Nature's Kingdom

Awakening 1.3

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Nothing Else Matters But The Feeling

“—Eat us alive?” I asked, coughing out my words, stomach twisting in fear.

Kazuya paused, then he smiled. “Do you think I’m going to feast on you, tearing you apart limb from limb? As filling as you may be, I don’t think you’d taste any good. I’m not that barbaric.”

Well. That was good news. I guess.

Kazuya’s tails started to twitch and raise. “I’m only going to absorb the rest of your vapor so I can get away from those annoying pests.”

I turned around fully to get a better look at him. “Vapor? You mentioned that before,” I said.

I wasn’t sure what he was talking about, but if he was taking something from us I doubted that it would be good.

Kazuya sighed. “Really… I don’t like giving lengthy explanations to people who will die the next moment. But, I guess that would make it more amusing.”

Tiffany’s hand tightened around mine. “Ems…”

“Vapor is your spiritual energy, or rather your condensed spiritual matter. The very essence of your being,” Kazuya said. “Your life force.”

Kazuya raised a glowing hand. His fingernails had transformed into long sharp claws. “I’m going to rip that essence out of you both.”

“The hell you will!” Tiffany said, turning around and pulling me away from Kazuya.

My sister and I turned away from Kazuya running away from him as fast as we could. He didn’t move. He said something a little bit louder so we could hear himbut I couldn’t make it out—I was too focused on running, the adrenaline finally kicking in. Must have been the fastest I’ve ever had run in my life.

Kazuya didn’t seem worried about his prey escaping, however.

“Really now? A game of tag?”

In a flash his tails shot forward, grabbing us. Tiffany and I cried out helplessly as the strong furry appendages wrapped around our bodies, hoisting us up in the air. Kazuya chuckled at our pitiful effort of running away, before pulling us toward him with his tails.

Before Kazuya could finish, a golden light had appeared from the horizon—heading straight for him. Kazuya noticed immediately, his tails dropped us as he already started to dodge the golden comet before it impacted the ground where he stood.

I hit the grass with a thud, crying out in pain as I landed on my shoulder. Tiffany laid on the ground stunned for a minute before getting up and coming to my aid. It wasn’t a big fall. Kazuya didn’t lift us high enough to break our necks, but it still hurt. I was a delicate girl, you know.

Tiffany helped me up, holding my shoulder so I could balance myself. We looked at the new crater that had appeared where Kazuya was just standing moments ago. Shekhinah was there now, lance at the ready.

Kazuya didn’t seem worried at all. “You’re becoming such a pest, Shekah. Did you ditch your teammates?”

Shekhinah gritted her teeth, looking angrier than ever. “Don’t call me that name,” she said, her voice emphasizing every syllable. “You have no right!”

“Ah, you wound me. Still, you think you fight me alone? Do you not trust your subordinates as much as you try to make yourself believe?”

Shekhinah huffed. “My faith in them is unshakeable, but I work best alone. You won’t escape this time Kazuya.”

Kazuya only laughed in response.

His laugh was briefly cut off as a blood-red spear jutted toward his head. He dodged it easily with a speed my eyes could barely register. Shekhinah attacked again with another spear jab, Kazuya parried the blow with a glowing tail before it could strike his side.

Shekhinah pushed off the ground, jumping backward and twisting the lance around her body, acrobatically. She was like a freaking ninja! Shekhinah resumed her attack stance.

Kazuya smirked at her, leaning lazily on one leg. Shekhinah frowned, rushing Kazuya again. Kazuya and Shekhinah moved through the clearing in a flash. Strike after strike, blow after blow. Shekhinah kept on attacking with her spear, aiming low to take out Kazuya’s legs, before moving up to his midsection. Kazuya kept on parrying her strikes with his tails infused with golden energy.

Shekhinah kept up the pressure, pushing Kazuya back with heavy strikes in close quarters before jumping backward every few seconds to make a little distance. She was agile enough to avoid being grabbed by his tails. She had enough stamina to keep going and wear Kazuya down.

No doubt Kazuya knew this as well. Shekhinah hadn’t even scratched him yet, but he was slowly being pushed backward by her barrage of strokes. Like a hundred per second. Couldn’t really tell, it was like they were moving at the speed of sound. One moment they were visible and the next they’d disappear.

But even I could tell Kazuya was getting slower. His tails started to miss simple counters and he had to resort to dodging Shekhinah’s attacks. Shekhinah must have realized this too, going into overdrive with faster strikes.
Surprised by the Shekhinah’s sudden increase in power, Kazuya tripped while attempting to avoid being gutted. Shekhinah immediately took advantage of that new given opportunity. The atmosphere around the area started to change. The air became thick, it felt hard to breath. A green aura of energy surrounded the spear and she held it at about the level of Kazuya’s heart.

For the first time, Kazuya eyes showed true fear.

She’s going to kill him.

Kazuya moved, lifting his body upward as soon as Shekhinah pushed the spear down. The blade from Shekhinah’s lance ended up piercing straight through Kazuya’s shoulder as he forced himself upon it. He had stopped Shekhinah from activating whatever she was trying to do with his body.

Kazuya let out a loud cough. “Ah. that really hurts, Shekah.”

Shekhinah narrowed her eyes, fully aware that her spear was still embedded under Kazuya’s collarbone. They disengaged at once, Shekhinah tore the blade away from Kazuya’s body. Blood spewed everywhere.

