Edge of Infinity - ∞ at 0

We were born on this world for a purpose...

Tales of a Runice (by malice600)

 
 
"Life begins. Life ends. That is a rule that governs the universe."
 

==========================================
Prologue
"Good and Evil never existed. Because what might be Good to you is Evil to another." -LLS
==========================================

It was hot. Everywhere around me was. The ceiling, the walls and the floor. Everything was burning. It feels like I'm in hell. There was nothing I can do. It's too late for me. I won't survive this at all... Everyone is gone now. I am alone.

And I'll die alone...

That was, until a realized, it wasn't hot anymore. I'm outside the burning house I called 'home'. A man rescued me. Mid-length black hair. With a hairpin at the left side. His eyes were black. He wore an armor with a snake eating it's own tail engraved at the torso. He was carrying me to another man. This one looked older. He had silver hair. He wore what seems like clothes of a noble. He carried not one but two swords. One white jeweled sword and another jet-black sword engraved with symbols. What struck me the most was his eyes. They were purple but... It was as if it glows of pure emotion. Hatred, maybe.

"My Lord, I had secured her." The man carrying me said.

The other man turned to look at me. I felt a chill run down my spine. This man is no 'man'. He's a monster. He averted his gaze on me and spoke to the man who rescued me "So... She is Aryia? Interesting..." He walked away from the man.

"What should we do with her, my Lord?" The man carrying me asked.

"Take her with us. She will prove... useful." With that, I've left my hometown or rather, what remains of it. I am the last survivor of the Runice clan. The daughter of Cleressa. But that was 2 months ago. Now I am...

...

I opened the door in front of me, which carries the symbol of a snake eating it's own tail.

"You're tardy, Malice." The man-monster said. Again, his eyes are flowing with pure emotions.

"Forgive me, Lord Viper Delacroix." I said. Here I am, in my new life. A servant of Delacroix. A living weapon.

I am Aryia Malice. And this is my destiny.

==========================================
-Chapter 1
"The Dead does not speak lies."
==========================================

The room was cold. Not freezing cold but just... cold. As in dead cold. As if the Gods themselves has forsaken this room.

This was the Den of Snakes. The meeting room of all of Viper's most powerful warriors. The God Hand. I am the leader of all of them despite my young age.

"Kshhhh." A masked man, wearing a sack over his head, covering his eyes. His mouth was bandaged and he wore a tight leather suit. This man is Slitch. A person who witnessed brutal torture for such a long time he became blind due to it. He possesses powerful psychic abilities and uses a pair of daggers.

"Oh please just shut up Slitch." A man wearing a kimono. He wore a headband over his head, which also covers his left eye. He carries a set of kunais alongside a curved sword. This is Kuji Saiyumi. A samurai under the tutelage of the Delacroix. I always treated him as an honorable companion.

"Sometimes I wonder if he is still sane?" This one is an odd case. 'It' is basically a cyborg. I can't tell wether it is a he or she. A scarlet-red armor, a mechanical left arm, a pair of golem-like legs and a mask that resembles a Hannya. This thing is Tormentus Machina. A 'work of art' of one of the most insane people staying in Lord Viper's castle.

"I think he's pretty much snapped." The one who rescued me. Hauzer Nevermore. He uses a black sword with a cerulean jewel engraved at the pommel. He is the only person I trust among the people in this room.

"..." And finally, me. I wore a dress which is slightly bare in the front and designed solely of gothic lolita fashion. I
had my hair tied up into a ponytail. My weapon of choice is a jet-black scythe crafted by the finest blacksmith of the Delacroix.

"Say something you little runt!" Tormentus said. I gave it a glare.

"Silence, Machina. I'm not in the mood to talk." I snapped back.

"Just because you're our leader does not mean we'll let you boss us around." Kuji said.

"Kshu." Slitch... said.

"Enough bullocks, let's get down to business. Malice, what will be the next operation about?" Kuji said, this time in a serious tone.

"We are to attack a nearby Kobold settlement. Lord Viper wishes to set a base camp there for unknown purposes." I stated as I read about the mission given to us. We are often given the tasks with the lowest survival rates. Our next battle is no different. Kobolds, while weak in small groups, becomes a major threat if the group is large. We are, essentially, the Elites of the Delacroix. "Our targets number to 40,000. They outnumber us."

"Too easy." Hauzer said. "I'll be leaving this to you, and Tormentus." Tormentus then looked at me.

"Her? You want me to work alongside... her?!" To be honest, me and Tormentus don't get along that much. It seems to have a dislike for me and Hauzer... Just like its own creator.

