Mogul vs. Remnants
With the death of Paladin Decen of Acadia, Prime Aspect Mogul continued his hunt to eliminate all the Paladins in the multiverse, and bring back the proper mantle of lordship to the Aspects.
The following story arc follows the story of the remnants, beings created from Decen's soul and essence, as they find their ways together, from their own stories and their own origins, to band together with the help of Guardian Merrow Rivenlight to avenge the death of their progenitor, and stop Mogul for good.
This story arc serves as a prelude to The Chronicles of Croft.
- 1 Prologue (Decen of Acadia)
- 2 Chapter 1 (Remnant 1)
- 3 Chapter 2 (Remnant 1)
- 4 Chapter 3 (Remnant 1)
- 5 Chapter 4 (Remnant 9)
- 6 Chapter 5 (Remnant 9)
- 7 Chapter 6 (Remnant 1)
- 8 Chapter 7 (Remnant 9)
- 9 Chapter 8 (Remnant 1)
- 10 Chapter 9 (Remnant 9)
- 11 Chapter 10 (Remnant 1)
- 12 Chapter 11 (Remnant 9)
- 13 Chapter 12 (Remnant 1)
- 14 Chapter 13 (Remnant 9)
- 15 Chapter 14 (Remnant 9)
- 16 Chapter 15 (Remnant 1)
- 17 Chapter 16 (Remnant 1)
- 18 Chapter 17 (Remnant 9)
- 19 Chapter 18 (Remnant 9)
Prologue (Decen of Acadia)
"Get up, Master Decen." Sentry muttered from his numerous face wounds. His face unrecognizable. His armour shattered.
I stared at my body, which was broken. My bones were shattered, I had a punctured lung, and I could feel my consciousness disappearing. Merrow standing between me and Mogul, her face bloodied.
"Little Neptunian, you are delaying the inevitable." Mogul spoke, his voice like knife scraping against rock. If only I had my Restoration back. Or my Absorption. But it was no use. Mogul had taken it all. For the first time in my life, I felt truly helpless. Weak. Vulnerable. Like all the people I had killed.
Merrow spun her spear, at lightning speed, water and green lightning coming together as one into a huge barrier. "Cheesen, I'm not going to let you die. I'm not going to leave my Paladin."
Mogul grinned sinisterly.
"Damn.... it all." I growled, clawing at the ground, trying to find any leverage.
Everything was taken from me. First, my chance to become the number one Paladin, then my powers. I did everything right. I did whatever was necessary to be the strongest. And to have it all taken away.
Mogul striked, the force breaking through Merrow's Hydropower barrier.
"STOP!" I summoned the last of my strength, but before I could process anything else, my vision turned bright.
Streams. Streams of water and floating platforms. I looked around me, and realized I was standing on one of these platforms, suspended in mid air, like a floating city. I knew this place. I learned of this during my studies in the Paladin Collective.
I was in the Restoration Force.
I walked up the platforms, leaping from one to another. Without my powers I realized how unathletic I was. I had always depended on them, because training my body was pointless when the Restoration Force and Absorption took care of everything. Now it was really coming back to bite me in the ass.
I finally reached the top platform, which was decorated with lines of ancient Acadi. Svarkop Rolaa'ah. Elder Rolah.
I went up to the elder and politely grabbed him by the collar, shaking the old geezer.
"Grand Elder Rolah, I need my powers back. My comrades are going to die and I must kill Mogu-"
Rolah grabbed my hand, turning around and staring at me with void eyes.
"Paladin Decen of War. You have seen many battles, and fought with the Restoration Force for years. A truly remarkable warrior indeed."
I was getting impatient. "Listen here you geezer. I don't have time for this. I need my powers back I need-"
"Your powers aren't coming back."
My eyes widened. I stepped back, in pure devastation. "What... what the hell do you mean they're not coming back?" I whispered.
Rolah walked up to me, analyzing me like a book. "It must be this way. This must happen."
I clenched my fists. "What game are you playing at. You're the Paladin of HOPE. So give me HOPE. My friends, my FAMILY is going to die!"
Rolah turned around, his white beard fluttering in the air. "Friends, family. Did you not forsake these things, when you swore to be the strongest of our kind?"
"ENOUGH with the preaching! Look I get it. I was wrong. I took everything for granted. I'm sorry. Okay? Can I just have my powers back?"
"You are not truly sorry. You are only sorry because you have finally seen the true horror, the true horror that is death."
I tried to contain my rage, but I couldn't. I swung my fist. "Don't start preaching to me you old piece of -"
My rant was interrupted by a sudden back hand from the Elder. I was sent flying several feet backwards, landing on the platform, groaning and wheezing.
"Why the sudden change of heart? Paladin of War? Why love your Guardian? Why love your Familiar?"
I was barely able to speak, clutching my midsection but I managed to mutter. "Because... because they love me. They took care of me, and put up with me even though I did these things..."
I coughed, spitting out blood. My body was no longer quasi-static. It was human. So very human. And fragile.
"I don't deserve them, but they came in my life anyway. To make me realize... realize..."
Rolah approached me, his red robes dancing with the wind. "Realize what?"
"I was still worth loving." I closed my eyes aggressively, tears leaking through the sides. I took everything for granted, and it had to take the loss of my powers, the death of Jonna, everybody. It took all this to realize how ungrateful I really was.
Rolah was silent for a few seconds, then knelt down. "You have my blessing."
I looked up, in shock. "What?"
"You have my blessing to call upon the Power of the Paladins."
The Power of the Paladins. I had no idea what that was. Even during my studies of it, no one really knew what it was. It was just some random thing we learned, but the only thing we knew was it required the blessing of an Elder to achieve. And here I was.
"Will it help me kill Mogul?" I asked.
"Yes." Rolah responded. "But not in a way you might imagine.
"The Power of the Paladins shall bring upon a new age, from which you will be the progenitor. The stem, the seed for which numerous branches shall grow. Think. Think about what you should have done, how you should have lived your life. And the Power shall flow through you."
How should I have lived my life. I should have lived my life as someone who didn't blame my shortcomings on other people. I should have blamed it on myself. Because I was incompetent. Cursed. Everybody else, they were better than me. I would have been a better person, and become great, just like Icarus. But not through bloodshed. But through something else.
My vision shunted back to reality as I watched Merrow hit the ground in front of me. Sentry shouting her name. I couldn't take this anymore. I had the Power of the Guardians now, whatever the hell that was. I struggled to my feet, by some miracle and trudged towards Mogul's body. I could feel immense pressure from the Corruption aura he was giving off, but I didn't care. I was already corrupted. Polluted with sin. There wasn't much to lose.
"The depowered Paladin approaches. Come, and let us finish this. Know your place, servant of the Acadians."
I lifted my arm, thinking about how my life could have gone differently.
"I know my place. I'm gonna kill you, you ugly orc. With the Power of the Guardians!" I growled, releasing anything, imagining the power exiting my hand.
Mogul smirked and grabbed me by the throat, lifting me up as I began to choke, my vision turning dark.
"Delusional ant. For a second, I was going to cherish this execution. But to know you still live in your silly world of fantasy makes me sick. I shall rid of you and your pathetic kind."
I tried to grab his hand, but to no avail. Merrow screamed my name as I felt the bones in my neck crack as everything went dark, my body fading, my consciousness fading, everything withering away. I could feel my soul leaving my body, dispersing out.
So I guess this was it. The Power of the Paladins didn't work. I'm so sorry, Merrow. Connor.
Since I was dying anyway... I could ponder about it. What it was like.
Think. Think about what you should have done, how you should have lived your life.
Probably muscles. Yeah. Muscles would be great. Getting muscles from hitting the gym. Like that model. Samuel Mason. I'm sure he wouldn't mind having another Samuel Mason to honour his name. But maybe some kind of backstory to it. Something to drive me, maybe a drive to be great?
To be great, not by bloodshed. Not by being a killer. But by something else.
By being a hero.
Chapter 1 (Remnant 1)
Guardian Merrow Rivenlight. The Guardian of Paladin Decen of Acadia, the Lady of the Seas, and the protector of War. Lady Rivenlight was renowned for her incredible skill with the spear, her technique surpassing even Decen himself, despite my Progenitor possessing the memories and skills of numerous warriors.
When I had met Lady Rivenlight through my visions, she was ultimately the hardest opponent I had fought. I have lost to many honorable warriors, some among the likes of Kronos, the King of the Titans, and Taras, the Ancient of the Underworld. I have battled deities, Angels of the Silver Legion, and countless armies in my days serving the armies of Argen. Despite this, no one came close to Lady Rivenlight.
Guardian Merrow was among the most respected warriors I have ever had the honor to journey with... and she's apparently buying me clothes.
"You need a coat."
Merrow picked out several garments from the wares of a merchant. No. Not a merchant. A store. I have only spent a few weeks with Lady Rivenlight, and amongst these weeks, I had been introduced to a plethora of new technologies, civilizations, and customs. This... mall, that the Lady speaks of, it reminded me greatly of the Plaza back in Argen.
Thinking about Argen made me smile, but at the same time, filled me with sadness, knowing I will never see the young children in the Church ever again. Along with Lyra and Kaius. My dearest friends.
"Hey. You okay?" Merrow looked at me with a concerned expression.
"I apologize, Lady Rivenlight. I'm just... adjusting. It is difficult to let go." I confessed.
Merrow smiled gently and put her hand on my shoulder. "Merrow is fine, Arman. I know this is hard, and I don't know what I can do to help you adjust. But know that what we're doing is to benefit the multiverse. You're protecting Lyra and Kaius by helping me defeat Mogul."
I sighed. "I know."
Merrow held out several jackets, which had interesting patterns. The garments that I had been introduced to were unlike anything I had ever seen growing up. These seemed strange, woven materials down to a microscopic level. Nylon and fibers.
