Johnny stood before me in a pool of blood, wearing that ever-present crazed grin I had come to hate. He twirled his his scythe lazily in his left hand, its blade dripping with fresh blood.
The area around us seemed to shift and change around us in a cloudy haze. At one point we were in Ravencrest, overlooking the city on the clock tower where we first met. And just as soon as that image had set, it faded into the gray haze, becoming the cavern underneath the city where we had our last encounter before the Celestial Gate. Like the image before, it shifted and broke apart, returning to that gray fog.
Behind Johnny lay a gruesome sight: a pile of bodies, at least twenty feet tall at its highest point. And before him, there was the lone body of a young girl with blonde hair.
Her clothes were torn and frayed and her body was covered from head to toe is cuts and slashes. The wounds all looked shallow and superficial, but she was bleeding far more than such wounds warranted. To my surprise, she twitched once, indicating that she was still alive. But she was in horrible condition. From the looks of the pool of blood she was lying in, she had been bleeding for a long while, and it didn't look like it was going to stop any time soon. And that puddle was growing larger at an alarming rate.
I had no idea who she was, but seeing her there, slowly bleeding to death... It ignited a rage within me that I had not felt in a long time. Despite not knowing who she was, I could feel that she was somehow important to me. We were connected in some kind of way, and I cared about her.
And I was sick of watching this evil bastard take people I cared about away from me.
“Ah, Red! I'm so glad you could arrive in time for the ritual! I was beginning to think you'd miss it!” Johnny said. He gestured to the girl on the ground, who shifted once more. “This young lady had taken it upon herself to try and stop the ceremony, but we can't have that now can we?”
The air was thick with the iron stench of blood, so thick that it was nearly difficult to breathe. “...what did you do to her?” I demanded in a low voice, just barely containing my anger.
Johnny gleamed. “All I did was have a little fun with her! Though, it looks like I tuckered the poor child out. I suppose I was a little rough with her,” he mused as he nudged her with his foot.
The girl recoiled and let out a pained moan, slowly curling into herself. “R-Red... help...” she whispered.
I raised my eyebrows in surprise. This girl knew my name, somehow. And if she was asking me for help, then must have failed at protecting her from this degenerate.
I balled my fists in anger, my aura beginning to flare around me. “I'm going to kill you, Johnny. I'm going to cut you open and rip you to shreds.
Johnny feigned a pout. “Aw, c'mon Red, don't be like that. I thought we were friends! Remember all those good times we had together? All the beautiful blood we spilled...” he sighed wistfully. “Those were good days.”
“Shut the hell up!” The seal in my right hand radiated darkness as shadows coalesced into the shape of my sword. “This nonsense ends here and now, you sick bastard. Tonight is the night you die.”
Johnny smirked and spun his scythe into both of his hands. “Such rage! Such violence!” He cackled and lowered the blade of his weapon until its point touched the pool of blood that had collected around the girl. As the blade absorbed the crimson liquid, Johnny shuddered in delight. “Yes, feed.. consume all until there is no more...” he said.
The blade drained the blood around the girl, now pulsating with crimson energy. Despite have just “eaten”, it gleamed with a ravenous light, hungry for more.
“Come on then, Red! You said you would make me bleed- I look forward to it!” And then he was upon me, laughing madly as swung his blade at my neck.
I managed to parry his attack, but the sheer force of the blow caused me to stagger back. I shoved his scythe away and moved to drive my sword into his abdomen, but he spun around and away from me, knocking my blade aside with the shaft of his scythe.
And with that, our deadly dance began. We were both whirlwinds of steel, our blades clashing and reflecting off of each others' in the hazy cavern.
When we fought before, Johnny and I were more or less equals, matching one another blow for blow. But now, something seemed different. Johnny was faster and even more frenzied, and for every scratch or cut I managed to give him, I earned two in return.
Within minutes, we were both bleeding from various scratches and slashes. And while I only grew more fatigued as out duel went on, Johnny seemed to revel in his injuries, laughing like a madman each time my blade marred his skin.
“Come now Red, you were so much more fun the first time we fought!” Johnny shouted with glee. “Where's your spirit? Where's your FIRE?!” Johnny swung his scythe with impossible force, nearly wrenching my sword from my hands as I attempted to deflect it. I spun with the force of the blow while creating a knife of shadow in my off-hand, attempting to catch him off-guard and drive it into his chest. But to my surprise he caught my wrist and violently twisted it causing me to grit my teeth in pain and drop my knife.
“You're slipping, Red!” He kicked my legs from underneath me and let me fall, his scythe coming down towards my chest before I even hit the ground. I caught his blade on mine but before I could even react, he kicked me hard in my side.
I rolled away from him and quickly rose to my feet, only to be driven to a knee by a sharp, piercing pain in my side where Johnny's foot hit me. I hissed in pain and held a hand to my side, feeling a sticky wetness on my clothing. What the hell? I thought to myself. How am I bleeding? It was only a kick! This is wrong, this isn't how blunt trauma works... What did he do?!
I growled in frustration and shook my head. No, you need to calm down. You're losing your composure and that's going to do nothing but get you killed, my rational side scolded. I swallowed down my pain and rose to my feet, spinning my sword once to re-adjust my grip.
Johnny stood there, grinning madly as his scythe continued to pulsate eagerly with crimson light. “Are you alright, Red? I hope I didn't hurt you too bad so early on in our time together!” he taunted, then laughed.
My left hand shined with black energy, and then I was on him, aiming a swing at his right side. I caught him off guard, so he had only just blocked my attack. Not letting up for a single second, I drove my fist into his abdomen and kneed him in his face as he doubled over, staggering away from me.