"Yes. Maybe you might settle that grudge you're carrying too." Hauzer replied. That was abit of a bad joke. But considering the low survival rate of our missions, it was kinda funny.

"I'm fine with it as long as Tormentus doesn't screw it up." I said.

"Y-you! You little shit! Are you underestimating me?!" Tormentus exclaimed.

"Yes I am. Because if you prove you're better than me, maybe Lord Viper will aknowledge you." I boldly replied.

"Grr!" Had Kuji not stopped Tormentus I would have my head rolling on the floor.

"Tormentus! She's still our leader. So stop that." Kuji explained. This is a usual day in here. I always have a chance to die if I make the wrong move.

"Kukuku Kshuji Kustu" Slitch said. I heard gibberish. But he looks like he's enjoying our antics... even though he's blind.

There was a brief moment of silence before the door opened.

"Ah, it seems you are all here then." A man with green hair, wearing a lab coat over a leather suit. His eyes were demented. Insane, even. This man is Vechter Ki. The creator of Tormentus. A man who broke the limits and taboo of Bio-engineering. A man who derives pleasure from toying with man and machine. I despise him.

"Greetings, master." suddenly reverting to a machine-like persona, Tormentus gave a bow before him.

"So you are off to another mission this time, Malice? Are you so sure of your... magical prowess?" This was typical. He underestimates the potential that I have. My... Rune magic.

"...Why bother asking me about such a trivial question?" I replied.

"For such a fair body... And pure. One day, please die. I want to have that for my research." This just proves just how insane he was.

"You sicken me." Kuji said. Before leaving the room.

"Hahaha! You can mock me all you want, but one day I will create the ultimate lifeform. wait for it, skeptic fools!" This is essentially his ambition in a nutshell. This man... is inhuman in disgusting in my eyes. Not many people within this place like him. Lord Viper himself shows a minor dislike for him, if not for his intellectual advice.

...

Outside Nexus Serpentia, my new 'home', we came upon the area we were suppose to attack. Altitude, 1,000 feet. We weren't far so...

"Hey, little shit. Can you jump off AND live?" Tormentus said.

I began to laugh. Not because it was amusing, but because it was underestimating me. "You and your master... curse you both. Mocking me was a bad idea." All over my body, runes began to glow. My latent magic has been triggered. With that, my eyes glow bright red. "Let us meet in hell, Machina." I jump off, straight to my 'death'.

"Such an arrogant bitch... If you were an enemy I would've butchered you." was what Tormentus said before jumping off to catch up with me.

Before landing, my eyes set off a powerful glow that transcends time and space. Piercing through the wind, the clouds, anything that seems to 'intrude' upon my landing. Before I realized it, I was close to the ground and unharmed by the time I land. Tormentus, on the other hand, activated it's anti-gravity field that allowed it to land in the same manner as me.

"Machines... are interesting. But nothing before me." I said. Taking out my scythe, I prepare to blindfold myself.

"Remind me again, little shit. Why blindfold?" Tormentus asked me, wondering about this odd behavior.

"If I see my enemies, I will regret killing them. But if I don't see them, I won't feel remorse." But that doesn't mean I'm completely blind. I can see their 'life'. In a way, it's like their 'life' is a glowing beacon in the middle of an abyss.

"You're a freak, little shit." Tormentus then began to advance.

"...Nun, starben." Afterwards, I ran and began genocide.

That day... 40,000 Kobolds was massacred. My dress was stained. But I didn't know that because my eyes were covered.

"Is that all?" I removed my blindfold. I see utter disaster.

Right before my eyes, thousands of corpses. All single-handedly killed by me. A nearby river has turned blood-red from the blood of countless. I felt no emotion at this sight. No fear, no regret, no happiness. All I know is that I did this for what it is. That's not what my companion is feeling right now though.

"AHAHAHAHA!!! WORTHLESS! ALL WEAK! THIS IS NOT ENOUGH!! I STILL HUNGER FOR MORE!! COME WORTHLESS FOOLS!!!" Tormentus was feeling an emotion of excitement, happiness, madness... insanity. This is what it was made for. Murder. Killing. Death. Massacre. Genocide.

In a way. It expresses every single emotion a psychopath would be feeling right now. Ironically, it's a machine. And I'm human, but it feels more emotions...

...

We return to Nexus Serpentia. Bringing news about our victory to Lord Viper Delacroix.

"I see... so you had secured the area." Lord Viper said, as he stood from the throne.

"Indeed. It was a simple task." I replied.

"Then. I will send Kuji and Slitch to handle the next area. Do what you want to do, Malice." With that, I left the room and return to my sleeping quarters.

