and break them up but today weren't which made me worry.
"Hey guy's what's wrong?" I asked them, almost everyday they argued, and when they didn't it was because something bad happened, like when Luca's sister was in the hospital. They just seemed to ignore each other, and until I spoke they ignored me, which was weird, they were definitely acting strange.
"Hey Nathaniel what do you mean?" I looked into his eyes and they were practically empty, completely devoid of emotion. "Nothing is wrong." He said. Gabe just nodded in agreement with the exact same eyes as Lucas.
"Well at this time I'm usually pulling you guys apart by now, but you guys seem like zombies." Honestly with what happened yesterday talking about the dead didn't seem to smart, after the words left my mouth I regretted it. I felt sick and my mind just seemed to pulse with images of me dying in horrible ways and I thought that I was going too throw up.
"Dude are you okay?" it was Lucas, he was standing right in front of me waving his hand in front of my face. When I looked at him, his eyes were normal and so were Gabe's when I looked at him; even now I don't know why they looked so empty but I had more things on my mind back then. "You look as if you've just seen a ghost or something." Added Gabe while he kept nodding his head in agreement.
"Great, the one time you guys don't fight is the day when you're the most annoying. And it's just my luck that you guys agree that there is something wrong with me. Yes, if you guys really need to know aside from the fact that I have a huge headache and I feel as thought I was stepped on an elephant, and I will drop if so much as a feather lands on my head, so please stop talking to me and start arguing with each other." With all my time in my head and the fight yesterday, I had a huge headache and like I was about to pass out any second.
"Dude, you must be sick if you want us to argue maybe you should go home." Suggested Lucas.
"While he doesn't normally have a brain between his ears he makes a good point, if you feel sick, then just go home. Its not like you can't make up a day, you're the smartest kid in class and the best in gym, even if your not take a day of rest." Gabe said when he got up from his perch and he seemed to be getting back to normal. He began to walk towards the school's doors as Lucas
As the world seemed to be adjusting to normal I just had to ask, "hey this may seem a bit crazy but have you guys seen a skeleton wearing a big black robe and carrying a scythe. No reason really just answer the question, now!" I knew that they most likely would laugh in my face, which they did but it did easy my mind a bit.
"Nathaniel if your starting to see Death then I would recommend a therapist, but in case you do die I'm sure your going to heaven I mean you a good guy. So there isn't anything to worry about." Gabe said, that was one thing that proved that the world was back on track, Gabe spilling out religious gobbley-gook, too bad it annoys me more then when the world was off.
Thankfully, Lucas was here and he was what I called the balance to the religious nuts. "Or if you die you could rot in the ground for a eternity or until the sun burns out. Which ever comes first, I wouldn't count on some sort of mythological deity to come rescue you from the ground when you die."
"That is a sacrilegious and blasphemous at the same time you know, but seriously don't worry about, unlike this sinner you're a good guy, don't worry about it." Said Gabe after he hit Lucas in the arm, whatever they acted like they were good friends, even if they were opposites on the moral and emotional spectrum.
"Thank you guys, you don't know how much your carelessness means to me. Gabe stop, stop, come on put him down, quit it." Back then I made me happy that my friends were acting normal again, even with my bad feeling all over me back then, it just felt good that I could get on with my life after yesterday. And as soon as I thought that, there went the visions, this time it was me doing the killing instead of dying, and honestly that helped me as much as my friends telling me what was going to happen to me when I die.
"Lets just go to class, I think I'm going to kill you two if I have to listen to any more of this." I said while I pinched the bridge of my nose and headed for the door.
My day started getting better at least my head started to feel as though only three body builders were hitting me on the head with sledgehammers instead of five. My teachers understood, at least eventually, I slept through all my classes and they didn't like that so they hit my desk with a ruler. Then they made me answer some question and then they let me sleep again. Gym was better, all I had to do was say that I wasn't feeling well and Coach let me sit out.
My friends seemed to realize that I wasn't feeling that well so they kept their distance. It was a pretty normal day, and if it wasn't for the fatigue and headaches it probably would have been one of my best. But somehow I lost my science book on they way back home so I had to go back. But I'm getting ahead of myself, it started as one of the best days ever and it ended with me in the hospital.
I was walking home with my friends after staying after school for detention, whether or not they allowed me to sleep, they still had to look as they could discipline me. I didn't mind, it let me keep up with the book I hadn't had time to read recently. So we were walking, we all lived on the same street, but we never went to school together but Lucas was on the dance comity because he had a crush on a girl and Gabe had nothing better to do so they went to school early. I can't remember what I even said back then, but I wish I could, if just for the memories.
It wasn't until about eight when I did my homework, and I realized, that I had left my science book back at school. It was dark out, after yesterday the dark wasn't the scariest thing in my life, it was still scary to me, it has been for a while, but it seems bearable now. I call Gabe and Lucas to tell them that we were going to break into the school so I could get my book.
"Hey Gabe, I left my science book at school and I need to go get it you in?" I always called Gabe first I don't exactly know why but it was always like that.
"Yeah, yeah I'll call Lucas and tell him to meet us in front of your tree in five minutes." He said and hung up. Gabe had never be comfortable with Lucas and me being loose with the rules, but he always bails us out when we're in trouble so I'm grateful.
When I climbed down my tree silently I heard a snap below me that made me fall. It was Lucas standing beneath my tree, looking like he was smoking. That almost made me fall out of my tree but I managed to steady myself right before I hit the ground. That surprised me, "what the hell are you doing Lucas, how are you here?"
"I felt a disturbance and my sixth sense to do evil and I had to be a part of it." Lucas had always gone on about his sixth sense to detect evil, and I have to say sometimes it did work but it shouldn't have worked now. I knew that wasn't the reason that he was here so I gave him a look. "Okay, I live next door to you, when Gabe called, it wasn't that hard to go through my house, I live with my uncle he doesn't care where I go, as long as I don't smoke." He said this while taking another drag from his cigarette.
