Rise Against Hell

Chapter 6: The Rocking Dark Soul

Cayden: A date?

Joyce: Aw, our little Zero is becoming a man!

Cayden: Indeed. So… Tell me kiddo, is she hot?

Joyce: Cayden!

Cayden: Just asking.

Zero: Not to be rude or anything, but could you both just be quiet and leave me alone?

Joyce: Sure, dear. Sure.

Cayden: Can't I bother him a little longer?

Joyce: (Glares at Theo)

Cayden: Fine, fine.

They leave. Zero falls down onto his bed and sighs.

Zero: What have I got myself into?

Later that night; at 7:50

Zero walks through the concert gate and buys an entry pass at the ticket booth. He sees Rena standing over by a couple of other kids from school. Zero freezes up.

Zero: (Scratches head) I don't know…

Zack: Hey Zero, didn't think I'd see you here! (Slaps Zero on the back)

Zero: Zack! Thank God you're here! Um, what are you doing here anyhow?

Zack: Meh, wanted to see what all the fuss is about.

Zero: Hah.

Zack: Why are you here?

Zero: Rena asked me to come with her.

Zack: No way.

Zero: Yes way.

Zack: And you said sure?

Zero: Yep.

Zack: Really?

Zero: Yep.

Zack: No way.

Zero: Go ask her yourself.

Zack: I just might. Why aren't you over there with her?

Zero: I just got here.

Zack: So did I.

Zero: Wanna' come with me?

Zack: You serious? She's your date.

Zero: Zack, look at me. I wouldn't be able to survive one second alone with a girl.

Zack: True.

Zero: Hey.

Zack: You said it, not me.

Zero: Whatever, let's just go.

Zero and a reluctant Zack strut over to meet up with Rena. She turns to see them coming over and her face lights up with joy.

Rena: Zero! I'm so happy you could make it!

Zero: Hey Rena and friends. Whom are also girls.

Mary: Hey Zero and Zack.

Joni: Heya!

Lisa: Eh…

Mary: (Nudges Lisa on the arm)

Lisa: Hey... you two…

Zack: And hello to you too.

Mary: So… the concert doesn't start for another 15 minutes, what should we do in the meantime?

Lisa: I don't know about you, but I'm starving.

Zack: So am I.

Joni: I'm going to go look for my date, I hope he didn't forget! (Runs off)

Rena: Some guy that would be.

Zero: Yeah, well, I was about to not show.

Rena: Why is that?

Zero: Oh, you know. Shyness, social anxiety and all that other nice stuff.

Rena: Well you did show. That's all that matters.

Zero: I couldn't disappoint you, now could I?

Lisa: Ahem, if you two would halt the lovey-dovey crap for just a second, Zack and I are going to grab a bite to eat.

Rena: Oh, okay Lisa, you two have fun.

Zack: Have fun? With Lisa? It'll take a miracle for that to happen.

Lisa: It'll take a miracle for you to recover if you don't shut up.

Zack: Is that a threat, Miss?

Lisa: Do NOT call me Miss!

Zack: Now is that another threat, my-oh-my Miss, you do have such a temper! (Runs away laughing)

Lisa: I'll show you a temper! (Chases after him)

Mary: Those two would make such a great couple.

Rena: Totally.

Zero: I would say.

Rena: So… I guess we just stand around and wait for the show to begin?

Mary: Yep, I don't see much of anything else to do right now.

Zero looks past Rena and Mary to see Xin waving for him to come over.

Zero: Um, hey, I'll be right back.

Rena: Okay, don't be gone long.

Zero makes his way through the crowd over towards Xin.

Zero: What are you doing here?

Xin: Is that anyway to greet an elder?

Zero: Sorry, what the hell are you doing here?

Xin: Such an attitude.

Zero: Could you get on with it? I have a date to get back to.

Xin: There's a Dark Soul creeping somewhere around here

Zero: What? You serious?

Xin: Do I look like I'm kidding?

