Chapter 40: Battle to the Death

The battle against Pandemonium is disadvantageous for the Rebellion without any help from Takashi. Based on numbers alone, the Rebellion is greatly outnumbered and people at the frontlines are finding it difficult to hold off the enemy.

"Kazuki!" Kiran calls out as she runs and knocks down one of the soldiers from Pandemonium before finishing him off with one of her two short swords. "Remember to watch out for enemies from all angles!"

"You're giving me a lecture during a war?" Kazuki complains as he turns to stab a soldier with his spear.

"You're a newcomer, of course I have to look out for you" Kiran smiles as they stand back-to-back.

"A girl looking out for a guy? I don't think so" Kazuki smiles in return as they go their separate ways to fight.

Kiran moves around to find her brother and helps him to get rid of some of the soldiers that are trying to kill him. "This isn't good" Kai shouts to convey this message as the battlefield is getting noisy. "We're losing too many people"

"Where is Takashi when you need him?!" Kiran replies loudly.

"Kiran, Kai, Kazuki do you read me?" A voice can be heard from a small device in their ears.

"Kai and Kiran here, loud and clear" Kai answers as his sister nods at him and keeps the soldiers busy as her brother replies.

"Kazuki here too" Kazuki answers from somewhere else in the battlefield.

"The three of you just do whatever you can and go find Takashi" Mika says in a rush through the device. "The rest of us will hold our position until you return"

"Are you sure about that?" Kai asks. "We already don't have enough men"

"Just go ... he's the only hope we have left now" Mika answers and they get disconnected.

Takashi stops at a large door with two huge gold handles, with the corridor behind him filled with dead bodies and his eyes temporarily return to being purple. He puts his hand on the handles and opens the door before walking in. The room is very big with the ceiling being a few levels high. Despite the size, the room is empty of furniture. The windows at the opposite end from where he is standing stretches from the floor to the ceiling. The windows seem to be frozen from the outside and it is snowing heavily.

"You're finally here" A voice greets him. Takashi focus on a figure near the tall windows. Reiji stands there, with his back facing him. His head turns to the side to look at Takashi from the corner of his eyes.

Takashi takes a step forward as the door automatically closes behind him. "Kujyou Reiji" He frowns at his uncle.

"That's a scary expression" Reiji comments without moving and smiles. "And according to Mizuki, your name is Kujyou Takashi ... correct?"

"Where is she?" He asks, his voice totally serious.

"Do you really want to know?" Reiji answers him and steps aside. At the same time, revealing what he is facing all along. Mizuki appears to be floating in mid-air and Reiji is holding up his right hand, with its palm facing her. It is as though he is suspending her in the air. Her eyes are closed and her face looks like she is in pain.

"What did you do?!" He takes a step forward as his eyes widen slightly in shock.

"Just continuing from what my student did earlier" Reiji answers, keeping the smile on his face. "I believe you're the one who killed Kakeru"

Takashi looks down slightly as he whispers. "Probe"

"Exactly" Reiji continues and scans him from top to bottom. "I'm really amazed that you're this big already ... I've never thought that they would hide a child from me"

Takashi returns his gaze to his uncle and replies. "If they didn't, you would have killed me that night as well"

"That depends" Reiji answers as he stretches his right hand a little and Mizuki seems to frown harder.

"Let her go" Takashi demands.

"I'm still extracting her ability" Reiji explains to him calmly. "I believe you don't want to interrupt and end up killing her, do you?"

"But let you extract all you want till she cannot take it?" Takashi holds up his right hand and a sword appears in it. "I don't think so" He runs forward with his sword raised but gets knocked back by an unknown force. He lands on his feet and sees another Reiji standing beside the original Reiji. He blinks in confusion. "A clone?"

"Did you forget that you're dealing with another Pure-Blood here?" Reiji states. Takashi looks at him, raged and his eyes turn red. "Something like that won't scare me" Reiji smirks.

Takashi swings his sword aside and creates another eight swords in the air around him and disappears as he fights with the clone. Creating a distraction, he grabs one of the swords in the air, intending to get rid of the clone. His sword is just inches away from the clone when another force hits him in the back and it sends him flying into the wall. The wall cracks and he stands, getting a glimpse of what just happened. Another clone has appeared and both clones stand side-by-side smiling.

"I don't sense his clones ... they have no presence?" He ponders, and recalls the situation earlier. "That explains why she got kidnapped and I can't sense anything"

"Giving up already?" The real Reiji smiles as he continues the Probe.

Takashi looks at Mizuki from the distance. "This is taking too long ... I need to finish this faster ... and I'm worrying about what is going on at Kiran's end ... the battle must have started by now" He closes his eyes for a moment before vanishing and appears at the side of one of the clones. The clone bends forward as the other clone attacks him and they engage in a battle.

"Takashi ..." Mizuki thinks as she slowly opens her eyes to see the fight. Her eyes widen in shock and Reiji turns to face her.

"It's almost done" Reiji says.

"I've given you what you want, so please spare him" Mizuki replies quickly despite the pain.

