Tales of a Lost World 118

Last chapter of the series. Keep in mind there will be an epilogue that will be posted at a later date. Until then, enjoy this epic last chapter.

Episode 118 The Pinnacle of Despair

“Why…why are you here?” Kunai asks, fear, shock, apprehension, and rage now all threading their way through his body. “Why are you here?”

“Oh?” Ice questions, mildly amused. “Are you surprised to encounter me here?”

Kunai stares up the long flight of stairs, at the very top of the tower, where Ice stands triumphant, the body of Lord Kimura at his feet, the frozen bodies of the Three Phonemes behind him.

“WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE?!” Kunai screams, as if trying to reject the very idea.

“Isn’t it obvious?” Ice asks with a frighteningly casual air. “I have placed myself here in order to secure for the Fatalists the Three Phonemes legends speak of in your world. Their powers are certainly real. And they shall now finally serve the purpose with which they were originally created.”

“Purpose?” Kunai murmurs, his voice trailing away into nothing more than a faint whisper.

“You appear lost,” Ice observes, teleporting down the stairs to Kunai’s side. “Very well,” he hisses, “I shall explain it all to you from the beginning.”

“Beginning…?” Kunai repeats, fear still gripping him, rendering him unable to move or even blink.

Ice spots Kunai glancing at Ayame, Ivy, and Lily, their cold bodies suspended in midair. “Do not worry,” Ice whispers, “they are still alive, for now.”

Ice steps away from Kunai, turning his back to him and staring all the way up the endless stairs to the heavens, where the Three Phonemes now levitate in the air. His voice emerges from behind his mask, cold, dull.

“From the beginning, it was all a lie. This world. The people that inhabit it. The Three Phonemes. The Myougun. They were all lies. There was only one truth, and that was the Maple Hero’s Sword, known to us, the Fatalists, as the Sword of Nexon. Everything else, lies. Everyone you’ve ever known, your life, everything, they are all lies.

“Everything in this world was a fabrication. A false universe created by the Twin Weapons, the Sword of Nexon, and the Shield of Wizet. Do you understand? This is not the real Maple World. The true Maple World lies beyond, in another dimension. Everything here is a lie, a fabrication, is meaningless.”

“You’re lying!” Kunai suddenly finds his voice, and turns to Ice angrily. “You’re lying! We would know if everything was a lie!”

“No! I tell you the exact truth. Haven’t you ever wondered why so many years have progressed and yet your sciences have remained stagnant, the same, since two hundred years ago? Why, save for the Paradoxes, technology has hardly progressed after so many centuries? It is because it is all a lie! We cast away the future that was laid for us because it was a failure! We created a new one for ourselves, one in which we had a future!

“That is why the Fatalists exist, to protect the Maple World at all costs! This is not the Maple World! This is a hallucination, a falsehood, a trash world in which we may mule and farm its goods! That is why we created the Legend of the Three Phonemes, to safely store the Sword of Nexon until a time we required its use once more! That is why we established the Myougun, to suppress and destroy this bastard world of our present! Do you not understand? The Myougun, the Soul Eaters, Lilith, they were all created to suppress this pathetic world!

“That was and always has been the purpose of this world. And now that He has awakened once more, we no longer have any use for this world. Our goal of reassembling the Three Phonemes has been achieved. This world no longer has a purpose in existing.”

Silence separates Kunai and Ice for a long moment, as all the revelations Ice has provided sink in. “Lies!” Kunai roars, brandishing his claw dangerously. He charges at Ice, but the mage merely teleports out of the way, grabbing Kunai’s wrist with his bloody hands much in the same way he’d prevented Lord Kimura’s attack hours before.

Ice hurls Kunai away from him, nearly breaking his arm. Kunai nurses his arm, staring hatefully at Ice. “You Fatalist bastard! This is all part of your plan, isn’t it?! I don’t know if what you’re telling me is all true or not, but as long as I am still here, still alive, I will protect Ivy, the Three Phonemes, with all I’ve got! And I’ll do whatever it takes to stop you!”

“You do not appear to understand,” Ice retorts, “it is already too late. We Fatalists have prevailed. Only hours before you, your nemesis Lord Kimura attempted to stand in our way. He was quickly dealt with.”

Both Ice and Kunai look up at Kimura’s lifeless body at this point, one savoring the death, the other dreading to know its implications.

Kunai looks around the tower room, at a loss for words. He stutters, trying to buy some time. “If….if the Myougun was really a creation of the Fatalists, then Lord Kimura was your ally, right?! Then why did you kill him?!”

“Ah,” Ice nods in agreement, “indeed he was a former Fatalist over two hundred years ago.”

“Former Fatalist?” Kunai hisses, his eyes widening in windows of fear and shock. “And…two hundred years ago?!”

“Yes,” Ice replies, “he was actually an early sampling of our creation, a hybrid. Apparently he somehow managed to survive until this period by pure accident. It was after he slew his brother-in-law, I was told. He became lost in the mountains of El Nath, and was buried by the snow and ice.

“But yes, he was a former Fatalist. We entrusted him as the leader of the Myougun, but he became far too absorbed in his own personal desires. He abused the power we trusted him with, and sought the Three Phonemes for his own selfish reasons. His subordinates knew nothing of all this, of course. Only we Fatalists are privileged to hear the truth of this world.”

