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A Chance for Survival: Act 1

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A Chance For Survival

Chapter 1

 

Sahne grimaced as she held off Lazuli's ice attacks. The Water Demon had been furious over a "damn rabbit-Angel bitch" or something, and she'd been forced to defend herself and Kinako while Jake caught up with them. The wagon had been stopped by good timing, and Cyran had fled for the time being. The only good news was that the sneak attack had stunned Dakos long enough for her to free that Kazai boy and get him his axe. He still didn't seem to trust her, but he took down one of their threats.

The problem was that the old Fire Demon hadn't been in his prime, while Lazuli was still in hers – and thus she was technically the greater threat. She'd pinned, then beaten, Kazai for a bit while Sahne got everyone to run with the two Angel boys that Buwaro and Rhea had saved.

She only hoped that those two, and their friend Kieri, had survived too.

On that note, the attacks suddenly stopped coming at Sanhe, and she heard Lazuli shout, "What the – you fucking freaks!" The wet sound of claw on flesh, then fang on flesh, caused a wince from the Earth Demon, and she hesitantly glanced out from behind her Earth wall to see the damage.

She was stunned to see a white wolf chewing on Lazuli, who looked bewildered. She then clawed the wolf again, and it poinged back into Kazai. Sahne blinked repeatedly, before murmuring, "Kinako, go on." The Wind Angel nodded, and Sahne charged into the fray, startling Lazuli, who conjured a slew of ice bolts at her.

Just as Sahne wanted. Kazai was already cleaving into her back, leaving the Water Demon likely paralyzed. {I'm still not sure why you helped me,} he admitted, {but at this point, it seems a bad idea to question it.}

{I can explain later,} the Earth Demon began – before feeling a shiver run down her spine. {Run!} she shouted, grabbing the boy's arm and hauling him along as Lazuli began to go Berserk.

{Good Gaia,} the boy in her hand squeaked.

Lazuli prepared a great bolt of Dark magic in her maw, preparing to slay them both with a single blast, when a scream of rage and hatred filled the air. All eyes turned to a Jakkai rushing forward – Sahne recognized Rhea in a moment – as a blade twice her size formed in her hands, seemingly from a line of black flame, and cleft Lazuli's left hindleg off entirely. The Water Demon screamed in fury and pain, and struck at Rhea, the Jakkai only barely parrying the claw with her gigantic sword. "Go!" she shouted at the stunned Earth Demon and Suizahn. "I got this!"

"Not alone you don't!" they heard, looking up to see Kieri – with a golden, metal right arm – fall upon Lazuli's back, stabbing her blessed blade in between the Water Demon's shoulders. She flailed as golden lightning filled her body from the Angel girl's mechanical arm, and threw her off. Kieri landed roughly, but she was on her feet thanks to her wings. "Rhea, with me," she said, nervous but resolute in her stance.

Lazuli charged at the girls, when a blur of purple rushed past the Berserk Demon's face, planting a small shard of stone in her muzzle. She shook it off, roared, and three more sprouted on the other side as the blur flew past again. Then, to their shock, the blur rushed under Lazuli's throat, and they saw that the speedy thing was Buwaro. His claws had sunk into the Berserker's jaw from below, and as he was batted away, Lazuli screamed in rage.

Her scream began to die out though, and she staggered like she was drunk. For a moment, Rhea wondered what had happened. Then, finally, as Buwaro stumbled towards the girls, he said, "Rhea, I know fingerless gloves are a thing. Any chance you have fingers-only gloves? I don't wanna hurt anyone on accident." With that, Lazuli fell with a thunderous sound, and slowly began to transform back to normal as she died.

Sahne blinked repeatedly. "B...Buwaro?" she asked. "Did you...poison her somehow?"

"I think I'm like just poison right now," he admitted with a nervous nod. "Like I got a cut earlier and it was green."

Silence fell as everyone stared at him. "Assassin's speed and poison for blood," Rhea groaned. "Goddammit. And did you make a buncha shivs outta little sharp rocks?"

"If that's what you'd call them, then yeah," he nodded.

Kieri shook her head slowly, closing her eyes. "A Silent." Buwaro perked up. "They're a group of assassins, usually only women, who are blessed by Guardians with poisonous abilities, such as Moku. I...can only imagine Rhea is an Ironclad, on that note." Rhea stared at the Angel, confused, as she explained, "An Ironclad is one who has become a soldier blessed by Syndel, said to be able to conjure a greatsword that cleaves through any material from sheer heft."

"Y-yeah," Rhea winced, "He said the whole ritual thing was a lie someone else made. Probably my dad. Who, by the way, is the asshat that murdered me, so he could become the new Moku."