Reiji laughs. "Do you really think I will spare him in exchange for a Probe?"

"You can take all you want, just let him go" Mizuki suggests as she watches Takashi fight.

"Even if it means killing you?" He asks. She pauses for a second and nods.

"What is he to you anyways?" Reiji frowns, not comprehending. "For you to go to such an extent"

Instead of answering him, she just keeps her eyes on the battle and worries for him. Reiji looks at her expression and turns to look at Takashi before laughing again.

"Could it be ... lovers?" Reiji watches her as she turns to look at him. "Seems like my nephew is not that much of a good boy to follow rules"

Seeing that Reiji has no intentions to spare Takashi's life, Mizuki struggles to move but to no avail. She is not able to move a single muscle at all.

"Go now!" Mika shouts as she sees Kai, Kiran and Kazuki running towards her.

"Are you sure?" Kiran asks her once again as they stop beside her to kill the soldiers. "I just sensed some Paladins approaching"

"You got to be kidding me" Kazuki exclaims. "As if we can handle this many soldiers ... they're still sending in Paladins?!"

"Guess they are determined to wipe us all out" Kai adds.

"Just go" Mika rushes them. "Make it a quick trip ... I believe the three of you know where they are"

Kiran nods and signals to her brother and Kazuki who nods in return and they break into a run for the forest. Some of the soldiers ran after them but Izumi stops them. Mika watches them run up the mountain. "The three of you must find him no matter what"

"Takashi!" Mizuki calls out as he is tossed into another wall. Tears are starting to form in her eyes. Takashi slowly stands up, using his sword in hand as support. There are now five clones standing between him and her.

"Five of me seem to be your limit" Reiji watches the battle as though it's the most interesting show.

"Mizuki" Takashi flashes a quick look at her.

"Please stop this" Mizuki cries.

"Well ... if you insists" Reiji merely says as he drops his right hand to his side and disappears. When he does so, she falls flat down onto the ground.

Takashi appears beside her and holds her up. "Mizuki, how are you feeling?"

She opens her eyes slowly to look at his. Despite them being red in colour, she forces herself to look into his eyes, her body drained of strength. "Empty" She answers him as tears flow down her cheeks. She reaches out and touches his cheeks, wiping away the dirt on his face. He puts his hand on hers. She closes her eyes as he does so and her head slides off his hand before he holds her up again, this time more firmly.

He holds her close to him. "I'll finish this as soon as I can" He whispers into her ear and settles her gently on the ground. He stands up as his entire body starts to tremble in rage. "I won't forgive you ..." He whispers as images of the night he lost his parents surface in his mind and he turns back to Reiji. "For everything you have done!" He shouts at his uncle.

"Then show me what you've got" Reiji smiles as his clones all gather around him, showing the same expressions.

Takashi disappears and hints of silver can be seen in the air as his swords move around on their own as well. Reiji remains at his position as his clones disappear to fight. Occasionally, sounds of metals coming into contact can be heard all over the room. As he fights on, he starts to lose control of his emotions and his power feels overwhelming. Determined to kill his uncle, he allows the power to flow through and fully take over his movements. At the same time, without him knowing, his eyes slowly turn into a darker shade of red.

Reiji notices the change in Takashi's eyes and his expression becomes more serious. "That's ..." He creates two extra clones as a precaution. "His eyes ... He's growing stronger by the minute"

Mizuki takes a deep breath as she tries to ignore the pain in her body. After the Probe, she feels strangely weak and her body is so stiff that it is difficult to even move.

"How much higher?" Kazuki asks as they run through the snow. The temperature is dropping as they go higher up the mountain.

"I remembered it's this way on the scan" Kiran indicates as light can be seen in the distance.

"Over there?" Kai asks as a building comes into sight. They eventually come to a stop at the entrance of the building and sees the dead bodies in the snow. He walks closer to take a better look. "These wounds ... they're fresh sword markings"

"So they're really here" Kazuki says as they break into a run again and head into the base. As they run through the corridor, they follow the trail of dead bodies, believing that is the way Takashi has gone.

Takashi falls onto the ground as he crashes into one of the glass windows, leaving him a few inches from the edge of the room. The strong winter wind blows into the room through the broken glass window, and some snow falls onto his hair. He pants as he looks up and sees all seven clones approaching him slowly. His clothes are already soaked in his own blood, and after this crash, blood is also flowing down from the top of his head.

"Takashi" Mizuki whispers as she watches him from her position. Her vision is already starting to become a blur.

"You have an interesting offensive ability" Reiji speaks as he approach his nephew with the clones beside him. "But it's nothing against me ... you can manifest all the swords you want ... and I can clone myself many times more ... eventually it is the experience that counts ..." He bends forward. "You lack experience ... that's why you cannot defeat me single-handedly"

"That's only a guess on your part" Takashi stands with the support of his sword and intends to move forward but one of the clones run forward and stabs his left arm, pinning him to the side of the window. Takashi screams in pain for a moment before swinging his sword at the clone. The clone evades the attack and jumps back to join the others. The sword then disappears from Takashi's hand. He removes the blade from his left arm and throws it onto the ground, before putting his right hand over the wound.

