92. Lyra
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In the northern sky lies the Lyra constellation. Its myth finds origin in the Greek musician and poet Orpheus. The power of his music, which he played on his lyre gifted by Apollo, was able to sway nature and fauna, overpower the Sirens’ singing, and move Gods with its melody.

 

Orpheus had once been able to influence even the ruler of the Underworld himself to bring his wife back to the world of the living. The constellation was often depicted as a vulture or an eagle carrying the lyre in its wings or beak.

 

“[Star Monarch - Lyra.]

 

Evelyn watched entranced as five miniature stars revolved around Rakna’s body before fusing and forming the image of an eagle holding a lyre in its beak. The large bird wagged its wings and used them to pluck the strings of the instruments.

 

The tunes of the lyre resounded in the chamber and it almost felt like the notes had manifested on the physical plane. The glow emitted by the lyre even seemed to vary in both shade and intensity based on what it was.

 

The melody that was being played by the eagle was beyond enchanting. Evelyn had a hard time not getting carried in by the tune. It was almost forcing her to empty her mind and forget all of her worries.

 

The effect on her brother had been considerably more violent. The warped Cambion roared as he pulled the dagger out of his hand and held his head in pain whilst trying to swat away an invisible enemy.

 

GO AWAY!!” He screamed and Evelyn opened her mouth, thinking that this might have awakened her brother but before she could voice anything, he redirected his crimson eyes at both her and Rakna with hatred.

 

He extended one hand while holding his head with the other and a thunderous buzz sounded as a spiral of dark energy shot out from his palm.

 

Rakna frowned as the eagle continued to play the lyre above his head. He released his Aura at its fullest capacity and Evelyn shivered at the sudden drop in temperature. He mentally commanded his storage ring and the Dreorin Greatsword appeared in his hand.

 

He gripped it tightly while using Reinforcement and swung it as it grew thorns on its handle that rapidly began sucking his blood. The blade glowed red and he muttered, “Blood Wave.”

 

The crescent-shaped wave of crimson energy dug a linear pit as it slashed through Lyne’s magic like it was nothing and sliced his chest diagonally while also severing half of his arm. He cried in pain and staggered backward. He lifted his other arm in order to prepare another attack but the star eagle played a louder note with the lyre that made him stop on his tracks.

 

At the same time, Rakna kicked the ground and grabbed the dagger he had thrown earlier before running straight toward Lyne. The latter had still enough awareness to sense him and, just like her sister earlier, changed his entire arm into a blade, though his was a scythe. He tried to cut his attacker with it but it was easily blocked by one of the azure twin daggers.

 

Rakna’s eyes flashed and he intoned a certain skill for the first time, “[Shadow Step.]” His body was wrapped in shadows and moved around Lyne in the blink of an eye. Before the Cambion could react to the development, Rakna grasped his neck and slammed in on the floor with all of his strength.

 

Lyra,” he then called as if he was talking to someone and the eagle flew over. It landed on Lyne’s head as he struggled to break free from Rakna’s grasp and started plucking its instrument’s string even faster. The Cambion tensed and snarled inhumanely as a sort of black smoke emerged from his body before being destroyed by the ability of the lyre.

 

Rakna had the tip of Sonata pressed against his neck and he could probably kill him right then if he used another spell but it wasn’t what he wanted. He watched patiently as Lyne struggled under him because of his constellation’s influence.

 

Evelyn looked on from a safe distance with conflicted emotions. After some time, the miasma that had been invading the chamber was almost gone and Lyne had stopped moving.

 

Rakna exhaled and started panting lightly. The eagle and lyre disappeared right after. He had been funneling all of his mana into this spell and now he had already used up everything he had taken from Evelyn.

 

“Sister…” Lyne spoke again and the succubus covered her mouth when she saw her brother’s face that was torn in anguish. His eyes were back to how she remembered them; a scenic green much like her own.

 

She clumsily pushed herself back on her feet and ran to him. Rakna grunted as he stepped back so she could hug her brother. He whirled his two daggers and joined them together so that they could turn back into a scarf.

 

“I’m so… sorry…” Lyne managed to articulate as he relaxed in his sister’s arms.

 

“It’s fine. It’s not your fault. Nothing is.”

 

Rakna looked at the two siblings comforting each other and glanced at the brother’s body. He let out a sigh when he saw that he was half-transparent already. One use of Appraisal had given him all that he needed to know about his situation.

 

❮ ◈ ❯

Lyne Malcanthet is currently suffering Spiritual Depletion. His Demonic Energy is the only thing maintaining his life as a Phantom. After his descent into madness, the energy signature transformed into a corrupted one.