"I like that one." I pointed to the green coat. It possessed several pockets, and straps on the shoulders. I wasn't sure what made it so appealing, as the straps did not serve much of a purpose. But Lady Rivenlight had explained to me that this appeal was called "fashion".
"Great!" Merrow added the garment to the clothes she helped me select.
"Will this aid me in combat?" I asked Merrow.
Merrow finished the transaction and gave me the bag... plastic. A strange material. Neither strong, nor weak. "Well, not really. But it will help keep you warm depending on the temperature. Plus it helps you fit in around here more. I mean, the whole strap and shoulder guard thing is only cool when you're in a battle. Not so much when we're in public."
"I trust you, Lady Rivenlight."
Merrow laughed. "Aww, Arman. You're so sweet. So polite too. If only Decen was more like you."
"I'm sure my progenitor had his reasons."
We continued walking, as I donned on my new attire. My Argen gear was stashed away, into a miniature disc, magical, for when I needed to re-equip it during battle. My attire had changed drastically, and the comfort was incredible. As such for a technologically more advanced generation I suppose.
I looked at my reflection. Dark black jeans, slightly baggy, more slim fit than my old pants. A white T-shirt, black hooded jacket, and the green outer coat. Around my neck was my scarf, that was gifted to me by my allies of Cabin 6, the offspring of the Blacksmith, Hephaestus.
"Looking good, Arman!" Merrow complimented me.
"It is certainly more comfortable. But..."
"It doesn't feel the same, huh."
"I'm very sorry Lady Rivenlight. I know you mean well. I really appreciate these garments, but-"
Merrow cut me off. "You're used to your old clothes. Which makes sense. You've grown up with them. But if you want to blend in here, you have to adjust to their customs. When we return home, you can return to your old attire!"
"Thank you, I apologize I-"
Merrow interrupted me once more, as we continued walking back to our place. "It's OKAY, Arman. Jeez, you really need to lighten up! Just because I'm Decen's Guardian doesn't mean you have to always address me as Lady Rivenlight, or agree with everything I say!"
I frowned. "But you're my Progenitor's Guardian, you are of high esteem."
Merrow laughed. "And you're Decen's FIRST Remnant. Give yourself a little credit! You and I, we're both bound to Decen, there's no hierarchy to it."
"Hey there, hot stuff." A bulky, tall man approached Merrow. I narrowed my eyes. Judging from his arm position, and the way he bent it, it was as if he was intentionally flexing his muscles. I had seen similar attempts used by warriors to assert dominance on their opponents. Did this man wish to challenge Lady Rivenlight to a bout?
Merrow ignored the man, and continued walking down the street.
"Hey. I was talking to you." The man went up to Merrow, and grabbed her arm.
"Sir, if you wish to initiate a bout with Lady Rivenlight, I don't believe she is interested. I am sorry." I told the man.
"The hell are you talking about, I can't even see you down there, midget." The man swung his fist at my face, which I blocked instinctively. My eyes flashed with millions of silhouettes of the man, swinging his fist in several ways, then several shoves, a few hooks. Judging from the way Combat Intuition picked up so few moves, the man had a very limited fighting pattern. Why would someone with such a low proficiency in combat challenge Lady Rivenlight?
"Damn. Got some spunk on ya. This your girl? Well, be honored, I'll make you a prime example of what a real man can offer her."
The man launched another punch at my face. It was terribly coordinated, the man was not using his weight at all, relying solely on his triceps. I was not going to fight this man, for it was dishonorable of me to use my power against someone weaker.
I stood and took the punch head on, my head reeling back. Merrow looked alarmed as I stumbled backwards, my nose momentarily bleeding, but the wound sealing instantly.
A drop of blood raced down my nostril.
"Just gonna take it, huh?"
"Yes." I replied.
"The hell? What did you just say?" The man looked upset for some reason.
"I will not fight you, for it is dishonorable. You are too weak for me to fight, I don't want to hurt you." I said, honestly.
The man looked even more angry, and began punching me repeatedly, throwing me on the ground and continuing his assault. My face was expressionless, as his small damage was eclipsed by my immense healing factor. It felt as if his punches were not damaging me at all, for the damage was healed almost instantly.
"Show pain, dammit! What are you? A freak?"
"Please stop this." I replied, as the man continued punching my face.
Suddenly, the man was lifted in the air, by Merrow, with one arm. She glared at the man, who stared at Lady Rivenlight in shock.
"The hell are you two..." the man muttered before Merrow hurled him into what I presumed to be his mode of transportation: a motor cycle. The vehicle was sent toppling over as the hefty individual crashed into it, knocked unconscious.
I was stunned. "But... he was..."
"A douche. I know. Why did you just take the punches?" Merrow replied, helping me to my feet, and brushing off the dust on my new clothes. "Ugh, he got them all dirty. Great." Merrow waved her hand, and Hydropower appeared from the air, scrubbing my clothes clean, and drying off.
"I don't fight civilians with my powers. Only those who demand justice." I told Merrow, who gave me an exasperated look. "Oh Arman..." She muttered, walking away to our lodgings.
"I am confused, should I have attacked the biker? Lady Rivenlight?" I shouted after her.
Merrow gave me a look, a mixture of exasperation and pride. "No, Arman. You were right. As usual. It's just... I mean at least bend the rules a bit... ugh, forget it. It wouldn't make sense anyway. Come on, let's get inside."
Merrow unlocked the door to her apartment, and I followed her in.
Chapter 2 (Remnant 1)
Because I still lacked the ability to trace the other Remnants, Merrow had worked overtime to try and locate them herself using her sources.
"Why can't you use the psychic link you used on me to locate them?"
Merrow finished setting up a wire diagram of possible suspects. "Because when I linked with you, it was you who willed it, subconsciously. The other Remnants may not have the same level of connection to you, since you're the first of Decen."
I watched as Merrow finished up, and took out an old photo. Merrow had explained to me that a photo was a live image capture, of a moment in time and space, imprinted onto a piece of card. It was ingenious technology. If only that technology was still available at the time I was with Lyra and Kaius.
The photo was of Merrow and what I presumed to be my Progenitor. Decen seemed rather unsmiling, while Merrow was smiling in the photo, a contrast in emotion, yet held a special place in Merrow's heart, as she looked at the photo and sighed.
"You miss him greatly, don't you?" I asked cautiously.
Merrow put the photo away. "Just need to keep moving forward. I can't let my past with Decen and his death overwhelm me."
"Your past with Decen has made you what you are today, it doesn't hurt to reminisce."
Merrow suddenly got to her feet. "Do NOT tell me these things, Arman. I-"
Merrow's voice cracked. "I watched him die... with my own eyes. He was like a little brother to me and I watched him get choked to death. Tortured, his powers stolen from him. His dreams collapsing before his very eyes. I watched him slowly die, suffering from having everything torn away."
Merrow wiped her eyes. "Then there's you-"
"What about me?" I asked, curiously.
Merrow's eyes widened. "I..." She turned around. "Nothing. There is nothing wrong with you, Arman. I'm so sorry. I just... it's taken me so many steps to come at terms with his death. Then to see you. His Remnant. You look so much like him. Seeing your face makes me sad all over again."
"I'm sorry for making you feel this way, Lady Rivenlight." I said, looking down.
Merrow managed a weak laugh. "You know, despite looking like him, you are so different."
I tilted my head. "How so? I know I don't approach him in power."
Merrow tied her hair up into a ponytail. "When Decen was still alive, we used to get into so many arguments. We would insult each other, and he would attack anybody, or flip out, when things didn't go his way. He quite literally wouldn't stop insulting me.
"And then there's you. Mr. Boy Scout. Never stopping to agree with me, seeing me of high esteem. So kind. So pure. So considerate. It's like everything I had with Decen, but flipped upside down."
"Lady Riven... I mean. Merrow?"
"Can you tell me more stories about Decen? If you're comfortable with it?"
Merrow smiled, looking at me in my eyes. "Yeah. Yeah, I think I will."
Chapter 3 (Remnant 1)
Merrow had a lead.
"His name is Brickhouse. I don't... really know what his given name is, says he doesn't have one."
Merrow and I left the apartment, and entered the portal that she had pinpointed. An extremely dirty, fighting ring. This place reminded me of the arenas back in Argen, as well as fighting arena in Camp Half Blood, but with the numerous spectators chanting and throwing drinks, it didn't seem at all civilized.
"AND NOW, OUR NEXT COMBATANT..." The announcer shouted in an electrical device, which amplified sound.
Merrow and I went to investigate the fight... the combatant in the ring looked extremely experienced in the art of empty handed combat. I narrowed my eyes, and from the looks of it, it looked as if he had even more experience than me. Which made sense, considering I was chronologically eleven years old.
"Michael's got this. The dude is a tank. He's a beast. Knocked down like fifteen fighters without a break."
"Lady Rivenlight?" I turned to Merrow, who had her arms crossed. She was probably thinking the same thing. If Brickhouse were to fight this man, he surely would be killed. I didn't know what kind of fighter or powers this Remnant had, but if he came from Decen, it was very likely that he was superhuman. Michael, as talented and experienced as he seemed to be, was only human. Even at peak human strength and ability, there are limits.
"I hope Michael knows what he's in for..." Merrow muttered.
Suddenly, the crowd went silent. I peered at the corner. And my eyes widened.
The boy, who I was presuming to be Brickhouse... looked... like...
"He looks just like you!" Merrow gasped.
Brickhouse wasn't wearing a shirt, but he had some toned muscle definition, similar to me. He wore baggy short pants or "shorts" and had a very confident expression, spreading his hands and looking at the crowd. His hair, long, swept to the left side, danced along with his movements.
"The hell? Is this kid for real?!" One spectator shouted.
"This is a joke right. This kid's going to get killed!" Another exclaimed.
I watched as Brickhouse confidently walked up to Michael. It seemed strange, since Michael was at least six foot five inches, while Brickhouse stood around the same height as me, five foot seven.
"Yo. Big Mike. Let's give em a good show. Capeesh?" Brickhouse held out his hand, but Michael glared at him.
