Jun 11 2012
Welcome to the ATLUS ONLINE blog! This week, we’re announcing the awesome Short Story Contest winner, Vor C! Three cheers for our first huge blog contest winner.
Without further ado… Vor C’s MegaTen-inspired story. Enjoy!
by Vor C
Anouk was the tree of life. Her skin was its’ bark. Her freckles were the color of the grain. Her hair was a flowing opal. Iridescent ashes from when the tree of life had burned. She smiled. Her violet eyes left him.
The cathedral masters stood before them. He bowed his head. The monocles shifted forward. “Congratulations. Your fusion has been successful.”
A man in the dark spoke. “That it?”
“Yes, thanks for helping me, Dimitri.”
He moved forward. Dimitri possessed a waxen complexion. Stooping, he kissed Anouk’s cheek. His very wide-set green eyes roam the room. They paused behind the group. In the dark a Mizuchi swirled. Dimitri’s hand proceeded to the small of her back.
“The invasion starts soon.”
“I know.” Anouk’s gaze moved to Eligor. “I’ll be fine.”
Dimitri’s hand dropped. Sullen, he turned away. Progressing toward the door, there was a screech. The hunter had brush against the demon. It recoiled, deprived of some natural affection between partners. The creature twisted, knotting its self. The air cracked. In an instant Mizuchi was gone. The hunter scowled.
“Bloody hell.” He raised his arm and accessed the COMP.
A circle of light formed beside him. In the dark it flourished. It spread, crawling upwards into a spiral. The form hardened and broke. Glittering shards cast off. In place of the light was Alice. Who curtsied and took Dimitri’s hand. She led him away.
The master frowned. His glasses were removed. Timorous, he pulled at his left eyelid. Eligor was waved forward. His horse moved quickly. No energy was wasted as it leapt to the floor. He raised his spear to Anouk. A salute to new bonds formed.
Outside the Cathedral was a lot. A group of citizens sat in clusters. In the center was a Gaian priest, who had lost his purpose. Another priest presided over him. Eligor ushered Anouk away. They walked through a back alley.
“Where are we going?”
“To Babel.” Anouk stopped. A hand rose to shield her eyes from the sun. “I don’t have a map, yet.”
Atop his horse Eligor could see much further. Iron gates stood to the south. They made way across the city. Near the gates, she glanced to the eastern corner. A tall terminal stood behind a Gaian woman. Active, the upper plates spun. Every sixth revolution emitted a spark. She felt his eyes upon her.
“Not enough Macca.” Anouk’s cheeks reddened. She hurried to the gate.
The woman pried the gate slightly. She wedged her self between the doors. Eligor pulled his horse along side it. Still holding the reins, he easily pulled it open.
Outside Souhonzan, Anouk pulled the gate shut with ease. Eligor study the hinges. A bolt mechanism made the door automatically pull close.
Walking along side one another, the two passed the bridge. They neared the obelisk. Neither spoke. Eligor continuously halted. Humans were small, slow. Pensive he dismounted. He waited to walk along side her. After some distance:
“I am indebted to you, though I know not why.”
“I’m sorry,” she said.
“What did you do to me?” Anouk became quiet. Fidgeting as he watched her. A nidhoggr sound in the approaching night. Eligor returned to the horse. Grabbing the hunter’s arm, he hoisted her upwards.
She held onto him. Eligor lapsed into a vague unease. He felt no warmth. No weight press against him. And the horse continued. It recognized no foreign burden. Beneath the cliffs Anouk spoke.
He was an accumulation of numbers. Ciphers that emulated monsters and false gods. He would end. To be reincarnated as another, by another, for another. There was no choice but to continue. No chance for eternal rest. The bond he felt was artificial, remnants of former demons. Eligor’s heart sank.
The horse neigh and tumbled. Eligor and Anouk were thrown. The horse’s mane was scorched. It snorted, flung it head. Brightly burning embers fell from its body. Eligor raised glazed eyes to the offender.
They came in waves. At first it was the anything that could rise above the gates. They were followed by brutes some miles away. The demons were en route. She was simply in the wrong place. And they wanted nothing to do with him.
She fired. The bullets hit with precision. A Succubus fell from the sky. An agidyne hit her from the side. Anouk was knocked back. Before she could reposition the rifle was snatched away.
Eligor looked about for his horse. It had gone. A thin beam of light stretched into the sky. Eligor walked away.
Anouk screamed, “Don’t go—”
He would not obey her call, her order.
In the distance silhouettes flew against the torrid sky. The bridge had been raised. They could not go back. But they were there. The demons and their hunters would prevail. They had to.
The horse lay still. Eligor approached and knelt. It was dead. He stood. The spear’s end dug into the ground. A small mound of dirt formed. Eligor press harder. As if the mound would part the earth. Create some chasm large enough to devour him.
A bright light enveloped the horse. Like Alice, it over took and broke away. The damage done faded from the horse’s body. Having forgotten its little death, it rose. Eligor reclaimed the dangling reins. He mounted, turned the horse to leave. They paused. Anouk had come upon them.
In one hand was a red ring. The luster had died away. Cracks began to form. A soft ebbing glow pulsed forward. The wind blew. The ring crumbled. Her small hand, now empty, shook. Anouk bled. The left eye’s milk white was red. The iris had gone. And the violet had turned blue. A bleaching of the tree’s bloom.
Eligor examined her. The hand guns were gone. The supplies were lost or stolen. Small sparks flew from the decaying COMP. He could make the faint outline of bullets in her pockets. These would not sustain.
He laughed, raising his spear toward her. Anouk smiled. Stepping forward, a bundle of red thread was pressed into vermillion clad hands. It was held aloft. A crystal peaked from beneath the weave. She moved back. Self-conscious, Anouk rubbed at the side of her face. The blood smeared in her hair.
“If-If you need to go.” She paused. She removed the rifle from her side. Eligor guess it chafe against an unseen wound. “Crush it. It will take you back.”
Eligor reached out. She flinched and he retracted. They were not yet friends. He could not console her as one would.
She turned away. The rifle clutched against her chest, trembling, sobbing. Anouk resumed the march toward their goal. – Now a ghost on the horizon.
He was data. Information recycled by the sun. Still, he’d follow her. It was a game; of reconstruction, recollection and of revelations. She was behind a thousand lives. But he would wait. Together they would be reborn.