To A Thief - Chapter 32: The DescentA Chapter by Jobyn
A long awaited confrontation between opposing leaders.
"The resurrection of the Shadow Lord?" Vincent asked as he cocked a brow.
"You're kidding, right?" Veronaut sneered. "That is the stupidest thing I've ever heard. The Shadow Lord was destroyed years ago. You expect us to believe that a couple of jackasses like you can bring him back to life?"
"The Shadow Lord..." Draven echoed in his mind. His eyes widened at the thought of what would happen should the lord of darkness walk Vana'diel's soil once more. His mind flickered with the terrible images of his past. Death and destruction. Friends betraying one another. Family members killed before your very eyes.
"Well if it isn't the rat with the anger problems that we met back at the temple of Uggalepih," Gazo smirked as he nodded his head towards Veronaut's direction.
".. Ah, and they brought the little boy as well.." Daan gave a devious grin as he cracked his knuckles and walked up to his master's side, as well as Gazo. Both of them had a few differences in appearance since the last time they confronted the Brigade. Their eyes had gone from an otherwise normal color to a now blank and silvery hue. They also had many scars along their faces, and Daan even wore a patch over his left eye.
Veronaut slammed the end of his axe on the floor as he leaned some of his weight on it, chuckling in a rasp tone at the sight of them. "And what happened to you two? Did daddy f**k you up for failing your last assignment?"
Gazo and Daan's expressions tightened as Veronaut's little stab at their new injuries seemingly stirred a nerve.
"This one just can't wait to die," Gazo frowned.
"That's... enough," the hooded Descent leader murmured curtly as his eyes continued to burn into the three Brigade members before him. "You have something that belongs to us," he started, looking at Vincent. "Return him to me, and I shall ensure your existence personally in the cleansing of this world."
"Eat s**t," Veronaut spit off to the side.
Vincent just stood there without so much as blinking. He simply returned the burning glare that practically spouted sparks in between the two leaders.
Draven narrowed his eyes and looked through the corners of them at Vincent. "A proposition?" He thought to himself. "What could he be speaking of? 'Something that belongs to us'? 'Return him to me'? He's obviously not talking about Okina." His eyes suddenly caught glimpse of something else. Something he hadn't noticed before. Vincent wasn't carrying his darksteel greatsword- otherwise known as his Griever -on his back.
Silence had swallowed up the entire amphitheater.
It wasn't until a split second later that the Descent leader's head suddenly snapped upward, moving his arms in a lightning fast reflex to catch the end of the Griever that was daring to plunge down on him and slice him into two symmetrical parts from the head-down. But just as fast as he had reacted to catch the Griever, Vincent's foot landed a nasty kick to the man's mid-section. The attack sent the Descent leader flying towards the farthest wall of the amphitheater just after Vincent had quickly yanked his sword away from the hooded man's grasp by the hilt.
With the first strike now given, Draven quickly dashed forward and thrust the tip of his thin sword towards Daan's face, who reacted quickly enough to avoid a direct hit, but was just slightly grazed on his jaw and released a small trickle of black blood from the wound.
Veronaut quickly followed behind the actions of the other two and swung his great axe in a wide radius at Gazo. But the large galka was able to latch his big hands onto the sides of the axe before it got him and forcefully swung it aside, causing Veronaut to spin a couple of times out of control. He kept his axe in wide range to make Gazo back up though, and quickly regained balance on his feet before charging once more at him.
At the same time flying towards the wall with a black streamlining tail of darkness, the Descent leader went straight through it without any form of impact. He came right back out at blurring speeds from the opposite end of the amphitheater, flying straight towards Vincent.
In the millisecond that the hooded figure flew straight at him, the yellow rings around Vincent's irises appeared, signifying the activation of his force stun ability. He did this because at the speed the enemy had been flying at him, he wouldn't have been able to avoid getting hit. However, by some unexpected circumstance, the stun did not connect.
Planting his hand against Vincent's chest, the Descent leader emitted a dark purple hue which pulsated once before letting off a small-scale explosion that sent Vincent tumbling many feet across the hard cermet floor. The attack went off in an all too familiar way, only in a much smaller matter.
Both of these sudden assaults took up all but a few seconds.
The other four who had just engaged each other in combat called out, quickly shooting each other glances and jumping away. Apparently, both parties were just as surprised by the fact that someone had landed a successful attack on their leaders... on each other, to be exact.
Shifting his body while tumbling and forcing the end of his Griever against the cermet floor, Vincent skidded to a halt. He stood there in a slightly crouched manner as smoke rose up from his chest, burning another glare into the Descent leader's eyes. He didn't seem particularly injured, it just stung like hell. He might not have received the full force of the attack because of how disoriented the Descent leader had been while flying through the air.