It has now been purified by a cleansing spell but it is impossible to revert the corrupted to the demonic. He will soon die for a second time and fade away for good.

❮ ◈ ❯

 

Apparently, he wasn’t the only one who knew. His progressively waning body had been the first thing Evelyn noticed when she approached. But she refused to acknowledge it.

 

She just hugged her brother as tight as she could as he spoke again, “I wanted to be at your side… dad told me to protect you once he was gone but my thirst for revenge won over me.”

 

Rakna leaned against the wall as he lit a cigarette. He huffed a cloud of smoke and emotionlessly noted that the boy’s legs were already gone, dispersed into wisps of red light.

 

“I’m sorry that you had to sacrifice decades to put up with me,” he continued with a sad smile and her only answer was to strengthen her grip on him. He chuckled weakly and turned his head the best he could to look at Rakna. “Can I ask you a favor?”

 

The three-tailed werewolf recognized his question with a nod as another cloud of glittery smoke was exhaled.

 

“Please take care of my sister. If it is too much to ask, then at least, could you lend her a hand in hard times?” He asked hopefully and Rakna glanced at him with squinted eyes.

 

The younger Cambion was surprisingly a lot more kindhearted and mature than he expected. ‘It’s how it is, in the end, isn’t it?’ He thought. ‘The genuinely good ones always end up receiving the worst hand from life.’

 

“Listen to yourself,” Evelyn said bitterly before Rakna could give an answer to Lyne. “I’m the big sister here. I should be the one caring for your well-being.”

 

Lyne formed a smile that was also conveyed through his eyes. “It’s a bit hard for that now, no?” He said in a joking tone, feeling that his arms were completely gone now.

 

Evelyn chuckled despite herself. This wasn’t funny in the slightest; they both knew. But they were not about to dispute it when these were their last moments together.

 

“Believe and Esteem. Protect and Show. Watch and Listen. Love and Know,” Rakna spoke, catching both their attention. They looked at him as he seemingly recited these words. “A brother’s love is a sister’s greatest treasure. A sister’s happiness is a brother’s deepest desire. Forever know… that you are loved,” he finished the poem he had heard in the past and met their stares.

 

“I’m no good at motivating people. Nor do I have what it takes to understand family or sibling love,” he said with a grunt. “But one thing I’m convinced of is that death cannot kill all of what you represent,” he uttered and gazed at Lyne. “Hey, kid. You’re asking me for a favor; I’ll ask one thing in return.”

 

The Cambion sweat dropped at being called a kid by someone that looked the same age but still responded, “What is it?”

 

“Keep loving your sister,” Rakna answered without changing his expression. For him, this didn’t sound silly or ridiculous. It was his honest stance. “If I am to accept your favor, I want to have the confirmation that it will eternally be your undying wish.”

 

Lyne’s eyes widened a bit and laughed lightly. “I see…” He said and beamed. “I will always love my sister and wish for her happiness, whether it is in life or death. Does this satisfy you?”

 

Rakna closed his eyes and nodded. “Then I give you my word.”

 

“You two are unfair. Shouldn’t I have a say in this?” Evelyn mumbled and her brother chuckled as she held him in her hands. His head was barely all that remained of his body at this point.

 

“I’m not going to last much longer,” he sighed and the succubus drooped her head. “Eve, thank you again for what you did for me. You too as well, for allowing me to speak to her one last time,” he said to Rakna who hummed.

 

“Lyne…” Evelyn whispered sadly but quickly caught herself with a small smile. “I’m also happy that I could talk to you again. Don’t worry, I’ll do my best to live in your memory.”

 

“Heh, you changed after all this time,” he said with a snicker. “You used to be more rebellious and free-spirited. A true succubus that would laugh at all the boys embarrassed by your flirting.”

 

Evelyn’s face flushed red and tried to retort but nothing came out.

 

“It was nice seeing you... Goodbye, sis,” Lyne added and the rest of his body burst into particles of light. “Be happy,” his voice echoed one last time and Evelyn clenched the hands that were holding her brother a second ago.

 

“Thank you… and goodbye…”

 

Rakna ran his hand through his hair as he heard her sobs. How many times was he going to witness something like this? Had the world always been this woeful?

 

‘Perhaps I’m to blame for never trying to know,’ he thought and silently groaned at the fact that he would have to deal with the grieving succubus after this. ‘I really wouldn’t mind taking another nap right about now.’

 

I wish morning drowsiness didn't exist.

God, that would make my life so much easier!

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