"Kid. I don't wanna hurt you. I don't know what lies the big man said, but I don't wanna do something you gonna regret later on. Walk away."
"Just going to tell me to walk away without fighting me yet? You're pretty confident old man!" Brickhouse began pacing around.
The bell rang.
Michael sighed, and I could tell he meant well, because he didn't want to hurt the Remnant. However, that would be the least of his worries. Because the moment the bell rang, Brickhouse went up to Michael and gave him a good shove, sending the bigger opponent flying across the entire octagon.
The boos from the crowd went silent.
"Is he on the juice?" One spectator asked.
"The hell, he's not human. He's a meta. Don't matter, Michael will win."
Michael got up, as Brickhouse began taunting him. "Come on, get up Big Mike. We ain't done!" The Remnant walked up to him. Merrow shook her head.
"The Remnant is going to kill him! We need to do something. Arman?"
"Wait." I said. Merrow looked at me, incredulous.
"Because the spectators have noted that Brickhouse is not human. They have faith in Michael. I believe he might possess abilities of his own."
Merrow looked at Michael, in concern.
Brickhouse cracked his knuckles. "Let me break it down for you Mike. You're no match for me. I'm going to win and get the prize money. Then I can finally peace it outta here. Last win for me."
Michael got to his knee. "You're real confident, kid. But I never showed you my abilities."
Suddenly, Michael's eyes glowed red, as he looked up, energy emitting from his eyes and blasting the Remnant in the chest, sending him back.
The crowd cheered, but the celebration was a bit soon. Because Brickhouse immediately began to overpower the beam of energy, grabbing Michael by the head, and slamming him onto the canvas, knocking the fighter out. The crowd went silent again, and began to boo the young Remnant, who ignored the crowd and exited the octagon.
"Yeah, yeah, whatever. You're all haters anyway." Brickhouse left and entered the locker room.
I turned to Merrow. "We need to follow him!" But Merrow's face cringed.
"I'm not going into a men's locker room."
I looked at the Remnant, and turned back to Merrow.
"Then let me go after him."
Merrow looked surprised. "Arman, are you sure?"
Merrow walked to the edge of the octagon, peering at Michael, who was being bombarded with a vast array of rotten fruit.
"Go Arman. Find your brother."
Chapter 4 (Remnant 9)
Stupid asskissers really thought Big Mike had a chance.
I cleaned off my face and took off my gloves. Sitting alone in the bench. Musta been nice to have fans. But that came with a double edged sword. The moment you lose a fight, you don't just lose the trust in yourself, but the trust in your fans. Sucks, but it's the truth.
I never wanted to be a fighter, but being raised in the ring all my life, kinda had no choice. Story had it that I was brought up from the back of an alley. No mom, no dad. Nothing. The guy who brought me in, Lucius, was a member of the fighting ring, and initially wanted to throw me up in the adoption home. Cuz, I mean, let's be honest. You really think raising a damn kid in an illegal underground fighting arena was a good idea?
Unfortunately, the moment I got there, I ended up snapping my caretaker's wrist because I thought it was a toy.
Lucius fell in love right away. Saw the potential, and ended up raising me in the damn ring. He also decided to give me a name too. But there's a reason why I don't wanna use it. Want to know what it is?
Lucius Cassidy Junior.
I guess you can say things made a turn to the worst, because for some strange ass reason, I grew up really really fast. Like I don't mean growing facial hair at 9. I mean like within a few weeks, I was already able to talk, walk, run. In three weeks, I was already equivalent to a five year old. And by two years, I became equivalent to a twelve year old. By six years, a sixteen year old. It was alright though, I guess I just had the meta gene. And in this world, meta humans weren't uncommon.
I spent the six years fighting in the ring with Lucius as my manager. The guy taught me how to fight, the art of the warrior, and honor. Nah, just kidding. He didn't teach me shit. I had to learn to fight my own way. But honestly, with my super strength and durability, there wasn't any need to be taught. Really, with the weak people I was given to fight, I won every single round.
The only thing Lucius did was do the business. Contracted fights, marketing, all that.
A lot of people didn't like that I was undefeated. They were haters. Just because I was gifted with two of the best powers for an underground fighting ring: strength and durability. Literally no one could knock me out. Legit no one.
A lot of people believed that the reason I couldn't be beat was because I couldn't be taken down. I was like a Brick. A Brick House. And that was how I got my name. My life has been nothing but another match. I learned a bit of social interactions from other people in the underground. Met a few good men. But you know how it goes in the Underground. You either die a good man, or become one with the Underground.
But enough about me from the past.
I turned around. The hell? Was I looking at my reflection?
"Who are you? If this is about my next fight, talk to Lucius."
"I'm not here about your next fight. I wish to talk to you, one on one."
"Oh yeah? What about? Gonna clown on me and say my fight was a fluke? Wanna give a try in the ring?"
The kid walked to my side, inspecting me. "You have experience in combat, I respect a fellow warrior."
"Uhh, sure man." I looked up. He may looked like me, but this kid looked like the softest thing I had ever seen. Smiling at me like we were buddy buddy. British accent and everything. But then again... nobody had ever complimented me before. This felt different, and something about this kid... he might potentially be the first friend I could have. Actually, nah. Scratch that. No such thing as friends. But...
"Look buddy, I don't know who you are, but I'm heading to the bar. Wanna join? I'll hook you up with my winnings."
"Hook up?" The guy looked confused. Was he a foreigner or something.
"I'll buy you some drinks. Come on, what's your name?"
"Cool, Arman. I'll hook you up with the hardest shit we have here. You can maybe tell me about how the hell your soft ass ended up here."
Chapter 5 (Remnant 9)
"Damn you're tough to outdrink." I downed another pitcher of Lavawater. This kid was ridiculous. Nobody could outdrink me, but for the first time, I might well be on the damn ropes.
"This tastes rancid, but I can tell you enjoy drinking this beverage. And I enjoy a challenge!" Arman downed another pitcher. He was ahead by two. Dammit. Now I didn't feel like competing against this kid.
"Okay, forget the challenge." I said quickly. Arman looked confused.
"But you said we were going to keep drinking until one of us could not drink any more. Does this mean I win?"
Arman frowned. "But-"
"So, what brings you here my man." I interrupted the kid quickly, swerving around.
"I want you to come with me and our Progenitor's Guardian."
I stared at him. "What?"
"You are a Remnant, like me. We are beyond the paradigm of meta humans in this world. I want you to come with me and Guardian Rivenlight to aid in our quest."
I laughed, chugging the Lavawater. I was definitely drunk. "Great." I muttered.
"So is that a yes?"
"No. It means the one guy I thought I could have fun with is a god damn psycho." I got up, leaving the bar to check out the television. A couple of gangsters made way for me, muttering insults under their breath thinking I wouldn't hear.
Arman grabbed my arm. "Wait. Please. You need to listen to me."
I shook him off. "No, you need to leave me the hell alone you nutcase. Talking weird shit like Remnants, and hairy dimes. Just cuz I been busting heads all my life doesn't make me stupid."
"No, you do not understand, please. We must band together-"
"Buddy, being desperate is some weak shit. You got a lotta nerve to accuse me of being a rum nut or whatever you just said. I been told weird things, like being on steroids just because I'm that good of a fighter. If you just wanted to say I didn't deserve all these wins, could have just said it straight up without wasting my time."
Arman looked hurt. Great. I opened up and now I have to deal with this kid.
"Look. Even if you want me on this weird ass quest of yours, what's in it for me? Huh?"
"The survival of the multiverse is at stake. We must band together. You are my brother!" Arman sounded desperate.
"Just cuz we look alike doesn't make us brothers." I tried to shake this kid off me, but he was stuck like glue.
"Brickhouse, haven't you always wondered who your parents are? How you were created?"
"I was abandoned. Picked up by some crackhead who ran an illegal underground ring. What's there to it? Just because I don't know my parents makes us all brothers?"
This kid was so annoying. He was definitely crazy, but if what he said was true... a quest. I might be able to just straight up leave this place and follow them around. Maybe they might pay me too. Nobody had ever offered me this before... a chance of freedom.
"Okay, Arman. I'll give you a chance to prove yourself. You seem to really want me on your quest. So what can you do? You a fighter too?"
"I am a Remnant. I possess the powers of Decen, the Paladin of War."
"Dec-" I suddenly doubled over, clutching my head. The hell is this? My vision flashed to that of a kid. He looked like me. Hell, looking like Arman too. He had long hair like me, but it was like bangs, covering his face, magenta eyes. Why did I recognize him? I... He and I... A soul breaking apart, one of them falling into the back of an alley, growing into a body...
War. The Paladin of War. Without aggression and malice, there is no spark to the flame. For War.
What was this? What was I saying? Thinking?
"Brickhouse! Are you okay?!" Arman ran up to me, grabbing my shoulder. This little PRICK! He was a telepath!
"Get out of MY MIND!" I roared, grabbing the kid and launching him into the roof. The kid flew into the structure and fell onto the ground. Everybody gasped and screamed. A bunch of bikers began to cheer.
"FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT."
Hell yeah I was giving this kid a fight. He was tryna manipulate me.
"Brickhouse, I don't want to fight. Please stop this!" Arman pleaded, but I grabbed him by the collar, and hurled him into the ring. Lucius was still in the middle of chatting up some birds. But suddenly, he saw Arman in the ring, and me entering it. Being the loving father he was, he shouted at me.
"The hell? Yo Brick, get that kid outta here! We don't have time for this shit."
"Shut up old man." I shouted back.
I glared at Arman, who got to his feet, holding his hand out, pleading for me to not fight. But I wasn't giving this kid any craps. He tried to take over my head.
"You done it now, Arman. Looks like I'm gonna have to bust your pretty face in. Square up kid, you're in the octagon now."
Chapter 6 (Remnant 1)
I cannot fight a brother. It is wrong!