The two leaders stood facing each other from opposite ends once more, the silence creeping back up on the amphitheater.
"What just happened?" Draven asked himself out loud as he squinted his eyes at the two. One moment he saw them flying through the air and in the next they were just standing there looking at each other again. "And why aren't the other Descent members attacking...?"
All the others simply stood there, watching and awaiting orders.
".. You worry about.. Your own hide, little boy.." Daan grinned wide as he caught Draven off guard and landed a clean punch the the young thief's upper cheek bone, followed by a flurry of more punches. Draven had been unable to avoid that first one, but it knocked him back into the action and began to act quickly in dodging the rest as he looked for an opening to retaliate.
"As I thought, those types of abilities are nullified here," the Descent leader thought to himself as he examined the yellow rings around Vincent's irises from afar.
"How curious," Vincent simply stated as he deactivated his ocular ability. "So, they were prepared for a fight after all."
"Indeed," the Descent leader said. "I believe that tonberry of yours left out an important detail about Ro'Maeve. There is a fountain here that the Zilart have also built that is believed to absorb astral energy from Vana'diel's moon and fuse it with the enchanted holy waters to create an invisible barrier around this city. As you may have noticed, the barrier stops any and all forbidden arts and magicks so long as said abilities are within range. The Full Moon Fountain. Ro'Maeve's absolute defense against what was once the ancient demon lords that plagued Vana'diel and their forbidden magic," he explained, pausing for a moment as he narrowed his bright green, vertically slit eyes at Vincent.
"Tch," Vincent rolled his shoulder back in irritation. "It makes no difference to me, Descent."
"Vincent," the hooded man called his name, pausing for another moment before continuing. "Sergeant Vince of the Raven Unit. Founder of the Brigade. Descendant... of the ancient demon bloodline." The man began to take a few steps forward. "Old friend," he thought. "Hearken unto me. Return the catalyst to us, and rejoice in our cause of restoring Vana'diel to what it should have been. Everything that was left wrong, will be made right," he continued, motioning his hand around the amphitheater- no, the entire world. "Together, we can start anew."
Vincent remained silent for a few long moments, shutting his eyes and slightly lowering his head. Suddenly, he began chuckling to himself. "Forgive me, but your cause is just quite stifling," he shook his head in disbelief.
"Hmph?" The Descent leader rose his head a bit.
After stopping his laughter, Vincent brought the tip of his sword against the floor and looked at the hooded man. "I didn't come here to bargain with you. I came here to put an end to this charade, once and for all."
"Then, die." The Descent leader rose his hand, signaling all the other members of his group that had been standing by to attack. They all went directly for Vincent.
Holding his Griever off to the side, Vincent readied himself for the incoming barrage of Descent. "2... 3... 4," he counted under his breath, placing a mental number on each member based on their faces and armor as well as their weapons. There were twelve of them in total, not counting the Descent leader, Kyrie, Daan, and Gazo.
Number 3 jumped at his back while number 7 came at him from his right side, both incoming fast. Number 1 was the unlucky b*****d in the front. As number 1 attempted to thrust his dagger at his chest, Vincent swiftly rotated his body off to the side and around number 1, knocking him right on the back of the head with the hilt of his Griever and putting him in a brief daze. With number 1 standing where Vincent had been and shaking away the dizziness, number 3 and 7 were unable to stop due to how fast they had been thrusting their weapons forward. Number 3's darksteel sword went right into 1's abdomen, while 7's lance pierced right through the same target's side.
Not wasting another moment, Vincent left number 1 to his demise and made a sudden dash towards the northern side of the amphitheater. Number 8 attempted to try and swing his giant axe at Vincent as he dashed past, trying to nab him by getting him to run straight into the swing. However, with quick thinking, Vincent thrust his Griever into the cermet floor in front of him which caused number 8's axe to come to an immediate stop upon clashing with the edge of the Griever. Vincent had his eyes set on number 2; a fist fighter, like Daan. Only this one had a nasty looking pair of katars in each hand.
Number 2 didn't waste any time trying to approach the Brigade leader in another manner. He simply rushed forward and began with a heavy, concentrated swing of his right fist. Had it actually hit, it would have been quite the blow. But Vincent made a mockery of the swing by simply ramming his forearm against number 2's wrist and throwing the punch off course. Wrapping his arm over and around number 2's right arm, Vincent held his target in a one-armed hold. Rather than waste effort trying to free his right arm, number 2 growled in anticipation as he filled his right arm with nothing but cast iron monk chakra, taking another heavy swing at Vincent's head. Bad move. Another counter with the same simple maneuver.