I knew that Lucas never wanted to talk about his family so I just let it slide, I hated smoke but he had to get over it or not, not me. Gabe came through the bush fence and we were all set to break into the school. They argued the way to school as well, "doesn't that good book of yours say something about doing anything fun like this."]
"For the last time Lucas I don't worship the bible and the lessons of man, I worship the message and the lessons from god, or gods." He said, hitting Lucas in the arm.
They kept bickering all the way through the way to the school; I absorbed the entire conversation, keeping it in my head. Because now that's one of the few things that can make me smile up on top of my tree. I can remember to the word, because it's the last conversation that I was ever part of, when my life was so less complicated.
"Hey what's with all the limos in front of the school? Is there something going on with rich people, I would have planned something, like an egging or a stink bomb or something." Said Lucas after we all jumped into near by bushes, those weren't normal limos, and they had guards, guards with suits, and sunglasses, at 8:30 at night.
"No, there's nothing going on for at least another week, or I would have heard something at school. Besides, there aren't any lights on, maybe we should just leave?" I remember that etched look of hope, I guess while Lucas had a sixth sense about these situations, Gabe had a better one. It was only a few days ago that I promised to listen to his gut more often.
"No, this is something big I can feel it, we have to check this out." I have to admit in the idiocy of youth, I felt invincible. Yesterday I fought Death I thought to my self, nothing in this building, that I go to everyday. If there is a god out there I do apologize for my arrogance, and I swear to never do it again if you stop me from doing stupid things as much.
So Lucas and I, with Gabe in tow snuck into the school through the windows, being as quite as possible. "Remember, while we want to find out what's going on, we need to find my science book," they gave me a look, "kidding, just kidding, I just want to find out what's going on, we can get my book tomorrow." Of course, these guys could argue and joke all they want, but when someone else does, there has to be an awkward silence.
Then, a shot rang out into the darkness, and that made us all quiet down, and for the first time, we realized what was happening. We were thinking that this wasn't a game; something big was going down here, and Gabe still wanted to go, and Lucas nodded and gestured to go. And I still shook my head, before yesterday when I still considered myself sane, I have no doubt that I would of agreed but I no longer was.
Besides, there was just a feeling that something important happened or was going to happen here. So I creped up into the gym, where I heard voices, there was at least two of them, and then a huge crash rang out. I opened the door a crack and I saw something that I had been dreading for the whole day.
Two men, one against the wall nursing a bleeding shoulder, that was Scott, a kid from my school. There wasn't anything strange about him aside from his shoulder, medium build, a bit short, average in school, if you saw the guy, you wouldn't look twice at him but if you talked to him, you would realize that he was a real jerk. No, the one I dreaded was the other guy, this guy was built like a tank, he was wearing a large white suit, like ones gangsters would wear in the movies. But that wasn't the strangest thing; he had horns, coming out of his head like a Minotaur, which I assumed he was. Then he began to move towards Scott, he kept cracking his knuckles he was enjoying watching him squirm. Then Scott did something amazing, at least to me, he slammed his good arm against the wall, and then, knives of ice formed between each of his fingers.
When he threw them I thought that the big guy was done for, from personal experience I knew that knives hurt. But to my surprise, they just shattered against the Minotaur mans face, and he let out a loud bitter laugh. "ha ha ha, you think those icy knives could hurt me I'm Vinny Delmarco the son of Don Delmarco. I am the strongest of my family, that's why I'm going to take this power that the Minotaur gave me and rule this world."
It was all that I could do to watch, I had too bite my hand to keep from yelling out. Then the worst thing happened, Lucas snuck up behind me and poked my back. It made me shout out and get attention of that Vinny guy and he saw us and in one swift punch he knocked out Scott and let out a loud bovine yell. I could only yell the first thing that came to my mind, "run," if someone saw us, they would of just seen blurs where kids have been we ran so fast.
We were enacting a childhood dream, running down the halls of our school as fast as we could. It is so strange how quick your fondest dream to one of your worst nightmares. We ran until our bodies practically told us that they couldn't go any more, it was when we hid in the chemistry lab that we decided to plan what we were going to do. "What the hell is that?" yelled Gabe; okay some of us were trying to plan others were just being irrational or if you look at it perfectly rational.
"Listen, alright all tell you later, listen that bull guy leave him to me alright you guys need to do something more important. I saw Scott in the gym, he looked pretty hurt, and I think he was fighting that bull guy. You guys get him to a hospital or something and call the police, I don't want this guy to be around me that long." I said trying to remain calm on the outside even if I was screaming to run away on the inside.
"That guy had horns coming out of his head and looked like he could go ten rounds with a rhino and win. I know that your tougher then you look but that guys seven feet tall compared to your five three alright you might want to let me or Gabe handle this guy." Lucas knew that I would do something crazy, but I hate it when people make fun of my height it gets annoying being the short one. Besides, I was the only one with experience fighting these things, this guy can't be stronger the Death could he.
The memories flashed again, that time it was the ones where Death beat me like I owed him money and not just my soul. The pain in my chest spiked when I remembered when he cut across with his scythe. I had too shaken my head to clear the memories; they just hurt too much back then. "Listen, I can fight this guy alright you guys just worry about getting Scott out of here." I pushed him, for the first time they looked at me like they had never seen me before, I wish it was the last, but I know it won't.
But I succeeded in making them leave; they went out through the side door without looking back. I was in the chemistry lab, a place that I knew very well, so I made something special for our guest, a smoke bomb and an acid bomb. Neither was that powerful but they would have too do in this situation, aside from my knife that I always carried with me they were all I had. So I took a deep breath and I took the plunge, I ran outside the door making as much noise as possible to attract the beast man.
It worked, which was one of those good new, bad news things that you hear about, I got his attention, but he looked at me with murder in his eyes. I wasn't ashamed to say it but I ran, while shouting insults at him the entire way, I managed to get outside to the field when he caught up with me. I remember when he got me, I was just on the grassy field, and then I was hammered in the back by his boulder size fist. I fell to the ground like a sack of potatoes.