“You bastard,” Kunai growls, “so you disposed of him without a single shred of remorse.”

“Disposed?” Ice repeats coldly. “He was in the way. At any rate, this world is now of no more use to us. It is time that we, to use the word you used, disposed of it as well. Its existence is a sin to mankind, and therefore this falsehood must be erased.”

Ice teleports back up to the apex of the tower, and stands in front of the Three Phonemes, and the bulb that lights up the entire room.

“Wait!” Kunai shouts, using Haste to ascend the stairs chasing after Ice at optimum speed. “What are you going to do?!”

“The Sword of Nexon, if you’ve never been told,” Ice answers, “can only be summoned by assembling the Three Phonemes and then destroying their souls, as its fragments were split into three and hidden deep within the souls of the Phonemes.”

“Then—!” Kunai cries, realization dawning upon him at last. He leaps forward. “I won’t let you—!”

“This is not a matter within the sphere of your control,” Ice interrupts, bending over and grabbing the fallen Lord Kimura’s sword. He tosses it into the great white fire in the hearth behind him.

“Perhaps it once may have been,” Ice muses. “Yes, once, perhaps. I know the ways of Azuma, your teacher.”

Kunai’s eyes widen even further at the mention of Azuma’s name. “Have you never wondered why Azuma chose to bestow you with the powers of sword-wielding? It was not to master Myou, as he led you to believe, although that certainly granted you considerable power for a time.

“It was to one day wield the Maple Hero’s Sword. A foolish hope at best, to place his bet upon you obtaining the sword that held the power to destroy anything in order to defeat the Fatalists and Lord Kimura.”

“Why, you…bastard!” Kunai growls, clenching his fists with the most hate he’d ever known in the world. “I’ll kill you before you summon that sword!”

“Haven’t I told you enough times already?” Ice answers impatiently. “It is already too late. Your arrival has not altered this predetermined fate at all.” From behind Ice emerges Kimura’s Blue Screamer, spit forth by the rancorous white flames in the hearth.

“This is,” Ice claims triumphantly, “our victory.”

With a single motion, Ice thrusts Lord Kimura’s Blue Screamer towards the heavens.

“Wait!” Kunai screams, even as a powerful gust of wind descends upon the raised platform. “If you do that, their souls—”

“It is certainly unfortunate,” Ice says, “but I cannot permit you to bid farewell to the Phonemes. Utter your last ‘sayonara.’ This is the end for them, for everything.”

In that single instant, everything is engulfed by the piercing white flame, by Kimura’s Blue Screamer. Everything disappears in a whirl of white light. The souls of the Three Phonemes burst forth, their bodies disintegrating, revealing three glowing shards of metal inside.

The fragments of metal join together, and assemble themselves into the form of a huge sword. Ice casts away Lord Kimura’s useless Blue Screamer, and grasps the hilt of the Sword of Nexon at last, with great reverie.

“Behold,” Ice announces, “the Three Phonemes are no more.”

“NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” Kunai howls with all the human despair possible for one person to bear in the world. He falls to his knees, screaming, screaming for those that he had loved, screaming until his voice fades away into nothing more than a whisper, a whimper, that cries still yet longer, but no longer has the strength to carry any sound.

Ice stands over Kunai, looking down upon the wretched, once-proud figure kneeling before him. Kunai barely looks up, all the misery in the world concentrated on his one face. “Kill me,” he orders hoarsely. “You should finish the job. Kill me.”

Ice remains standing still, not a hint of surprise in his stoic figure. “Stand,” he counters with an order of his own instead. Kunai does not move. “Stand!” Ice reaches forth and grabs Kunai by the collar, forcing him onto his feet. Instead, the swaying Kunai merely tumbles backwards, down the stairs, falling downwards, until he reaches the bottom of the floor.

Kunai stares back at Ice from the floor far below, with a look on his face neither of hatred nor of grief.

“Five years,” Ice announces, holding up five fingers. “That is the time I shall award your world. We Fatalists shall depart for these five years, five years in which you may do as you please, live, love, and prepare. Yes, that’s right. Prepare, for after this five year period of grace, we shall descend upon your miserable world once more, and destroy it, completely strip you of your existence, whether you wish for it or not.”

“You…bastard…” Kunai hisses, his voice still hoarse. “AT LEAST SHOW ME YOUR FACE WHEN YOU SAY THAT!” With amazing speed, Kunai launches a single Steely into the air, directed exactly at Ice.

The latter deflects the Steely, but it moves too fast; it soars straight through his fingers, through the palm of his hand, and smashes right into the exact center of his mask. A long crack forms right down the middle of the mask, as Ice hurriedly grabs the mask with his hand to hold it in place.

Kunai breathes heavily, hatred lighting up his eyes, the only thing giving him the strength to continue moving. “Come, Ice, show me the face of the bastard that took everything away from me!”

“You want to see the face of your enemy that badly?” Ice asks.

Kunai does not answer.

“Very well,” Ice says in a suddenly all-too-familiar voice. Kunai’s heart skips a beat at the sound of it. Ice places a gloved hand upon his pearly white mask, and removes it, revealing to Kunai the face of his former ally, Arai.

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