It was a dull room clothed in black velvet. My bed was an upper-class bed. There was a window just above it. Surrounded by two small desks. The left had a deck of books in it. I read them whenever I need to do something interesting. The right has a candle. I place it there for use during a New Moon. On the right side of the room, there's a wardrobe where I place my clothes. On the left side, my personal bathroom. This is the room I live in ever since the day I lost my old home.

Nonetheless, I was still soaked with the blood of the dead, and I began to smell bad due to that. I took out a set of clothes and entered my bathroom. The rest I will not tell.

Afterwards, I lie on my bed. I was tired that night. Despite how I act, I'm still 13 years old.

==========================================
-Chapter 2
"Live and let die or suffer death. The choice is yours."
==========================================

A burning building. I was inside. There was no one who was with me. I was alone. I had no one with me.

I will die alone.

The smoke was thick enough that I feel dizzy. I began to feel faint. Everything... is becoming blank before me.

Is this how it feels to die...?

I felt the pain of burning. The floor I stand in ignites.

Then dying is... dying is...

Suddenly, nothing but pain. The pain of being burned alive. It was... for a lack of better word, painful.

Dying is... pure despair.

...

I was jolted from my bed. Beads of sweat forms all over me...

"That nightmare again..." I uttered. My past is haunting me. It perpetually reminds me of how it was to be close to death. It made me angry at my subconcsious, for constantly reminding me of the terror I felt. Tears flows through my eyes. Even after a long time, such event in my life will continue to persist. "Embracing death is... frightening. No person in their right mind can accept death easily. This is what it means to live..."

...

3 months have passed ever since the Kobold Massacre. We were close to the Capital City of Aielensa, the Eastern Capital, Metropolisi. Due to that, we had a general assembly.

"So it would seem we're close to enemy territory, my lord." Hauzer said. He was pointing in the map spread in the table. A map of Aielensa.

"Hmph. So it would seem. Perhaps it's time I get up close and personal." Lord Viper said. Motioning his servant to give him a message, he began to read it. "'To those who wish to oppose me, do know that you have signed your funeral. You have no chance against our overwhelming force.' Arrogant fool..." He was perhaps, reading a warning sent by the spokesperson of the President of the Eastern Capital.

"What a boastful scum. Let us see if what he says is true." Kuji commented. Despite his calm and collective looks, he's a sadistic man who shows no mercy.

"Hah. You should all be motivated in this next battle. It will be a glorious battle for you all to make names for yourselves. Of course. I would be joining you all." Lord Viper said. Despite his inhuman eyes, he was a charistmatic man with a strong sense of honor and glory. I... respect him for that, regardless if he's human or not.

"When will the killing start?" Tormentus said, obviously itching for a fight.

"Sssksis! Sssksis!" Slitch... seems prepared too.

"Be wary though... There seems to be a powerful opponent in their ranks. The Three Dragon Generals of Metropolisi. These three are what you must avoid as much as possible." He showed us portraits of three men. One had spiky golden hair, golden eyes, with a scar on the left eye. Another has teal hair, wearing glasses. The last one had a bony face, bald and wears an  eyepatch. "These men are much much more powerful than anyone in their troops. I don't highly recommend confronting them until the artillery is prepared.

"Very well, then. Lord Viper." I finally said. The meeting was ajurned shortly afterwards.

...

In the Den of Snakes, all five of us discuss the battle plan.

"It would be reckless to charge head on." Kuji explained "I prefer a sneak attack. It works decently in my homeland."

"You're a moron then, you fool. The Eastern Capital is enormous, and is circular. There is no position for 'sneak attacks'. Got it?" Tormentus said, clearly annoyed.

"Hm. It's best if we seperate our troops into 4 groups. As seen from this map, the Eastern Capital has four main gates. The Northern gate. The Southern gate. The Western gate. The Eastern gate. If we seperate our troops equally, we can easily surround them." I may be young, but with the tutoring of Lord Viper, I'm quite bright in strategies.

"Malice has a point. But we have a problem... There's five of us. So whose gonna be in pairs?" Hauzer said. Leaving us with a minor dilemma.

"I prefer to work solo. Thank you very much." Kuji remarked.

"You expect me to work with little shit or dumbass bdsm? No way." Tormentus said, before standing beside Kuji.

"Sshaak." Slitch 'muttered'.

"...I suppose then they want us to be in pair, Hauzer?" I said. I'm kind of attached to Hauzer. He was the one who saved me from my death a long time ago.

"I have no problem with that. Are we all set here then?" He declared afterwards.

...

The barren wasteland. This is the battlefield from which we would confront our enemies. The proud Eastern Capital...

