NOTE: It’s been a while since a new chapter. I apologize for coming off of a month-long hiatus only to return to one only two weeks later haha. I happened to get a new job, and with school at the same time, I was flooded with work. The semester has ended, so it’s time to get back to writing. For now, I’ll keep the usual schedule of a weekly release on Tuesdays at 2 PM Eastern, although I might try stepping it up a notch. I originally wanted to get Volume 2 done by the end of the year, but I’m not sure that’s happening at this point. Who knows, though. If I can crank out the chapters, I might do a special release schedule. Stay tuned for updates, which will be posted here on kyologist.com!
Chris’ body rose into the air, now above the stone statue that Travis had become. Thomas looked in dismay at the state his comrade and friend was now in.
“His body… Did it really turn into stone…!?”
“Thomas, don’t look at his eyes!” Faith yelled while trying to sit up. “That demon… When its gaze met Charlotte’s and my own… we were unable to move. This guy mentioned something about Medusa… Is it following a Concept, and has it really become this powerful?”
“A Concept… giving something power based around a powerful figure, whether real or mythological. To actually gain similar powers, though… that means…!” Thomas raised his weapon, Phoebe, as Chris slowly landed on his feet.
His eyes opened—the demonic orange focused on the people in front of him. Thomas had no clue what color Chris’ eyes had become as he had followed Faith’s advice, not risking himself turning into stone.
“Kekekekeke…” Chris’ mouth unleashed an eerie laugh that was clearly not his own. He began to limp his way over toward Thomas’ location.
“Medusa must have taken control once Chris was taken down. It’s gaining power through using his body, much like he did from its own body when he used Chaonic Assimilation.”
Thomas focused on the movement of Chris’ legs, although he was having difficulty figuring out how to fight an opponent while avoiding looking into their eyes. Instead of attacking, Chris stopped in place.
His body burst apart—glowing red blood flying all over the place.
Thomas, Faith, and Winona looked on in horror as the blood sunk into the earth the moment it made contact. It did not vanish, however. The moment they believed the blood disappeared, it erupted from the ground—the chaotic geyser transforming into the silhouette of someone unknown to them.
“I… I’ve never seen this before…” Thomas almost dropped his weapon in shock at the phenomenon before him.
The figure started to come into view. With her head facing the ground, a female stood when Chris previously was. She wore a long dress that seemed composed of crimson scales, much like the ones who were on Chris’ body during the Chaonic Assimilation. Her glowing red hair split into several lengthy parts that resembled snakes. She held her eyes in agony.
“Dammit… Dammit, dammit…!” The woman swore in a somewhat fruity voice. “Heh… I guess this is okay, though…”
“Who… the hell are you supposed to be?” Thomas asked, cautiously approaching her.
“Huh? I’m Medusa, of course!” She chuckled, looking in Thomas’ direction without opening her eyes.
“T-That’s… impossible…” Thomas stared in utter disbelief. The demon’s name was Medusa… Now, you’re human… How…!?”
“It kinda sucks. I seem to have inherited Chris’ intelligence and personality… Ah, shit. Oh well. I can use them better than he can!” Medusa giggled, moving her fingers—which had long crimson nails—gently across her face. “These eyes are a problem… I just gained this form. Their power could only be used for a moment before the transformation began. Damn, this is a tough spot. I can’t fight like this!”
“T-Then surrender,” Thomas demanded, showing his apparent nervousness in his shaking voice. “And return Travis back to normal!”
“Hmph…” Medusa folded her arms together. “A scientist on the battlefield… Unless you’re as good as Carl, my creator, and modify your body—then you don’t belong here! This guy, as well…” She chuckled, glancing at Travis.
“I’ll be wherever I have to be!” Thomas declared, beginning to regain his posture. “Same goes for Travis! Wherever the action is happening, we’ll be there, learning and learning, so eventually, one day… we can put an end to all of this!”
“For someone who’s got the brains… you’re really not using them, are you?” Medusa sighed. “The center of the battlefield is where the strong should be, not shards of a scientist.”
“Shards? What are—”
The snakes in Medusa’s hair came to life, expanding with incredible speed behind her.
Before anyone could react, their sharp fangs were unleashed, slashing the stone known as Travis Robinson apart.
“Wh…” Thomas dropped to his knees. “Wha… what…? What the hell…?”
Medusa laughed maniacally, flinging her arms around as her snakes danced around her. Faith and Winona could only watch, unable to move or conjure up any kind of power.