Zero: I honestly can't tell, you have a good poker face.

Xin: A poker face?

Zero: You and I really need to sit down and have a chat.

Xin: Later, right now we need to be on the look-out for the Dark Soul.

Zero: Sure, sure. I will, but right now, I shall get on with my date. Is that okay with you?

Xin: Okay, just be careful.

Zero: Duly noted.

Xin: I mean it.

Zero looks away towards Rena, then back at Xin. Who has disappeared once again.

Zero: I wish he would stop that.

Rena: Wish who would stop what? (Walking up behind him)

Zero: Someone.

Rena: Like?
Zero: A creep.

Rena: Oh. Fun.

Joni: I found him. (Appearing from within the crowd)

Rena: You did?

Joni: Yep.

Rena: Where is he?

Joni: Grabbing us some drinks.

Zero: For just you two? Or for like the whole group?

Joni: Just for me and him, silly. If you want some drinks, you go buy them.

Rena: I agree. I am thirsty.

Zero: (Sighs) I guess I'll go get some drinks then.

Rena: I want a coke!

Zero: Yeah, yeah! I got'cha! (Walking away)

Zero makes his way through the crowd towards the food stand, where Zack, Lisa and Joni's date are all conversing.

Lisa: And I'm telling you that that's not right.

Zack: Oh, come on, it's probably the best tactic I've ever seen.

Lisa: Puhlease, I've seen better!

Zack: Oh really?

Lisa: Yeah!

Zack: You should show me these tactics you know then.

Lisa: Excuse me?

Joni's Date: I don't even know what we're talking about anymore.

Zack: Zero! Glad you could join us!

Lisa: Where's Rena?

Zero: With Joni. She wanted to get some drinks.

Zack: Well, you came to the right place.

Zero: Obviously.

Joni's Date: Ah, I should get these drinks to Joni then.

Zack: Okay, we'll be there in a second.

Joni's Date: (Walks off)

Zero: Who was that?

Lisa: Joni's date. Duh.

Zero: Well, no shit. What's his name?

Zack: Bill… Bob… Barney… I don't know.

Lisa: (Sighs) His name is Isaac.

Zero: Ruh-roh. Can anyone say Isaac Clarke syndrome?

Zack: Hahah.

Lisa: Shut up, you two. Let's get back to the group.

Zero buys two sodas and they all get back to the others.

Rena: Welcome back.

Zero: Thank you. (Hands Rena her coke)

Lisa: This thing starts soon, I hope.

Mary: Oh. (Puts phone away) Yeah, it's starting now.

Joni: Yay!

Zack: (Whispering to Zero) Let's get this over with.

Zero: (Whispering back) I heard that.

Everyone looks towards the stage, Striker walks out and suddenly all sounds besides the excited screams of fan girls can be heard. Striker does a pose then grabs the microphone.

Striker: What's up, Carbondale?!

Excited Screams.

Striker: That's what I figured! Who's ready to rock!

More Excited Screams.

Striker: I couldn't have said it better myself!

The concert begins with Striker playing some of the songs he had played at the school. The crowd is acting wild, Rena included. Zack, Zero and Isaac are just standing there acting as if they are slowly dying. Lisa and Mary are texting each other. Joni is being Joni.

Zero looks up at the top of the stage, above the lights and sees Xin standing there.

Zero: Oh shit.

Zack: (Looks at Zero)

Zero: You have got to be kidding me.

Zack: Huh?!

There is an explosion on the stage right behind Striker and his band. The area quickly fills with smoke and screaming. Zero coughs and tries to look for Xin through the smoke. The shouts of Zack could be heard slightly. A few moments pass and things start to become clearer. People everywhere are scrambling for cover, screaming for help. Zero sees Zack getting the girls to safety. Then he notices Xin up on the stage, so he runs up there.

Zero: What the hell did you do?!

Xin: (Silent)

Zero: Hey! What the hell did you do?!

