Chapter 68
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Michael collapsed down onto the sand beneath his feet with Keith firmly attached to his face. He laid on the ground unmoving for several moments, before the air several feet away from him began to shimmer and warp, and out through it stepped someone that looked the same as Michael in nearly every way.

Their only difference was their choice of fashion. The apostle of Order was dressed from head to toe in leathery material and wore a large witch's hat. Magic imbued artifacts covered the man through a series of belts, and behind him stood a homunculus with black hair and pale skin that wore a dark suit.

The apostle studied Michael for a moment before turning his attention towards the giant off in the distance.

“Well, this makes sense. I’d imagine you wouldn’t have worn a mind controlling god if you didn’t desperately need help.”

He picked up a stick from nearby and idly poked the mask on Michael’s face, “It’s no wonder that Order likes you though. He’d have done the exact same thing if he was in your shoes, I’d imagine.”

The apostle tossed aside the stick and sighed, “But I suppose I should live up to your expectations of me as an apostle, though I must admit that you’ve lined up quite a task for me.”

He began to move towards the giant but stopped and turned towards the homunculus, “Be a dear and destroy that mask for me.”

With that he shot towards the giant and the homunculus turned his attention towards Michael’s limp body.

Which jolted suddenly.

And then once more before his eyes eventually opened and locked onto the being in front of him.

Michael quickly stood up, but when he eventually spoke it came out in a deeply British accent, “It looks like the apostle’s already gone, and it doesn’t seem like you have any emotions.”

Michael sighed, “How dull. I’m not dealing with you.”

The homunculus, seemingly ignoring the words began to move towards Michael.

The heart controlling Michael’s body scoffed, “If you need me I’ll be watching the battle between this human and the mask. There’s sure to be some emotion there. Though do enjoy dealing with this body in the meantime.”

With that Michael gripped his fingers around the golden knife at his waist and almost immediately a shift in personality occurred.

Michael’s stance changed to a more balanced one, and the armor covering his body receded back into the ring over the course of a couple seconds.

A grisly smile took hold of him as he held the golden knife in one hand and the warhammer in the other.

That was when the homunculus eventually reached him. It reached towards Michael’s chest, likely trying to grab hold of him so it could more carefully break the mask.

Though when it reached to touch Michael its fingers only met the air as the flesh making up Michael’s chest shifted to avoid the homunculus’s hand, and in the very next instant slashed the golden knife across its neck.

The homunculus backpedaled, but Michael’s body didn’t let it create any distance as he rushed forwards.

Bodies began to stand up throughout the ruins and moved to intercept the homunculus. They weren’t able to damage the thing, but they were a premium distraction.

Michael positioned himself behind the bodies he controlled. And he controlled them well. It was to an extent that normally wouldn’t have been accomplishable. Once something was dead it was rather hard to get it to stand back up and do what he wanted. Every movement they made needed to be given as an order, but the knife could accomplish this much.

The bodies moved throughout the battlefield, puppets held by the strings of the golden knife, and the homunculus finally seemed to begin to take him seriously.

With a single brush of his hand the infected Michael had been hidden behind disappeared as if it had never even been there.

And Michael quickly pulled the trigger for the crossbow several times while it stayed strapped to his back.

The bolts flew up into the sky, and Michael rushed the homunculus.

The creature deflected Michael’s strikes with the palm of his hand, which seemed to be made from an anomalous metal.

Not that it could block everything. One hit after another made its way onto the body of the homunculus, and moments later the crossbow bolts had finally made their way back to the ground.

With that Michael jumped half a foot off the ground, before letting the armor within the back ring cover his body. A feeling of immense weight filled his body and in the next instant he disappeared with a crack and reappeared behind the homunculus with his arms snugly holding onto its neck.

The two men fell to the ground and seconds later four bolts hit the homunculus. One in either knee, one in its heart, and the last in the center of its forehead.

It stilled for little more than a moment before beginning to melt onto Michael who reluctantly threw the homunculus off of him.

Moments later the holes covering the homunculus were filled, and it frantically raised up a hand towards Michael.

Only for a spear to pierce halfway through its head and get stuck.

To the left of the duo, the demon prince of pride himself slid down a veritable mountain of sand as his spear phased out of the homunculus’s head and reappeared in his hand.

Michael didn’t waste the opportunity and moved to remove the homunculus’s head with the golden knife, only for the homunculus to open his palms downward and let a great wave of anomalous liquid push Michael back.

It melted through all the sand it touched but didn’t manage to do a thing to Michael who managed to push through the strange liquid by the time the homunculus seemed to gain its bearing.

Then Pride arrived behind the monster, plunging his spear through both of its legs and leaving the weapon where it was to limit the homunculus’s movement.

And then Pride began to punch the homunculus like his life depended on it, and Michael joined right in with his weapons.

It couldn’t manage to stabilize itself as its black blood coated the ground. But the homunculus managed to thrust its hand towards Michael as the beginnings of fire took form in its palm.

And the golden knife did something Michael had never done, something he’d never even tried to do.

He took a quick step towards the homunculus and disappeared. Not with a crack or through the formations of a portal, but by sinking into the shadow of the homunculus itself.

Michael had killed a death god once, even if he wasn’t aware of what he’d stolen from it. He still possessed one of its gifts.

The fire missed Michael completely, and Pride weathered it with nothing more than a few burns.

“Is this what Order deems fit to defeat me? Be ashamed, for your leader doesn’t know his better.”

Michael left the creature’s shadow and moved to behead it with a swipe of his knife, his body hidden behind Pride’s frame.

Only for the homunculus to grab hold of Michael's wrist and smile as the space surrounding the two shifted and both of them disappeared.

Pride looked where the two had vanished from with a frown on his face, “My… my spear...”

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Michael flashed through dimension after dimension, but he quickly disregarded that information in favor of focusing on the homunculus in front of him.

Michael’s fingers dug into the creature’s skin as it flashed through dimensions and the knife seemingly came to a decision as Michael’s face warped and bent into something more bestial.

Teeth formed and the mask warped to contain the new canines. Then his mouth opened and stretched around the homunculus’s head, before closing with a deafening crunch that made the homunculus’s limbs hang limp before throwing them into one final dimension.

Michael stood up from the corpse, paying no head to his surroundings. The only thing important was that no enemies were close, so with that he sheathed the golden knife and collapsed onto the ground.
 

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