“Hah! Good shit! Now, not to sound cliché, but…” Medusa continued to speak, holding herself back from laughter. “No need to worry! You’ll soon join him!”
Instead of falling into despair, Thomas grinned, glancing up at Medusa.
“I can’t do that. Sorry. Do you know who I am?” He stood, pointing his weapon in her direction. “With so many intriguing things happening around me, I must learn more. Not even death can stop me. Travis—I won’t give up. I’m a scientist, just like you. You’d understand… I can’t sulk right now and let this stop me!”
Medusa cackled—her hair snakes now aiming at Thomas. Dawning a fierce blue glow, Phoebe managed to knock away the oncoming attacks, fueled by Thomas’ strength and resolve.
“Oh, not bad. But you won’t last!” Medusa continued her onslaught of attacks—Thomas managing to defend and evade them quite well. She was right. However—this did not last. Thomas began to slow down a few moments later.
Faith realized this, attempting to get up. This was a futile effort in her current state. “Win… he’s…!”
“I know…” Winona slowly moved her hand on the ground next to her. “But it’s okay…”
From a few feet behind them, Muraco took a mighty leap off the ground, soaring straight at Medusa. He calculated the jump to the degree where he managed to avoid the snakes focused on Thomas.
“The Hero of Requiem…”
With a powerful kick, Muraco smashed Medusa on the side of the head, knocking her back.
Medusa tried to regain her composure, attempting to process what just occurred.
“What… That creature…?”
Muraco landed in front of Thomas, panting heavily. “Heh. Sorry I’m late! I got pretty messed up keeping Brandon safe from an enemy’s attack earlier, so I had to rest for a few!”
“That so…?” Thomas sighed. “You know, I was this close to unlocking an Ability. I could feel it in my bones. No matter what Ability it was, the awakened phantons would have helped me fight much better.”
“You were?” Muraco asked, proceeding to shake his head. “Anyway, I’m here now! Who is this freaky snake lady?”
“I’m Medusa,” The demon calmly walked forward, her snakes now surrounding her body. “You’re an interesting little fella, aren’t you? I couldn’t even sense your attack—it was that fast.”
“She’ll probably be able to now, though,” Thomas assumed. “The element of surprise is gone, after all. And you’re not doing too well.”
“I’ll be fine,” Muraco assured him. “She’s not doing too well, either.”
“Oh? You can tell?” Medusa chuckled. “It’s true. This body’s quite worn out right now. It’s transformed quite a lot today.”
“Then let’s get this over with!” Muraco’s scarf formed into multiple appendages as they did not waste any time in attacking Medusa. In return, Medusa’s hair struck the scarf—the snakes ripping the fabric apart.
The thread immediately reformed, whacking at Medusa’s snakes with vicious ferocity—the density of them being capable of competing with the sharp fangs.
There was no telling who would emerge victorious from this clash. Both sides seemed to be evenly matched. Muraco realized this, yet pressed on with his attacks.
Faith and Winona continued to make an attempt in moving but were clearly still weak from the usage of the pills Thomas gave them. Winona, however, started to feel strange. Initially, her body felt numb after over-using her power.
Taking in continuous, constant breaths gave her a peculiar surge of strength. It was due to her reaching her limit—the full use of her phantonic power—that the special traits that circulated in her very blood began to awaken.
“Breathe… Breathe…” Winona, to her utter bewilderment, began to stand.
“W-Win!?” Faith was stunned to her core. “How are you…!? Don’t push yourself!”
“I’m not…” Winona continued to breathe in and out—the sharpness of each breath seemingly fueling her cells. “I’m… okay.”
She turned her attention in front of her, watching Muraco and Medusa duel it out. As someone who can naturally fight, she was able to see the majority of attacks being thrown around—they weren’t too fast for her.
Winona, somehow, was predicting a few of the attacks and where they would land before they actually happened.
“This feeling… It’s just like earlier, when Adam and I simultaneously blocked your mom’s sphere.” Winona turned to Faith. “What’s happening…?”
“How are you up!?” Thomas asked, utterly perplexed. “You definitely used up all of your strength—” He paused, his eyes widening as he stared at the ground for a moment in thought. The scientist slowly looked up. “Could it be…?”
Winona walked up to Thomas, opening her hand. “Can I use that?”
“What!? Why would you—you’re in no condition to fight!”
“I can stand. I can fight.” Winona assured him, slowly taking Phoebe into her possession. Without hesitation, she dashed forward.
Muraco sensed Winona’s presence as she bolted by, entering the war zone Medusa and himself were creating. “What are you doing!?”