Shekhinah and Kazuya swiftly put some distance between each other. Shekhinah lifted her lance, ready to go another bout. Kazuya panted as blood poured from his new wound. He held the arm of the wounded shoulder with his other hand.

“You’re going to have to do better than that if you want to kill me, Shekhinah.”

Shekhinah gave him a look almost akin to pity. Three other balls of light landed on park grass from the air above. Shekhinah’s subordinates, Caphriel and Aleph surrounded the wounded Valterian while Tartys checked up on Shekhinah. The two Arcadians talked amongst themselves for a moment, presumably going over how they were going to play the following scenario. Kazuya eyes were focused on Shekhinah but he would probably be ready for an attack by Caphriel and Aleph at a moments notice.

After their short talk, Shekhinah and Tartys joined the other two Arcadians in surrounding Kazuya—effectively blocking any way he could escape. Kazuya turned his head to look at us for a moment before returning his attention to the four opponents around him. Caphriel and Tartys moved weapons in hand performing a pincer attack.

Shekhinah hung back while charging up her spear with that green venomous looking energy. She must’ve been aiming to finish the job after the two other Arcadians attacked. Even if Kazuya were to dodge the blades from Caphriel and Tartys, there was probably no way he’d notice her coming. Aleph stood even further back than Shekhinah, probably for support.

Instead of trying to evade or fight them off individually, Kazuya created a wall with his tails, causing the two Arcadians to stop running in mid-stride. Kazuya smirked and took advantage of the opening. To head straight for us.

“Stop!” Shekhinah ordered.

Caphriel and Tartys stopped pursuing Kazuya at once. They turned back to give Shekhinah questioning looks.

Kazuya cackles with laughter, while still running toward us. “What’s wrong Shekhinah? The life of humans normally wouldn’t stop you from attacking. Or are you worried about me consuming their life force before you’re able to land your final blow?”

Shekhinah didn’t respond, giving us an odd look. Kazuya had stopped running as well, even though he was much closer to us than before.

“Unfortunately,” Kazuya said with narrowed eyes, now facing us, “I’ve realized something about you two brats. I can’t kill you.”

I blinked. Tiffany looked equally shocked. Did he mean he literally couldn’t kill us? Or was there another reason?

“I guess that’s good news,” Tiffany muttered.

Kazuya made a sound of annoyance. “It’s been a long time since I’ve been in a position where I might actually die. So unbecoming.”

Kazuya closed his eyes and then reopened them. I shuddered. His eyes had changed. No longer were his eyes a vibrant gold but now an alluring dark purple and blue. It was as if they were redesigned—the irises of his eyes looking like purple flowers, a kaleidoscope full of petals.

Kazuya faced Shekhinah and her warriors, giving her a vulpine grin.

Shekhinah didn’t seem impressed. “Mystic Eyes of Knowledge? Using that in the state you’re in now will only make your death come more quickly.”

Kazuya, still smiling barred his teeth. “Taking you all to hell with me makes it worth it.”

A golden ball of energy formed in Kazuya’s hand. The ball lengthened itself turning into a long weapon. Slowly the pole of energy molded itself—more accurately, Kazuya molded it without even touching it. I watched in amazement as Kazuya finished creating a perfect replica of Shekhinah’s spear. He pulled it out of thin air like it was created from scratch. A green aura of energy engulfed his spear, it was the same technique Shekhinah used.

“Alright children,” Kazuya said. “It’s time for you to die.”

Shekhinah frowned grimly and took her stance, her blade glowing with the same aura. The rest of her Arcadian teammates did the same. They charged. Kazuya opted to fight off his opponents with his recreated spear, using the same style Shekhinah was using. He would still use his energy covered tails to block blind spot attacks.

But something was off. I could feel it. Whatever energy Kazuya was talking about earlier, he was losing it. Getting weaker.

Kazuya backed off from the four Arcadians and fell to one knee, tired.

I flinched. My head started to hurt.

Images appeared in my mind. Those visions. About the castle… the land of three suns. My mind shifted. I was in a land of angels. A place with golden cities and crystal clear waters… I remember being carried, looking up at faces of two angelic beings as my sister and I were given to a man with long white hair, fox ears, and nine tails.

“They’re going to kill him,” I said suddenly, without thinking.

Tiffany glanced at me. “You say that like it’s a bad thing. He was going to eat us.”

“I don’t think so,” I said while rubbing my head, the broken visions still clouding my mind. “It doesn’t feel right.”

I start to move forward. A hand stopped me.

“Mercy,” Tiffany said. “What the hell are you thinking?”

I remained silent.

Ems!

I shrugged her hand off my arm and ran toward Kazuya, Tiffany followed yelling and cursing at me. Reaching Kazuya he turned his face to look at me like I was an idiot. “Fool! Get out of the way!”

“You know something about us, don’t you?” I asked, focusing completely on his kaleidoscopic eyes, they really were alluring. “I can feel it.”

“Mercy!”

Tiffany screamed my name as Tartys appeared from the air, swinging his twin blades downward to kill Kazuya with his finishing blow. Kazuya’s eyes widened, caught by surprise. He couldn’t move in time. Instinctively I tossed myself in front of him as a shield.

As the blades tore through my chest—feeling searing pain, I cried out wordlessly as my world went white.

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