The enormous tree that was growing out of the Earth, had branches which were thousands of miles from the planet’s surface. In fact, it was so massive that its roots spread out all across the entire western hemisphere. While it was certainly a strange and overwhelmingly powerful creature, its only real enemy was the seven-headed hydra that lived on the other side of the world. There were similar beasts that existed on Luna and Venus as well, but they didn’t exactly have the chance to interact or conflict with each other.
Within the stem of a colossal purple flower, hundreds of miles away from the surface of the planet, a beautiful Dryad was floating inside of a spacious room. Her bark-like flesh was pink and there were blue lotuses growing from the black vines that hung from her scalp like dreadlocks.
A myriad of strange and brightly colored worms were wiggling around in front of her face. After poking and prodding them a bit, she grabbed a pink one and causally started chewing on it. She murmured “Odd, no… Hmmm, not fully mature yet.”
Suddenly, one of the walls opened up and a haggard looking elven man floated inside. He was extremely muscular, with long silver hair, golden irises and twelve fluffy white wings extending from his back. His only clothing was a pair of blue jeans and a grey tank-top.
He had tears in his eyes as he floated closer to the indifferent woman. After a few minutes he finally couldn’t bear it anymore and muttered “Yuri, Sweetie… I know this is hard for you to believe, but… Mommy is dead.”
The Dryad turned around and stared at the tears that were collecting into the form of a bubble around his eyes. Her expression remained the same, as she coldly whispered “Unlikely.”
“Honey, it’s not a debate… I saw her die! And not even your Aunt Trixie can sense her presence!” Even though he was yelling at her, she didn’t seem to notice.
After a minute of awkward silence, she gazed off towards a glass-like window. Through that, it was possible to see the full Moon rather clearly. She murmured “Death is not as simple as you believe it to be, Father.”
Luke struggled to wipe the globs of sparkling water from his eyes, while asking “Please Yuri, can you just come to the funeral with me?”
“Your archaic post-mortem rituals are irrelevant. My research is far more important than your juvenile emotional response to Mother’s disappearance.” The Dryad turned towards her squirming worms and began gently caressing one of the largest ones.
The angelic elf gritted his teeth, before finally roaring “This isn’t a game Yuri! Your mother is dead! My… my Iris is gone! Can’t you just act like a normal person for one freaking evening?! Just pretend for my sake, okay?!”
A few minutes passed, before she let out a quiet sigh. The expressionless woman turned around and said “Father, your cortisol levels are abnormally high. Perhaps you should allow me to administer a mild sedative to reduce your anxiety… In fact, I was just in the process of creating this cortisol inhibitor worm. Would you like one? They taste rather bland, yet they do promote a rather significant dopamine response…”
For a moment, golden veins actually appeared on Luke’s furious face. However, it didn’t take him too long to calm down a bit.
“Fine… give me one of the green ones. They’re sour-apple flavoured, right?”
All of the surviving members of The Guardians were gathered within a fancy meeting room, within an enormous skyscraper on Luna’s largest mountain. Everyone was sitting around a long and obnoxiously large black table, in seats that varied in size from person to person.
An adorable little elven girl, with brown skin and straight, white hair, whispered “Three months ago, ‘Rapture’ appeared from the Abyssal Pit, in Africa… Look at a map.”
Dalthis interjected “Wait, I’m confused, I thought this meeting was about Mike?” There were a few others who shared his sentiments and complained as well.
Beatrix sighed dramatically, murmuring “We call him ‘Rapture’ now, because there are too many people named Michael and it’s actually a fairly decent name… Considering that he’s responsible for killing billions of people. Also, if he really is ‘bringing the souls to another world’, then it makes even more sense to call him Rapture.”
“He’s on Mars now, so let’s just use ‘that’ and end this now!” Luke had a furious expression, as he stood up and slammed his palms onto the table.
Yuri casually suggested “Perhaps we should simply surrender and end this farce? Even if we do happen to destroy Rapture, Arcana will not simply allow us to escape. We’ve already fallen into her trap.”
Gabriel complained “Then what?! We spend an eternity trapped in Arcana’s Soul Realm and slowly get devoured? Ugh, I worked hard to get this powerful! I refuse to give up just like that!”
“No, there is an alternative… The Exodus has been completed.” Beatrix waved her left hand and a holographic projection appeared at the center of the table. On it was displayed a giant silver and grey planet, formerly known as Mercury.
Luke yelled “Where are you going to run now?! We should just throw everything we have at Mike and at least get revenge for Iris!”
“Father, you’re being irrational. There is no benefit for us to destroy Rapture. In fact, he is the key to surviving this situation. Even if the rest of you plan to flee or fight, I’m still going to take my research notes and surrender to Arcana. If she takes away my power, so be it. This life was never meant to be permanent.”
After hearing his dryadic daughter speak so callously about her own fate, the elven man stood up and growled “You’re still a little kid! Damn it Yuri! Go with Beatrix and the others! All of you bastards… Just go on your Exodus already! I’m going to activate the final measure and try to end things on Mars… But if I fail, don’t worry about getting revenge and definitely don’t surrender to Arcana!”
“No, it is far too late to mount any sort of resistance now.” An obsidian-skinned elven woman suddenly appeared above the table, as if she were a hologram. There were stars and galaxies all across her flawless skin, while her eyes glowed like pure-white supernovas.
“Arcana!” Luke immediately unsheathed his sword and stabbed it forwards, releasing an incredible amount of blinding light, along with plenty of mana. However, his ‘Legacy’ simply disintegrated upon contact. Then all of the power behind the attack was easily absorbed into her body.
“From the very beginning, you had no chance to resist… You never did. Did you not know that your struggle would inevitably be futile? How could all of you have fallen so far…” Arcana glanced around at the table filled with familiar faces, but she saw through their exterior bodies. Then she murmured “Raphael, Uriel, Gabriel… You, Beatrix Ares Day… I don’t recognize you, but your middle name is familiar. Reminiscent of an old friend I suppose. Especially you Lucas… Or perhaps I should call you by your original name, Helel?”
“What are you talking about?! I don’t know you! None of us do! You’re just the Devil who suddenly descended upon our world one day! Why do you need to torment us like this?! How many billions of lives have you destroyed because of a whim?!” Luke was furious, as his huge metallic wings began glowing brightly and spreading out.
“Helel… It seems you have reached the limit already. Only a small push, would allow you to reach the next Realm. However, you foolishly sacrificed all of the mana within your minuscule soul fragment in order to arrive at this point. That is good. Now you will be able to pose a threat to Minari.” She raised her left hand and an enormous mirror appeared floating above her head.
Those seemingly endless strands of pure-white hair were being sucked up into the portal, reaching all around the entire chaotic planet. Then Arcana whispered “All of you… It is time for the final battle. This game has come to a close and none of you will be able to escape this time. Now go, entertain me.”
Everyone and everything within the room was pulled through that large oval window, without even being able to utter a word in defiance.