I wanted to tell Brickhouse to stop, but he was clearly not going to listen to me. Merrow had run off to tend to Michael, and now I didn't have her to provide any guidance on dealing with this.
Brickhouse swung a very wild overhand punch in my direction, but I dodged it.
"So you know how to fight, so I guess you weren't bullshitting after all. But I still gotta smack you up, for tryna possess me."
"I don't have the power of telepathy! I wasn't trying to possess you, you have to trust me!"
Brickhouse continued trying to swing at me, but I had already figured out his movements with Combat Intuition from when he hurled me into the ceiling of the building. He may have been strong, evidently stronger than me, but he was very slow, and his fighting pattern very straightforward. It seemed he relied heavily on his strength, just as I rely heavily on my Regeneration.
"Dammit, just connect. Screw this." Brickhouse went low, and smashed his fist on the ground, causing the place to rumble. I momentarily lost my balance as I watched my Remnant brother launch himself at me, the two of us crashing through the barrier of the cage.
"ENOUGH." Merrow's voice boomed, as Brickhouse was encased in a fist of Hydropower.
Brickhouse turned to Merrow, and narrowed his eyes. "Who are you supposed to be."
"I am Guardian Merrow Rivenlight. What Arman has been telling you is not a joke. This is beyond you, me, and Arman now. The future of this world is at stake."
Brickhouse softened. "Arman didn't mention we was going to be traveling with a lady."
Merrow's eyebrows scrunched together. "Right now, I am offering you a chance to leave your life of gladiator matches. You will be fighting for a cause, rather than for money and entertainment for others."
My eyes widened. "What?"
Brickhouse turned to me. "If it means I get to travel with her, hell yeah I'm in."
"That's.... great!" I said, enthusiastically. "Welcome to the team, Brickhouse!"
I held out my hand, but Brickhouse did not take it. "Yeah, okay. Where to, Guardian River Light?"
Chapter 7 (Remnant 9)
I joined because of Merrow, yes. I admit it. What?
I lived my whole life in the ring. The only women I had ever encountered were the ones who stood by the side when they announced the winners or the round number. The few that I did encounter gave me a once over and said I was too young.
At least Merrow here didn't care.
As for Arman, I know the kid wanted to be friends, get all buddy buddy with his little bro, but he was just so damn soft.
"So, Brickhouse, what other powers do you have?" Arman asked me.
"Strength and durability. Why? What powers you got? I didn't get to see you do anything in our fight."
Arman walked by my side. For such a pacifist, he looked athletic. And considering he was able to dodge my punches, I coulda guessed he probably knew how to fight, but didn't wanna throw hands with the GOAT here.
"I possess Regeneration abilities as well as the ability to analyze opponents instantly. That was why I was able to dodge your attacks."
"Regeneration?! The hell? So you can't die!" I shouted. Merrow looked at the two of us.
"What? Like what you see?" I asked her. The Guardian rolled her eyes.
I put my arm around Arman. "Damn. If you was here in the underground, you'd be one of the top fighters. With skill and regeneration, you'd be unstoppable!"
Arman shook his head. "I wouldn't want to fight unless there is a good reason to."
Arman and I kept walking as Merrow led us to a portal thing. At least that's what I heard.
Arman adjusted his collar. "We as Remnants possess powers beyond the average meta human. I only fight if there is a threat that threatens my friends and family. As well as innocents."
"Not even for money? What you do to survive then?"
"I'm a Priest in the Church of Argen... at least I was." Arman looked down. I felt like comforting him, but retracted it. I ain't no wuss.
"Damn, you got a whole code and everything. But at least show off a bit-"
He got his chance, cuz the moment I said that a huge shadow swooped above us, and landed on the ground. Actually, wasn't one shadow, there were three.
Merrow's eyes widened. "No..."
I narrowed my eyes. So, these guys were defo not human. They each had wings like a bird, but humanoid, and had weird armor on. I would say they looked like angels, but they were covered in black electricity.
"It's the Corruption." Arman muttered. The kid suddenly went a 180, and took off his jacket, turning to Merrow and I.
"I will fight them off, you two run to the portal."
Merrow looked at Arman. "But-"
The kid took out a disc, which expanded across his chest, giving him a cool shoulder pad. What the hell. Arman held out his hands, and two swords appeared outta nowhere. One of them, the silver one was huge as shit. Like the blade was at least five feet long, and it covered his shoulder with an over-mold. It had engravings along one side of the blade, and if I could squint closer, looked foreign. But for some strange reason....
I could decipher it.
The rough translation? He who wields, shall be one to save. To purify, to battle, in darkness to day..
The other blade looked even cooler, it was smaller, maybe like four feet long, but it had multiple segments to it, each side was a blade of its own, merging into one handle. It was steaming with frost, and just lookin at it made me shiver.
Arman shouted at them, his tone completely different from when I fought him in the ring. The whole pacifist thing went out the window real quick.
"Leave us, or I shall send you back to the makers. Followers of Mogul, you will not stop us tonight."
The angels glared at Arman. "Arman Wan, the First of Decen. We only seek what is best for the Aspects. We shall hunt, for our master. For he slumbers."
"The hell you three talking about?" I shouted at them, they suddenly turned to me.
"You are the ninth. The ninth of Decen. You shall share the same fate as your brother."
Merrow shouted at both of us, her voice full of concern. Which was pretty hot. Not gonna lie.
"Arman, Brick, you guys NEED to come through the portal. They want to kill you two, not me. I will hold them off-"
I interrupted her. "Nah."
Merrow stared at me. "Excuse me?!"
"We don't do that here. I ain't backing down from no fight." I cracked my knuckles, glaring at the angels. It had been so long since I fought anybody decent. No way was I backing down from this.
"Can't let our pretty lady fight our battles for us. You can wait over there, while me and my boy Arman kick these chicken asses."
Arman glared at the angels, the ice sword beginning to swirl with winds that cause his surroundings to be caked in frost. Jeez. He looked so badass. Why couldn't he be like this all the time?
As for me, I readjusted the sleeves to my hoodie, rolling them up. It was time for the smackdown.
The angels charged, and so did we.
Chapter 8 (Remnant 1)
I brought Pariah against Loz-Q, and channeled the power of the North into both swords, delivering a powerful crossed slash arc at the infected Silver Legion zombies. However, one of the angels slammed their spear downwards, neutralizing the arcs.
Another angel charged, attempting to ram into me with her javelin, but I dodged to the side, bringing up Loz-Q, and swiped down. The freezing temperatures of the Zephyr Bronze weakening the metal of her weapon, shattering it into many pieces.
"Little insect!" She screamed, and swung the cracked part of her javelin at my face, cutting into my skin as I leapt back, Combat Intuition immediately giving me all of her fighting moves, her habits, her muscle memory and her battle experience. She had fought many wars in the Silver Legion, and battled many hell spawn. But none were of my size and stature, meaning I had the advantage.
The angel tried to charge again, but I had already predicted that she would try to do an upwards slash, considering she had seen me witness her lunge.
I waited for her to perform the slash, as the look of shock in her face when I went low, right to her midsection that was exposed.
"No..." She muttered, as I reeled Pariah back, and cut cleanly through her armor, the effects of the Corruption melting from her body and entering Pariah. The angel fell back, her corpse reverting back to its original form.
My left arm felt like it was burning, and I realized that the Corruption from Pariah was entering my left arm, burning away to the bone. I felt despair, hatred, and malice. I quickly removed the Corruption from my body but unleashing another arc slash at the other charging angel, a black swipe of electricity, sending him through the roof.
I looked to my left, and realized that Brickhouse was not having the same fortune.
"Come on, bring it!" He shouted, running forward, and launching a punch at the angel, who dissipated into white and black mist, materializing behind him, and slamming his spear into the side of his face.
Brickhouse slammed into a wall, destroying it. However, he got back up and charged again, only to have the spear connect with his chin, sending the Remnant upwards into the air, and landing on the ground with a loud THUMP.
I stepped forward and held Loz-Q up, summoning the Blessing of Pollux. My body hummed with power, as it began to glow silver. My senses at peace, augmenting, as my mind became clear. I opened my eyes, and funneled it into the weapon, generating a snow storm at the blade.
The angel tried to dissipate, but became encased in an arctic prison.
Brickhouse grinned. "Nice." He said, as he ran forward, and reeled his fist back, smashing it into the face of the angel. I watched as the fist generated a shockwave from the sheer force of the punch, and the angel disintegrated from Brickhouse's strength.
Never in my eleven years of battle had I witnessed someone generate so much power from a single punch. Brickhouse truly was a Remnant of War.
He turned to me, with a grin on his face. "Easy clap." He said, but suddenly, his eyes widened. "Arman! Behind!"
I turned around to realize that I had not been paying attention, and that the angel I had previous blasted away with the Corruption came charging at me, his lance leveled to my face. I could only watch as the point became closer and closer to me.
The spear was suddenly severed in two, by another, which glowed green with Hydropower.
Lady Rivenlight stepped in, and held out her hand in a strike, generating a powerful tidal shockwave at the angel, knocking him back.
"Stay away from my Paladin's Remnant, you creep." She said, murderously.
The angel got up. "Neptunian, you have no business here. I seek only the destruction of the two Paladin Remnants."
Merrow leveled her own spear. "I am the Guardian of Decen. I have every reason to be here. As for you, you're just a lackey of that bastard Mogul. So prepare to get skewered."
Merrow's body glowed green, as she dematerialized, from moving so fast.
Her body blipped in and out, all around the angel, piercing him a hundred fold. Not a lot of warriors could match Lady Rivenlight in speed, and it was evident that the angel was not one of the few who could, as he became overwhelmed, the Corruption leaving his body, and slumping on the ground.
While I was once again, impressed with the skill and power of Merrow, I was also in despair. Because if the combined might of both Lady Rivenlight and Decen of Acadia stood no chance against Prime Aspect Mogul...
How could we?
Chapter 9 (Remnant 9)
Merrow was pissed.