"You think running away will do anything, I can see the aura of your mystic around you, you can't hide. That other one frosty, yeah he thought he could fight me, one bullet in the arm later, it's like shooting fish in a barrel. I am the strongest being on this planet." I would like to point out that he did this all while trying to make me one with the grass on the field.
Sometimes in the past weeks I miss the days of boredom, not many times but a few, this was defiantly one of the times I'd rather be in my room reading or watching TV. The world seems to hate everyone at different time, I guess that's why everyone thinks the world hates them, and everyone blames their troubles on someone else.
I threw the smoke bomb in his face, his roar said that it had worked, or so I thought as I started to crawl away. I was wrenched up into the air and seized in his huge fist the guy seemed to be growing bigger and bigger, he was now a good twelve feet in size. I threw the acid in his face or where I thought it would be, it was just his chest, but it did what it was suppose to do. You know if he didn't hold at me at chest level then I might have of broken my neck, at the time not breaking my neck didn't really seem that important to me, even if the only thing bruised was my pride.
"That hurt you little snot, it's been a while but I heal a hundred times, no a thousand times faster then a normal human. While I doubt that you are a normal human (how wrong he was back then) you still can't hurt me. So just go to sleep, then its all over I'll get a new power and you won't have to get that hurt. What do you say?"
I'll admit that at the time I was tempted to take the offer even if I didn't know what he was talking about just to get the ringing out of my head. In a masterstroke of luck, I was too exhausted at the moment to even speak, so I didn't answer, and he took it as a yes. "Good now I'll hunt down those other rats just for the fun of it, I know that they don't have any powers but hey if I have these powers why not enjoy it a bit." He said turning away from me, laughing in that twisted cow snort.
I rose up slowly, I had never abandoned my friends, that was something that hasn't and would never change about me. So I decided to get back into the fight, I was feeling better back then, so I shouted, "hey Vinny, which of them liked farm animals, was it you mother or your father, I just want to know which of them was responsible for you."
I think that got him, his eyes were like blood red, I actually felt like smiling as he charged me. My head was clear, all the fear had gone away as he charged, and I remember the sheer feeling of euphoria as I dodged his first punch. I doubt that anyone had done that, as the look on his face was priceless I don't think that he had even fought anyone with my level of skill. He was a sloppy fighter, he made wild swings and left himself open the only thing that kept him alive was that thick hide that he was so proud of.
The only weapon I had at the time was my long knife, it was a long heavy knife that I had for years, I didn't even have my sword. His thick hide was something to brag about, my knife was specially weighted for fighting, and I was able to hit him many times without even leaving a scratch.
I wanted win this so badly, that I didn't see the gun that he pulled out of his ripped suit's pocket. There before my eyes I saw the barrel of the gun explode, and I feel like part of my arm was torn off. I stood there traumatized for a few moments thinking not even about my arm, the only thought that ran through my head was that this wasn't fun anymore, and that he cheated. I was seized up in the air again he had grown at least another three feet and looked like he could use a tree as a golf club, he was about fifteen feet tall and I was in his fist.
He looked pissed, that's the only thing I can remember until that feeling from when I fought Death. I was being squeezed to death, and the fuzziness that I have grown so familiar to was coming back. And when the fuzziness came I was forced out of my body, or something, I wasn't in control and that's what mattered. I saw myself look angry, angrier then anything I've ever seen, man or beast and it was frightening. And then I saw the end game move; my body grabbed my knife, and plunged without any warning at all straight into big Vinny's eye.
I don't care if you're twenty feet tall, I don't care if it would take a tank to make a scratch on you, or if you got powers from some mythological creature that shouldn't exist in this world, if someone stabs you in the eye with a knife it will hurt. He shrunk and began to flail about in a crazed fashion, and then everything went to hell. Around when he was the correct size, he was still holding me; one wrong shake of the head and my world went dark.
Through the eye's of the Reaper:
It was a sad thing to see someone you had such high hopes for lying down on a hospital bed with a bunch of machines stuck in them. I am the only one in the hospital room; outside his friends were trying to explain what had happened to the police, who were filled with disbelief. This world is so strange back home; if someone said a minotaur attacked them there would be an investigation and perhaps an arrest. But here these so called officers of the law only laughed at the story and demanded more evidence. Though they managed to pull the bullet out of Nathaniel's and the one-named Scott's arms.
It was a sad thing to see, no child should have to die before their time, and this boy was so full of life. His family ran into the waiting room, his mother Sora I think her name was, was flipping out hysterically. And his father Arthur if I'm not mistaken was holding their baby while trying to make it stop crying and calm his wife down. The strangest thing was his older sister Sage, was taking this incredibly well, all she was doing was looking at her nails, I guess even some humans have no love for their own family. But his mother and father kept drawing my gaze, they seemed familiar but that was impossible, it they had children as old as Sage and Nathaniel then they couldn't of been mystics, so what were they.
They did not take Nathaniel's condition very well; in fact Sora lunged at the children, Gabe and Lucas, before the officers and her husband stopped her. They explained everything, about leaving a book in the school and encountering the avatar of the Minotaur, Vinny Delmarco, and how they saw the fight and then when they spilt up. I had no time to listen to the trivialities, though I made a note to examine those two boys closely later, they acted too calm in a situation like this. I mean their best friend is almost dead, they saw something that no human was supposed to see, and Nathaniel's mother just attacked them, they looked worried, but it was a more nervous worry, then genuine worry.
Then the Doctor who had been outside with the others said something that I hated, he turned to his parents, "I'm sorry, there's just nothing that we can do, all it all depends on how strong he fights to survive. I'm sorry the only thing that I can recommend that you pray for you son. I need to check on my other patients I hope your son pulls out." He left, as soon as he was out the door Sora broke down in a sob of tears.
