“You’re shitting me,” Sammy said in a deadpan tone. “Aren’t angels supposed to be all good and holy?”
“Humans have so many weird misconceptions,” Gordon said nonchalantly, pulling a candy bar out of his pocket. “But they do make really tasty food.”
“Um,” I said, unsure of what to say exactly. “Is the food in heaven that bad?”
Gordon shook his head, taking a bite of his chocolate.
“We don’t need to eat so there is no food in heaven. We’re sustained by being in the presence of God.”
“Interesting as I’m sure society in heaven is, you’re an ally of Smog,” Raina said. Why should we continue this conversation instead of kicking your ass?”
“Well, for one, I’m sure as you just noticed, my strength is far beyond what any human is capable of achieving.” Gordon swallowed the rest of his candy bar, including the wrapper. “But more seriously, because we need to work together.”
“You’re kidding,” Raina said coldly. “Not one hour ago, your friend Salaran was trying to kill me, and now you want us to trust you?”
“Want I should pop his head off?” Sammy asked, putting his arm around Raina.
Gordon rolled his eyes.
“Raina, I’ve got no beef with you or any other humans. I haven’t been assigned to kill you, so I have no intention of hurting you in any way.”
She clearly wasn’t buying what Gordon was saying, maintaining her resting bitch face.
“Here,” Gordon said, smiling at her, pulling a red candy out of his ear. “Have a jelly baby.”
“You’re disgusting,” Raina said, turning away from him.
“Back on topic,” I said, looking out at the destruction happening outside. “Say we do trust you. My sister is already on the case. She will save the world.”
“Nah, she won’t,” Gordon retorted. “At least not alone. She needs your help Carter.”
“Carter can’t do shit right now,” Raina said, keeping her back turned to Gordon. “If Shay needs help, Sammy and I are in much better condition.”
She really sounded worried about me. Having someone feel that way about me felt pretty nice.
“No, only Carter can do it,” Gordon responded. “As for his condition…”
Rather than finish his sentence, Gordon stuck his hand into my chest, phasing through me. Strangely, I didn’t feel a thing.
“Back the fuck off!” Sammy shouted, throwing a punch at Gordon’s face. As his fist made contact, there was a large cracking sound, followed by the sound of Sammy shrieking in pain.
“What the Hell are you made of?” Sammy asked, falling to his knees.
“God’s life force mainly,” he answered casually, pulling his hand out of me.
“Oh my god!” I exclaimed with joy, feeling like a million bucks. “How did you…”
“All angels have the power to heal, to far greater extents than any human.”
“Wait,” I said. “Do you think you could grow my friend Malcolm a new arm?”
“Still a servant of Smog, Carter,” Gordon answered, looking outside. “Not going to undo his handiwork.” He paused. “Now then, Carter, it’s time to go.”
Raina, crouched down next to Sammy, holding him, said, “If Carter’s going, so are…”
The next thing I knew, Gordon and I were in a park.
Demons flooded the red sky, there were corpses lying all over, most with holes in them, and by an intimidating looking portal, a tired Shay was dodging an onslaught of attacks from three demons.
“Shay!” I screamed, running over to her, not caring about anything but getting to her.
“Carter?” She responded, ducking as one of the demons attempted to claw her face off. “You’re okay.”
“Yeah, and I’ve got one Hell of a big gun with me.” Still running, I turned my head back to Gordon, each of us nodding at the other. “Duck!”
Shay and I both dropped to the ground as Gordon got to work.
To begin, he fired another white energy blast, wiping out the demons around Shay, their innards splattering all over her. He then leaped into the sky, and jumped around it, punching and kicking the demons filling it, killing each of them with a single blow.
While it was super cool to see, there remained the simple fact that at some point, we were going to have to fight him.
And we were going to lose.
Returning to the ground, Gordon raised his arm, creating a glittering gold barrier over the portal which demons had been coming out of.
“The kid’s magic is really strong,” Gordon said. “No idea how it’s that powerful, but it means I can’t keep this barrier up for very long. You two need to get him to close it. Quickly.”
“You can explain to me who that is later,” Shay said as I reached her. You up to date on everything that’s going?”
“Mostly,” I answered. “Where’s Edwin?”
She tilted her head and grit her teeth.
“Taken care of.”
I didn’t want to know what that meant, but I did know that Shay was willing to go to ends that I wouldn’t. I’d get the details when we weren’t on the clock.
We turned around and stared at Takato.
“What the Hell are we supposed to do?” I asked. “We’ve already tried talking to him, but nothing we say is reaching him.”
“Then maybe it’s time we take a different approach.”