"The hour of glory has begun, Malice." Hauzer said,

"More like the day of glory. This is where I will live my life to the fullest." I declared. I will hold nothing back. This
time, I will show that I have the potential. I will prove unto Vechter I am someone who shall not be trifled with.

"Do you remember the day I saved you from the burning building?" Hauzer asked. It was... unusual. Even for him. He's the type of person who never brings up the past. So this would mean...

"...Yes. Despite my emotionless demeanor. I cry inside myself whenever I remember that moment." I replied with no doubt in my mind. Hauzer was the only one I trust among everyone in Nexus Serpentia. And likewise, he trusts me.

"The past is merely an illusion now. Seize the moment. That is what Grand Lord Serpent Delacroix taught me when he raised me 8 years ago." He then went forward. "The past and the future are your road ahead. Choose your fate, Aryia." ...After such a long time, I heard my name once again. Aryia Cleressa... 'Malice'.

"Thank you... Hauzer. No matter how I look it, I never see any evil within you." I look up to him as a brother... not as an ally. He is... the only one who truly knows how I feel. "We are only doing our duty. Our purpose is to defeat any who will oppose Lord Viper."

"Exactly. That is why we must confront them head on. Let us go. The time for glory has come!" He finally declared before running off towards battle. The Delacroix army, numbering to 5,000, follows behind him. So do I.

Each gate is guarded by 20,000 soldiers. They have 1,000 Commanders each. And three of each gate has one of the Generals. If my intuition is correct, then surely, the gate we're confronting is the one without a General.

I was wrong.

Right after dismantling half of their army, they appeared. All three of them.

"So... it would seem this is the main area from which they began the attack. Do you think it was a good idea to leave the Western and Eastern gates to those mercenaries?" The first one said, the one with golden hair.

"Oh please. They're newcomers. What kind of show would they prove? I highly doubt they can oppose the Elites of the Delacroix with no sweat." The man with glasses said.

"You three, the Dragon Generals, I presume?" I said. Giving them a glare unfitting for someone my age.

"A kid in a battlefield? How low would the Delacroix go? For them to train someone so young..." The first one remarked. To be honest, this was what triggered me to attack them.

"Do not underestimate me. My strength differs completely from my age." Then I ran towards them.

This was the biggest mistake in my life.

The first one was fast. Before even I ran towards him, he already had his swords by my neck.

"This is the battlefield, girl. I don't want to feel regret killing someone your age. Please turn back." He said. His voice was solemn, yet it had a tone fitting for an angry man.

"...Why regret? Everyone in war are all cold-blooded psychopaths. Despite what you say, you DO enjoy war." I snapped back at him.

"Very well... If that is your decision." He said before striking me.

Metal clashed with metal.

However, it was not my weapon.

It was in a blink of an eye, a woman... She wore a black dress. Like the man before him, she had golden hair fitting for a princess... Who is this?

"Fufu... hahaha... That would be enough, General Van Kuchi." The woman said. She then looks at me. Her eyes... were clearly different from anyone else. She had both blue and red eyes. Right and left respectively.

"You... I never heard of you before. Are you from the Delacroix?" He asked. It was strange, despite the woman's calm grip on her sword, which had an unnatural aura in it, the man was having a hard time.

"No. I'm merely a passerby. However, letting you harm this young girl is a crime that I will regret. So... Let her go. I will take care of her." She said, before releasing the blade lock they were in.

"Very well then. If possible, state your name." He said.

"I am... the one they call Melira." Melira said, introducing herself upon both of us.

He was clearly surprised before saying "Melira... Everyone, turn back. This battle is done!" The man said, ordering his troops to leave the battlefield. "Then I have no worries. The rest is yours, Lady Melira." He finally muttered before leaving the vicinity.

Hauzer then ran towards both of us. "what happened? Why did the United Army retreated? Is it because of what you did, woman?" he asked.

"Fufu... hahaha... I would ask a favor for asking them to retreat. Is that possible, General Nevermore?" Melira addressed Hauzer.

"Very well, then." He said.

"I merely want to talk to... this girl. She intrigues me." She said, once again looking at me.

"Yes. You can talk to her. Malice, I will return to base camp." Then he comes closer and whispered "Whatever you do, do not leak any information. For all we know she could be a spy for the United Army." before leaving both of us.

...

An eerie silence befall both of us.

"So... Tell me, girl. What magic do you control?" She asked.

"I have... I have the Rune Magic." I answered, mentioning my heritage.

"The Rune Magic... Is that so? So it really does exist..." She ponders abit before saying "Can you show me the runes upon yourself? Perhaps I would truly know... what it is."

Her request made me blush. Is she... "Are you saying... you want to see the runes within my body...?" I asked, hesitantly.

