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Fight for a Righteous cause or not?
Rumble. Rumble. Groan.
The door to the 40th boss level opened slowly, letting out a disgruntled groan while opening. A gush of smoke and wind pushed forward, blowing back hot air. Something about the spiritual side of this world was hot and dreary. The deeper Zero and his group went downwards, the more the environment seemed to change into a hot volcanic level.
The gust of wind swirled around them and disappeared quickly. Seconds later, a large empty room with blue flying candles turned on one by one. The hot steam that was present disappeared, and a cool breeze blew through instead.
Not a speck of sound could be heard in the newly lit room except the heavy breathing of the dragon and their companions. Zero was the first one to take a step in wearily. He knew that something was going to happen, but he didn’t know what.
It wasn’t until everyone stepped in through the door that it closed behind them with a large slam.
“The boss fight is starting,” Zero said under his breath. Not being able to retreat was a problem, which meant only one thing. Only one side would be left standing in a fight to the death.
In the middle of the room, a sudden flash of light erupted outwards from a magic circle that appeared out of thin air. It was a bubble-like energy effect that whooshed past them. A strange setting that Zero never thought was possible was before their eyes.
Dark shadowy silhouettes of humans and monsters appeared by the dozens all around them.
Everyone stepped back, wondering what monsters would appear next. They were ready to fight against the swarm of monsters that started materializing in front of them. As each one started to take form, their expressions and figures began to clear up.
“S-Stacy?” Valiant stuttered in shock, breaking the silence.
Before them, the second Drezo Regalia group from the physical realm appeared, flickering in and out like a light. She was the leader of the second group tasked to raid the Pyramid of Light in the physical realm.
“Valiant?” Stacy was a smaller black dragon, growing up steadily into a powerful black dragon.
“W-what? I thought you guys were dead.”
“We are?” Valiant needed clarification as well. He raised his claws, poked her by the cheek, and found his finger passing her body like a ghost. Stacy shuddered as hot steam escaped her mouth. Her body was shaking from the drop in cold temperature.
Staring in shock, he glanced down to see that his hands were transparent. “What’s going on?”
“I don’t know, but this is strange.”
“Huh?” The voices on both sides were speaking out in confusion. Both sides of the group were finally cooling down from being overly stressed. They thought this was possibly an enemy attack, but when they realized they couldn’t harm each other, they were all at ease.
“Is this a new game element?”
“Isn’t this a good thing? I mean, both groups are together finally.”
“I’m not so sure. This could be a more difficult fight. Not only that, I believe that both realms have converged into one temporarily.” Zero interjected.
“This happened before,” Zero’s voice became loud for everyone to hear. “Especially when Russ and his army invaded our village. I was out of my physical body, but somehow, there were distortions in-between the two realms. We’re not completely in the physical plane, but at the same time, we are. The same goes the other way.”
Everyone was listening to Zero’s explanation. Shock and confusion riddled their faces.
“Why? I mean, there isn’t any point, right?” Valiant asked, confused.
“That I don’t know….” Zero was stumped as well. Why was the realm between the physical and the spiritual converging at the boss level? Nothing was making sense right now, but he had a horrible feeling about this as a whole.
A sound of broken chains could be heard, scraping the ground in the dark in front of them. Everyone’s heads turned at the awful sound coming slowly in a clip-clop manner. Again, chains rustled, and a heavy metallic dragging sound could even be heard from the unusual being coming towards them.
Zero was not a fan of horror movies or monsters, but before them, a disfigured humanoid figure stepped out from the dark. His legs were oddly bent and twisted, dangling with chains on both arms and legs. An ugly, flabby gut was spilling out from his tattered-looking Egyptian skirt, making anyone feel uncomfortable just by looking at it. His long arms touched the floor, trailing behind him while holding a large, bloody hammer. Pale, cracked lips and face were littered with stitches, making one think it was done for a reason.
His instincts were telling him that the monster before him was not normal in the slightest. Instead, it gave off a deadly, oppressive energy that seemed to blossom out from the monster before him. But then, the name Salik rang in his head without even realizing it.