I knew the doctor, not personally but I have taken many of his patients. His name was Albert Sengal, and he was a good doctor, one of the few that I didn't consider an opponent for souls. But even the best healers in the world lost people like flies it was always a loosing fight for them and to easy for us. Some doctors, no matter what they've seen would always be happy, but Albert was not one of them, he had seen too much to be happy with his job. But something was up, I've seen him with a ten-year-old boy who had an a broken leg and a shattered rib cage from a car accident, and he was amazingly gentle. And here was Nathaniel's family that really needed comforting and he just left, I have danced the dance with Dr. Sengal, and he had never done that.
I couldn't understand it, but I hadn't the time to question the doctor's mind I turned to Nathaniel who was still unconscious. I felt sorry, and guilty the boy wouldn't of had to go through this ordeal if I hadn't been so arrogant yesterday. I never thought that he would of, could have actually beaten me, if I had only beaten him, I would have forced him to be my avatar.
But he won, he had beaten me, a feat that no human had accomplished ever, but this kid had. I saw the eyes in his head I saw how his body moved, and how he could understand things in seconds that would make a grown man scratch his head. I knew that he was in no way a normal human even for one in this tournament. I remember when I watched him fight, he was magnificent and I could feel his happiness pour out of him when he danced around the fool's clumsy blows.
But as I stand by his bedside I wonder what I should do, here he is the one who I knew would fight for me, on his deathbed. I watched as he fought the Minotaur, he was enjoying himself until the other one had cheated. I could easily keep the boy alive, while he had been gored with the horn, it would be a simple matter. To keep the body physically alive while it heals, then when he's fully healed he'll be back to normal. I could do that, but it wouldn't be right, this boy needed the fight, not to be healed up and lie in a hospital room. There is a secret that we deaths share, something that could change the whole world if it was let out but I had to share it with this boy.
So I lay my hand on his sweat stained forehead, like I would do too a dying person, but this time, I'm not trying to get a soul out, but keep a soul in. I ventured into Nathaniel's very soul.
Like many close to death it was dark and empty, the time for the good memories would come later during the transition to ease the being's passing. This moment was a time for quiet reflection in the dark.
I flew here as I would on the outside, as a death I am never bound by
We were in the hospital I was flung into a chair, in the middle of the emergency. The doctors were running around, the machines all around Nathaniel were making beeping and clicking noises. If anyone else but him and me looked at it, it would look like he was dying, at least he wasn't. but his family thought that he was, his mother was crying banging on the glass, and his father was trying to calm his wife down but he looked as if he was about to vomit.
The machines suddenly stopped making the beeping noise, in it was replaced by a low humming sound, and I for once was worried that something went wrong. Then doctors declared a time of death, and began to pack up there equipment, while his mother broke down in tears, and his father with her, even his older sister cried a little at the death of her brother. Then something that humans could describe as a miracle happened, he woke up, and then vomited on the nearest doctor, a disgusting miracle but a miracle non-the less.
Through the eyes of a young man:
I woke up, and when I opened my eyes doctors surrounded me, and I think I threw up on the closest one. I really didn't know because I collapsed on the bed, and I clutched my head in pain, I had the worst headache of my life. They were looking at me like I was about to spew again any minute now, and maybe I was, I felt as if there was a hole in my stomach.
I was ready to pass out, a feeling that I had come to be quite familiar with, have I said that I hate the dark yet. I gazed over at the open window as the doctors encircled me and I saw my family, my mom in tears still not looking at me yet, my father in disbelief as I was struggling to stay conscious, my sisters weren't there I guess they were asleep or something. The last thing that I remember before I went under was the sunrise, and it was the most beautiful one that I have ever seen.
Through the eyes of the Reaper:
The boy was safe, and I hope that I never have to go into that strange up world again, this kid was bad enough alone, without all the others. I had important things to do right now; I had to go see an old acquaintance.
It was early morning, the morning after the night that an avatar and a human fought clashed. It was a strange thing, rarely do avatars lose to a human, they rarely even tie, it happens of course but in each tournament you could count the numbers on one hand.
But whether or not Nathaniel managed to for a tie, he was in no shape to battle again for sometime, while Vinny because of the healing powers of the minotaur, will be back to normal in a matter of days. I had to make sure that he wasn't put into any more danger, so I flew to where the sickly yellow aura of the Minotaur surrounded a building.
As I touched down to right in front of a brick red warehouse a roar of pain rang out. "It hurts so damn much, where the hell is that ice pack I called for an hour ago?" I guess this was the right place, so I slipped inside the building; it was a large empty building with a lot of men in black suits running around. Sitting on a large couch was Vinny Delmarco; I had quite a few days of work at the cost of his father Alphonse Delmarco, a small time mafia boss in America. It had to be the avatar, his horns were proof enough of his connection to the minotaurs, but he was too small for a real minotaur, he was barely bigger then an normal man.
Alphones was considered to be a small time mafia but he had the ambition and the cruelty, not to mention the brains to make himself much more dangerous. He sat on a chair a small distance from his son, watching a small TV, looking disinterested at his son's request. Behind them sat a giant Minotaur, by the name of Krios, I knew him personally.
He was the champion of the Minotaur's an ancient race of monstrous bull men. Like many races, he was chosen to be the mystic representative after hours and hours of battle, and the strongest was chosen. He was an impressive sight, being well over twenty human feet tall, a mass of bulging muscle, and golden horns, with his steel axe as tall as himself, and he was sitting down.
Out of all the Minotaurs, I honesty hoped that it would have been another besides Krios. He was the most dangerous of his kind, minotaurs were know far and wide for their sheer physical might, but the area they lacked most was reflexes and brains. But Krios, while he wasn't any smarter then the others, his mind was full of cruel thoughts and the means to applied them, it was his cunning coupled with this that made him truly dangerous. As much as I wanted to kill him, it was against the rules of the tournament to settle matters between mystics, that was whole the point of the avatars in the first place.
"This show doesn't make any sense, why did that man break the others legs for no reason?" he asked, I knew that he wasn't really asking to learn, he was just probing for information that could be used later on.