“Don't worry about me, asshole. You better shut up and focus on the fight before you earn yourself a blade in your throat!”
Johnny straightened upright. He was grinning with mad delight, the blood from his damaged nose freely flowing down his face only made him look more psychotic. “Yes, Red! Hit me, cut me- make me bleed!” he shouted with fervor as a crimson aura began to spark to life around him. His eyes were wild behind his glasses and his chest heaved with deep breaths.
I adjusted my grip on my sword again and braced myself. I already knew that Johnny was insane, but he was far more excited than normal. And that was never good.
Johnny charged me once again, locking his blade with mine in a clash of sparks. I held my ground, but I could feel my feet sliding on the bloody ground as he stepped forward and pushed me back.
Johnny leaned in closer, his face inches from mine. “You're wrong, Red,” he whispered gleefully. “We're both going to die here tonight. We're going to cut one another to ribbons, you and I. We'll spill so much blood, the world will marvel at our display!”
I roared and pushed him back with all of my strength, throwing him off-balance. Seeing an opportunity, I created another knife and plunged it into his abdomen. His hot blood began to flow over my hand as I forced it into him as deep as I could. “Die, asshole,” I said as I twisted the blade into his flesh.
But all Johnny did was laugh. Even as he started to bleed from his mouth, he laughed harder and harder, the insane sound reverberating around us. “Very well then, Red! Die with me!”
I raised my arm just in time to stop his blade from piercing my neck, his scythe instead burrowing into my left arm. I tried to pull away from him but his hand was clamped down on my wrist, keeping the knife inside of him and leaving me unable to escape.
The blade of his scythe shined a bright, crimson red. I could feel it draining the blood from my body as Johnny laughed in psychotic glee. “This is how it's meant to be, Red! This is how we die!” he exclaimed.
“This is NOT the day I die!” I drove my fist into his face and kicked one of his legs from beneath him. With his balance gone, I managed to break free of his grasp and back away from him, his scythe violently tearing out of my arm.
“Shit...” I growled in frustration as I held my damaged arm. Though we were both bloodied, this fight was not going well. The longer this went on, the more excited Johnny got, and the more blood I lost. I needed to end this soon.
Johnny wiped the blood from his face on the back of his sleeve, giggling softly. “My my Red, if I knew any better, I'd say that you were losing this fight!” he spun his scythe twice, then slammed its shaft into the ground. “Now, how would like me to kill you? Shall I eviscerate you? Oh, or maybe I'll dismember you, like I did that bitch goddess! Or maybe even-”
“Relax for a moment, Johnny,” a soft voice from behind Johnny cut him off. “I wish to speak with your friend before he dies.”
Johnny looked over his shoulder, then stepped aside with a low bow. “Yes, my mistress,” he said quietly, almost sounding sane. But as if to remind me of who I was dealing with, he flashed me a quick grin.
The voice that had subdued Johnny belonged to another young girl. Her hair was dark, almost violet in color- a stark contrast to her porcelain skin. She wore a long, black, flowing dress with intricate symbols and shapes etched into the fabric. On her head, she wore some sort of black crown crown or headdress.
“You've done well to come this far, Red. I highly doubt my sister would have made it here without your help,” she said as she slowly approached, gesturing to the blonde girl on the ground. “But I'm afraid that this is where your journey ends.”
“Shut the hell up,” I spat back at her. “Your sick crusade ends here.”
The girl stopped beside Johnny and folded her arms, frowning and shaking her head slowly. “Is what I'm doing really so awful? I told you before and I'll tell you again: We are superior. We needn't live amongst lesser beings as equals. No, we must rise above them like the children of heaven we are.” The dark haired girl strode over to the blonde. “And if we must... we will crush the weak beneath our heels like ants before giants,” she said as she stomped down on the blonde girl's back viciously, causing her to cry out in pain.
“Sera!" I called out to the girl, surprising myself as I said her name. "Get away from her you bitch!” I shouted as I charged towards the dark-haired girl, but Johnny appeared before me in a burst of black fire.
“You will NOT touch my mistress!” he bellowed angrily. I swung my blade at his neck but he swiftly ducked underneath it and rose with a hard knee to my abdomen. Once more I felt that sharp, unimaginable pain from before, already feeling my stomach beginning to bleed.
I coughed hard and fell on a knee, tasting iron on my tongue as I spat blood. I've lost too much blood, I thought to myself as gasped for breath. My body felt heavy, and the world pitched and tilted beneath me.
Johnny reached down and grasped me by the front of my shirt, lifting me up before him with ease. I wanted to hit him, push him away- anything. But my body would not comply. I was too weak to even lift my arms.
“Shall I kill him, my mistress?” he asked with barely contained glee.
No... Not here... Not like this...
Johnny cackled madly as he drove the blade of his scythe into my chest, pain exploding throughout my body as he leaned close. “It's been fun, Red, it truly has,” he whispered. “But now, there I are things I must attend to, and I cannot allow you any chance of ruining my fun.”
“G... Go to hell...” I managed to say weakly. There was so much pain. My heart fluttered as it tried to pump blood through my veins, but it only made me bleed even faster.
Johnny smiled and pulled his blade free from my chest. I could hear my blood splattering on the ground- a sickening, wet sound. “Farewell, Red.” And then he dropped me.
I fell to the ground in a crumpled heap as I watched him turn around and walk away, offering his arm to that dark-haired bitch. I slowly shifted my gaze to the blonde girl who laid on the ground a few feet away from me.
Tears welled up in her eyes as she watched me die.
“Sera...” was all I managed to say before the world faded into black nothingness.