Everyone had difficulties thinking that the one before them was a boss character, but they were still weary. Its slow, hobble-like walk and the clanking of chains made them wonder what kind of power was infused in its body. Then, not even a second later, a humanoid frog-like figure hunched over on all four hopped out from the shadows. There weren’t just one or two, but over a dozen, as more started to spill out.
“What the heck is that?!” The Sekka’s voice went up an octave higher. Her gold dragon’s eyes squinted in disgust.
A couple of players screamed in horror as Salik twitched its head and stuttered forward with its big, bloodied hammer. The crinkling of his chains gave it an even creepier atmosphere. Sometimes, as Salik moved forward, it would flicker like static and change from dull to vibrant colors.
Agnis’s face paled at the sight before her. Like Zero, she was not a fan of horror movies like monsters. It gave her the shivers and sometimes even gave her dark dreams. She gulped at sight before her, not wanting to fight the monster that reminded her of a horror movie. “If we kill that thing, we’re not going to be cursed, right?” She gulped.
“I don’t know, but isn’t it better that we can kill it?” Zeraph replied, not phased at the monster in front of him. “I mean, I’ve always wanted to kill the monsters in the horror movies if they were chasing me down. At least they’re not unkillable monsters.”
“I know….I-it just twitched.” Agnis bite her lips, unable to hide her disgust.
“The boss’s name is Salik,” Zero spoke out loud for everyone to hear, even though he felt a bit uncomfortable fighting the monster ahead. “Get ready for battle!”
Everyone was tense, wondering what would happen in this unusual boss fight. Valiant’s black dragons and their companions were the first to blitz toward their enemies. The Frogmen were trampled in seconds, but strangely, a third did not fall under Valiant’s green flames. Instead, it went right past them unharmed.
“What the heck?!” Valiant yelled out in confusion.
The Frogman passed through them like they were not there and battled the second group of dragons in the physical realm. The second group fought viciously, but their fight took longer than Valiant’s. The level and strength difference was large, but that did not mean they were not incapable of winning
“Pay close attention! There are slight differences!” Zero was watching from the back. “Aim for the ashen-colored ones and the second group the vibrant-colored ones!” He quickly discovered that the color difference greatly impacted this battle.
The ashen-colored Frogman could only be killed by Zero’s group, during the vibrant-colored ones from the second group. Once the vibrant colored ones died, their spiritual body rose from the dead and attacked again like a vengeful spirit.
What was completely different from this fight was that the ashen-colored Frogman could also damage the second group but couldn’t be physically harmed by them.
“Den! Keep the dead at bay from the living!” Sekka called out. She was casting an area-wide effect of holy light with her gold dragon teammates. A warm protective aura hit every member of the first and the second group, giving a temporary holy light shield around their body.
Zero was awed at Sekka’s power to transcend to the other side of the physical barrier, if only at half the strength. Even still, that was enough to protect them from illness, curses, and shields that blocked them from dark magic attacks.
“I’m on it!” Den and his group zipped forward with their companions on their backs. They struck at the ashen-colored Frogman that went after the second party.
With a grunt, Salik summoned more Frogmen, doubling the second wave of attack.
Val’s sweet voice sprung from her mouth, and her songs began to play, giving a temporary boost in status. All the other bronze dragons and their companions followed pursuit, increasing the power of their song. A harmonious sound of the living and the dead created an eerie but heart-thumping song that revitalized both sides of the group.
Even Zero was itching to fight and test out what he could do. So he started to jog toward the enemy. Agnis, Baku, and Turnip’s group followed behind Zero, while Sekka, Kai, and Bee’s group stood back to cover the group’s rear doing crowd control. Long-distance magic was cast from their side, clearing the path for Zero, Baku, and Bee to follow.
They had two factors to worry about, the dead Frogman and the living Frogman that spilled over to the dead when they died. Everyone had to be careful not to ignore the living Frogman for fear of being stabbed in the back from not paying attention.
Baku and Turnip each shot out fire and water from their mouths, pushing back the Frogmen that
came out in droves.