I could tell that Alphonse was getting annoyed, Krios had these people in his web, he only had to wait before he had complete power over them, "I keep telling you, it was because he did something bad to him, he owed him money, he slept with the wrong broad, it doesn't matter. In fact that guy was lucky to get away with only his legs broken, if that was me he would have been killed on the spot. You don't need people to come in and borrow money from you if they ain't going to pay it back. The human world is made up of two types of people, rich men like me who work hard and try to provide a good life for their families. Then of course there are those that don't want to work for it, they take advantage of men like me, they try to steal from me by taking advantage of my good will. If you take anything from me, remember that if you give anyone money, make sure that they pay you back, otherwise people will walk all over you.
I hated Krios by very definition he was a bully, he always wanted to be the best, and he always tried to prove it by making others feel small. He probably picked someone enough like him to think that he had no chance in losing, in attitude but not brains, not someone smart enough to rebel against him. Judging by how he nursed his eye with such an attitude and sulked like a little child I was right.
Alphonse turned off the television and turned to Krios, "that reminds me, we have some things to talk about. What happened last night, you said that the win should have been Vinny's, how come he came back looking like he went ten rounds with a rhino and lost. You have my son's assistance only until we decide to walk; you said that I could rule the other families after we help you win this tournament thing. If my son dies how the hell is that supposed to happen?" he said facing the Minotaur.
Krios just turned his giant eye to the little man with disgust; I had to for once agree. The foolish man was really risking his son's life so he could rule the criminal world, greed was going to kill this man an bring ruin down around him. "I told you," he said standing up to his full height, he had to of doubled in size from his sitting position, "there were complications last night, there wasn't supposed to be another avatar there last night. Be glad that your son did win his fights; he only needs six more before he can advance to the next stage and then it is only a few more till you get your reward. If only we weren't forced to be in this stupid little city, we need to get out to where there will be more fighters, I'm surprised that he actually got those two in this little speck of dirt."
"Perhaps we should go back to the big city, I own a few warehouses down in there and there are probably more guys for Vinny to fight there?" a coward will always back down when they are confronted, and Alphonse was no exception to this rule.
"I told you," Krios said, you could hear the frustration in his voice, "I can't leave until I find that immense power that I sense, if I don't squash it now it could pose a threat to me later on." The last few words he practically yelled out.
"Calm down, I have my men searching for anyone that seems special, it won't be a problem. It has to be a kid right, no kid could resist showing off something as good as what your talking about. These powers, there like a new toy, and the only thing that kids like more then getting a new toy is showing that they have it." He said this with a smug look that said that the playing field, even if it was just for a moment, had shifted.
"I wouldn't take his words to heart, Krios humans are full of improbabilities." At that all heads turned towards me coming out of the shadows, many of the men in black suits took out their guns and opened fire upon me. I walked through the mass of bullets, bullets were designed to kill the flesh, not hurt the bone. They passed harmlessly through my cloak, and passed through the back.
They looked in amazement as I walked towards the head of the family, without as much as a scratch on me. Perhaps being a death and walking towards the leader could have had something to do with it.
"Reaper," he roared when he saw me, I have taken pleasure in doing him much harm over the years, he liked me no more then I liked him. He was brash, headstrong, and believed that nothing alive could hurt him, that made him easy to manipulate but it was frustrating to listen to his arrogance.
"It has been a while Krios, but I know that you would prefer if I got strait to the point, instead of dancing around. Your avatar has made a truly horrible mistake." I spoke; each word took me another step closer to him until I was only a few feet away from him.
"I didn't make any mistakes," yelled Vinny, his eye bleeding like crazy, and he moaned about like a child defending himself saying that he did nothing wrong when he had a lit rock in his hand ready to throw. It was disgusting to think that this was the child who did such harm to the clearly superior Nathaniel.
"Like I said he made a mistake," I said completely ignoring the boy's protests, "and I have come humbly to request a meeting, so we can resolve this conflict peacefully." He looked at me after I said that with interest, he always had the arrogance of seven Minotaurs, but luckily for me, he was easy to manage.
"Very well Reaper I will allow you to discuss the matter with me, but be warned I am in no mood for your trickery ways." He said walking over to the couch in front of the television. He sat down on the floor as I took a seat on the lumpy couch.
"There was an incident at this town's school, a couple of children were hurt, one even had to go to the emergency room. Your avatar was responsible, you know the rules Krios, our avatars aren't allowed to fight normal humans, it was decreed thousands of years ago. In the first age of humanity the lord dragons made the rule that no avatar shall ever harm a human, or there will be consequences." I tried to explain in a calm way, if he exploded, then I might have to do something that I would rather avoid.
Of course being right was not the universes plan for me, ever, as I have realized many times before, and as he stood up in anger I knew this would be just another addition to the list. "How dare you tell me the rules, do you think that I don't know the rules, I am the greatest Minotaur in history. I know everything there is to know about this tournament, besides," he said with a sly grin, "the child who's dying as we speak was obviously your avatar. Is that why your so upset, because my avatar beat yours, don't worry, it was obvious what would happen, the avatars of death's are always some of the weakest. While my avatar is obviously the strongest there is, he defeated two enemies in one night, only true warriors can do that." He said laughing, nervously the men in the back laughed as well to not become a target for the insane Minotaur.
"Krios, I have no avatar, the fight with the avatar of the snowman was counted, but not the one against Nathaniel." That cut his laughter off like a knife.
He stood up to his full height, a towering mass of muscle and flesh; he would be an impressive sight if I were only as strong as I looked. "How dare you, how dare you come into my home and tell me such lies, he had an aura that means that he has the power of a mystic in him. The aura was almost as black as the night, and reeked of death magic according to Vinny. How can you blatantly tell me that he wasn't your avatar, he had your mark, and besides, no human can fight at the same level of an avatar?
"I can and I will, I have chosen no avatar yet, the boy just happened to get a wish off of me." I said without moving, I was getting even more annoyed, I had endured so much today, I didn't want to deal with this right now.