Xin: Here it comes.

Zero: What?

Through the remaining smoke a dark figure slowly crawls out of the hole it made in the stage wall. It walks up to Xin and stands straight up. It's about 20 feet tall compared to him. It has a boney face, long creepy arms with sharp fingers at the end. Huge feet and a tail made of shadowy bones.

Xin: I suggest you get Striker out of here.

Zero: Striker?

Zero looks to his left and sees Striker on the floor with a freaked out look on his face.

Zero: Oh, him.

Striker: W- What the h- hell is t- that?!

Zero: That… is the thing that lives under your bed. Pretty, isn't it?

Striker: Is that s- some sort of j- joke?!

Zero: It was an attempt.

Zero helps Striker up and then pushes him towards safety.

They catch up with Zack and the others.

Zack: Zero! Thank God you're okay!

Zero: Rena! Are you okay?

Rena: Y- yeah. I'm fine.

Joni: Did anyone see where Isaac went?!

Lisa: No, he disappeared in the confusion.

Mary: That's not good.

Lisa: Ya' think?

Zero: I'll find him.

Zack: I'll help.

Zero: No. You get the girls out of here.

Striker: H- hey…

Zero: Yes, that includes you too.

Rena: Zero…

Zero: Rena.

Rena: Be careful, okay?

Zero: I will. You too.

Zero breaks off from the group, looking for Isaac. He sees Xin and the Dark Soul on the stage at a distance. They are fighting now. Zero stands there for a second, awed by what's happening. Then he realizes he still needs to find Isaac, so he keeps moving on.

Isaac stands at the corner of the whole stadium, looking over towards where the fight is happening. He looks up at the sky and smiles.

Isaac: Well… Not exactly what I had planned tonight.

Zero: Isaac!

Isaac: Oh. Zero.

Zero: There you are! Joni is worried sick about you!

Isaac: She'll be fine.

Zero: What the heck are you still doing here anyway?

Isaac: Observing.

Zero: What?

Isaac: The battle.

Zero: I know that, I mean what as in what the hell for?

Isaac: Please, you can't sense it?

Zero: Sense what?

Isaac: The power, the dark energy.

Zero: You mean—

Isaac: Yeah, I know about Dark Souls. I know about the Warriors, and Xin… even you.

Zero: Who are you?

Isaac: Isaac.

Zero: No. Who are you? Seriously.

Isaac: Fine. I'm a Soulless.

Zero: A Soulless… They're the ones responsible for the Angeldemon making me its host.

Isaac: Bingo.

Zero: Why are you here?

Isaac: To observe.

Zero: Observe what exactly.

Isaac: You mostly.

Zero: Because of the Angeldemon.

Isaac: Basically.

Zero: If Xin knew you are here—

Isaac: Oh, he knows.

Zero: He does?

Isaac: That is what I said, is it not?

Zero: What do you mean?

Isaac: Does it have to mean anything?

Zero: God damn it… Is everyone from the Hidden Land such cryptic assholes?

Another explosion is heard in the background, Zero turns around quickly and sees that the Dark Soul was knocked through the wall.

Xin stands in an offensive stance in front of the hole he smashed the Dark Soul through. The Dark Soul slowly gets back up.

Xin: Why don't you just stay down? We both know how this will end.

Dark Soul: No one tells Gizz what to do! NO ONE!

Xin: I just did.

Gizz: You fool! You will die! Then I will suck all the life out of you!

Xin: If I'm dead, there won't be any life to suck out, would there?

Gizz: I- I- … GIZZ WILL DETROY YOU!

Gizz angrily sprints towards Xin, Xin quickly side steps the Dark Soul.

Gizz falls off the stage into the chairs with a sounding crash. Not letting the Dark Soul return to its feet, Xin quickly jumps off the stage onto Gizz and starts punching it in the face.

Zero runs down the stadium stairs to get a closer look at the battle. Xin has stopped punching the beast and instead is just staring at it.