Zero slipped past Baku and Turnip’s group and shot forward. His Kamori, beside him, struck Salik. Not even a second later, his sword slid through Salik as if he wasn’t even there. A blast of black energy erupted from Salik’s body, throwing Zero back. He flew and landed, sliding on the ground.
“What?” Stunned, Zero got up in complete disbelief. Was he not able to even defeat Salik without killing him first in the physical realm? But then, how could Salik possibly harm him in the spiritual world?
“Die!” Agnis shouted. Her arrows shot through, piercing the air. Once again, her arrows completely bypassed Agnis and came out the other side unharmed. Then, with a thunk, it embedded itself into the wall. Flabbergasted, Agnis was dazed at what had just happened.
“Pay attention to its color! It’s phasing in between the spiritual and physical world!” Zeraph
rushed over, his sword swoosh through the air and entered its gut with a jab.
Salik groaned, and in a matter of seconds, the heavy hammer dragging on the ground suddenly swung around, hitting Zeraph on his side. A sickening crack could be heard, but luckily for
Zeraph, he pulled his sword out just in time to block the attack. Seconds later, he was viciously slammed into the opposite wall from Zero.
Just a moment later, Salik roared and let out a blast of energy that sent out an electric shock wave. The shock wave range took out half the room, causing everyone near him to be electrocuted. Players were stunned left and right, and only those casting magic could get away because of their distance.
Frogmen were once again summoned around Zero’s stunned group. Suddenly, multiple magic arrows drew them away. Sekka’s group dashed forward, stopping the Frogmen from taking out the magic casters. They retaliated with fire and claw, making sure that none came close.
“Seka! They’re coming again from the left!” Leaf, Sekka’s partner, shot a magical arrow toward the second wave of Frogmen that died from under the second group. After that, the constant battle from the summoned Frogmen to the Frogmen that resurrected Salik’s phasing from one dimension to the next made it much more difficult to fight all at once.
The Second group broke into two groups, one taking care of the Frogmen and the second dove towards Salik on all sides. Salik was not fast on his feet, but its long arms were like whips that deflected the oncoming hordes of dragons and their companion.
Roars, flames, and even clashing swords against hammer boomed outwards. However, Salik didn’t falter and kept pushing forward even though it had large cuts and blood seeping out of its body. As the second group relentlessly attacked, Salik’s color slowly started to turn ashen till finally, all of the second group’s attacks did not phase it at all.
“First group, get ready to attack! The second group pulled back now! Do not get caught up by its attack!” Zero yelled. Throughout the fight, when the second group was fighting, he was killing Frogmen and watching Salik’s pattern.
Moments later, Salik sent out a stunning electrical attack that blew outwards toward the second group but not harming the first group.
“Now!” Zero dashed forward; he struck head-on. Zeraph followed behind; each taking turns to injure Salik as best as they could.
Taking a step backward, he ducked before the heavy blow of the hammer could crush Zero’s skull. The close encounter made his heart jump up into his throat.
Valiant dove in and blew a blast of green fire. His claws pushed downwards onto Salik’s heavy hammer, blowing fire into its deformed face. Salik’s face slowly started to melt like wax, but even still, he was not backing down. Instead, the other hand snaked around the heavy hammer and smashed into Valiant’s jaw. Following after, Salik wheeled around and smashed the hammer into Valiant’s side.
A heavy impact of the hammer hit his hard black scales, causing him to fly past Sekka and into the magician’s group. With a thud, he crumbled onto the floor, breathing heavily from his injury.
“Valiant!” Reed yelled as she rushed over to his side.
Valiant coughed up blood and spat it on the ground next to him. “That bastard’s hits are no joke.”
“You idiot! You’re not some god!” Reed shouted in anger. She placed her hands over Valiant’s injury and gave him first aid.
“I know, but I made its face uglier,” Valiant spoke with a grin, happy that his fire harmed Salik’s body. The other dragon’s flames did not cause much damage, but Valiant’s did.
“Quit talking; get healed first.”