Was I complaining? No.
She went up to me, and put a hand on her hip, retracting her spear as it dissipated into green mist.
"The hell were you thinking? Fighting those guys? I told you to go to the portal."
"What are you talking about, I kicked that angel guy's ass!"
"No. You were losing the fight. If Arman had not stepped in, you would have lost your life."
I looked at Arman, who strapped both of his badass looking swords onto his back.
"Lady Rivenlight, it is in our nature to never back down from a challenge. You must understand."
Merrow's expression softened. "Look, let's just get to the portal, okay? I'm just... glad you two are okay."
"Aww, you DO care." I joked.
Merrow glared at me, but suddenly, the glare dropped. "Decen's personality runs deep in your blood, Remnant."
You can say I was making good progress in my attempt to bag Miss Rivenlight, but the moment I got from the portal to her apartment, my grin turned into a sneer.
"The hell is HE doing here!" I growled, pointing at Michael, stomping forward, but Arman held me back.
"Brickhouse! He is on our side!"
"Let me go! You stupid wuss! You was all sicko mode on those angels a while ago, now you playing the pacifist card again?!"
Merrow went up to Michael, who was recovering from the wounds I gave him (LOL). Michael looked at Merrow gratefully.
Merrow sat next to him, adjusting his bandages. "It's okay. Are you feeling alright?"
"My life as a fighter's gone now. The people of the Underground lost their respect in me. I'm finished." Michael muttered.
"Oh boo hoo, jeez, you lost one fight, get your shit together old man." I said. Merrow suddenly shot me a glare.
Michael sighed. "You're young, kiddo. But you don't understand. I've lost my job here. Maybe if I was born somewhere else, these racists would treat me with more respect. Even finding a regular job, is almost impossible. I had to work as hard as I could to gain the trust of Lucius, and now it's all gone, because I lost to you."
"Michael, do you want to stay with me for a while?" Merrow put her hand on his arm, which made my heart rate go up.
Michael smiled, turning to Merrow. "Yeah. I'd like that."
I stormed to the kitchen, with Arman behind me.
"Stupid chad, took my CHICK!" I muttered under my breath, opening the cabinet and trying to untwist the peanut butter, only to break it from my strength.
"The peanut butter must be twisted to the left. Lefty loosy, Righty tighty." Arman announced, like he was proud to have remembered that.
"Shut the hell up."
"I apologize, Brickhouse. I understand your pain."
I stuffed my mouth with peanut butter. It was nice to be able to eat something other than the usual protein powder-gruel porridge that Lucius whipped up. He had told me that was what inmates ate back when he was in jail, meaning it helped me build character.
"Arman, you got a girl you like?" I asked.
"Yes." Arman responded. I turned around, in surprise.
"Oh yeah? What's her name?"
"Lyra Tetras. The daughter of Diablos. She is family to me, and I decided to help Lady Rivenlight to defeat Mogul and protect her from his wrath."
I facepalmed. "No, like, romantic love. Like you would take on a date. Like do you have a girlfriend?"
Arman gave me an inquisitive look. "Do you mean a wife? No. My fate will only bring her pain, should it happen."
I crossed my arms. Arman put his hand on my shoulder. I wanted to push him away, like anybody else, but it was different with Arman. He had my back when Merrow confronted me. Couldn't do that to a real g.
"Lady Rivenlight is not the right woman for you, brother." Arman said gently.
"The hell does that mean? Look at her. She's fit as hell. Perfect body, cute face, everything. Who wouldn't tap that?"
Arman laughed. "Lady Rivenlight is beautiful, but she is our Progenitor's Guardian. To marry her would be wrong, she is family to us."
I leaned against the counter. "I literally met her for one day. She isn't family to me."
Arman's eyes narrowed. "You should not say these things to her. She loves us both, for we came from her master."
My fist clenched, splintering the wood of the counter. "I've had no family growing up. I don't need some hot chick who turned me down to suddenly pretend to care about me, pulling the sibling card."
Armen sighed. "Well, you have me, Brickhouse."
The two of us looked out the window of the apartment. I looked back at the living room, where Michael and Merrow were having fun, Merrow showing Michael her water powers. They seemed like a good match. Maybe if I got stronger... I might be able to impress her.
"Yo Arman." I said.
"Fancy a sparring match? I wanna see how well I can fare against Decen's firstborn."
Chapter 10 (Remnant 1)
"You ain't using your swords?" Brickhouse asked, as we circled each other outside of the apartment.
"No." I responded. "I want to make this fight fair, for you fight bare handed, I shall too."
Brickhouse grinned. "Aight. Let's do it then. Show me what you got, firstborn!"
Brickhouse ran forward, and launched to punches at my face, both of which I dodged. The Remnant stepped forward to punch again, but he overreached, and I pivoted to the side, knocking him off balance.
"Jeez." He muttered, spinning around, but I had already predicted this. There was no need for Combat Intuition to predict his obvious fighting pattern.
"Why can't I hit you!" Brickhouse growled, his attacks becoming more reckless.
"Brickhouse, you are letting your emotions get the best of you. It is making your fighting more predictable."
"Yeah? Then I'll just get even more mad!" Brickhouse leapt forward, and I dodged, finding the opponent, and swung my fist as hard as I could to his midsection.
Suddenly, I heard a crack, as pain flared up my elbow. It was like I was punching an iron wall. Brickhouse looked down at me, grinning. "I'm called Brickhouse for a reason, bud."
Brickhouse grabbed my hair, and launched a punch at my face, as I could feel the ripples of the shockwave distort my face, my brain rattling as I flew several yards back, creating a trail of destruction. My head hit a concrete bench, splitting it in half.
I was seeing stars, as I could feel my bones mending.
I tried to get to my feet, but Brickhouse put his foot on my midsection, slamming me with his fists, over and over again.
"Gonna underestimate me?! Huh?! I'm not good enough for you to use your swords?!" Brickhouse growled. He continued punching me in my face, as my Regeneration struggled to keep up. Despite Brickhouse's poor technique, he was immensely strong. His superhuman strength far eclipsing mine, and his durability, far beyond anything I had ever seen.
"Heal. Heal yourself, dammit!" He yelled, as I brought my forearms up to cover up my face.
Brickhouse began to shift his attention to my exposed midsection, delivering a powerful punch to my stomach. I vomited blood, my eyes widening from the pain.
I caught a glimpse of Brickhouse's face, as he continued his relentless assault on me. His face, full of rage, but not just that. His eyes had tears. Pain.
"I will get stronger. I will be loved. She will love me." He muttered, as he continued to punch me, but his stamina getting the best of him. My brother fell against my midsection, breathing hard.
"This isn't fair." Brickhouse muttered. "No one loves me."
"That isn't true, Brickhouse." I put my hand on his head.
Brickhouse sniffled. "I lived my life without a father. Without a mother. No friends or family. Every person I met I had to fight. I fought all my life. Now... a chance to be with someone who loves me, just like those people who come visit the octagon, their wives and girlfriends... and to have that be taken away from me."
"You have a brother, Brickhouse. I am your family, and I will be here with you."
Brickhouse got to his feet, wiping his eyes. "Yeah whatever. I... Look, I'm sorry I said these things, aight? Let's just head back. Can you stand?"
I fully regenerated from my wounds, and got to my feet. "Yes."
Brickhouse and I walked back to the apartment complex. "Arman?"
"I... I wanted to say thanks. For being kind to me and stuff. It... means a lot."
I smiled at Brickhouse. "We are family. brothers. I will always be there for my family."
Chapter 11 (Remnant 9)
"What the hell happened to you?!" Merrow squeaked, running up to Arman, and drying off the blood on his face with a towel.
She glared at the both of us. "Were you two fighting?"
Arman, being the annoyingly honest Boy Scout, confirmed it. "Yes. I apologize Lady Rivenlight."
She stared at him. "Why would you do that?"
Arman took the towel, and cleaned off the rest of the blood. He said nothing.
I chimed in. "Cuz it's a Remnant thing. A Decen thing. You wouldn't understand."
Merrow glared at me. "Excuse me? I lived with Decen and fought by his side for years. You have no right to tell me these things."
My temper suddenly went up. "Oh yeah? And who the hell are YOU to tell me what to do? Huh? Just cuz you're Decen's Guardian you get to be mine?"
Arman suddenly stood up. "Brickhouse, don't-"
I shut him up. "Nah. She needs to listen to this."
I walked up to Merrow, facing her. I guess it kinda looked stupid. She was taller than the both of us, standing at 5 10. But still, I didn't give a shit.
"Just because I look like Decen, doesn't mean I am Decen. You don't get to tell me what to do. You don't get to reject me, and hang out with Chad Mc-Clyde over there, and not expect shit thrown your way. You think you get to be the boss over Arman and I?"
Merrow clenched her fist, her eyes turning red. "Brickhouse... you are here because we need to stop Mog-"
"Nah. Cap that. I don't give a shit about Mogul. Imma be real honest with you right now. I only joined, because I wanted to bag your sexy ass. But now I realize you're just another god damn control freak, who has eyes for another man. I ain't about that simp shit, like Arman over here, no offense."
I turned to Arman. "We're strong as hell. We can do whatever the hell we want. I lived my life fighting in the ring, and I can easily go back. If Mogul wants to start something, then I'll beat his ass too! With Arman's help!"
Merrow's voice became shaky. "Brickhouse, you don't understand what Mogul is capable of. You need to stay with us, as we gather the rest of your brothers. Only then will we stand a chance. No one else here can defeat him but us."
"So what you're saying is you only need me for my powers, right?"
"I never said that."
"Of course not. Ya implied it. You know what? SCREW you. I'm outta here. I'll find my way back to the Underground." I turned to Arman. "You're coming with me, forget Merrow. She strong enough to beat this crazy ass Mongrel herself. She's stronger than me, right? So we're all good then."
Arman put his hand on my shoulder. "Brickhouse, she was not enough to defeat Mogul even with Decen's help. We must band together, please, see past this!" Michael had apparently heard our shouting and entered the room.
"Nah, screw that. If she wants MY help, she going to do what I say. Think about it Arman, she pulled you from your life. You could be spending your days with Lyra. Servin the church and shit. But no. She pulled you away from that life because she couldn't handle the task herself. Had to dump all that shit on you."
Arman's face hesitated.
"Brickhouse, it is our destiny..."
I cut him off, facing Merrow again. "You want to beat Mogul? Then get stronger. It only meant you were weak. All that matters is strength, everything else is extra."
A tear ran down Merrow's face as she gasped, putting a hand over her mouth.
"What? Did I strike a nerve? Now you get it. This life ain't about friends, family trumping all. It's kill or be killed. If you ain't strong enough, then you'll die. It's simple as that.
"While we're on the subject, considering even my good ol' Dad" I waved my hands around.
"Couldn't beat him, maybe he was weak as hell too."
Suddenly, Merrow slapped me in the face. I didn't feel pain often, most blows usually bounced off my skin. Maybe if I fought a strength meta, I would occasionally get hurt a bit, but never anything severe. But when Merrow did it, it didn't hurt in the face.
It hurt in my heart.
"Do. NOT. Say that about Decen." Merrow said, her voice low and dangerous.
Arman stepped in between us. "Please, let's just settle this diplomatically. Brickhouse, I understand, you are in pain. But you still have me. Let's work together for now, and defeat Mogul together."
I took a deep breath. "I will fight Mogul, but only with you, Arman. I've had it. I'm heading back to the octagon. You coming?"
Arman looked down. And it felt like my heart was wrenched in half.
"So." My voice shaky. "You were just playing an act all along. You'd choose Merrow over me, your own god damn bro, any day."
"That isn't true, Brickhouse. I am loyal to Lady Rivenlight, for everything she has done. Please, if you would hear her out-"
I turned around, and stormed out of the apartment.
"Brickhouse! Please! Come back!" Arman shouted after me, but I had already slammed the door, and left the building, storming out into the streets, finding my way back to the Underground. To the octagon.
Where I belonged.
Chapter 12 (Remnant 1)
Lady Rivenlight sobbed as she fell into Michael's embrace. I was in shock as well, as I watched Brickhouse enter the darkness of the night, finding his way back.
"Brickhouse..." I put my hand on the glass.
A few hours later, Merrow had returned, her face buried in books, and the computer, locating more Remnants.
I walked up to her, knocking on the door.
Merrow looked up, and smiled a depressed smile. "Hey, Arman."
I sat down. "We need to find Brickhouse."
Merrow looked down. "I don't think he wants to be part of this. Our only chance is to gather the rest."
Merrow stopped writing, and put the pen away.
"He's my brother." I replied.
Merrow got up and knelt down in front of me, holding my hand. "I know, Arman. I just..."
Merrow wiped her eyes. "He reminds me so much of Decen. I know you do too, being his Remnant. But his appearance. His hair. The way he speaks. His aggression, and his outlook on life... it's so similar. And to see him fall in love with me... I just can't."
"Then let us find him, and protect him. But not to fill this void in your heart, but to honor it."
Merrow looked up, her eyes, twinkling from the tears. "What do you mean?"
"Decen passed away, and his legacy is through us. Let us honor his sacrifice, by preserving it. Let's keep Brickhouse safe, and find the rest of my brothers. So we can avenge his death. Was that not our mission? Our quest?"
Michael entered the room. "If I may, I might got something for y'all that could help locate both Brickhouse and the other Remnants."
Merrow looked at Michael, in curiosity. "What is that?"
Michael stepped forward, his eyes glowing red, projecting a hologram, of a young boy, no older than sixteen, trudging in the streets. Brickhouse.
"I got a vision evo. I can help you find Brick. And possibly the others."
I got up, and went up to the corner of the room, picking up a spear, with the names of Merrow Rivenlight and Decen written on both sides, one in Neptunian, and the other in Acadi. I turned around and gave Merrow her spear.
"Let's find Remnant 9. And bring him home."
Chapter 13 (Remnant 9)
Okay. I get it. I messed up.
I shouldn't have yelled at her. Probably made her cry, but I just... get mad sometimes. I can't control it. You live your whole life fighting, not knowing or having any family or friends. Not knowing what it's like to be loved, seeing people all around you with their partners and family. Then one day, coming so close to believing you finally have something, and then realizing it wasn't ever there.
You can't blame me for leaving.
Also, I'm hella lost. Turned out when I left, I really didn't have a plan on how to get back to the octagon. Trudging through the cold, I've realized that I'm pretty shit with directions.
I grabbed my hoodie and shivered.
"Damn." I muttered.
I continued walking, when suddenly, a girl's voice appeared.
I spun around, and god damn. She was drop dead gorgeous. Blonde curvy hair, blue eyes. She reminded me of those chicks who would stand by the side whenever I was announced the winner. What you call them? Trophy wives?
"Are you... the legendary Brickhouse? Can I have a hug?"
Oh. My. God. My day made a turn for the better.
"Hell yeah you can, hey. You live alone? Mind bringing me along? I can offer you my premium, ay, I'll even be your body guard."
The girl giggled, as she brought me further into a secluded part of the town. A bunch of trees lined up in some kinda weird dead end. I realized we was in the woods, alone.
"Wow, you're real forward there. Hey, I'm one for being quick, but let's just get to know each other, ya know?"
"But I already know so much about you." The girl said.
"Haha, well, I guess I am pretty famous." I replied. Wait. No I wasn't. I was part of an Underground illegal fighting ring. There would be no way she would know, unless she was a criminal. But she didn't look like one.
"The Brickhouse. Unbeatable. The untouchable. The physically strongest of your kind." The girl complimented.
"Yeah, well. It's just genetics baby." I flexed my biceps at the girl, but suddenly, her innocent expression became more monotone. What's gotten into her?
"My acolytes tell me you possess The Paladin of War's strength and durability. All of it."
I stopped flexing. "Uhh how do you know these things? And who are your acolytes, exactly?"
"Your actions on those soldiers will not go unnoticed, Ninth." The girl's voice became deeper, as her body smoked, becoming bigger, darker, her eyes glowing a violent red, her face becoming cracked, scarred.
For some reason, looking at her, or it. Made me not want to fight. I was frozen in fear. And I never get scared.
REMNANT OF DECEN. The being's voice scraped the air like a knife on bone. I finally got the power to move, and it was to tremble.
"Who... what... what are you?" I muttered, my teeth chattering. This was so unlike me. I always welcomed a challenge. A fight. But... not this time. Not him. Anybody but him.
AT LONG LAST, MY SUSPICIONS HAVE COME TRUE. DECEN OF ACADIA HAS SUMMONED THE POWER OF THE PALADINS. HIS GUARDIAN CONSPIRES TO DESTROY ME, WITH DECEN'S SPAWN.
So this was the legendary Mogul, the Prime Aspect of Sin. The guy who killed my progenitor, who beat Merrow.
I thought I could take him. I was wrong. So very very wrong. Because just standing there in front of me, made me want to curl up and die.
Chapter 14 (Remnant 9)
Snap out of it! Brickhouse!
I managed to summon everything I had, and slapped my face.
"Raah!" I shouted. Breathing hard.
"This ain't nothing." I muttered. "Nothing at all. Just another fight. Like the others I've beaten. Yeah. YEAH. LET'S GO." I chanted.
I yelled at Mogul with everything I had, trying not to let my voice tremble. "LET'S GOOOOO!!!!"
Mogul smiled sinisterly. A FIGHTER INDEED. JUST LIKE DECEN. BUT IN YOUR STATE, YOU DON'T EVEN COME CLOSE TO THE FIRSTBORN'S POWER. AND HE, IS BUT A MERE FRACTION OF THE PALADIN I HAD SLAIN.
I clenched my fist, and walked up to Mogul. But even walking up to him was hard. My body, everything in my body all my senses, my very conscious, was telling me not to approach him. Telling me to walk away. But no.
That ain't what warriors do.
Mogul looked at me inquisitively with his sinister eyes.
COME, DECEN'S NINTH REMNANT. LET US SEE YOUR STRENGTH. THE STRENGTH YOU SO BOAST IN YOUR BATTLES.
He wanted my strength?
"Ya can have it all!" I shouted, reeling my fist back, and swinging with everything I had.
The sounds of air pressure, the shockwave from the punch decimated all the surrounding trees, creating a mini vortex, that pulled the tree trunks into the air. I punched him with everything I had. A straight reeled back full bodyweight punch. No one had ever survived or taken a punch like that without some sort of damage.
Mogul smiled, as he stood, unfazed. His head wasn't even cocked back. You're telling me this guy's JOINTS were stronger than my god damn punch?!
DISAPPOINTING. HOW DISAPPOINTING.
Mogul held up his hand, and took my wrist, lifting me in the air. I tried to frantically remove his hand, but to no avail.
I was gonna die.
"Wait. Please. Don't kill me." I pleaded. Screw it. I wanted to live. I didn't wanna die. I was done being a tough guy. I don't even care if I looked like a little bitch. I wanted to live. I wanted to live.
"I want to live..." I shouted, but Mogul just regarded me with his dead expression. Like he had heard this so many damn times that he was sick of it.
The Prime Aspect didn't say anything, as he threw me to the ground with so much force, that for the first time in my life.
I went unconscious.
Chapter 15 (Remnant 1)
"What was that?!" Michael yelped, following the sound of a massive shockwave from the corner of my eye.
"Brickhouse." I muttered. We were close. Michael's vision evo had given us an idea of where Brick had went. We followed suit, but it looked like he had involved himself in a fight.
"Hurry!" Merrow shouted at us. Lady Rivenlight was unable to create a portal to where Brickhouse was, as she had explained she could only portal us to places she had previously visited, or had a general knowledge of its surroundings.
Merrow and I ran with superhuman speeds, but Michael began to lag behind, being a human.
"Guys... go on without me. Brick's the top priority."
Merrow turned around, and flicked her hand, creating a massive sea dragon, carrying us to the location.
"But Lady Rivenlight, you will be drained for whatever happens!"
Merrow looked at me. "We just need to get Brick out of there. No fighting, unless absolute necessary."
"Michael, can you use your vision evo again?"
Michael concentrated, his eyes glowing ruby red once more, and suddenly, he gasped.
I turned around. "What? What do you see?"
Michael closed his eyes. "We need to get to Brick. NOW."
We landed, and it didn't take long to realize what made Michael so shocked. Brickhouse lay on the ground, barely conscious, his body encased in a large crater of concrete, as a massive orc towered over him. Crackling with electricity of the Corruption.
I could never have thought this encounter would happen so soon. How he could have found us, but there was no denying it.
"Mogul... no..." Merrow gasped.
"Lady Riven- aaah!!" I yelped, hanging on to the water construct for dear life, as Merrow's body sparked with green electricity, zooming in further and landing in front of Brickhouse.
Merrow turned to us. "Take Brickhouse, I'll make a portal."
Mogul regarded us, with a monotone, yet evil expression.
GUARDIAN RIVENLIGHT, AND THE FIRSTBORN. YOU COME TO RETRIEVE YOUR BROTHER. BUT I HAVE CLAIMED MY PREY. DO NOT INTERFERE, UNLESS YOU WISH TO JOIN THE NINTH.
Merrow glared at Mogul. "You killed him. The one I loved the most, the only family I had left. I will not forgive you." The Guardian manifested her spear, and unleashed a powerful swipe of Hydropower, but the arc disintegrated from Mogul's aura.
FOOLISH. OF THE TIME YOU WERE FLEEING FROM MY WRATH, I WAS SO MERCIFUL TO GIVE YOU TIME TO RECONSIDER, TO IMPROVE YOURSELF. BUT I SEE THAT DURING THIS TIME, YOU HAD ACCOMPLISHED... NOTHING.
The Aspect flexed, sending us all flying from a powerful shockwave. Michael landed on me, while Brickhouse and Merrow tumbled into a creek.
Michael stood up. "Leave these people alone."
The meta human concentrated, and unleashed a powerful blast of light from his eyes, but the beam, like Merrow's blast, once again disintegrated from his aura.
"What the hell are you..." He muttered.
Mogul turned to Michael, and began walking to him. I needed to stop this. I was no match for the Prime Aspect, but if Merrow was to simply portal us out of the location, we were safe. A simple distraction.
I summoned Loz-Q, which flew into my hand, and I held the blade into the air, summoning the forces of the North.
Mogul looked at me. FIRSTBORN, YOU WIELD THE WEAPON OF KOIOS, THE TITAN OF THE NORTH. BUT I AM NOT OF THE SAME CALIBRE AS THOSE INGRATES. YOU INSULT ME.
I didn't need to defeat him. I concentrated, summoning a snowstorm, and aimed it at Mogul, firing a vortex of winds and ice, freezing the Aspect in place.
I turned to Merrow. "Lady Rivenlight! Create the portal!"
Merrow got up, and concentrated, but the portal she had created began to shrink. Mogul laughed, like a blade cutting across bone, scraping, scarring. It was painful just to hear.
YOU WILL NOT ESCAPE ME THIS TIME, MISS RIVENLIGHT. FOR YOU SO LOVED YOUR PALADIN, THAT YOU WOULD BE WILLING TO JOIN HIM IN HIS BLASPHEMY ON OUR NAME. YOU SHALL JOIN HIM, IN DEATH.
Merrow was shocked. "I can't... I can't teleport us out of here..."
No. This could not end like this. We had not obtained the rest of the Remnants. We needed to escape. The only two people who were capable of combat were Lady Rivenlight and I. But from the looks of it, Merrow had drained herself enough from the constructs, and from forming the portal.
Meaning the only person left, was me.
I got up. Summoning Pariah in my other hand.
"Michael." I said.
Michael looked up. "Arman, don't do this kid. We need to escape, together."
Michael tried to get to his feet, but fell. He had sprained his ankle. "Kid... I..."
"It's okay, Michael." I turned around, smiling. "I approve of your relationship with Lady Rivenlight. She loves you as well, and for the first time during my journeys with her, I see that she is happy. She has been burdened with the pain of Decen's death. And you filled that void in her heart."
Michael's face was devastated, and it hurt my heart to see. "Arman... you have my respects."
I knelt down, and kissed his forehead. A custom of the Argen Church to approve of a friendship, alliance, and sometimes, a marriage.
"You have my blessing, Lord Michael. Now find Lady Rivenlight and my brother, and get them out of here. No matter what happens. Their survival is your top priority. Do it. For me."
Tears streamed down his face. "Kid..."
Cracks appeared, and Mogul destroyed the restraints, glaring at me.
"You shall not take my brethren, and you shall not lay hands on Lady Rivenlight. I shall see to this, with my life!" I roared, slashing at my left tattoo, and activating the Mark of Ares. I summoned the Blessing of Pollux simultaneously, and my body began to overflow with power. My heart rate going up, as adrenaline flooded my system.
The Fires of War covered my left arm as well as Pariah, while the Storms of the North covered Loz-Q.
I yelled a battlecry, and fired a massive gust of wind from Loz-Q, shooting me forward as I flipped around, slashing at Mogul with both of my swords, who intercepted them with his bracers.
A titanic clash. Remnant against Aspect.
The impact blew Michael, Brickhouse, and Merrow away, as Merrow screamed my name, finally understanding what I was trying to do.
"ARMAN!!!" Merrow screamed, as she was blown away, flying away from the Remnant-Aspect clash.
Mogul gleamed at me.
FIRSTBORN. JUST AS YOU WERE THE FIRST TO BE CREATED, YOU SHALL BE THE FIRST TO DIE. BE BLESSED THAT IT WAS THROUGH A WARRIOR'S FATE.
I gritted my teeth, remembering the people back in Argen. Lyra. Kaius. I was doing this for them. My fate, to fight my last fight, against the Prime Aspect of Sin.
"It is an honor, Lord Mogul. But I share no further respect to you, for what you have done."
Mogul smiled, as our clash began to tear the very ground, the very Earth in two.
Chapter 16 (Remnant 1)
"Pollux, why do you say being a hero is bad?"
Pollux laughed as I rested my head on his shoulder. I was a child at the time, perhaps only two.
"I never said being a hero is bad. I am saying I strive for something better."
He pointed at my chest. "Be pure. Kind. For a kind heart will always outshine the darkest of evils."
Mogul was beginning to win the clash, and he pushed me back as I went flying in the air. I seethed as I spun, increasing the intensity of the Fires of War as well as my Blessing, creating a massive tornado of fire and ice, spinning as I flanked the Aspect, who simply stood, taking the damage.
I landed behind him, skidding to a stop.
Mogul turned around. I had already used Combat Intuition on him, but it revealed nothing. Mogul didn't need technique, martial arts, or swordplay of any kind. For he was strong enough. His body, unbreakable. His strength, unfathomable. A true... monster.
COME, FIRSTBORN. SHOW ME YOU DESERVE YOUR NAME, AS A REMNANT OF WAR.
I screamed, summoning everything I had, all of Pollux and all of Ares, as my fires grew, and the storms of Koios manifested a wing, like the Silver Legion.
I brought the blades together, and created a massive torrent of steam, annihilating the surroundings in a conical cone of destruction. Mogul walked through, and grabbed my face. I could feel bones beginning to break, as I screamed in agony.
The Aspect threw me to the ground in a powerful slam, as everything momentarily went black.
"The hell you think you're doing?"
A voice? I looked around. I was still in darkness.
"Hey, fool. Behind you."
I spun around, and was greeted with a boy, who looked almost exactly like me. I recognized him immediately.
"Decen is fine."
"Are you... real?"
"What happened to that promise of yours? Huh?"
Decen rolled his eyes. "I can't believe the first to gain consciousness off of my soul, and he turns out to be a god damn idiot. I'm talking about the Paladin Pact you made. With Kaius."
My eyes widened. "The Pact..."
"You swore you would keep Lyra safe? You call this keeping her safe? Getting your ass beat by this Darkseid looking ass?"
I looked down. "Progenitor Decen, I am no match for Mogul. For even you were unable to defeat him. I..."
"So you're just gonna give up?"
"Keep fighting. You keep fighting. None of this I can't win BS. None of that."
Decen stepped forward and grabbed me by my hair.
"Ouch! Progenitor Decen that hurts!"
"I swear to the Acadians, if you let Mogul hurt Merrow, I will hunt you down. I will climb out of my grave and beat the shit out of you for failing both her and Lyra."
Decen glared at me. "You know how I got this strong? I never gave up. I kept going. Hell, I was down to 13 star points once. I kept going. You gonna lose faith in one fight? That quick? If that's the case, throw away your name as Remnant 1. You don't deserve to be my Remnant."
I smiled. "I shall. I will protect them. No matter what it takes."
Decen smirked. "Good. Now go get them. No matter what happens. Do NOT let that bastard get to you mentally. You're my Remnant! The First! The greatest! So be great dammit!"
Time flowed forward, as I regained consciousness. Mogul was holding me by my head.
AWAKE ALREADY? IMPRESSIVE. YOU HAVE ALREADY PUT UP A BETTER FIGHT THAN CONNOR SHEL. I COMMEMORATE YOUR STRENGTH
I shouted, summoning my boosts once more, and flipped around, prying myself from his grip with my feet. I landed on the ground, calling Pariah, and delivered a powerful slash at Mogul's face.
Mogul reached out to grab me, but I slipped to one side, summoning Loz-Q in my other hand, and launched a powerful flurry of slashes, the boosts of both Ares and Pollux augmenting my speed greatly. Mogul smiled, taking the storm blades head on.
YOU ARE FAST, REMNANT.