"You think that I would be foolish enough to fall for such a ploy, I am no fool Reaper, and I can smell a lie from a mile away. If you truly want to lie to me about something so ludicrous then pick a better story, like the ones the foolish humans tell in the box. No matter how well you play the part, you are no fool Reaper, no human could win a wish from any death, only a handful of mystics could" He said with his hand straying towards his axe.
"You are making a mistake Krios, I have not chosen my avatar yet, and I will choose when I choose to. I live by no one's time but my own, not by the other deaths and not by some stupid Minotaur who believes he's bigger then he is. Just because your avatar is a bumbling fool because you picked so quickly, don't think that all of us will make the same mistake." That was the end of that argument, and the end to the hope of any peaceful negotiations, as he threw aside the couch that I sat on.
I easily flew over him and simply sat on the couch behind him, I don't think that he liked that. He brought down his axe, swinging it in an arc above his head, a twitch of my finger the blade fell before he brought it down. For a moment he stared at the haft without the blade dumbly for a moment, and the let out a loud roar. "How dare you, how dare you-." He started to say
"How dare you Krios, I am death, you think that my word isn't good enough for you." According to Nell and Wolf always said that at times like this my voice just seemed incredibly cold. Wolf said that he had to stay in his animal form just to get warm enough to be able to function normally. And Nell who was the one who was the most used to me said that she couldn't make a flame for a week. At first I thought that they were only joking, but after seeing the looks they gave me even weeks after, changed that thought.
He sat down again; quivering slightly in fear, the humans and his avatar fell to the ground shaken. The key for my victory here was to make me look scary, to make sure that he wouldn't want to cross me ever again. The light bulbs in the warehouse shattered under the weight of my power, and the steel gates that I came through crumbled as a mighty wind blasted through.
"I will say this once and only once Krios," I said, making my voice barely a whisper, but I knew that he heard me. "I have not chosen my avatar yet, the child is a prime candidate but I have not decided yet." I threw him to the far end of the warehouse, he got up after a minute or so dazed.
"You'll pay for that." He said coughing, "I will tear that boy apart with my bare hands, I will slaughter his family, I will crush his friends and then I will kill him. Do you hear that Reaper, that boy won't even get his power before I murder him." he said this as he struggled to get up and had to lean on his axe haft to stand up straight.
"No, no you will not," I answered, and I turned away from him to the humans struggling to move away from me. "Humans of the Delmarco family, I give you this warning, take a step near the BriRidge family or the child Nathaniel's friends. Anyone who chooses to ignore my words will find themselves in the grave long before they can do any harm. Let he who doubts my word show himself and speak it will be your last words."
Humans are truly foolish creature, a bit of wind and darkness, and they run about like a chicken without its head chopped off. Truly against humans the most powerful weapon was a bit of drama and cheap tricks. They were all shaken with fear; Nathaniel's family had nothing to fear from these fools. Or so I thought.
"Stop it you idiots, he told you before," said Alphonse he said, giving his sly smile to me, "his kind can't hurt humans, the only one in danger here is Vinny, and he can't hurt him. Krios told me when he first came for my son, the guys who give out the powers can' hurt the one who get the powers."
The human was partially right all mystics were forbidden to harm humans without any mystical powers. But I was not all mystics, "you think so don't you Alphonse, I hope that you enjoy your irrational triumph while you can. I am Reaper, the death of this tournament do you think that a rule that bounds fools will apply to me then you are incredibly foolish, even for a human."
He seemed to take offense from that, but he started to sweat a bit, he was nervous and easy prey. "I know that you can't hurt us, Krios couldn't." he thought that all mystics were like Krios, the Minotaur had no powers except his strength and size changing. Minotaurs had never passed the first round in the thousands of years this tournament has been going on, while the deaths haven't either that was a choice. It's true that we weren't allowed to harm humans in the direct sense, flame giants couldn't throw a fireball at a human, and a werewolf couldn't scratch a mortal. But like in all things there were loopholes, a building could be set on fire, and a man could be found by his neighbors mauled by wolves, which is how we get back at humans.
I walked towards the mafia boss, every time I took a step forward he took two steps back, I secretly smiled, this would be more fun then I thought. I kept going forward until he slammed his head on top a metal shelf behind him. With a slow motion for a mystic, but it looked like a blur to humans, my arm shot out, the fool flinched but it didn't even touch him, he wasn't my target. I reached out and touched the shelf and made the metal rust, it took a moment to completely brake, but that was the point as it slowly decayed and he saw how exactly horrible the pain would be it I wanted to.
"You assume that I can't hurt you because someone with Krios' creativity said that he couldn't. I am a death, do you think that just because I can't directly kill you don't think that it will stop you from dying. Maybe you'll catch a disease, or a piano could fall on you, no, no that would be too cliché." I said this as I disappeared and reappeared behind him whispering in his ear sometimes, other times I made him incredibly cold, colder then ice.
"Killing you by letting something fall on you won't be cruel enough if you try to harm that family. I know things that could get you in a lot of trouble, more then you could ever imagine." He was sweating like a pig now, I think he realized how much power I held over him. "One of my jobs is to take souls to the other side to be judged, that doesn't mean that I don't see them before they die or record it for that matter." I may have taken the souls of great mortals, but it wasn't necessary to tell him that, besides, I could get the evidence incredible easy.
"Let's say, hypothetically, the other families found out who really gunned down their men in cold blood. You have made quite a living here in you fortress a top a see of blood, but you only got here because you played the other families against each other. Now imagine if they all learned who had caused all their problems, if they learned who had killed their friends, their families, just to rise up in the ranks in the underworld. I imagine that you'll be in quite the difficult situation, well hopefully we won't have to find out, will we?" I smiled I knew that I had him but I always wanted people to remember what I could do to them so I gave an extra jab.
"And if that wasn't enough, I have enough evidence to put you away for a long time. Can you imagine that, after months of fighting against rival families, having so many of your men die, killing so many of theirs, investing so much money and then loosing it all in one feel swoop for all your trouble. And afterwards you just end up in jail, yes jail where your men can't protect you, where you sent so many poor souls to in your quest of greed. Do you know how many people hung themselves after a few years of imprisonment, those people made friends, friends that are still there, you'll be alone, imagine how many guys would stab you in the kidney and bleed you to death like a pig because you pissed off the wrong people by murdering their friends?" I always tried to make people who pissed me off; bullies were on the top of that list, felt the very unlimited amount of torture I could put them through.