“We don’t have time.” Valiant shakily got up, but his legs gave out, and he fell back to the ground.
“Well. Well. Well. The idiot has finally got badly injured.” Kai walked over with a smirk on his face. “How would you like to get healed? Burnt alive? Drown alive? Suffocated alive? Possibly buried alive?”
“Why does everything sound like you want to kill me?” Valiant frowned when Kai walked over. His gleaming green scales sparkled even under the dim light, giving it a gentle vibrant feel.
“Why not? You and Sekka must be killed in my hands to get your head on straight.” Kai roughly pushed Valiant onto his side, not even caring that he was an injured patient.
Valiant groaned and spat a puff of green fire onto Kai’s face. “Careful! I think I broke a couple of ribs!”
“Good.” Kai pressed his hands down near Valiant’s side with a wicked grin. “You need some pain to straighten out that idiot head of yours.” His claw hand became brilliant green, and a large soft aura started to heal Valiant’s side.
“You’re a demon.” Valiant hissed.
“I’m not an idiot like you, at least.”
A shock wave of energy shot outwards, this time bigger than before. Zero, Zeraph, and Agnis were in the middle of the battle with Salik. Each one held back the monster with everything they got. Zero’s and Seraph’s swords were like a pair of cranes doing their ritualistic dance as they jabbed, struck, and stabbed.
Salik did not phase in-between dimensions; instead, its fury couldn’t be contained. The giant hammer swung like a toy from all around him. However, few could get close to Salik and harm him directly. Mostly magic and arrows were able to hit Salik’s body, but it was not strong enough to cause significant harm.
On its body, Salik became littered with broken arrows that snapped off its deformed body.
The sound of the heavy hammer being hit down onto the ground picked up dust and broke deep into the ground.
Zero, Zeraph, and Agnis were hopping around, trying not to get hit too badly by its hammer. They knew that a few well-landed hits could shave their health down to the floor.
Zero flew in from the right, his sword slashed forward into three strikes, and his third strike got caught in-between Salik’s armpit. Then, with a grunt, Zero pushed all his strength into his arm and pulled upwards, slicing Salik’s shoulder clean.
Salik dropped his bloody hammer and flew toward the sword’s blade. Salik took Zero’s sword out of his hands with a vicious yank and twirled it against Zero. Strange energy encompassed Zero’s sword, causing it to have erratic energy. Usually, his sword couldn’t harm him because it was made from his energy, but the one flying toward Zero was different. The broken sword was thrown into Zero’s shoulder, pinning him to the ground.
“Augh!” Zero yelled out in pain. He reached over towards the hilt in the hopes of pulling it out, but the hilt was too far away for him to grab. Black blood covered the whole blade, and a wild hissing sound could be heard on Zero’s shoulder. The black blood was slowly eroding his shoulder, giving him a painful burn.
“Zero!” Agnis fired arrow after arrow into the open gash of Salik’s wound, making Salik stumble backward in pain.
Zeraph dashed forward in front of Zero. “Death Flash!” A flurry of attacks that even a Zero couldn’t see after were shot towards in rapid succession. Several large wounds opened up, gushing out black blood.
Agnis pulled the sword out of Zero’s shoulder and pulled him away from Salik’s rampaging hand. A deadly whirling roar fired out from Salik’s mouth. The whirlwind-like attack pushed everyone back, and following after was an electric blast. Its body color turned from ashen to vibrant, moving dimensions.
Zeraph, Zero, and Agnis were caught up in its electric blast, unable to move. Large swarms of Frogmen hopped toward them to kill them in their immobile state.
“Captain!” A blur of black and gold sprung forward, guarding all three of them against the Frogmen’s attack. Their group followed after, pushing back the Frogmen from over-running them.
“Are you alright, captain?!” Valiant spat out the green fire and smashed a Frogman into the
ground. He was completely healed from Kai’s magic.
Sekka swirled around, bashing them with her golden tail. Light magic arrows flew all around her, causing devastation with every step she took. To see two giant dragons fighting side-by-side was truly an extraordinary sight, especially of two opposing dragon forces that, even through endless generations, would always quarrel against one another.
