“Marcus?” Alexus asked again, this time louder than before.
The person slowly turned around. Alexus thought he saw a glimpse of red light shining through Marcus’ gaze. Marcus was wearing a black and white suit that was completely out of place in the cave. A red tie accentuated his whole outfit.
“Marcus?” This time it was Crystal who spoke up, dazed that they had been seeing Marcus for a
long time. “It is Marcus!” She rushed over.
“Crystal!” Alexus grabbed Crystal’s hand, stopping her.
“What? Why are you stopping me?” Crystal asked, confused by Alexus’ action. “We were searching for him all this time. He’s right there.”
“Something is wrong,” Alexus said. He could tell that there was something wrong. His gut instinct told him that the Marcus they knew wasn’t the same Marcus he remembered.
“I think you’re over exaggerating.”
“I’m not; just watch.” Alexus hissed.
Marcus stood up straight with his hands to his back. He said, “It has been a while.” There was a slightly deeper tone to his familiar voice and energy fluctuations that Alexus couldn’t quite put his mind on.
“Yes, it has,” Alexus replied, his right hand resting on his sword, ready to pull out when needed. “Where have you been?”
“You couldn’t have told us this?”
“I was in a hurry.”
“A hurry to just get up and leave. That doesn’t make sense, Marcus; you aren’t the type to abandon us just like that. Plus, when we found your room, it was in a mess as if you were fighting something….”
Marcus waved his hand. “It was nothing of a big concern.”
Alexus didn’t believe him. His whole demeanor and manner were different; his appearance was the only thing that stayed true. “There is something you aren’t telling us.”
“And that is?” Marcus replied. There wasn’t a hint of uncertainty in his voice but of annoyance.
Alexus pulled out his sword in a flash. A blast of golden energy headed straight toward Marcus.
Marcus raised his hand, deflecting the magic that was hurled at him.
“Look!” Alexus pointed.
Marcus’ hands were completely dyed in black, as well as his eyes. His pupil was red as it wavered in the light.
“You’re a demon.” Crystal choked, “How? Why?”
Marcus didn’t budge from Crystal’s words; his hand rubbed his hand, pulling back to his head as his whole demeanor changed.
“Marcus is dead.”
“What?!” Crystal asked, confused.
“It’s like I have said. Marcus is no more.” Marcus smiled.
The whole aura around Marcus shifted and changed. Darkness seeped out of his body and into the ground.
“Who are you?” Alexus asked.
“My name is Pride.” Marcus took a step forward. “And I am exhilarated to see that you have arrived here. Sloth. Gluttony. Wrath. Greed.”
“What are you talking about?” Crystal asked. “They are dead.”
Pride chuckled. “Oh, no. They are never dead.” His grin became bigger, “they just transferred to their new host, and now you are what you were all hunting down for. We never die, my lady. We all just transfer, and the strongest will dominates the body until one shows weakness.”
“What are you talking about? They are dead.” Jones blurted out. “We killed them with our own hands.” He stepped forward.
“If only you knew,” Pride sighed. “You all were called here. Chosen from the best of the best of the Ouroboros. Each of you were the perfect candidate to host the power of the Deadly Sins.”
“Well, you’re one short, and the other is nowhere near here.”
“Absolutely not. Envy is heading this way as we speak. He will be here in the next hour.”
“That’s impossible. It took us days to arrive here.”
“Ah, you forget. We all have unique powers. Right about now, he should be learning how to use it,” said Pride, “But that is beside the point. To evolve once again, we needed a new host to arrive here. Ah, yes, and Lust. I have her here.”
Pride had a black orb in his hand that appeared out of his fingers. “She took some time to extract, but it was doable.” He walked forward. Each step brought a heaviness in the air that caused the other Ouroboros to quiver as they kneeled in front of Pride as if he was a king.
Stopping in front of Simon, Pride glanced down. “Perfect.”
“Stop!” Alexus swung another blast of golden energy straight at Pride again, just like before. Pride reflected it with a flick of his wrist. This time, Alexus ran over, swinging his blade. Landing perfectly down at Pride.
Pride did a roundhouse kick, his feet smashing into Alexus’ stomach. Then, throwing him in the air as he slid across the ground.
Pride flipped his hand with the black orb over Simon’s head. Dripping down, the black orb melded into Simon’s forehead.
With a painful scream, Simon buckled forward, clutching his head. He struggled, rolled, and continued to make a racket. Finally, Simon went silent as he lay on the ground.
“What did you do?” Crystal asked in horror.
Pride raised his fingers, silencing her.
Alexus got up, glaring at Pride.
“The old must die to be reincarnated into the new.” Pride replied.
“Stop!” Crystal shouted as she fired multiple rounds at Pride. A black magical barrier shrouded Pride, keeping him safe.
With a groan, Simon got up. His shoulders were hunched as he straightened himself. Sweat glistened on his face, giving him a pale look.
“Guys?” Simon asked, confused. “What’s going on?”
Crystal ran over, her gun pointing straight at Simon. “Are you Simon?” She asked, coldly staring down.
“What?” Simon asked groggily.
“Where did we first meet?”
“Sarasota. What’s with the questioning? It’s me. Simon, for christ’s sake, put away that gun.” Simon got up, rubbing his forehead. “I don’t like having a gun put to my face when I wake up.”
“Yep, it’s him.” Crystal lowered his gun.
“How….” Timothy asked, completely baffled at what he had seen. “That’s way too easy. Are you sure there wasn’t something else?”
“How are you so sure? Marcus over there calls himself Pride and kicks Alexus across the room.” Timothy thundered. “I would be more worried if Simon would be going against us.”
“You’re crazy.” Simon bluntly said. “I wouldn’t have come this far with you guys just to turn my back. It’s not my motto.”
“Are you sure?” Timothy asked, “How would I know you wouldn’t just stab us in the back.”
“I forgot how skeptical you tend to be. Good old Timothy.”
“He’s just making sure,” said Crystal. “I did too.”
“I know.” Simon sighed. “So, Pride. Why did you do that?”
Alexus wanted to know as well. Why were they all gathered here in the first place? Why them?
“I’ll tell you….when Envy arrives.” Pride replied nonchalantly, crossing his arm in front of him. It was as if there was no hurry. “Ah, here he is.”
Right on cue, a portal the size of a man appeared in the middle of the cave. Gerald stepped out, completely confused.
“What are you guys doing here?” Gerald spoke, looking around. “Wait, why are you all staring at me like that?”
“Do you have the ability to teleport?” Jones asked in awe. “I don’t even have that ability.”
“I just found out how to use it.” Gerald replied, “What was odd was that I had a strong urge to enter. I didn’t know where I was going, but I knew I needed to get somewhere. I just didn’t think it would be here with you guys in the middle of the cave.” Gerald frowned.
“Well, welcome, Envy. Good to see that you have arrived on time.” Pride spoke.
Gerald turned around, wondering who it was. When he saw Marcus standing there without a single scratch on him, his eyes widened in shock. “You’re here, Marcus? I thought you were dead.”
“Do I look dead to you?”
“Never. You were always too slow to figure out what was going on. Your Envy has always cost you to be blindsided by the things around you. The power suits you as Each of you as well.” Pride gazed around at each person, one by one. “You were all chosen by the large sense of human emotions living inside your mind and heart. Festering into a cesspool of space for us to live in.”
“Us?” Gerald asked, “What is he talking about?”
“That’s not Marcus,” Timothy replied. “He’s taken over by Pride.
“I knew it!” Gerald said with a smile. “I was right all this time! He was in cahoots with the deadly sins from the start!”