Zero: What are you doing?

Xin: Waiting.

Zero: What for?

Xin: I need a clear shot.

Zero: It's just lying there, how much of clear shot do you need?

Xin: Quiet.

Gizz starts to get back up.

Gizz: You insolent FOOLS! I will KILL you ALL!

Zero: Whoa. It can talk?

Gizz: I will feast upon your bones until… until NOTHING is left! NOTHING!

Zero: Annoying isn't it?

Xin: There we go.

Gizz lifts both arms into the air. Xin closes both eyes and starts saying something. An aura starts surrounding him and Gizz notices. Gizz staggers, Xin takes the chance, he dashes towards the Dark Soul and lifts up his right hand. The hand goes right through the Gizz, followed by the rest of Xin. Gizz blinks for a few seconds, coughing and choking, then it blows up. Through the smoke, Xin walks back towards Zero.

Zero: What the hell just happened?

Xin: It's gone.

Zero: Yeah, I can see that.

Zero notices a glowing darkness in Xin's right hand.

Zero: I can also see that.

Xin: This is the Dark Soul.

Isaac: That it is.

Xin's look quickly snaps at Isaac, who is walking down the stairs. The look on his face is showing a great amount of anger.

Isaac: Long time, no see Xin.

Xin: Isaac.

Isaac: You don't need to call me that, you know.

Xin: But I will anyway.

Isaac: (Smiles) Fine, fine.

Xin: I take it you're here for this.

Isaac: That's only part of why I'm here.

Xin: The other part is keeping an eye on the Angeldemon right?

Isaac: That's only part of it also.

Xin: What do you want?

Isaac: Truth is, I came to see how bad it actually is.

Zero: What?

Isaac: The fact that Dark Souls are actually appearing in the Known Land is a sign that Hades is growing stronger.

Xin: Has it got that bad?

Isaac: Oh, that's right, you've been here for awhile. Yeah, it has got that bad.

Xin: (Sighs) I see. Why are you telling me this?

Isaac: Why? Because the Warriors are the ones to stop it, aren't they?

Xin: What about you Soulless? You could probably wipe out all the Demons, including Hades.

Isaac: No, I'm afraid the Soulless are busy with other matters at the moment.

Xin: What kind of matters?

Isaac: Trade secret.

Zero: Hello, could someone tell me what's going on?

Isaac: The Hidden Land is in chaos, a chaos led by Hades, and the chaos is getting so bad it's starting to show here, in the Known Land.

Zero: Oh.

Isaac: And you Warriors are the only ones who can stop it.

Zero: Okay. That makes sense, Xin, why can't you make sense like that?

Xin: (Silent)

Zero: Or ignore me, that's cool too.

Isaac: Anyway, I must take my leave. I better go tell Joni I'm okay and then be on my way.

Isaac starts to walk away.

Xin: Stay here.

Zero: Wha-?

Xin catches up with Isaac.

Isaac: Yes?

Xin: I thought you weren't with the Soulless anymore?

Isaac: It's not that easy. Once a Soulless, always a Soulless.

Xin: I'm being serious.

Isaac: I may not be with the "groupies" anymore, but I am still a Soulless.

Xin: (Silent)

Isaac: Also, I suggest you take the Angeldemon kid with you once you decide to return to the Hidden Land.

Xin: I was planning on it.

Isaac: And since I'm not part of group anymore, I can give a warning.

Xin: Warning?

Isaac: Another Soulless is coming, this one not as… nice as me. He's planning on turning someone in something else to do a dark deed. That is my warning, from me to you.

Xin: I'll keep an eye out.

Isaac: Good luck.

Isaac disappears. Xin returns to Zero.

Zero: Well?

Xin: Well what?

Zero: What was that all about?

Xin: I'm afraid we will find out soon enough.

Zero: Great to hear. So what now?

Xin: We prepare.

Zero: For?

Xin: To return to the Inside World.