Shay then bent down, and nailed Takato with a right hook, knocking him over.
“What the Hell?!” I exclaimed.
“We’ve tried being nice. It didn’t work. Now we have to be angry.” Shay grabbed the sobbing Takato by the collar of his shirt, picking him up. “Listen punk, your life sucks. A lot of people’s lives suck. But that’s no goddamn reason to kill everyone!”
“K…kill,” Takato stuttered.
“What, you still want everyone dead?!” Shay shouted, throwing him down. “Carter, you can propel yourself into the air with your lightning, right?”
“Yeah,” I answered, nervous about what she might want me to do.
“Take him into the sky. Show him all the pain he’s causing. Maybe that’ll snap him out of it.”
“Alright,” I said, hoping the training I’d been doing had me me strong enough to lift Takato.
I grabbed him, and smelling the death scented air, fired lightning out of my feet, bringing the two of us high into the red sky.
Obviously I wasn’t expecting to see a street fair, but with my sights set on the whole of the city I’d spent my life in, I almost vomited.
The majority of large buildings were destroyed or on fire, stacks of bodies were everywhere, and demons were still continuing their rampage of carnage.
In some areas, I could see Raina’s men, along with some civilians, fighting back, but it was no use. They were going to die. Everyone was going to die. In this city and the world.
The portal had to be closed.
“Takato!” I screamed with passion, tears coming out. “Look at what you’ve done! Really look at it! You once looked up to me, admired me, for being a true hero. Did you want to be a hero too? Because this is not what a hero does. I’m not blaming you for opening the portal. Edwin and China were psychos. And what happened to Del and Badrah…I’m sorry.” I paused, getting choked up. “But I do blame you for not doing something about your mistake. You are the only one with the power to stop this. A hero can make errors, I’ve learned that. But they always try to make up for them. Now do you want to be a hero? Then take responsibility, and stop this!”
“K..” Takato stuttered. “Kill me.”
Takato elbowed me in the stomach, causing me to lose my grip and drop him.
“No!” I screamed, flying down to catch him.
I was only able to grab his arms this time. Holding him this way wasn’t something I could do for a long time.
“Takato! If you die, the portal might never get closed. Is that what you want?”
“Kill me. Kill me. Kill me.”
“Stop saying that! If you really want to die, fine. I don’t want you to, and neither does anyone else. But if it’s what you want to do, I’ll let you. After you close the portal!”
“I must…I must…”
“Yes, Takato!” I shouted in an uplifting tone. “You must close the portal!”
Shaking, Takato turned his head to me, his eyes glowing a bright red.
“I must die!” he growled, throwing me off of him.
Readjusting my lightning to keep me in the air, I saw Takato transforming. Sharp bones were popping out of his arms and legs, his face turned a pale blue, and he became inhumanly muscular.
He dropped to the ground before I could reach him, likely due to his increased weight, so I brought myself down as well.
The form he’d taken now must have been the one he’d taken earlier when he’d killed Badrah. A form where he was merged with demonic power.
This poor kid. All he wanted was a normal life, and because of things outside of his control, he’d lost everything he had, including his humanity.
“Carter, we’ve got a problem,” Shay said.
“Yeah, I noticed. Takato’s lost it.”
“Oh shit, yeah, he has,” she responded panicked. “But I was actually referring to the fact that your “big gun” left. His barrier is still up, but I don’t know for how long.”
“Then we’re gonna have to make quick work of Takato,” I said. “The demon inside him can only last so long. Maybe if we can beat him around, it’ll go away even quicker.”
“Worth a shot. Let’s do it!”
Together, Shay and I ran at Takato, who took a wide stance as he roared at us.
“Leave this kid alone you monster!” I shouted, blasting it with lightning.
It didn’t seem to have any effect, so hopefully Shay’s assault would do more damage.
Upon reaching him, she unleashed a flurry of different kicks. She roundhouse kicked his side, tornado kicked his head, and jump kicked him in the groin.
None of it even made Demon Takato budge, the monster grinning maliciously as it backhanded Shay, sending her flying across the park.
“Shay!” I screamed, worried out of my mind.
I flew into the air, lightning surrounding me. My attempt to catch Shay was unsuccessful, but thankfully she landed in some far off trees.
“Carter,” she moaned, bleeding from her face and her right arm twisted.
“You’re gonna be alright,” I said, remembering what had happened with Raina earlier. “I can heal you.”
“No,” she said, moaning in pain. “I’ll be fine. I’m glad you’ve apparently got a new power, but you need to use every bit of power you’ve got to beat down Takato, and get him to close the portal.”