“Keep it up, Muraco!” Winona shouted, ducking from the attacks being thrown all around.
“Idiot! I can’t protect you while—”
Muraco was stunned upon witnessing Winona’s movements. Despite the speed the clash was occurring at, she somehow—in her condition no less—evaded both the scarf and the snakes.
“I can see… no—I can feel the battlefield. It’s like how I sense things through the ground with my Ability… Yet, I can sense everywhere. Just what’s happening…? Dad…? Would you have known about this? Maybe…” Winona, in both sadness and rage, gritted her teeth as thoughts of her father flooded her mind.
“I can figure out the details after this…”
Winona leaped toward Medusa, as the stray phantons struggling inside her body aided in fueling the rapier she held. The demon, in retaliation, focused her attacks all on Winona.
This was not the right move. Muraco took advantage of this and managed to grab hold of the snakes for a brief moment, altering their path just enough so Winona could get up close and personal.
“I simply have to…”
Medusa held her arm in front of herself as a desperate attempt at defense. Winona was simply too fast. The blue-lit sword pierced straight through her arm and chest, striking at her heart.
“This…!” Medusa stood there—not in agony—but in sheer bewilderment. “Heh…”
Winona, upon landing the blow, found herself unable to move. She was frozen in place, standing right in front of Medusa.
“Your body…?” Medusa snickered. “I see… The human body has incredible potential. Yet, it has limits, it seems. Yes—the heart. You just struck me in the heart? How… human. How… weak.”
Muraco grabbed Winona with his scarf, carefully moving her away from the demon. He moved in front of her. “You attached yourself to that body, it seems. The human body… You needed it to get to this phase. Am I right, demon?”
“Rabbit catches on quick for one that just got here…” Thomas commented.
“Of course. Don’t get me wrong—I did say the human body has incredible potential. It helped me gain this form… this intelligence.” Medusa’s body began to bubble, leaking a crimson ooze from its pores.
“But, I think that’s all I’ll need it for. Our good pal, Chris, can take this blow for me, can’t he?”
“What are you…?” Winona began to ask as the body in front of them started to melt. They soon realized that its shape was once again transforming.
As the liquid fell to the ground, Chris’ appearance returned once more—the blade that pierced through Medusa’s heart now lodged in his own.
“I…” Chris could barely speak. The light in his eyes was quickly vanishing as he gazed at Winona. “Sis…? No… You’re…”
“How is he still alive like that!?” Muraco asked as the red slime surrounding Chris’ feet began to move off to the side, taking the rabbit’s attention.
“Heh. I have to shed off quite a bit of power to escape like this. I’m sure he has some residual strength that’s keeping him up and running. It’ll fade out rather quickly, however. Damn… It’s gonna take me quite a while to recover from this, huh? No matter—if I take my time, I can even make my appearance like that again—”
Muraco smacked the substance with his scarf, attempting to stop its movement as it crawled around the ground. “I’m not letting you get away!”
“Ah, whatever. I’m leaving, then. It was fun. Thanks so much, everyone, for attending my birth! We’ll have another party soon enough…”
Before Muraco could continue to attack, the sludge sank into the very earth itself, vanishing from sight. He put Winona down and ran over to the spot, which he analyzed.
“Damn… It got away. I can’t sense it. That creature’s fast…”
Chris fell to his knees, still not wholly comprehending what was happening to him. Winona watched as she sat a few feet away, still unable to move by herself.
“I… I’m sorry. You… were. And…” Winona was also struggling to comprehend the feeling welling up within her. They realized around the same time.
Chris was losing life, while Winona had just destroyed it.
Laughing softly, Chris shook his head. “Don’t… sweat it. I started this shit… This is only fair.”
Winona tried to respond but found that she had lost the capability to even move her mouth.
With a faint smile, Chris’ focus turned above him. He stared in wonder at the scene filling the sky—light delicately piercing through the thick dark clouds, falling onto the ruined town.
“Yeah… I get it now. Even when the sky’s filled with nothing but darkness, light can still get through. You just gotta wait for it… Sometimes it comes quick, other times… not so quick. What… kind of cheesy shit am I even saying? I’ve been all over the place today… I guess… today is the day for me… huh?”
Christopher Serpenti took one last glance at the sky above before lowering his head, closing his eyes, and delicately placing his hand on the spot where Phoebe had stabbed into him. He took his last breath.
Next: Chapter 2.39
Previous: Chapter 2.37
SPECIAL THANK YOU TO THE HEROES OF REQUIEM ON PATREON: