There was a heavily resounding clang from the colliding steel of our weapons meant to kill.

My bloodstained halberd rocked violently against his barbed lance. The excessive force we put into our respective strikes brought each of our weapons to fly out of our hands at lightning speed and to land off to the side of us.

I panted a little, taking the opportunity to get my breath now that we were both disarmed. I looked over to the opponent in front of me and saw that he was panting as well.

Amidst the roaring flames scorching the battlefield were two warriors, two magi. It wasn't a stretch to say that the two of us were perhaps the strongest magi participating in this war. Such was evident from the carnage we had exposed our environment to from our radical battle.

"How long do you insist on standing in my way?"

The sound of his voice shrouded out the crackling sound of our burning surroundings. His calm yet unsympathetic voice, accompanied by his remorseless yellow eyes pierced through my cool composure like his lance would have done to my body had my instincts not been so keen.

Even without a weapon in his hands, I knew this man was dangerous, lethal even. His candid, ageless face contrasted with his capabilities and intentions. For a man who looked so young, he held criminal, disdainful objectives that he would not hesitate in fulfilling.

So, being the last one to stand up to him, winning was mandatory.

His lifeless eyes widened as his face stretched into a ghastly expression.

"—ANSWER ME!"

"Until I draw my last breath!" I answered at his demand. The fear he momentarily struck in me made it impossible to do differently. Now that my voice was already known, I continued in a nervous but defiant voice. "...Reuben Walker, I will make sure that this war comes to an end and that you never meet Garland!"

Not only was my voice known now, but now my purpose to fight was too.

I took my fallen halberd back into my hand and adjusted into my fight stance. A drop of tense sweat trickled down my face. I could not be scared anymore.

If I don't win there will be no future.

"I see..." he finally said, picking up his lance. "Then you will be my ultimate sacrifice, Tita Zilia. Your death will open the path to the perfect world."

Then there was a burst of power.

Reuben surrounded himself in a red-black aura that emanated a tremendous amount of pressure. It was as if I was being pushed back by his sheer presence.

"I refuse to die here! I will save this world and bring on a new era!"

I quickly followed suit before I was blown away by such power.

My aura immediately ejected itself, gold in color to oppose his mix of red and black. As the skirmishing manifestations of our own life forces supplied the sulfurous flames surrounding us, we charged at each other.

Closing in on me, Reuben ordered to the black Regalia radiating on the side of his neck.

Once again I did the same, allowing for the gold Regalia on my neck to shine just like his Regalia did.

"Paranoia of Black!"

The words come to me naturally.

"—Judgement... of the Golden!"

We meet into a climactic clash. The complete power released from the both of us fills the area in a blinding light.

A blinding light which... I never triumphantly came out of.


Chapter 0: Prologue