"Why are you so bothered about it? We are alone in here. No one will see you bare upon me." She said.

"..." For half a minute, I battled with my mind whether to heed this woman's request or not.

"I am an impatient one. If you take took long I will see them for myself, by force." Her tone was the same, but at the same time, it carried a tone of anger. It was a strange way of putting it but that was what I heard.

"Then... I guess you leave me with no choice." I then stripped off my clothes to show upon her, the birthmarks of a Runice.

"My, so this is a rune." She watched me closely, studying every mark. I was fortunate enough she didn't bother touching me. "Hmm... can you show me a sample of one of your abilities?" She asked, once again.

"I'll try my best." My eyes glow bright red once again. My surroundings vibrate, bending time and space all over me. With that, I glare upon a nearby boulder, shattering it to pieces.

"Ah... I understand now." Melira said. "You may wear your clothes again. Now I know the concept and true potential of Rune Magic..."

After wearing my clothes once again I asked "What are you implying?" curious about her conclusion.

"How old are you right now?" She asked a question to my quesiton.

"I'm only 13. Despite how I think, I'm still young." I answered honestly.

After a moment of silence Melira finally says "...You don't have much long, girl."

The way she said it sent a chill down my spine. "W-what are you saying?"

"Rune Magic is clearly powerful, yes. But with great power comes great consequences. Let me ask a final question before I give you the answer to your question, do you abuse the Rune Magic?"

"No. To be honest, I only use it as a desperate measure." I answered.

"...Good. Then you have a longer life than I thought. Here is the secret of Rune Magic: It's power comes from your very life. With each use, you are slowly killing yourself. It's like a cancerous cell that spreads itself upon you. One day... You will die from using it. And that "One Day" can be as close as next year... or for the next 10 years. Be wary, child." She remarked.

I was at total loss. Does that mean Death is truly closer than I thought?

"Is there a way to avoid that fate, Melira?" I asked. Fear grips my heart at this moment. Knowing the day that you will die is... frightening.

"Your fate was sealed the moment you were born. I'm afraid it is the destiny of a Runice." She answered, with pity in her eyes.

"After all this time... I thought I..." tears flow through my eyes. I am mature, yes. But being faced with your death can still make one shed tears. "I... I..." I hesitated. I know it's impossible now. "I thought that I can live to see the future that I will shape! But... with this revelation... I... I...!"

"You no longer have a reason for living, child. But I ensure you, your destiny will not be forgotten. I exist before you. I am a testament to what you are. I testament that you had lived. And you had died. In your final hours, I will surely come. May we meet again." In that moment, she vanished.

"I... don't want to die." I slumped on my knees. Death was something I wanted to avoid during my age. But now... it's no longer possible. I was fated to die.

Accepting my Final Destiny is a more rational choice.

==========================================
-Chapter 3
"Confront the enemy with your bared fangs."
==========================================

Several months had passed since our attack on the Eastern Capital. I managed to calm down ever since I learned of my death.

"But, my prince! It is reckless to attack them head-on! By yourself, even." Vechter said.

"Reckless? How foolish. I already planned ahead on the situation. The Blue-eyed Azure Knight shall fall." Lord Viper mentions the blue hero that defeated two allies of ours. Inferno Solarius and Sigma Dynasti.

"Regardless, you should have an escort. Taking him on alone is a risk that can easily destroy everything we worked hard all this time." Hauzer said.

"Hahaha... Do you lack faith in me? Your worries are not needed. Everything will proceed exactly as I plan. Whether I lost or won the battle. I will NEVER die yet." With that, Lord Viper stood up. "Await me, Max Reco. Your rebellion ends here!"

...

Outside, me and Hauzer discuss about Lord Viper's recent decision.

"Perhaps there's a reason for his actions." I said.

"I blame the reason on the Reco family. You do know about them right?" He asked.

"Yes... The legendary hero of the First Global War was a Reco right? The defeated the Demon Lord Delacroix?" I remarked.

"That is correct. Perhaps Lord Viper is looking for revenge upon the shame that the Delacroix has accumulated." Hauzer said.

That would mean that... "He's planning to do this by himself by a personal vendetta." I replied.

"Exactly. He's taking on Max Reco alone for the sole reason of vengeance. I think that's enough reason for us not to intrude upon the situation then." He finally declared.

Afterwards, we were called by Vechter.

...

Within his laboratory, we saw grotesque things... Inhumane machines merged with flesh and bones. It was... evil. Pure and complete, evil.

"Ah, so you had come, Malice and Hauzer." He said, fixating his eyes on us.