"Besides I won't have to go into all that if I really need to get my revenge." This time, I walked back to my former place and as his eyes followed me four long cuts slowly opened on his face. Mystics, as a rule could not harm a human, but I could bend that rule until it looked like Christmas lights after the season.
"Fine we'll stay away from the stupid brats family, but I swear to god, if you insult me again I'll-." He began to say, I really hated it when people threatened me, it just triggered something primal.
Before he even finishes I had hoisted him up into the air with a pinky and spread my bony teeth into a pointy smile. "You'll do what, rot in the ground, or will you hang yourself before I have a chance to get you?" I gripped his face with my hand and threw him away. By then not a single human moved, Krios was still on the other side of the warehouse, he didn't move, but when I looked at him, he nodded slowly. He knew who won this battle, and without breaking a sweat, as humans say.
I strode out of the warehouse, the sun was fully out, shining brightly, I flew to the top of the building that I met Nell on only the night before. In the morning, the city looks so different then its night world, there were too many sounds and ugly sights that changed it. The horrible metal monsters that humans drove around in stood bumper to bumper, with their ridiculous horns roaring every second.
That is what made the human world so interesting, well interesting to me, it would probably be sick. Humans have been given this paradise of a world and in each age of man, they poison it with their wars and their ignorance. Humans never seemed to realize the consequences of their actions, they doom themselves far worst then any mystic in my world could do. I am a death, I cannot go against my nature, I love the thought of ironic deaths, and this one would be the jewel of my collection.
While this world disgusted me, humans, as a race did not, many are weak disgusting creatures, but the great ones make up for it. Luckily for me, I get to meet the great ones, before and after their deaths, they are what make race truly a powerful one.
A pillar of black flame rose up behind me, but while I noticed it I decided to ignore it. Until a loud voice came from "Reaper of the Dark World, you have been summoned by Scythe, the high guardian of the realm of the fallen. You have been summoned and you must go." That always annoyed me, the others; they had no vision, no creativity, they felt no joy in what we do, to them it was a job, not a life. But I was the lowest death, for they feared if I rose any higher then I would spell doom for all the know worlds.
"If Scythe wants to talk to me he can come to this world and talk to me, face to face." Scythe was the leader of the death race, he had the title of the high guardian of the fallen, basically he was the one who judges and keeps souls. In human understanding, he would be considered god among gods, he could eliminate an entire universe if he saw fit, and he is the only being alive that could kill a death without knowing our secret. The secret was the one thing that bound us to the plane of the living, if no one knew then we were untouchable, but if a being did learn of it, they alone had the power to kill one of us. Scythe lived by his own rules; he said that because he created all the deaths, it was his right alone to unmake us.
The flame shouted out, "how dare you Reaper, you are but a speck on his lordships divine plan. How dare you demand something of the great one, the almighty, he could destroy you with a word." He was the Flame of the Lost, the one who guides the dead to Scythe to be judged. He was also psychotically devoted to Scythe, in a way he was the one of the worst things that a human could be, let alone a mystical force.
"Flame, Scythe is just a death like you and me, he may have almost unlimited power to us, but he has his limits and they are reached far from the Almighty's power. Scythe has told you himself, even he bows down to the Almighty's plan, he is just a death, powerful, but not omnipotent. And you know he hates it when people consider him all powerful, in fact, the only reason he keeps me around because I'm the only one who argues with him like he was just another mystic." Not once did I turn around during our entire conversation, I was far more interested in the conversation between two humans.
I guess that one of their monsters cut off the other and they were having a fight with each other. Humans are so interesting; in some worlds if someone threatened someone like these two were then it would be call for a duel, with only one walking away. There didn't need to be any strong words after, just a simple duel, but humans they keep trying to best each other in a testosterone contest.
The Flame did not like this, "I will not be ignored, how dare you talk of the great one in such unworthy tones. If I was not on order from the high guardian to not slaughter you I would gut you and string your organs about like streamers." The pillar of flame burned in the shape of white-hot eyes, and claws of pure black fire swung about him. I still wasn't looking at him but he did this every time he came to summon me, it was like a play that you could already guess the end of.
"Don't kid yourself, you won't fight me out of fear, not because of your precious orders, you and I both know that you can't beat me, you're just using you blind faith in Scythe as an excuse." At the last words I opened my cloak to expose the white bone like matter that was harder then tempered steel and sharper then diamond. I faced him finally, ready for a fight even if I knew that it wouldn't come, bluffs at times worked just as well as blades. "Just go get him, if I know Scythe, then he'll find away to come to me."
He glared at me and in a giant shaft of flame it just disappeared, as if it had never been. I had only been on the roof for a few minutes when the world around me warped into a dark room with a roaring fire and a hundred paintings of a hundred different scenes. I was in Scythe's office, a place that I was very familiar with, since I had be summoned here so many times in my life. A desk and several bookshelves lined against the wall, the desk with papers and files stacked on top of it. I sat down on one of his comfy chairs and waited to be recognized.
"Reaper, Reaper, Reaper, how are you doing." Said a voice, a chair sat backwards facing the fire. The chair swerved around and there sat Scythe; he looked like a human much like myself when my work face slips, not a skeletal creature in a robe, but a normal teenage boy. He had spiky blond hair with a black headband keeping it back, he had his ears pierced with several silver earrings, and wore a black vest over a white shirt, dressed like he was an old rocker, but still looked like a teenager. But he was not the type of person who you just brushed off, like he was some nobody. You had to be a complete fool to not sense his power, even those without a sixth sense, would get a strange shiver run down their spine, even if they didn't know the reason.
He looked at me with his face in his hands with his elbows on the desk, "Reaper, why is it that whenever I see you, you're wearing that face I gave you, don't you miss your old one?" I have no doubt that he had no ulterior motive behind his question but it still made my chest hurt.
