31 Knights of Cydonia
(From the point of view of Vonerich Lardizabal)
A grand masterpiece wherein a black canvas is painted with a darker shade of gray.
Nothingness permeated the surroundings as our disintegrated bodies all floated all over the smoke-riddled air.
Why are we here?
How did we get here?
Ahh... Well... Actually, I do know why I got here.
I remembered Song Eight using her new teleportation spell to me. I remembered how she explained that ruby would be transported towards sapphire, but I also heard that the ruby would move south of where the actual landing site should be. Song Eight also told me that if the ruby is placed far from the sapphire, then it would also move south at a longer distance. In theory, the ruby should be transported at the top of the sapphire; thus, the space over the sapphire should be the landing spot. The transportation itself would only be possible by disintegrating the ruby and everything attached to it into tiny dust particles. Then, the sorcerer would have to cover those dust particles with layers of mana. When the ruby reaches the landing spot, which is the sapphire, the disintegrated ruby and whatever it is attached to will return to its previous shape and mass without any problem through the help of mana. However, since the Monument of Cydonia at the far south sucks the mana in the air, it would also suck the mana used to transport the dust particles to the sapphire. If Song Eight casts the teleportation magic to move the ruby from the sapphire that's standing 2 feet away from the red gemstone, then the ruby would also move 2 feet away from the actual landing spot. I know this for a fact; that's why I wasn't surprised that our disintegrated bodies are now moving towards the far south.
We allowed things to happen as we all floated to the never-ending darkness that is Nihilheim, while the air turned into thick layers of black smoke as we got even further towards the core of this darkened place. If the Monument of Cydonia is truly sucking mana in the air, then we might just be heading towards that place. No one has ever seen what that place looks like, and it seems that we're the very first few people who are alive today to find out about it. However, I'm just not sure if I'll be alive to tell the world more about it.
"HA!" I gasped as I finally managed to feel again. I could see the emptiness lurking all around me. My body could feel the dry black dirt beneath me as I laid motionlessly on the ground. My sense of smell had finally returned, making it possible for me to get acquainted with the stench of burning hair permeating all around my surroundings. When I opened my mouth, I breathed as deeply as I possibly could, making sure that I could get some of that fresh air to enter my parched throat, but it also made it possible for me to taste the bitterness of this thick smog embracing my body. I could hear the countless sounds of teeth-gnashing, feet smashing, and growls curdling—all echoing all over this empty wasteland, which made me wonder as to how that could ever be possible. After all, there is literally nothing all around us. However, I have finally gathered my senses back to its natural state. When I did so, I noticed that I could not see anything from a distance. It was not because there's literally nothing in there, but because the smog all over the place is too thick that it becomes impossible for me to see anything.
I moved my body a little bit, but I couldn't quite stand up because of the pain I'm feeling throughout my insides. It seems that I might have broken all of the bones inside of me because I couldn't even move my upper body up to sit. Thus, I just laid there on the dusty floor with my right hand up as I continued to groan with all of my might. I don't even know why I'm doing it, but it must have been because my instinct had finally kicked in, and it's trying its hardest to make my stupid ass survive this shit.
"I FOUND THE PRINCE!" An unfamiliar voice rang somewhere from afar. I then saw the figure of a soldier coming out of the thick smog on my left side. Beside him are two other soldiers.
"WHERE IS HE?" A somewhat familiar voice of a man resounded on my left side, making me move my head towards that direction to see who it was.
"Frigg..." I weakly uttered as I felt my blood spewing out of my shoulders. It seems like Song Eight was not lying when she said that everything attached to a ruby would be transported along with it.
Frigg's rushing body then slowly formed into the thick fog as he ran towards my side with two other soldiers on his side. He then quickly fell on his knees beside me before gently covering my body with his trembling hands.
"Oh, fuck... Oh, I'm so fucking thankful you're alive... Oh... I am SO thankful you're alive..." Frigg said while panting and sighing between his words. The other five soldiers then pointed their spears away from us as they tried their hardest to guard me against whatever might be lurking around us. "We'll get you home, my prince," Frigg said in a whisper as he cradled me like a child in his arms. "We'll get you home."
"ARGH!" The voice of a man's pained screech took our attention in a snap. I moved my head to see what is happening and saw that something long, wet, and sticky is wrapped around the soldier's weakened body. It then constricted him so hard that I could see his armor being bent while the soldier continued to scream in agony. A sticky fluid that's coming out of the rope-like thing wrapped around the soldier's torso then dripped down to his feet, making us see how it slowly turned his armor into a silver liquid.