With a hard force upward against number 2's elbows, Vincent broke the Descent member's arms at the same time and threw him over his head like light baggage by his flimsy arms and smashing his head against the cermet floor. His neck broke instantly without so much as a chance to scream in pain.
Number 4 locked down the sights of his black ivory rifle and aimed it directly at Vincent's chest, preferring to go for the wider and safer shot through his heart rather than for his head. He didn't want to take the chance with such a fast moving target. Even so, Vincent quickly made a dash a little past his Griver, jumping and spinning his body in midair to mess with 4's aim just as he pulled the trigger. Fire!
The rifle bullet ricochets hard off of Vincent's Griever, which was still stuck into the floor and bounces the bullet right in between 3's eyes. Bullseye. She died instantly just after having pulled her sword out of number 1's corpse without Vincent having to really contribute to her death. "That's three," he told himself.
"S**t!" Number 4 growls as he fumbles into his strap for another bullet, more so enraged by the fact that he could actually miss a target. Just as he cocked the rifle and looked up, his eyes widened. The Griever came zipping right at him and running clean through his stomach and out his back with so much force that it stuck him into the amphitheater wall like an insect on a needle. Vincent had apparently pulled the sword out of the floor and chucked it at 4 as he reloaded. Didn't even stand a chance.
Number 7 came running after Vincent, taking the opportunity to attack him while he was weaponless. Although just to be safe, 7 jumped high up into the air with his dragoon-like abilities to get some distance and impale Vincent with his lance just like he had watched number 4 be done with. Since he had the air and speed, he figured he easily had the upper hand. Wrong.
Tapping into his dark knight magic, Vincent threw his hand upward and cast a miniscule blind spell over the plunging 7's eyes. Now, this blind spell wasn't nearly as effective as a black mage's version, but it was strong enough to disorient number 7 and cause him to run that lance of his through the cermet floor, missing his target by just a little.
Upon 7's messed up landing, Vincent slapped his hand onto the Descent member's face and froze it over in a shell of rock hard ice, using the same dark knight magicks to do so. Again, nowhere near the level of a black mage's spell, but just enough to freeze number 7's face solid and leave him there to choke on it. Vincent planned on killing number 5 and 6 before 7 suffocated to death. And that's exactly what he did.
Quickly catching a glimpse of number 6's hexagonal-barreled musket aimed directly at him, Vincent left 7 clutching his solid face for life and took his lance with him. Whirling the sturdy darksteel lance around himself, Vincent blocked all incoming rounds fired at him by number 6's hexagun, heading closer and closer to him until 6 backed up into the wall and pulled the trigger of his firearm to no avail. He was out, and Vincent was in. Running the pointed end of the lance right through number 6's arm and against the wall, Vincent took the hexagun while keeping his target pinned and even took the time to reach into their pocket for another round of bullets.
Dropping the bullets and catching them inside the hexagun while they were in midair with quick movements of his one free hand, Vincent turned and began to unload it all into number 5. He made sure to save at least one bullet. Bits of bloodied and torn armor flew off of number 5's body with bullet after bullet before he finally fell lifelessly into a fine pool of his own blood. Turning without so much as blinking, Vincent pressed the barrel against a groaning and struggling number 6's head. He quickly got done with him by a clean bullet to the brain. Number 7 suffocated to death on cue.
The rest of the twelve were dealt with as such. The entire one-man assault had lasted no more than a minute and a half. As Vincent chucked number 12's lifeless body aside by the collar, he looked at their leader and narrowed his eyes. The man had been standing there the entire time without moving an inch. He had just been... watching.
"Don't toy with me," Vincent muttered, annoyed. "It's time to end this."
The Descent leader stood there for a few moments, just looking at his enemy with nothing but pure malevolence in his eyes. The evening sky began to shift, moving the shadow that cast a blanket of darkness over the hooded leader's face to move up just enough to reveal a pair of thin lips. He gave the slightest of smirks at Vincent, the pointed ends on each side of his mouth defining what appeared to be fangs.
"Oh? But we have only just begun, Brigade commander," he said, his menacing voice growing louder. "It is time you learned true judgement."
Yanking off the dark pendant around his neck, the Descent leader held his hand out and let it drop down towards the hard cermet floor. But the pendant didn't land, it simply sunk straight through the floor as if it had just plunged into water. It left a little dark spot on the bright floor which then began to expand in huge bursts, shooting out streams of pulsating emptiness in every direction.
What could the leader of the Descent possibly have in store for Vincent? Perhaps he truly was just "toying" with the Brigade commander this entire time.
Find out what happens next in Chapter 33: Judgement
© 2011 Jobyn
Added on October 13, 2011
Last Updated on October 31, 2011
Tags: adventure drama comedy brotherly
To A Thief