"Sir, of course I miss my face, whenever I'm alone or when I'm around those I trust I change back. But you gave me this powerful body as a gift, I wouldn't dare come to you in my old body." The look he gave me told me that he knew I wasn't saying everything but for now he would let it go. In all truthfulness, it had been years since I wore my face to remember, it was just too painful.
Whenever I looked into my eyes they strained with knowledge and power, it felt like I was wearing a mask. And when I see the ageless face, without a wrinkle on it, I remember what I had lost, and the face that has never aged since I became what I am now, and it serves as a reminder that it never will. Thousands of years ago I began to look at my mask of a face and ask myself it I was even the same man I was anymore, and when I told myself what I believed to be the truth, I could never turn back when I was alone.
He seemed to be reading a report with much interest, and that meant that it caught my interest as well. Scythe while, he was the creator of death and the one who judges souls, he was not what one would call responsible with his work. He actually created the race of deaths to do his work, so he had less to do, but here he was reading a report on some soul in the infinity of universes. What could possible make him take interest in a single souls life.
"Reaper, I'm a bit disappointed with you, I know you are a loose cannon among the other deaths and other creatures I've created, which I respect, you do get in trouble don't you." He looked up with a smile, from the report to see the look on my face; I tried not to show my nervousness. Scythe was the only person that I truly respect and feared, he could destroy everything without a thought and recreated it. As much as I knew he wasn't the almighty, I knew that he was one of the beings closest to its level, just being in his presence like this made me sweat. I had only met the almighty once, and after my soul felt like it would break, and couldn't move for days.
I kept silent, he was angry even if he didn't show it and that was of the most terrifying things ever. He let out a sigh as the smile fell from his face, and he pushed the file towards me, it was a file on Nathaniel, and I knew that this is bad. "I received this file only a hours ago, I considered it another worthless thing, and I was about to just throw it out. And that was when I realized that it wouldn't be destroyed, no matter how hard I tried to get rid of it I could only move it an inch. So I asked myself how could something like this happen?"
He tilted his head, in a gesture that showed that he knew exactly what I have done. "I thought that it was in the best interests of the tournament if I did what I did I accept full responsibility, and will willingly except the punishment." I got up and bowed to him, he smiled again with a grin.
He was not supposed to smile like that, he was supposed to smile in forgiveness or when he was incredibly angry. Both of the smiles were the same so it was hard to tell what he was thinking, but he never needed to give a sly smile, he told people what to do or asked them, he was never sly about it. "You gave away one of our most wrought secrets to a human, what the hell were you thinking. I have read his file, Nathaniel BriRidge, teenager, special, in the hospital with a supposedly fatal condition, and yet in a few days he'll be up and about like a small child. Immortality is one of our most precious gifts, many mortals are good and wise, but you can't just give them immortality on a whim just because you think their worthy of it. That boy is just a child and you gave him a choice to be immortal, what if he grows into a monster, what will the consequences be then?" He sighed and left everything else unsaid he knew that he had made his point.
I felt guilty, for a little while though; Nathaniel scoffed at immortality, when I offered it in the fight. He didn't want to grow old even if it meant living forever, he didn't even know if he was going to age, but he denied it only on what he believed, that was an odd quality in this world. I knew that no matter what happened, when he grew old, he would just except it, and move on.
"My lord, I did not give him the gift of immortality, I just gave him the chance to live again, and he could be our avatar, our champion. He is so very special, so much potential lies within him, he could be the one who wins this tournament." I pleaded with him to see what this boy could do for us.
"I know that he is special, and that he is one of the strongest humans in this tournament, but he cannot fight for us. I know even more about that child then you could ever." I knew why he couldn't fight for us even if he won but I still felt that we should try. But that last thing in my head what was Nathaniel, I could tell that he was special for a human, his mindscape proved that, but what could make Scythe actually take an interest in him? "Reaper, you are the youngest of us, only being six billion human years old, and you are wise and strong, but your wisdom and strength is only matched by you stubbornness. Death cannot win this tournament, it would send the worlds out of balance, and shift the fields of the living and the dead. The consequences in the long run would terminally outweigh the benefits of being in charge of the mystic world." He knew that I was young, and he knew why I wanted to win this tournament, but he also knew how the world worked better then I did.
He then said something that I would never of expected. "The child Nathaniel will be the avatar of the deaths, you're champion." I have talked to Scythe many times before, he was the closest to a normal human while being a god, even in my non-work form I didn't act that human. But he never acted like the most powerful death's in the infinite universe, an angry word or two sure, a get back to work every now and then of course, but he never made an out right order like that. Besides, he had just told me that death couldn't win this tournament, and now he said that he would be my avatar, what happened?
"I know that we can't win this grand battle, but, like you said, the child is special. Without anyone wise enough to win the tournament I can't really see much choice in the matter, the only one I would consider worthy would be the dragon race. But they refuse to fight in this round, because of their own decree; so many races of evil are entering now because of the dragons aren't fighting, so many of those who creped in the dark for so long see this as a chance to take over the light. So much evil could come from their winning, we just can't allow that to occur. So, by the power giving to me by the almighty one, I charge you, Reaper of the dark world, to have your champion fight, until you find one worthy for the lordship. But I give you this warning, he is to not lose, if he does then that will poison the tournament, if he loses, I will strip you of your powers, and leave you a mere husk of yourself, I will return you to what you were before. Now be gone"
He turned his chair away, and he poked the fire, as he acted like I wasn't there. It must of killed him on the inside, to make such a decree, if this didn't go well, and if Nathaniel won, we would be responsible for the breakdown of the universe. If this didn't go well, the survivors would know us, as the one's who destroyed civilization. And if he lost, before I found someone who would make a good king, then it would be my world that would suffer through the pain of their foolishness. May the almighty one forgive us when this half-baked plan comes crashing down around our heads, I could not go back even if I survive what comes after, I was a death now, and if it comes to it, I would die that way.