"It's not a guess, but a fact" Reiji replies as he moves forward, with a long sword in hand. Six of his clones vanish, leaving one behind him. Takashi keeps his eyes on the long sword as he approaches.

"No ..." Mizuki whispers as she watches from afar. "This cannot be happening ..." Tears flowing down her cheeks as she closes her eyes, willing her body to move. To do something before everything becomes too late. "Please move" She opens her eyes again to see Reiji stops at a distance from Takashi, holding up his sword, preparing for the kill.

"Move ... move now!" She screams at herself and Reiji moves his sword hand forward, with the tip of the sword facing Takashi's chest, where his heart is. The entire room blurs as she hears Reiji whispers. "It's over"

"In that room?" Kazuki asks as they reach the end of the corridor, where nothing can be seen but a pair of doors. Kiran throws the door open and their eyes all widen in shock at what they are seeing. Takashi slowly opens his eyes, knowing that it is the end but his eyes immediately widen at what he sees in front of him. Mizuki has hugged him from the front and the blade of Reiji's long sword goes through the back of her chest and later through his as well, coming out from his back.

"Mizuki" He blinks and whispers in shock as blood flows out the edge of his mouth. "Why ..."

She looks up at him with a smile, her face becoming pale and blood also flowing out from the edges of her mouth. "If everything were to end ..." She frowns as she sweats. "At least we're together" She closes her eyes as Reiji pulls the sword back to him and out of their bodies, swinging it to the side to get rid of the blood stains on the blade.

"Together huh ..." He whispers as he holds her tightly to him. "That sounds really good to me" He closes his eyes as their legs give way and they fall back through the window into the snow.

"NO!" Kiran shouts as tears flow down the sides of her face. She charges forward with her two short swords in hand. Reiji turns while his clone runs forward to attack her.

"Kiran, don't!" Kai rushes forward to stop his sister. The clone almost manage to cut her neck but Kai pushes her away and the clone swings a long sword at his face.

"Kai!" Kazuki shouts and runs forward to divert the clone's attention away from his friend. Kiran immediately stops and turns her attention to her brother, who puts his right hand over his left eye with blood flowing through his fingers.

"Go now!" Kazuki says as he keeps the clone busy. Kiran helps her brother up and rushes out of the base with Kazuki following them behind.

"Warriors from the Rebellion?" Reiji snaps his fingers as his last clone disappears and a young man appears before him. "Take care of those three"

"Yes, your highness" The young man disappears.

Reiji turns his attention back to the window and walks to the edge, looking down the mountain where his nephew and Mizuki fell earlier. "This is the end still, isn t it?" He looks up as he ponders. "But how did she manage to come between us so quickly?"

Kiran runs out of the base into the snow, supporting her brother and Kazuki catches up beside them. Seeing that the clone is no longer following them, they stop under a tree after running a distance from the base.

"How's your eye?" Kiran asks, tears still flowing from her eyes as she touches his right hand. "I'm so sorry"

"It's alright" Kai leaves his right hand over his left eye and looks at her with only his right eye. "But did that really happen just now?"

Kiran and Kazuki keep quiet as they understand what he is referring to. Kai just continues. "I'm not seeing things, am I?"

"We saw it too" Kazuki answers quietly as Kiran turns back to the base, noticing the broken window from the room earlier.

"I don't believe it" Kiran whispers, but it is loud enough for the guys to hear. "That fall is ..." Her voice starts to tremble and the guys turn to see what she is looking at. "Falling from up there ... is as good as falling straight down from the top of the mountain ..." Her voice becoming softer as she continues. "It's obviously a fatal fall for any human ..."

"Are they really ..." Kazuki stops as he does not want to upset Kiran anymore. The last word is stuck in this throat, forbidding him to say it aloud.

"Kiran!" Mika calls them as she approaches them before noticing her son. "What happened to Kai?!" She moves forward in worry and shock to take a look at her son.

"What are you doing here?" Kazuki asks.

"I came to see what's taking the three of you so long" She answers without keeping her eyes off her son. "Besides, it's too late ... the headquarters have fallen ... those alive are running while they still can" Mika helps her son up. "And we should do the same too"

"Right ... I sense Paladins approaching ..." Kiran's eyes look into the distance as though she is in her own world.

"Where are the two of them?" Mika asks as they all start running again. There is silence for ten seconds.

"We can do the explanations later ... it's a long story" Kazuki breaks the silence eventually. "With a really bad ending"

The end

Author's Note:

First of all, I will like to thank all readers who have finished reading Velvet Moon. Thank you so much for spending time to read this story. I really appreciate it. I will also like to thank everyone who has submitted reviews for this story, especially Chika Hanabi and Mysterious MD. =D
Hope you have enjoyed reading this story as much as I enjoy spending time typing it out.

Please note that this story continues in Season Two, "Dark Moon" which takes place ten Earth years (five Celest years) after "Velvet Moon". You can read "Dark Moon" by visiting my profile above.
I hope you will continue to support Dark Moon as well!