“Thanks to you.” Agnis helped up zero. The stunning effect was finally gone, allowing them to get up.
“I’m glad you’re okay, Captain. That was a sweet attack~” Valiant happily squashed a Frogman with his claws. A sickening squish could be heard, but this did not phase Valiant.
Instead, Reed, who was on his back, twitched and looked like she was about to hurl.
“Glad to see you guys here,” Agnis spoke with a sigh. “This idiot forgot that he almost got himself killed.”
“That’s what I say to Valiant all the time!” Reed threw her hands in the air, completely understanding Agnis’s point.
“He’ll be fine.” Zeraph rolled his eyes. He flicked his sword free of black blood and put it back into his sheath.
“Fine? That’s a matter of opinion. He would’ve died if we didn’t save him.” Agnis frowned.
“This is a battle. You’ll eventually die if you’re not careful.”
“That’s why we have friends backing each other up.” Agnis sighed at Seraph’s answer.
“No time to dawdle. It seems the second group had forced it to cross back into our dimension.” So Zeraph ran off and once again battled Salik.
“So soon?” Agnis was stumped on how quickly Salik had shifted back into their side.
“The injury might be telling us that it’s close to death. Let’s get this over and done with.” Zero gritted his teeth and straightened himself. He took a pill out of his pocket and chewed on it. A small burst of energy could be felt as his body started to repair itself.
“Wait, let me heal you.” Agnis raised her hands and gave him a gentle water-healing spell for beginners. “It’s not much, but at least it’s something.”
“No problem.” Her magic couldn’t heal much like a regular priest or a Green Dragon, but it stopped the bleeding and the corrosion effect on Zero’s body. “It’ll be best if you get it looked at by Kai.”
“We don’t have time.” Zero grabbed his sword off the ground. He again started to walk and turned into a jog toward Salik.
“Still…” Agnis was a bit worried about Zero’s physical condition. She could see he couldn’t swing his left shoulder where the blade had struck.
“We don’t know what will happen next when he dies. He hasn’t even completely shifted into the spiritual world; we need to get his life down as soon as possible.”
“I know. I am also worried about that.” Agnis raised her bow and fired off holy endowed arrows. Each fire found its mark, not leaving a single miss.
Zero left Agnis behind and ran around Salik. He dove forward, attacking from behind. Even without looking backward, Salik stopped Zero’s attack as if it was nothing. His head unnaturally cracked and turned towards Zero.
“What?!” Alarmed, Zero jumped backward in surprise. The creepy ability to turn its head around made even Zero’s neck uncomfortable.
With a cackle, Salik rattled his chain, shuffling forward eerily. If they were alone fighting Salik and his minion, one would think that they had stumbled upon a first-grade horror film from the background music, atmosphere, and the monster in front of them.
Salik smashed his hammer into Zero. Zero raised his sword just in time to block the attack. He skidded on the ground, feeling a horrible pain in his arm and hand. The power from Salik’s attack was not just for show; he felt frustrated that he couldn’t change into his dragon form when he needed to.
Zero dashed once again, and not even a second later, he was blocked again. Anger welled up inside him, making him more reckless. His calm demeanor was thrown out the window, but this did not make him more powerful or quicker. Even if it gave him a boost of power, his rationality to think ahead and instinctually use his attacks with precision was lowered.
All his life’s teaching in martial arts was temporarily thrown out the window. He knew anger would make his attacks easier to read and figure out. It didn’t take long for him to be beaten back and a good punch to his stomach woke him up. His whole body was aching, torn, and bloodied. The others slowly lost their stamina and power from fighting a long battle.
Everywhere he looked, both groups were barely hanging on; Salik was continuously spewing
out Frogmen and phasing in-between worlds. The fight between the two sides with Salik was shortening, making the advancement towards him more difficult, especially whenever it would blast out a static shock that would stun everyone.
With a deep breath, he calmed himself down. I can’t be so reckless and angry. He repeated this mantra over and over again. He was letting his mind cool down and allowing his mind to clear up. For a long time, throughout his whole fight inside the Pyramid, he realized that he was too tense and in too much of a hurry to change.