"What business do you have with us, madman?" Hauzer asked, clearly oblivious to anything that does not resemble earthly creatures. I, on the other hand, feel like throwing up at the sight of this monsters.

"Merely a minor task. You are both currently the ones I trust to be able to do it." Vechter said, with an uncanny knack for looking at me from feet to neck.

"Don't you have that Machina to do your job?" I remarked. The longer I stay here, the more I feel sick at everything here.

"It is useless for tasks that does not involve massacre. You both are clearly more human compared to it." He said to both of us.

"...Very well then, Vechter. We'll try. Now tell us what that damn request is." Hauzer asked.

"I want you... to search for half-elven magus, Razor Falcon. His DNA... interests me." Vechter answered, insanity in his voice.

"You're one sick bastard. But for the hell of it, let's go, Malice." Hauzer exclaimed, before having both of us leave.

We hid as spies within the Eastern Capital via a trade company. With it, we manage to infiltrate the capital. If possible, we would have stealed information about the current plans of the United Army. In fact, it was what Hauzer suggested.

While walking down the street, he nudged me and whispered "Malice. I'd leave the rest to you finding Falcon. I'm planning to steal some information about the enemy's current plans." I nodded my head and we split up from there on out.

I wandered around Metropolisi like a child lost in a maze. Everything was... foreign. I see many my age who wore colorful clothes. Many my age who was with their parents. Many my age who lived normal. There was a burning sensation within me. I knew what it was.

I'm jealous.

I envy their blissful lives, their happiness, their parental guidance, their beautiful lives. I envy them all. Why... why didn't have the chance to enjoy such things...?

I'm only a living weapon of a Delacroix.

To be jealous of them is to hinder my mission. My task is to find Razor Falcon. Not share a tender, depressing moment with myself.

Eventually, it started getting dark. Less and less people of my age were outside. In fact, some older people began to point out my out of place appearance upon the setting dusk.

One man approached me. He doesn't seem threatening. "Hey, kid. Are you lost?" he says as he gave me a pat in the head. That action... gave me a mysterious warmth. He wore a bandanna over his head, a blue trench coat, purple pants engraved with the a few crests. He had a spear of sorts in his back.

"No. I'm less lost and more like wandering." I said, it is a fact. I have no reason to be lost in this place.

"Haha, you should quit acting tough, kid. I know you're lost." he gave me another pat in the head... I felt my face go red from shame and embarassment.

"I-I'm not lost! ...Idiot." I shouted, blushing from his constant touching of my head.

"You're one strange kid. I admit, maybe you're one of those orphan who ran away? There's been cases of that before." He explained.

"..." I've got nothing to say to this man. So I went my way.

Then he grabbed me by my arm.

"Hey, kid. It's dangerous. Let's go back to the orphanage." He said. Despite his looks, he was alot stronger than I thought.

"Let me go." This time I was no longer fooling around. "Or face the consequences."

"What do you plan to do? Kill me? Do you think you can do that, Aryia Cleressa?" he said. Briefly leaving me in a daze.

He knows me.

"Who are you?! How do you know my true identity?" I asked.

"I recognize you just by the mark within your arm. This is the rune of a Runice. The Cleressa family." he mentions. "You're left handed. That's why you're not quite as strong now that I'm holding it, right?"

"...How do you know so much about me?" despite his goofy appearance, he was still more intelligent than I thought.

"I can tell much about someone just by looking at how they move. When you were climbing a set of stairs two hours ago, you were on the left side, since you use your left hand to hold the handle bars." he explained. His analytical prowess is... amazing. "Now tell me, 3 months ago, in the gates of the Eastern Capital, you and four other elites attacked. From what I heard you confronted General Van Kuchi by yourself?"

"What's in it for you?" I spouted.

"You're the last survivor of the Runice Clan, the ultimate warrior of the Delacroix, a living weapon. Is this what you truly live for?" he exclaimed. For no particular reason, he seems to be angry at me, he tightened his grip on my arm.

"...Who are you?" I finally asked.

"Razor Falcon. Aryia, there's still hope for you to live a life not as a weapon, but as a human. Will you join me?" he requested

"It's too late for that. I swore my loyalty to Lord Viper Delacroix. I don't... have a choice." my eyes glow scarlet red. On cue, all of the runes upon my body ignite in a crimson hue. "You don't know... what I'm capable off." A large red explosion erupted upon myself, blowing him away.

"Argh! I wasn't expecting this..." He stood up, giving me a glare. "It's your choice Aryia. But I won't give up until you finally understand that being a human is more important than your own sense of honor!" he jumps off the nearby river.