Buwaro nodded. "Yeah, Moku and Melli said as much when they bit me in that weird dream I had," he mumbled. "I'm starting to think it wasn't a dream."

Kieri blinked. "Great," she huffed. "And here I thought that this – a literal prototype Arcanix arm that was installed as a prosthesis to replace the one I lost, and which was installed free of charge – was a bit much."

Rhea blinked, glancing at the arm, before recognizing its make. "Dude!" she yelped. "Dude! That is Arcanix make! Just...holy shit dude!"

Sahne blinked repeatedly. "Are you serious right now?" she asked quietly.

"What's an Arcanix arm?" Buwaro asked, gently touching the metal prosthetic.

{Kieri? What is going on?} Kazai asked.

{Just a moment,} Kieri told her brother. {I'm sorry, I need to make sure I understand everything that's going on.}

{A...alright,} he grimaced, glancing at her sword, then her arm. After a moment, he snorted a laugh. All eyes fell on him, and he mumbled, {I just noticed...that's your right arm. Which means you, uh, you match father now.}

Kieri blinked, then snorted a laugh herself. Soon, she was giggling into her hands, and the twin Angels began laughing at the grim humor of it. "What just...?" Rhea asked.

"I think their dad lost the same arm," Sahne muttered strangely.

Rhea facepalmed. "That is kinda funny," Buwaro chuckled, though he did look a little worried. "Um...Kieri?" he asked finally. "Are you okay? Does your shoulder hurt?"

"L-less than I'd imagine," Kieri replied as she chuckled, trying to calm down. "Good Gaia..." She sighed as the laughter finally ended. {So. Kazai. This is Buwaro,} she began nervously. {He and Rhea here have been helping me find you.}

{I...I see,} he said, swallowing as he looked up and down at Buwaro, still distrustful. {Didn't he bring you in?}

{I'm pretty sure he was trying to bluff at the time,} Kieri replied. {Also, my arm was basically dying off at that point, and there were three hostile Demons there, so...he might have saved my life in doing so.}

{That...seems unlikely,} her brother frowned. {Why do you trust him so much?}

{Partially because he was willing to take a lightning bolt for me,} Kieri grimaced, looking away in shame. {We...came across the last Denevol. We thought his clan was dead, if you recall.}

{...then that man,} Kazai mumbled.

{Yes.} She grimaced. {We have to move quickly and save the rest.}

{Can we?} the boy asked quietly. {I know we have to try, but I'm skeptical that we can, even with our...allies.}

{We don't have much choice,} Sahne added quietly. {But you're not wrong. We're probably going to lose, but we have to thin their numbers.}

{A...about that.} All eyes turned up to the purple Wind Demon, with a Wind Angel on his back, much to their surprise. {I can try to infiltrate and help, if you want.}

{Why would you?} Kazai scowled. {I don't understand it! All of you monsters are so desperate for slaughter you'd turn on your own people?!}

{Kazai?} He glanced at Kieri, only to flinch at her furious gaze. {Just. Shut. Up.} She took a moment to breathe. {That very attitude is why they fought us. That, in turn, is why we fought them. They are desperate to survive. They saw us as literally wanting nothing more than their slaughter. And we saw the same in them.}

{Pretty much,} Sahne grimaced.

Kazai blinked. {...but,} he began.

{No buts,} Kieri snapped, before forcing herself to calm again. {I know it's hard to accept just like that,} she said quietly, {but it appears to be the problem. It doesn't excuse their ritual, but it does explain it. On the complete other hand, Buwaro is literally the kindest person I've ever met.}

{That's...not a high bar,} her brother muttered, eyes downcast.

{I'm counting you in that regard, so it actually is,} she smiled wryly. The boy snorted a chuckle, but nodded, seeming to accept her assessment for the time being.

"Okay, Kieri?" Rhea asked.

"Y-yes, Rhea?"

"Either teach Kazai Lingo, or teach me and Bu Moonspeak. Fuckin' seriously." Kieri began to giggle again, Sahne shook her head exasperatedly, and Kazai simply looked more confused. "On the bright side, we might be able to actually do something now."

"Indeed," Kieri agreed. "It's going to be a lot of trouble...but we stand a chance against Iratu's warriors now."

Buwaro closed his eyes. "At this point," he said quietly, his expression a mix of anger and pain, "I feel like...like even if I had a choice, I'd want Iratu to be brought down for this. I don't like it, but it's our best option right now." His eyes opened, harder than they'd ever been. "We take 'em down. Let's go."

"Yes," Kieri nodded grimly.

"We'll sock it to 'em and then some," Rhea agreed.