Mogul stomped on the ground, sending me flying into the air. I regained my sight, summoning the storms of Loz-Q, to see Mogul had bounded to my direction. I jettisoned out of the way with a flaming Pariah, and began sending arc after arc of snow and flame, at the Aspect, as he pursued me. I flew out of the way, but Mogul was too fast, and grabbed my skull, dragging me across numerous rock formations as I felt my skull crack open and regenerate after each boulder smash.
I fell to the ground with a thud. My body slowly regenerating.
Mogul landed in front of me. INTERESTING. I CANNOT QUELL YOUR HEALING AS I DID WITH PALADIN DECEN. IT SEEMS YOUR POWERS ARE MORE INNATE TO YOU. THEY FEED OFF YOUR WARRIOR SPIRIT.
I breathed heavily, groaning in pain as I got to my feet. Stumbling forward.
To the end. Go, and protect Lyra. As with my sacrifice to you, so shall yours be to her. Trista had told me.
I raised Pariah, and leapt forward. The blade bounced off harmlessly from Mogul's skull. I stumbled, as Mogul held out his palm, striking me in my midsection as I vomited blood, flying into the side of multiple landforms in the pitch night.
I bounced off the side of a mountain, and Mogul appeared, landing on top of my midsection as we both fell into the ground with a massive BOOM.
YOU HAVE BEEN DEFEATED, ARMAN WAN. DO YOU HAVE ANY LAST WOR-
Mogul was cut off, as I summoned the last of my strength, punching at his foot with my free arm.
Mogul smiled creepily. YES. YES, REMNANT 1. FIGHT. EMBRACE YOUR WARRIOR SPIRIT
The Prime Aspect bent over, and began punching me in my face. His strength, far eclipsing even Brickhouse's as my face exploded in pain. The sounds of bone cracking, and explosions from the impact, shaking the entire forest. I tried to shield my face, but it was useless. Mogul's punches could not be stopped as I felt my forearms snap. I roared in pain, as Mogul stopped.
The Prime Aspect grabbed me by my throat as I began to choke, lifting me up into the air. I looked at Mogul's eyes, with a determined expression.
YOU FEEL NO FEAR, REMNANT? I COMMEND YOU, FOR THIS IS THE SAME WAY DECEN HAD DIED. BUT HIS EYES... WERE FULL OF TERROR.
"You are wrong, Aspect." I muttered, choking, and retching.
Mogul raised his eyebrow.
"I am terrified of your power. No... no warrior is fearless. But I know that you will be stopped. For the light will always overcome the darkness. A kind... kind heart. I shall be pure, even in the face of death." I smiled, as Mogul's sadistic smile turned into a sneer.
Chapter 17 (Remnant 9)
Merrow fell on top of me. Normally, I'd feel great about that. But I didn't care. Because Arman was fighting Mogul alone. Considering the guy basically cow towed me up in one blow, there was no way the kid would survive.
Merrow regained consciousness and rushed to the sounds of fighting. Michael ran up to us.
"We need to go. Create the portal. Mogul is distracted."
Merrow glared at Michael. "Are you serious? We're not leaving Arman. Get on, or get lost."
Michael looked at her sadly.
"Arman's last wish was to protect you guys. We ain't gonna put his sacrifice in vain."
Merrow ignored him, and Michael tried to get in her way, but I had forgotten how freaking strong Merrow was. Because she swiped her hand, sending Michael flying into a tree.
She flew into the air, with a water construct, to the sounds of fighting to find Arman.
Michael coughed, and I helped him to his feet.
"Kid, we gotta go after Merrow. There ain't no way we gonna beat this Mogul guy. If we go in there, we can't portal. Arman given his life for us so we can escape. Please."
"And he's my bro. I ain't gonna leave my brother behind."
"Brick, we need-"
"Shut up." I muttered, bonking Michael over the head. I carried his body as I ran to the sounds of fighting, in tow of Merrow.
It wasn't too hard to find them, because I just had to follow Merrow's screaming.
"ARMAN!!! NOOO!!!" Merrow screamed hysterically, I held her back.
"Merrow!" I shouted.
The sight was horrific. I watched as the trees cleared, revealing Arman being held by the neck. Mogul glaring at the Remnant. Arman was horrifically bloodied, his nose bent, everything was bent. The dude was so beat up. I had never seen anybody that beat up in my many years in the octagon.
"Arman..." I muttered.
Suddenly, my vision flashed. Arman was replaced by a kid, who looked like us. Long navy blue coat, baggy black track pants. His hair, full of black and magenta bangs. Just as bloodied. Just as beat up. Held by Mogul's grip by the neck, choking to death.
"This... this is how he died..." I whispered.
Mogul turned to us, smiling evilly. GUARDIAN RIVENLIGHT. YOU LET THE FIRSTBORN FIGHT IN YOUR PLACE. NOW HE SHALL SUFFER THE SAME FATE, AS HIM.
Merrow's sobs turned into heaving, as she tried to fight my grip. But I was physically stronger than her.
"Let me go... please!!!" Merrow held out her hand to Arman's, who looked at her, smiling.
"It's going to be okay, Lady Rivenlight. It's going to be okay..." He reassured her. Even after being beat up by this guy, beat near to death, and being choked. He was still putting her before himself.
A true warrior till the end.
Mogul laughed, and I stood my ground. I had pissed myself, when I tried to fight him. I couldn't even land one blow without begging for my life, dropping my badass persona. Just being in his presence made me want to die. Yet Arman soldiered through all of that, got himself beaten...
To protect US.
To save ME.
"Lady Rivenlight..." Arman mumbled, his eyes losing light as he slowly began to lose consciousness.
"This fight is not over... gather the rest of my brothers. We can do it, for as long as we have hop-" Mogul squeezed, and Arman began to retch, Merrow's sobs increasing in intensity. I held her.
"Merrow, we gotta go."
"SHUT UP!" Merrow screamed. "Please, Mogul. Take my life. Don't do this to him. This had nothing to do with him. It was just me and Decen. It was just-"
REMNANT 1 CHOSE TO ABANDON HIS LIFE TO SERVE YOU. TO AID YOU. HE IS JUST AS INVOLVED IN THIS WAR, AS DECEN WAS.
"Hey." Arman said, holding his hand out, which began to glow silver, illuminating the surroundings in the night. Merrow looked up.
"It has been an honor to serve you, Lady Rivenlight."
Mogul chuckled, picking up Loz-Q.
THIS HAS GONE LONG ENOUGH. LITTLE REMNANT, YOU WERE ONLY ABLE TO KEEP UP FOR A BRIEF TIME DUE TO YOUR REGENERATION. BUT EVEN THAT HAS LIMITS. THIS IS GOODBYE.
Mogul picked up Loz-Q, and impaled Arman right through his back, the blade sprouting from his chest as the Firstborn gasped. Loz-Q began to freeze his body, ice emerging and spreading from the wound, all the way up his shoulders, inching its way to his face.
Mogul dropped Arman, as swarms of black energy began to encase the monster, his essence disappearing, teleporting away.
MY POWERS WANE. CONSIDER THIS A WARNING, SHOULD YOU GATHER MORE OF THE REMNANTS. I CANNOT BE BEATEN BY THE PALADIN'S SPAWN. I CANNOT BE BEATEN BY THE PALADIN'S GUARDIAN. I CANNOT BE BEATEN, FOR I AM SIN.
Merrow ran up to Arman, who continued to be frozen by Loz-Q, the ice slowly converting his face, into a crystal man.
Even as the ice enclosed his face, he was still smiling, stroking Merrow's hair with his frostbitten hands.
"It's going to be okay, Lady Rivenlight. Don't cry."
Merrow buried her face into Arman's chest, sobbing.
The ice closed in, and Arman stopped moving, as Michael and I stood around the frozen body of Remnant 1 in the night.
Chapter 18 (Remnant 9)
"I'll carry him." I told Merrow, who looked at me, but suddenly realized that I was no longer joking. My face was dead serious.
I took Arman's frozen body with one arm, and grabbed Pariah with the other. We walked to the portal back home.
Michael turned to Merrow. "Listen, I'm sorry. I-"
Merrow interrupted him with a hug. "No. You honored Arman's wishes. I... I respect that. I'm sorry I put you through all that."
For once, I wasn't jealous.
Michael looked at Arman. "He's still alive."
Merrow stared at him, from within his arms. "What do you mean?"
Michael's eyes glowed red, analyzing Arman. "He still got a pulse. He's just catatonic, in the frozen trap. There's still a way to get him back, but as of now, he's real weak."
I walked up to Pariah, inspecting it.
"Then we will protect him. I will protect him."
I took the weapon. It was super heavy, even for me. The fact that Arman had wielded this in battle, sending slashes at such a freaking high speed, only showed how strong he really was. He kept it all hidden, instead of flexing it like me, kept it under a pacifist mindset.
He was every bit I wasn't, for the better.
I also took the strap, that magically appeared the moment I touched the hilt, and put the blade on my back. I looked at my reflection. Black jeans, tight fitting shirt, and now the Argen strap Pariah created for me.
It was hard to believe this was me. But I embraced it. For Arman.
I turned to Merrow, who was staring at me.
"We'll find the Remnants. And if they don't cooperate, I'll beat them to next Sunday. They will help in our quest. We will beat Mogul."
I put my hand on Arman's frozen face. His smiling frozen face. That goof.
"For my brother. And for my father. Arman took the mantle of representing us, and now it's been passed down to me."
I looked at Merrow and Michael, Merrow, seeing me in a new light.
Because at the end of the day, no matter how much of a failure I was in that fight, no matter how shit my life was back then, and how shit of a person, selfish piece of trash I was back then. One thing was clear.
I was a Remnant of Decen.
Just like Arman.
Mogul wants a war? He chose to mess with the wrong Paladin. Because we sure as hell don't let some Darkseid looking ass disrespect our creed. He chose to pick a fight with a Remnant of War?
A war he's gonna get.