The God thrives in the wars he started. The man who lost everything seeks revenge at any cost. A demon that should be despised leads the man.
Part One | Part Two
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Hypermice, Sean Young, and Mister Artorias
God of War
The water of the lake was in upheaval. The thick clouds of the night sky brought swift gusts of wind through the large crater in the mountain range. Glimpses of the moon shone through gaps in the cloud coverage, casting a silvery glow. Behind Mashin, the staircase carved into the mountainside was stained red with the blood of a dozen men who had tried to stop him.
Across the lake, the island was waiting for him. Red lanterns floated in the air; the red light gave him a view of the men and trained creatures waiting for him. Several came to the front with longbows drawn.
“You should jump for it. They will set fire to any boat you attempt to cross in. It’d be a real shame if you were to sink to a watery grave now,” Kaibutsu mused.
“I already know. Focus on looking for the God. I don’t want him to escape,” Mashin replied. He heard a shout from the other side, and he quickly swiped his katana through the air. The three arrows aimed for his body were cut apart in the air with ease. He tensed his legs, preparing himself.
The bowmen on the other side nocked another volley of arrows to their bows, strings pulled back at the ready.
“This is exciting!” Kaibutsu laughed. “I never grow tired of seeing the red dance you perform.”
The command to fire rung through the air.
Mashin pushed off with his feet, leaving indents in the ground as he flew through the air with the katana poised to strike.
He landed amid the bowmen, using one of the men to break his fall. The man was crushed under the heavy boots of Mashin. Katana dug into flesh briefly before it was pulled back and extended outward to take three more men with its sharp edge.
The leader of the bowmen panicked and began to run, others following him.
Mashin pounced forward, the katana finding its mark in the back of the leader.
The man gasped before he was slammed to the ground. The nearby bowmen tried to react too late as they were cut apart.
Boar-like beasts were released by their captors. Dirty tusks came charging for Mashin. Squeals of excitement filled the air.
Mashin swiftly dodged in and out of the charging animals, his katana slicing through the tough hides. The blue eyes shone in the red glow of the lanterns, sending the waiting soldiers into fear as they watched the onslaught draw closer.
Eagles were set forth, talons descending for Mashin’s head. The blade whipped through the air with devastating speed, tearing the eagles apart. Shockwaves sent other eagles tumbling to the ground to get crushed by Mashin’s boots.
Soldiers charged forward with pet wolves. Teeth and swords came for Mashin. Each was met with the katana.
“I think this might be your best yet! It’s beautiful in every sense of the word.”
Mashin reached the bottom of the steps leading up to the palace. He glanced back to the death he left behind. The red pools did nothing to stop his rage; the grip on the katana tightened.
He ran up the stairs and met with more soldiers who tried to stop him. He skipped two steps at a time, unfazed by the defending guards. The katana sliced through opposing blade and armor to slice open the underlying skin. Bones cracked, and limbs were torn. The resulting release of blood cascaded down the steps behind Mashin.
His reflexes were always perfect, the motions of the katana a step ahead of any of the soldiers’ attempts to kill him. The dance was being executed perfectly.
The guards at the top of the steps were promptly cut down. Gates swung open to a courtyard that Mashin swept through, staining it crimson. The palace halls themselves, once kept pristine by the servants, were quickly torn into pieces. Servants begged and cried, trying to hide as each was cut down. The symbols of the God of War were on display on all the kimonos of the servants, sending Mashin further into his fury.
At the top floor, Mashin marched towards the waiting doors for the throne room. His boots echoed across the polished, clean wooden floors. The katana trailed along with Mashin’s step, the tip scratching a thin line through the wood. Red lanterns lit the path; banners decorated the walls. “He’s ahead,” Kaibutsu stated.
He slammed the thin door open to reveal a grand room. Water flowed along thin channels that fed blossoming pink flowers. The high ceiling had windows to allow light to shine through. Portraits of beautiful distant lands lined the walls.
His eyes froze on the flowers. The thought of distant fields bringing him a warm comfort to his beating heart.
“They’re flowers from your home,” a calm voice said.
The voice pulled Mashin away from the beauty of the flowers. He turned to see a man sitting atop a simple throne raised by a single step platform.
The man wore a large cloak that covered much of his body. Black spikes stuck out from his exposed skin, tearing holes through the cloak. His face was shrouded in darkness by the shadow of the cloak’s hood. His muscular arms rested on the armrests of the chair. His own katana was already unsheathed and waiting in the grip of one hand.
“I thought you might appreciate seeing them again,” he continued.
“Why did you destroy my village?” Mashin asked, his voice shook.
“War… war is a deadly thing.” The man stood up slowly; the katana kept low. “I am but a God, here to help those who are weaker. However, my actions have repercussions.” The God stepped down from the platform and slowly walked towards Mashin. “What I did to your village, to your family. It is understandable that you would come here for revenge. I ask you though. Now that you have sacrificed everything even your own freedom to that mask. Do you still seek revenge? Or do you just want to be a God?”
Mashin gritted his teeth and raised the katana with both hands. “You aren’t talking your way out of what you did!” He growled. Boots kicked off from the floor. He sprinted across the wooden floor, the katana aimed for the God’s head.
The God raised his own katana and blocked the blow.
Mashin backed away a step then came from a different angle, the katana leading the way.
“Humans’ lust for revenge is what continues the cycle of destruction. I should know,” the God said, easily deflecting Mashin’s attack.
The God’s own blade met Mashin’s continued attacks each time. The God slowly took steps back, never once moving forward. “I was once in your shoes. Fighting for a vengeful cause. It led me to the position I now hold.”
Mashin growled, keeping his attacks going, never once faltering in his speed. “I don’t care!”
“I even got help from a powerful being who wanted change in the world, the same being you now wear. I imagine you never once asked him why he is helping you.” The God reached the platform and backed up on it, using the chair to block Mashin.
He sliced through the throne, keeping his eyes locked on the God. “I don’t care what the mask wants! I already know what I want!”
“I tried my hardest to break the cycle. To do what the previous God of War did not do. I realize now that the God had given up over the years due to the futility of the situation. I hate myself for doing the same, but it truly is hopeless.” The God’s katana began to crack under Mashin’sonslaught.
“You almost have him!” Kaibutsu yelled in Mashin’s head.
The God’s katana shattered. Mashin’s blade dug deep into the God’s right shoulder. “I knew this day would come. Where I would finally face the one to end me.” He fell to his knees.
Mashin stood over the God, katana ready to finish the task.
The God slowly looked up. “You got your revenge. But is it truly satisfying? Or was it a lust for power all along?” The God slowly lowered his head. “In the end, you are foolish to think of me as a God. I’m simply a puppet just like you. The real God of War has led you this whole time.”
The katana wavered in the air.
“He is the killer of your parents and sister! End him now!” Kaibutsu yelled.
Mashin swung the katana down. The throne room echoed with his hollow scream.
The fake God slumped to the floor, his head missing.
“Excellent work, Mashin,” Kaibutsu said. “Excellent work indeed.” He began to laugh.
The mask slowly began to dissipate from around Mashin’s head. The man looked down at his bloodied gloves, the katana clattering to the floor. “What have I done?”
“I’ll be seeing you, boy,” Kaibutsu whispered as the last remnants of the mask vanished.