Frigg then raised me by placing my arms around his shoulder while his hands were gripping my torso gently. I then saw that the origin of the rope-like thing is hidden somewhere in a darker area of the smog, and now that I have the time to look at it, I saw that the thing that's constricted around the soldier's torso looked something like... a brown tongue. The tongue-like rope then lifted the soldier as I saw the agonizing face of the Varban warrior turning pale while his wailings softly turned quiet. Two warriors then rushed towards the tongue-like rope and used their spears to slash its surface. However, when the blade of their weapons touched the surface of the tongue, their edges instantly melted, making their strikes futile.
Then, I saw that the soldier that had been lifted into the air suddenly turned silent and ghastly pale. In less than a minute, the lower half of the soldier's body fell onto the floor, revealing his mangled innards and blood being mixed with melted iron. The tongue then moved all over the upper body of the now dead and mutilated soldier until it reached his head. The thick, tongue-like rope then entered the soldier's open mouth and pierced right through him until we could see a portion of the tongue peeking out of the soldier's stomach. Blood, intestines, bones, all of such things began to drip out of the lifted upper body of the soldier, falling swiftly to his now bloodied feet and waist on the blackened ground. Suddenly, the rope pulled back into the hidden area around the smoke. When it did so, we heard the loud sound of bones being crushed, metals clanking, and liquids being slurped like someone's eating spaghetti. A large gulp then followed this before we could hear a bloodcurdling screech on that same area.
After that, we saw what looked like a black snail without a shell moving towards the bloodied lower half of the dead soldier on the floor. From a closer observation, we could see that it looked more like a human being with blob-like skin and no limbs, moving forward swiftly by using only its awfully human-like head. Suddenly, the slime-like humanoid opened its mouth so broad that it instantly devoured the man's waist and feet on the ground with one bite.
"RUN!" Frigg said as he then carried me on his arms, making me lay on his trembling hands as I wrapped my body around his neck.
While we ran, I saw one soldier beside us fall after hitting his head on what seemed like a gigantic ball. Once the man raised his body to stand up again, what seemed like countless buzzing sounds left the hardened orange ball that he had just accidentally hit with his face. Numerous gigantic mosquito-like insects then flocked all over the soldier, making him give out a gurgling scream, which only lasted for a few seconds. After a while, when the noise coming out of his mouth turned silent, I looked back at him and saw nothing else there but more insects moving towards the two soldiers who were left dumbfounded after seeing their spears get quickly melted when they struck the tongue-like rope. The snail-like humanoid then bit one of the soldier's waist and kept on chomping the poor Varban warrior, making him fold so easily like paper. After a while, the snail-like creature gulped the crushed soldier easily without even the need for chewing.
Meanwhile, the other soldier took a step back with a shocked face as the enormous mosquito-like insects flocked around him, and in a matter of a few seconds, he disappeared entirely as well. Not even his armor was spared. The mosquitoes then moved towards our direction, and I quickly cast powerful wind magic that subsequently swept the insects to their death. However, it also blew the smog away from us, revealing the deep secrets hidden within it. What I saw is a plant with black petals, but at the center is what seemed like a circular mouth filled with thorns. There's what seemed like a long tongue coming out of it as it moistened itself with what looked like its own saliva; I saw what looked like a gigantic Crespa with violet and red veins all over its body. It seemed like the Crespa was eating one of those snail-like humanoids on the ground. The veined Crespa then turned its head around, making me see its reddened eyes and a mouth that's filled with a sharp fang that protruded throughout the roof of his mouth.
Before the fog lifted, what seemed like a skinny human being with skin so pale that it's literally turned white. The creature doesn't have eyes, while its nose has only two holes on its forehead. The rest of its face is nothing but a big mouth and elephant-like ears. It was walking in all fours with his body shaped like it was bent to be turned into a perfect rainbow-shaped atrocity. Seemingly sensing me without the need for visual cues, the mouth-face monster ran towards the soldiers who're running behind Frigg. When the smog finally covered the surrounding again, I saw what seemed like two gleaming red lights approaching the other soldier who's running beside my head. Swiftly, the red light approached the soldier beside my head with ease and lunged towards him by leaping in a forward motion. It seemed like it was the red-eyed Crespa, which was such a strange thing because, from the looks of it, the Crespa didn't fly and just ran towards the soldier until he was already on top of him. The poor soldier tried to fight the red-eyed Crespa by thrusting the sword hanging on his waist towards the creature's head. The valiant soldier managed to dig his sword straight into the red-eyed Crespa's head until the darned beast fell dead on the blackened floor. However, before the soldier could even pull his sword away from the Crespa's skull, something hidden within the smog had already pulled him away towards a hidden part of the area. I then heard countless sounds of a creature chewing something along with the soldier's scream. The agonizing last screech of the Varban warrior then stopped when I heard the sound of metal being stepped on by what sounded like a giant hoof.