Once he cleared his mind and allowed his heart to settle, he could see why he couldn’t change. Powerful energy bursts forward in his heart and throughout his body. His chest felt hot and burning with fire. He could feel that he could change into a dragon form and shed his human skin.
His hands became obsidian black with claws, and his body rippled with thick muscles, giving him power. His neck grew long like a whip, and from his head, a long sleek pair of horns grew with gold feathers decorating his ears and neck. Beautiful gold markings decorated his scales, making him look even more majestic than before.
Just standing in front of Salik, the others couldn’t help but feel in awe at the pressure that Zero’s body gave off. It did not compare to Salik’s, and even Salik knew the difference in Zero’s body from before. Zero was tall as a three-story building, while the others dragons barely even came up to his knee or chest.
Zero’s tail swished back and forth, creating a heavy air push. Finally, a puff of smoke erupted out of his nose, and his closed eyes opened, letting his dazzling golden eyes stare down at Salik as if he were a minor bug.
“S….o….. it’s….true.” For the first time, Salik spoke through his sewed mouth. It was an eerie combination of fingernails running down a chalkboard and a high pitch sound.
Everyone was startled at Salik, who suddenly spoke.
“The…prince…of dragons…..has returned.”
At that moment, a gust of powerful dark energy spread out from Salik and covered half the room. A monstrous large swarm of Frogmen appeared from the darkness and started its attack on Zero.
Zero inhaled deeply; his chest glowed lime green as it swelled. Then, letting out a torrent of green flames, it devoured through the Frogman in one blow. Unholy screams could be heard from the mouth of the Frogmen that would make anyone present shiver.
Everyone was awed at his majestic appearance and power that they couldn’t help but look towards him with favor. Every dragon, both living and dead, look up to him in dazzlement.
Zero swung forward with his right claw and smashed against Salik’s heavy hammer. Seconds later, Zero blew a fierce green fire from his mouth and onto Salik’s whole body. He was covered head to toe in ghastly flames.
Zeraph jumped onto Zero’s arm and ran along the top. His sword patiently waited to be pulled out from his sheathe. Then, jumping up from Zero’s hand, he pulled out his sword and aimed directly at Salik’s heart. He pushed the sword deeply through the back with every bit of strength.
An unholy scream of thousands of dying voices erupted from Salik’s mouth. Then, a black and green gust of wind erupted outwards as souls escaped from its body and disappeared into thin air.
Salik stumbled forward with its body still in flames as it fell onto its knees.
“Ha….ha…haha….hahahahaha!” The sewn stitches broke apart, and Salik threw his distorted head backward. Salik didn’t seem to die, even burning in green flames, but slowly melted.
Everyone was shocked to see such a strange event that it gave shivers to whoever was watching.
Salik abruptly stopped laughing and turned his head directly towards Zero. The sewn mouth was finally free. “My prince. Welcome home.” With an evil grin, he once again barked out laughing.
Zero couldn’t take it anymore and blew out a torrent of brighter green flames at Salik, his claw’s hands crashing down, snuffing out the monster’s life in seconds.
The room cleared from the dreary dark atmosphere, and a soft white light entered. Zero lifted his hand and saw only a black scorching mark on the ground from the fire, and the giant bloodied hammer left where Salik’s stood.
Players and dragons alike burst into cheers as the boss monster was dead. The overpowering form of Zero was etched in their mind with glamor as they glanced up toward Zero with glee.
Oct. 28, 2054. Wednesday. 7:05 PM.
Kiyro sat in front of the coach in front of a large 80′ T.V. in the lobby. Next to him were Alex and Eve, who were taking a break from the game of Growth and watching a special one-hour program that was more like news mixed with a reality show together. Since the last battle with floor 40’s boss, they had pushed through the floors, quickly making their way to the forty-fifth floor.
