Prologue Part 5: Hope and Loss
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Zarak scrunched and contorted his face, as he tried to stave off the immense pain he was in. The two blades had punctured his lungs, and it was a miracle that he could even speak. With every word he said, you could hear the subtle sound of air squeezing out of a narrow slit.

"Y-You Guys, How? W-We had already destroyed the Warrior Academy. W-We made sure there were no survivors."

"You think we wouldn't notice the oddity of our scholarly best friend not attending class?", said the mysterious angel with a spear lodged inside him.

Zatark was numb on the ground, but he still used the remainder of his strength and muttered to the figure who shielded him,

"You are such a fool, Ryza. It is one thing not to attend class, but you should have taken the others and ran the minute you saw Zarak. You should have forgotten about me and tended to yourselves first."

Ryza was wounded, but he was still overflowing with charisma. Even in this darkest hour, he was like radiant light that symbolized hope. He was the pinnacle of handsome and his ginger bangs shimmered in the light of the fires. Ryza then turned his head over to Zatark and smiled.

"Forget about you? I could never."

Brier's figure still overlapped with Ryza's and she could only smile when she heard those words, for they were words she would have said herself. Master Zatark never talked much about his past, but Brier was happy that her master had such a loyal and selfless friend. In Brier's eyes, Ryza was nothing less than a hero.

Opposite of her stood the two other angels who had stabbed Zarak. One of the angels hid his face with a white cat-like mask with whiskers, while the other angel was handsome with fluttery blonde hair. They grabbed both of their weapons and pulled it out of Zarak's lungs with a flick of the wrist.

"ARGHHH"

Zarak screeched in agonizing pain and went from being on his knees to slumping on the floor. He was on the way to death's door, but it seemed he had just enough strength left for his last words.

"FOOLS, you think, you have won? W-We have de-destroyed your a-a-academy, W-We severed your p-pathetic God's L-link to earth, W-We have destroyed your Healicia Fields, W-We destroyed your homes. YOU HAVE NOTHING LEFT, AND YOU CAN NOT STOP THE RISE OF THE OVERSHAD----

Zarak was stopped mid-sentence. The masked angel then stabbed his bloodied sword through Zarrak's throat and turned his deep black eyes into a lifeless white.

"Sorry for that, but you talk too much," said the masked angel.

Between the two angels standing next to Zarak's limpless body, the blonde haired angel looked more unreliable and immature. His hands were still trembling from stabbing Zarrak. Whereas, the masked angel stood there calm, stoic, and unwavering. These two had just fought one of their kind, but their reactions were vastly different from one another.

Zatark quickly noticed the pair behind his dead brother and muttered,

"You guys weren't wearing armor, do you know how idiotic your actions were. You showed up to a fight against a dark angel, in nothing but your academy uniforms..."

The blonde haired angel trembled and tried to find the words to illustrate his thoughts,

"B-But, Y-You, W-Were, G-Going-Die"

Needless say to say, true to his bumbling and unreliable demeanor; the blonde haired angel ended up spewing out a bunch of incomprehensible dialogue.

The masked angel then heaved a long sigh that could even be heard with the mask on. If his eyes could be seen, they would probably be judging the blonde haired angel profoundly right about now.

Ryza and Brier were still overlapping one another and shielding Zatark, but then Ryza dropped to one knee and winced in pain from the spear impaled in his gut.

Ryza then pulled a pastry out of the sack tied to his waist. He smirked and looked at it for only a split second. He then tossed it towards the two angels and yelled,

"Allister, Ienzo, take this Healcia Ambrosia and feed it to Zatark. He's fading fast."

The masked angel, Allister caught it and then ran towards Zatark. He shoved all of it into his mouth. All of Zatark's wounds were disappearing, and he could feel his strength coming back to him.

Brier watched all of this in awe,

"Wow, the mythical Healcia Ambrosia really does heal all wounds and fatigue."

Then as if to break away Brier's attention from the Healcia Ambrosia, Ienzo the blonde haired angel noticed something was amiss.

"Ryza, why are you not eating one? Why are you not pulling that spear out?"

Ryza was in immense pain, but he still managed to crack a smile as he said,

"Oh, about that. You see that was the last Healcia Ambrosia in existence."

Even though Ryza said that without a hint of regret or remorse, everyone present including Brier looked at him with wide eyes and trembling jaws. Zatark even got back on his legs, while hearing the news.

Brier could only watch this scene unfold in silence. Even though she didn't have psychic abilities, she knew exactly what was going to happen next. Like everyone present, the impending death of Ryza was tugging at everyone's hearts.

The first one to break the silence was Ienzo, and with clenched fists and teary eyes he solemnly said,

"You said that this plan would cause the least casualties. You said we would be together after this plan. W-We only followed you, because we thought you would live up to your words."

Ryza wore a wry smile when he heard Ienzo's heart-wrenching confession. Ryza looked at everyone but then shifted his gave towards the transparent Brier as if he could see her. He then said with the widest smile he could give,

"The least casualties does not mean no casualties, and we are together right now. It is just I will be leaving a little bit earlier than everyone else."

Ienzo stood there trembling and shaking his head,

"B-But I wanted all of us to be together. W-We were supposed to graduate together and be knighted."

Ryza was still smiling amidst all this pain, and he calmly said,

"This is my life, so I can choose to do whatever I wish with it. Therefore, at this moment I wish to give it up, so the rest of you can live on and remember me in your hearts."

Ryza then motioned his fingers for Allister to come over,

"Old Friend, before I go. May I see your face one last time?"

Allister then walked towards him and knelt beside him on one knee.

"Sure anything for you, old friend."

Brier looked at her master Zatark, and his sunken eyes broke her heart. Her master could only look at the ground, and he stood there quiet. The Overshadows had taken someone dear from her master, and she could see why her master wanted her to see this memory. She understood that the Overshadows were truly dangerous and even with a human buddy on earth, she would not be guaranteed safety. Brier had just become a death watcher, an honor that was on par with being knighted in the days of old. Yet she felt she was not ready for the fights to come. She knew that if any of the Overshadow were as strong as Zarak, then she would be dead in an instant. Her normal amount of self-confidence broke, and for once she felt true fear.

Brier than watched Allister slowly take off his mask and the world around her started to break. The more Allister's mask came off, the more the world around her became a dazzling white. She closed her eyes due to the sheer brightness, and when she opened them again, she was back...

She was back in the office room with her eyes meeting with her master's. The eyes that she looked at were the same eyes he had in the past. They were still sunken and drained of hope and happiness. These weren't her master's normal stern eyes, and she knew that he remembered these events for her sake. She knew that her master peeled off his old scars, just to teach her a lesson. Holding back her tears, she then stuttered as she formed her words

"I-I'm S-S-S-Sorry, I D-Didn't know T-The O-Overshadows took everything from you..."

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