"Tsk. I've almost failed my mission." I remarked. In the ensuing explosion, I managed to grab hold of one of his hair. That would be enough for Vechter. I looked upon the sky for no particular reason.

It was a full moon. Standing underneath it, was someone. Her eyes glow of Azure and Crimson. Melira.

"Fufu... hahaha... Denying a life of a normal human in your final days? How honorable." She says as she looks down upon me.

"I no longer have the opportunity left to do that. This is my decision, and nothing more, nothing less." Upon that statement, I left the area to meet up with Hauzer.

...

"Bah! Worthless brat!" He tosses aside the hair that I've obtained. "I said RETRIEVE HIM. But what did you give me?! A piece of his hair you bitch!"

"..." I merely stare at him.

"You're lucky that Lord Viper aknowledges you. If he did not..." He gave an insane smile while glaring at me. "I would've chopped you to pieces. Bit by bit. Every flesh."

"...I don't care. I merely did what I could before he was able to escape." I said. Leaving the room afterwards. I wasn't able to confirm it but I heard him mention me but I didn't hear anything since I wasn't listening.

...

I lie on my bed. Pondering about what Razor had mentioned. To live a life as a living weapon. To live a life as a human...

"How much time do I have? I shall see this to the end now. My life can end soon. That is why I can't change my decision now." I close my eyes. My decision is final. I will remain with the Delacroix until my death.

"Life is short. Might as well enjoy it." I said before counting sheeps to let me sleep.

...

A vivid nightmare comes upon me. I woke up upon a dark abyss. Nothing but pure darkness. I realized one thing. I was alone here. Nothing exists upon this oblivion but me. I walked for several minutes before finally stopping. There was nothing else in this realm. Nothing but sadness, despair, fear, depression, sorrow. This is... what it means... to die. Death is merely to cease to exist. To be nothing. To be nonexistent. I wouldn't even realize it. I would just be in nothingness... Feeling nothing.

All alone, no friend to rely on, no enemies to hate. Nothing. It was then that I realized.

I'm already dead.

...

My eyes slowly open. I found out I was crying. A vision of the future perhaps?

==========================================
Final Chapter
"My final wish."
==========================================

A month has passed. It was time to send a grave warning upon the world what happens when they oppose the Delacroix.

We were in the Den of Snakes, discussing the battle plan.

"Now then. Me and Malice would be the ones who will send the warning. The rest of you, distract them. I leave the rest... to all of you. Come, Malice. It's time." Lord Viper says as he leaves upon the door. The time has come.

We used an ancient teleportation technology created during the 300 Year War to warp us to the Central Sector of the Eastern Capital state, Murdock May.

"Haha, too easy." Lord Viper said as he comes upon the very heart of the city, The Skyscraper of Vimana.

Our climb was short-lived. Mid-way through the building, we encounter the trump card of the United Army. The World Explorers.

"So we meet again, Blue-eyed Azure Knight." Lord Viper remarked as he gives a particular blue-haired, blue-eyed man a glare. Alongside him was two more people. One was a gray-haired man wearing a blue shirt and a golden armor. He carries a hammer with him. Another one was a girl. She had blonde hair and wore a cap. She's carrying a four-sectioned staff.

"Malice, those two are yours. I will confront the Blue-eyed Azure Knight myself." Lord Viper orders me.

"Very well, my lord." I took out my scythe. But in a moment of sheer brilliance, I activated my rune magic, thereby deforming my weapon into a more, terrifying visage. This is my supreme weapon, The Enigmatic Intention.

With that, I did battle with them.

...

We were evenly matched, regardless if I was a child or not. The battle went smoothly. But a fatal mistake nearly cost me my entire arm. The man with the hammer was tough, and it took me quite a while to defeat him. But as I was focusing only to him, I didn't realize the girl from before sneaking up from behind me and striking me, nearly breaking the bones on my left arm.

It was then, it happened.

"It's time, Malice. Use the true power of the Rune Magic." Lord Viper says, as he clashes with the man he calls Azure Knight.

"Aryia. Listen to me, do not use it. You know the consequences." the Azure Knight says to me. He also... knows me.

"Malice! As your master I command you awaken your full potential!" Lord Viper commanded.

"Aryia! I've said it already, don't!" the Azure Knight once again exclaims.

I hesitated for a moment. This is my final hour. My final choice is within here. Either way, my destiny has come.

"I am merely a weapon of the Delacroix. To disobey his command is to suffer death. If my fate is to die then so be it." I said with full confidence. Once again, I activate my runes.

Lord Viper laughs "You see? My will be done. Hahaha..."

The Azure Knight strikes Lord viper before shouting "You've crossed the line Viper, even bringing her to our own battle...!"