“Sis, I’m not strong enough,” I said, the lightning around me growing in height and width.
“I know,” she responded. “But your heart is,” she said, closing her eyes.
She was just unconscious, but now I was all alone here.
I clenched my fists and gulped.
“Takato!!!” I screamed, flying down at him, a streak of electricity behind me.
As I got closer to him, I saw that Demon Takato was attacking the barrier, beginning to crack it.
“I don’t think so!”
The lightning around me turned white as I unleashed all of the firepower which had built up around me.
Demon Takato, not being very agile, took the attack head on, and this time, it was actually enough to make him start howling in pain.
Flying in closer, I charged up my fists, and with him staggered, I repeatedly punched him in the face with more speed and power than ever before.
“Hell will rise,” the injured Demon Takato said. “And I will die!”
The beast waved his arm, sharp bones flying out of him, and moving incredibly fast, through me.
Without another word or action, I fell over.
It doesn’t really matter how many times you get impaled. It’s still pretty much the worst pain ever.
Demon Takato came over to me. He was grinning again, but I could see the damage I’d done. There were some markings on him, and he was bleeding.
“Takato,” I said, barely able to speak. “I hurt the demon as much as I could. Please…fight it.”
The demon responded by lifting me up and spitting in my face.
LIke you’d see in a horror movie, the demon opened it’s mouth wider than its head was, its teeth more jagged than its bones. However, before it could chomp down on me, it was stabbed through the stomach.
Stabbed through the stomach, by a foil.
It dropped me, and turned its head.
“Seems like all day, the wheel of fate has been spinning on you, me, and Shay, deciding which of us has to save the world,” Raina said, pulling her white and gold, magical looking blade out of Demon Takato. “We’ve kept feeling like each of us had to do it. But it looks like the wheel has finally stopped on me.” She sighed. “Hi Takato.”
Demon Takato charged at Raina, but she easily avoided him, stepping out of his way and tripping him over with a swift slash of her blade.
“You know with her skill, she’d be a real threat if she had the power to back her up,” Gordon said, suddenly appearing behind me.
As my healing factor began to kick in, I asked, “Where the Hell did you go?”
“Well, I quickly realized that you and Shay weren’t gonna get the job done, despite the faith my master had put in you.” He paused, pulling out a pack of pocky and biting on one.
“Seriously?” I asked in disbelief that he’d eat at a time like this.
“Anyway, I went back to the house and gave Raina a sword made out of my own power. It’s temporary of course, but it’ll hopefully give her the power she needs to keep up with Takato and get through to him.”
My wounds sealing up, I repeated, “Hopefully.”
Demon Takato breathed fire in Raina’s direction. For a second I thought he’d roasted her, but then she appeared behind him, having teleported.
“Now I know you’ve been bombarded with speeches all day,” she started, teleporting away again as Takato ran at her. “So I’m gonna keep this nice and short.” Takato charged at Raina, throwing punch after punch at her, each one being deflecting with her Gordon made blade.
“I’m horrible. And no matter how much I change, I’m always gonna be horrible. But I’m gonna stop pretending that I’m better. I’m gonna try just being a normal girl, even if with what I’ve been through, that’s not achievable. And if there’s one thing we have in common, it’s that neither of us can ever live a normal life.” Maybe it was her words, the damage I’d done, or a combination, but Demon Takato was starting to look tired. “But that is all we have in common. You’re a good person. A good person who I corrupted.”
Raina stopped blocking with her sword and took a punch to the gut.
“Raina!” I screamed, staring to get up.
“No,” Gordon said with a pocky in his mouth. “She’s got this.”
“I don’t want to die anymore. But I’ll happily do so if it means saving the world.” Surprisingly, she was able to stand up. But damn it Takato! Claim your vengeance with your own hands! You should kill me! Don’t let these monsters kill me! And don’t let them kill everyone else!”
The bones from Takato’s body all extended, growing more and more until they consumed his body entirely.
“Oh, that’s not good,” Gordon said.
With all of the sharp bones coming from him, Takato now stood at over 10 feet tall, and the only visible part of his body were his now silver eyes.
The monster leaped into the air, and upon descending, shattered Gordon’s barrier with one blow.
“Crap, crap, crap,” I said. “Can you make another one?” I asked as an army of demons of all shapes and sizes flew out of the portal.
“No,” Gordon said. “The first one was hard enough to sustain. I can buy Raina a little more time though.”
With his blazing speed, Gordon began jumping from demon to demon, taking them each out with one punch.
While demons being killed was a good thing, they just kept coming. He wasn’t really accomplishing anything.