Frigg continued to run, not even minding the continued deaths coming all around him. When I turned my head to look at the other soldier running behind Frigg, I saw that the Varban warrior was not there anymore.
Confused, I screamed at Frigg, "WHAT HAPPENED TO THE OTHER ONE?"
I felt what seemed like sharp fangs ripping my left feet with just one single bite. I didn't even know what happened, but all I know for sure is that Frigg suddenly fell into the ground as I saw the blood coming out of my foot.
"Shit..." Frigg whispered as he carried me back to his arms as he ran forward with a pale and sweaty face. Looking down, I then saw what seemed like a vast arc-shaped bite mark on his stomach. Some monster must have bitten him with that creature that tore my feet off me. "We're almost there... Guhh..." Frigg whispered as I felt his speed gradually decreasing.
"Almost there?" I replied in a whisper as I already started to feel nothing around the lower half of my body, but oddly, I could still feel the pain in my shoulder. I then looked in front of us to see where exactly Frigg was running towards at this moment. That was when I saw what seemed like a gigantic structure at a distance gleaming countless arrays of colors all over this desolate darkness around us.
"I think that's it..." Frigg said while panting as I heard growling and the sound of limbs swiftly moving all over the dry soil.
I couldn't even ask what it is that he's talking about since I was already starting to lose consciousness. I tightly wrapped my arms around Frigg's head as I weakly uttered underneath my breath, "I'm scared... Lars, I'm scared..." I then closed my eyes as I caressed my cheek on Frigg's face.
After a while, I opened my eyes again and saw that the mouth-face humanoid creature swiftly approached our side. It's gnashing its teeth uncontrollably as if the monster was trying to chew on the air around it. However, my eyesight is slowly turning even darker and blurrier as I felt my life dwindling away into the Death God's sight... Is this it? I don't want this to be the end of me yet... Not yet...
When my eyes finally turned clearer again, I now saw that the same mouth-face monster who's running towards us has now stopped its tracks and is just merely looking at us, unmoving and just standing there with its mouth wide open. It seemed like it was wary of where we were headed towards, too, as it slumped it's head down. I then noticed that the once darkened ground around us now turned into what looked like sandstone brick, which still seemed perfectly pale even with all the blackened dust around us. I also noticed that it appears like we're slowly being lifted up into the air as Frigg continued to move forward. When I dropped my gaze lower towards Frigg's feet, I saw that he seemed to be climbing what looked like a white staircase.
"Where... where...?" I wanted to ask where we are or where we're headed, but I couldn't quite articulate it well as if my head has finally stopped working entirely.
Luckily, Frigg seems to have understood the meaning behind my fragmented word. "I don't know... I don't... " However, it seemed like even he wouldn't be able to give me an answer.
After a while, Frigg finally couldn't take it anymore as he stopped his track. With one final weak moan, he fell into the floor, dropping me forwards, which made me think that we will be falling down the staircase soon. However, it seemed like Frigg managed to get to the top of the stairs before he inevitably lost the energy to move forward.
"I'm sorry... Vonerich... sorry..." Frigg said as he looked at me while extending his hands towards me. "This is... the farthest... I can..."
I then reached my hand towards him, trying my hardest to hold his hand one last time as I feel my life dwindling away from my body. I can't even see what Frigg looks like with my blurred sight, but I am relatively sure that he looked miserable. I could feel the blood coursing out of my body as I tried my hardest to reach out to my friend one last time.
"... love... I love..." I whispered as I could finally focus my eyesight so that I could see his face one last time. "I love you..." I finally uttered those words that I tried my hardest to say one last time to the only person who could truly understand me. Almost like a miracle, my eyesight turned clearer, but the only thing I saw was the corpse of my dear friend Lars Frigg.
Then... what followed next is nothing but darkness... and the rumbling of the floor beneath us as I finally managed to hold my dear friend's cold hand.
I then felt the tears roll down to my face. Although I cannot see anything, I can still feel the tears rolling all over my face, drenching me in my own liquids. The only thing running through my head at the moment is the thought of my dear friend's face. He looked awfully paler than usual, which is weird since he had always been the palest man I had ever seen. His eyes that had always been filled with a blazing determination is now nothing but a colorless shell. His mouth was wide open as his face hit the floor, making the dust on the white ground come towards his mouth. I then felt some kind of heat spewing to my right side as I finally felt my body failing; I can almost feel my soul crawling out of my skin.
"So... These are the ones who fucked my beauty sleep..." An imposing voice then boomed above me. "Dead, huh?" The voice then chuckled, which sounded more like a sarcastic remark towards the pathetic state we are in now. He then continued with a hoarse voice, "Oh, no, no, no, no! Not after you ruined my carpet!"
I tried to open my eyes to see one last time, and the one thing I could see is an iridescent monolithic stone towering over my body and the silhouette of a man.