They had planned to meet at the library to talk about the strategic battle to come inside the game of Growth, and now they decided to spend the last hour relaxing and watching T.V. Alex had a bag of popcorn in his hands, eating it slowly. At the same time, Eve’s legs were curled up next to her.
“Breaking news. Another murder art that appeared in the local area in Springfield, Illinois, happened this morning in a rural area. Inside a small home, Miss Robinson was killed alive and tortured.” A pretty lady with caramel-colored hair spoke. Sitting right next to her was an African American man in a suit holding onto a stack of papers, glancing down uncomfortably. “This has been the seventh chain murder case in America.”
The screen changes to an older man standing in front of the camera, talking to the local newscast. “I have known Miss Robinson since she was born. She was a sweet child who did not deserve to die so cruelly. She was known as a brilliant bright child with a beautiful smile. You could feel calm and happy being around her whenever she spoke. Whoever did this to her is a sick bastard who must be sent to jail and given a death sentence!” The old man was fuming in anger.
“Truly a horror story in the making. So far, there have not been many clues of this pretentious attack, but we are certain there are some similarities in all these murders. We believe this killer is a religious fanatic that brands the dead with a black cross left behind on the person’s skin.” The lady spoke with her hands crossed in front of her. “What do you think, Mr. Samuel? You are the famous psychological leading expert who wrote The Demon and I. We heard that you are also taking part in this case. Do you think this is a religious statement against society?”
“I wouldn’t say this is a religious war at all. Please don’t misunderstand me; before we jump into religion, we should base this case on what this killer wants to portray to the viewers. This is called the Murder Art case for a reason.”
“What exactly are you trying to say?”
“Art is a form of expression, especially of oneself and the person’s surroundings. This killer, in a sense, has an artistic taste; there is a high possibility he could be an artist. The way that he poses each body reminds you of activity. The first one was The Mother and Child, the Ballerina, the Yin and Yang, Box-in, Cat and Mouse, Caged Room, and finally moving onto the Kickball. We are not sure if this is just a random act of murder, but each time this has happened, the media has brought these ‘Art’ to life, bringing more attention to them.”
“Then are you saying that Media are the cause of these deaths?” The lady was taken a bit back by Samuel’s statement.
“Yes and no. Yes, in a sense that we are fanning the flame of the killer’s ego by bringing his artwork to the spotlight. All artists, whether in drawing, music, dancing or any form of ‘entertainment,’ want their ‘Art’ to be known and viewed. It’s a natural creative process that one wants to share with the viewers. One’s art is not just for oneself, you know. It is a pleasurable experience that one shares in the moment of the finished product.”
“So this is entertainment as a whole?”
“Exactly, A pleasurable experience that they want to show the world. The media is a powerful tool in bringing his art to the viewers. More and more people who watch this show or search the internet would be able to know why. Why does this person do this horrible thing? What reason? For what purpose? Even still, the humanities curiosity can not be quenched until this answer is answered.”
“So by doing this show, we’re just fuming the flames.”
“Yes, though at the same time, we are using the media to catch this culprit that seems to elude us like a ghost. Our investigation is still pending right now.”
“Why did you state that this might not be a religious statement?”
“Well, for starters, even though this person is possible of a religious nature, that does not mean that they are being condemned for not believing. It is one of the signatures left behind by the killer in every victim. The irony of this whole matter is that this ‘religious’ person is doing the opposite of the religious belief that One shall not murder on the Christian or Catholic aspect.”
“Ah, I see.”
“We’re not completely sure what the killer wants to portray exactly; in any case, we believe the killer will eventually falter. We are confident in this aspect. One can only go so far in today’s society, killing another human being after another without slipping.”
“That’s quite a strong statement.” The lady smiled with a wide grin.
“We are confident in what we do, and we wanted to reassure the people that people are working diligently on this case and bringing justice to the criminal.”
“Truly, what a heartwarming speech.” With a gentle clap, her eyes were bright with expectation.
“Though, there is another interesting story that I wanted to share with you that has been
happening recently in South Carolina these past few months.”
“What would that be?”