"What choice do I have? You've brought your friends along when I specifically said not to." Lord Viper says.

My eyes glow a scarlet red. It's beginning.

"You won't get away with this, Viper. Not in a thousand years. Aryia has nothing to do with this."

"Hahaha... Malice is involved in this either way. Now, let us commence a spiral of chaos if that is what you declare. Malice, now." Lord Viper ordered me to activate my final rune. The rune engraved in my eyes.

"Let this be my last mission..." The runes all over my body glow crimson red. Triggering the final phase of Rune Magic.

But as quick as it was, a plane from outside crashed into the window. Out from it, came Razor Falcon.

"Aryia! Ya little idiot!" He exclaimed.

"It's too late, even if you did stop her the arcane has been started. Come then. This is the sign that my battle with all of you... has begun." Lord Viper said, glaring upon Razor for his intrusion.

Razor raised his middle finger "I won't let what happened to Arcaldia happen in here too! Ya hear me?! This time I'll stop the deaths of thousands of innocents!!"

The Azure Knight was at loss. All he can mutter was "Raze..." while looking upon his companion.

Lord Viper looks at them both and announces "With the demise of this city, I will declare my war on the Eastern Capital. And the time will come that I will have my revenge against you all. You know what I mean, right? Afterall, we are both the same... We are both half-breeds. Half-humans..."

Razor, obviously pissed at Lord Viper exclaimed "Shut up! Even if I'm not pure human I will never go on the same path you did, ya bastard!"

Lord Viper, amused by his reaction said "That's not what your sister thinks... Hahaha..." deliberately showing his amusement.

"My sister has nothing to do with this!" Razor shouted with pure anger. "She chose her own path of life and I don't give shit about it. Now I live in the present to prevent Aryia from destroying this hellhole!"

Lord Viper finally closes his eyes and said "'tis a pity. We could have worked together afterall, Razor Falcon." He then vanished.

The runes on my body ignite with fiery red. Lashing upon any who stands upon it's way. Destroying anything that exists. Utterly annihilating Murdock May upon it's foundation. That last sight I saw was Razor looking at me.

"I'm... sorry."

It was the final thing I heard as destruction wipes out the entire city.

...

...

An hour has passed since then. Nothing but destroyed structures surround me. I was... too weak to move now. I don't have much time.

From my peripheral vision, I see a black dress. Melira.

"I made my vow to see you in your final moments, Aryia." she said.

"Meli...ra..." I managed to say. My entire body felt numb. I don't know how long I can live.

"Tell me... What is your final wish before it all ends?" she asked.

"I... want... to live..." I said. It was all that I want at the moment.

"That is... out of my jurisdiction. However... I can promise you one thing." Melira materializes her sword and points it upon my chest, or rather, my heart. "My final question. Do you want to live... another life?"

My sight was getting dimmer... But I still managed to say it.

"Y..es... If... possible I... want... to live... another... life... That is... my... last wish... I want... to... redo... my
entire... life... this time... I don't... want... to suffer... anymore... like I... did... now..." I closed my eyes. I feel light.

"That is your decision, Aryia Cleressa... 'Malice'." I felt a stab upon my heart. Blood gushed upon my mouth... But that no longer matters.

I began to feel cold... I don't hear anything anymore... My heart, despite being stabbed, tries it's earnest to beat... and at last, stops.

I hear voices, many of them.
Words echoing in the wind.

Voices that transcend life.
Piercing my very being.

In this world, all is equal.
With such, I have realized.

My life held more meaning.
Fate had something for me.

I knew I had to die then.

==========================================
Epilogue
"Living with Determination."
==========================================

Her life has finally ended. A short life. But such a meaningful life, yes? I envy her, to be honest. She felt pain, misery, sorrow up until the end of her life. But she endured them with resolve. Determined to live her life to the fullest. She was a strong-willed individual. Moreso at her death. Accepting it without guilt, without remorse. And at last, upon my hands, she will finally understand, the meaning of living.

-Melira's Journal, entry 384

==========================================
Afterword
==========================================

Hi everyone~ malice600 here. this is the story of one of my favorite original characters. Aryia Cleressa 'malice'. I kinda like her personality. She finds death trivial, she's quite emotionless, and angsts alot. The like. Personally, I find her appealing and tragic. Well, that's why she refers to herself as The Tragedy Maiden right? XD But to be honest, she had a whole life ahead of her and she wasted it. I... kinda pity her. She had the choice to leave Viper but worked with him until the very end. That's pure loyalty right there. Writing her death nearly had me in tears too. I had to describe every moment just to convey how I felt that entire time. ;_; Pray for Aryia's next life to be good. She deserves it.