“Come on you puppeteering dork, listen to me!” Raina roared. “Is this what you’d rather be? The big bad who ends the world with his awesome boney power? Or would you rather be the hero you wanted to be? The hero you once saw Carter as! It’s not too late for you to get a happy ending!” Done shouting, Raina said one final thing. “It can’t be.”
Demon Takato was breathing heavily. Panting, it slowly made its way over to Raina, each step shaking the ground.
With great haste, I ran over to Raina.
We’d both said and done everything we could.
So with our fates to be determined, we held hands.
A few moments later, Takato was just inches away from Raina and I, towering over us.
“RAAAAAAAAAAGH!” the beast shouted, punching itself in the chest.
“The Hell?” I asked.
“World is evil! I am not! I am not” Takato continued whaling on himself, punching his face and ripping bones out. “I am not!” I am not!”
“He’s tearing himself apart,” Raina commented.
“He wants to get rid of the demon, I say we help him!” I shouted, blasting at the monstrous Takato. I knew I wasn’t contributing much, but it was better than nothing.
“We’re getting you back Takato,” Raina said calmly, beginning to slice off bones with her sword.
As the three of us continued dismantling this demon form, I couldn’t help but think of how many people had already died. How many lives we’d failed to save.
“You’re gonna save everyone!” Raina screamed, continuing to cut.
“We’re really gonna do it!”
“Please,” Gordon said, suddenly standing atop Takato’s head. “If he wants to be free, I can take it from here.”
A white light emitted from Gordon’s body. Raina’s sword disappeared, Gordon absorbing the energy from it into himself.
There was a quick flash, blinding me for just a second.
When I could see again, Takato was naked. Naked, but completely human looking.
Without a word or a second though, he made his way over to the portal.
“Close it Takato,” Gordon said. “Suck in all the demons and close it.”
Takato closed his eyes and waved his arms. After a few seconds of doing that, an incredible sight appeared in the sky. Red, black, blue, and all sorts of colored blurs made their way through the sky and into the portal, the ones already around us going in with them.
“You’re doing it Takato!” Raina shouted. “Keep going!”
He did, for quite awhile, Raina, Gordon, and I just watching as this incredibly powerful sorcerer went to work.
Eventually, the number of blurs decreased, and soon, there were no more.
“It’s over,” I muttered. “We saved the world!”
Even with the guilt about not saving everyone in me, I was still ecstatic, picking Raina up and spinning her around.
“Good work Takato,” Gordon said, pulling out another pocky. “Now shut that thing.”
He nodded, giving us a small smile.
“Carter,” he said. “Thank you for everything. Raina,” he continued, giving her a hard, but not cold stare. “I’ll see you soon enough.”
With those words, Takato fell back into the portal, closing it behind him.
“No!!!” Raina screamed, tears flying out of her eyes.
She dropped to her knees.
“Why did he do that?”
I bent down and put a hand on her shoulder.
“I guess it’s where he felt he belonged,” I said, unsure of what other answer to give her.
Balling, Raina hugged me, putting her head to my chest.
Failing to save Takato hurt, but there was no way I was in as much pain as Raina. I’d gone into this knowing that the world would be okay. But I also knew there was a chance Takato wouldn’t. I don’t think Raina ever lost hope in saving him.
Just sitting there, I noticed that Gordon had taken off again. Guess he’d meant what he was said. He was only here to help avert the crisis, and with it over, he’d returned to his lord and master.
Things around us were returning to normal. The sky had gone back to being blue, and the stench of death in the air had been replaced by the stench of a metropolitan city.
Sniffling, Raina sat up.
“You need to go,” she said.
“What?” I asked, thinking that she’d want to be with me.
“I have to go make sure Ally, my father, and all of the people whom for the time being still work for me are okay. But you? The world just faced the most death and destruction it has since Perses last attack 14 years ago. It needs a hero now. It needs Lightning Bee.”
I nodded, knowing she was right.
“You sure you’ll be okay?” I asked.
“Of course Snipey,” she answered.
“Malcolm’s in the hospital,” I said. “Be sure to check on him too.”
“Alright. While I’m at it, I should probably check in with Eve and Olivia. Make sure they’re alright.”
Shay was also still in the trees, but I’d take care of her. She was in her Panda costume after all and Shay didn’t want Raina to know she was Panda.
Before I took off, we stood up and hugged.
“I love you so much Carter,” she said sweetly.
“I love you too Raina,” I responded, kissing her on the cheek.
The hug lasted longer than I think either of us realized, but we eventually let go.
“Wish me luck,” I said, flying into the air, hoping I was ready to be the hero the world needed.