“Well, in all honesty, I find this creepy even talking about it, but recently there have been sightings in Greenville, South Carolina, of a clown appearing near the woods, enticing young children to come in and follow them.”
“Ah, I heard about that recently as well. Although, it’s not very often that you hear these stories of clowns calling people into the dark woods. This case has been reported since 1934, and some speculate even further than that. There have been many colorful histories of possible event in the past where a young man had held a house in the woods. Supposedly, he was one of the workers in the circus that usually came by in the past but died tragically in his home. Since then, clown cases have been reported in the local woods.”
“Is that house still there?” The lady gulped as she clenched her hands tightly.
“Well, no. There is no house there, but these are all just superstitions passed down from mouth to mouth. Demons are a figment of one’s imagination; all conjured up in mind. We fear and label what we don’t understand as demons or monsters.”
“Not many people would believe what you have to say.”
“That’s fine. I understand that my opinions and ideas do not fit with everyone else. However, I am ninety-nine percent confident in refuting such thoughts with scientific knowledge. In all actuality, if someone could disapprove of such thoughts, I welcome it with open arms.” Sam joyfully stated. “If such an existence were even real, then this world would be put to the test, correct?”
“I’m not so sure if I want to know if there are such things as demons in this world. The thought terrifies me.”
“That is a normal reaction that any human has. The unknown is frightening, but when revealed, don’t you think that fear would eventually disappear, making it easier to defeat?”
“Please be more confident.” Sam smiled. “Bringing something under the light, we can see the source of the fear that bogs down our mind and heart. This gives us a fighting chance to turn it into a weapon.”
“Ah, I see. Well, for viewers watching this, it would be best to remind your kids about the dangers of the clowns trying to kidnap them. I wouldn’t want such things to happen to their family any time soon. Let’s get off these spooky topics for now and instead thank you for joining us here at Solara.” She sticks out her hands to shake Sam.
“No, thank you for bringing me to the show.” He grabbed her hands and firmly shook them.
The program went into a commercial, leaving a silent atmosphere between the three. Each one of them was thinking about what they had just watched.
“I heard about the Murder Art.” Eve was the first to speak up, catching Alex’s and Kiyro’s attention. “I didn’t think that it would’ve gotten this bad. I mean, the last time was during the time….of the ….college.” Her voice became smaller and smaller at the thought of the event.
Even Kiyro could remember that special event clearly in his mind. Even if he wanted to delete it from his mind, he couldn’t. His amazing memory did not let him. “In total, there are seven. You think that he will continue with this show?”
“That’s an absolute fact, isn’t it?” Agnis’s voice trembled. She, too, knew who it was that killed the two students, making her tremble in fear.
“Let’s not talk about this. It gives me the shivers.” Zero felt like hundreds of bugs were crawling up under the skin just thinking about Angel. Just being in the same room with him made him feel suffocated and fearful. That was a man who would kill without a second thought and was mentally insane—a sociopath to the core.
Eve nodded and unconsciously scooted a bit closer toward Kiyro in hopes of protection and comfort. However, Kiyro could feel her warm body temperature a few inches away from him. He suddenly became conscious of her body and couldn’t help but feel a bit nervous.
Looking over Eve’s shoulder, Kiyro noticed Alex seemed troubled over something. “Alex?” He
called out, breaking Alex’s silence.
“Huh?” Alex turned around towards him, a bit startled.
“Is everything okay?”
“I….” Alex took a deep breath to clear his mind. “Yea, thanks. I’ll go on ahead. I got something
important I need to do.”
“Alright, don’t forget we’re going to push through the next two levels tonight.”
“I know. I’ll see you in the next thirty minutes.” Alex got up in a hurry and left the two behind.
“What’s wrong with him?” Eve quizzically watched; Alex back left in a hurry.
“I don’t know, but it might have to do with what we watched.
“Yeah, I think so too. I had never seen him so serious while watching T.V. before. Usually, he’s uncaring and gets bored easily.”
Kiyro thought it over for a moment, but he couldn’t think of anything. So instead, he silently watched T.V. with Eve. Without him realizing it, Eve gently leaned on his shoulder.
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