"You still alive? We need you to get out of here, so don't go collapsing on us yet."
The impudence from these words were enough, the punch just seemed unnecessary. The Lost Number's head lazily tilted towards Maeve, the annoying Banshee as he liked to call her, his hollowed eyes gazing at her. Angel's appearance continued to fluctuate between healthy and withered though one thing remained constant, his empty eye sockets where darkness swirled, a void of nothingness.
"Sometimes I wonder why haven't I killed you," Angel replied as he tapped his temple while observing the other Asylums gradually appear from their 'Red Doors'. The Lost Number didn't know whether to be relieved or disappointed. On one side it meant all the effort on his part didn't go to waste and on the other it meant he was about to exude a lot more effort in dealing with what was to come. The thought of it alone caused the Lost Number's finger to twitch as if reaching for an imaginary weapon.
"It seems we're done. Can we get back to the real world now?" Olivia replied next and Angel silently marveled over the sheer audacity these children possessed.
“Now we can go."
The mild annoyance had steadily surfaced though despite that Angel maintained a relaxed expression. He had to agree with the Iranian, it was indeed their time to go and in their stead he would be left. Such irony and how a part of him wished they had failed, the guilt would have been easier to deal with.
A.M.R.O's Reaper slowly ascended from his throne, which immediately after turned to ash, and almost mockingly applauded the Asylum's with a silent clap. "Well done, I see each of you traversed your inner nightmares and managed to best them and I see you all came out for the better?" As he spoke those words his gaze settled on Cade, the medic being supported by Samad. "Well almost, the results are often unpredictable. Facing you fears can help you move forward but sometimes you end up taking a step back, there is a reason why the mind keeps such things locked behind a door." How far have I fallen, how much am I owed?
Angel silently walked towards the "Experimental Team" and with each step the world around them rectified itself. The first step stabilized the world and the tremors seized, the second step eradicated any external constructs created by the Asylum, the third step brought upon a clean white canvas and the fourth step caused a rippled to spread across the world around them and changed it back to a familiar setting, a Victorian, Gothic stylized library. The only visible differences were that not a single bookshelf held a book, every candle around them had been extinguished and each gargoyle that rested upon the massive pillars around them, each of them now gazed at the Asylums. I stood above it all, without equal, without weakness.
The fourth step brought Angel face to face with Cade and Samad and for a few seconds there was only an eerie silence as Angel stared at the two with a callous expression. "You seem to have understood that groveling over you past will only stunt you, I expected you to be worthless.....perhaps...not." With those words the Lost Number observed the shriveled corpse like appearance of Cade, "to be Human is to suffer." With those words a gargantuan gateway appeared in front of the Iranian and the Medic and through it they could see their own bodies, suspended in time. A husk is all that is left
All the while Angel conversed with the "Experimental Team" Rin simply stood near a corner and stared at the "Banshees". Her expressions unreadable, her face stoic and emotionless and her mismatched eyes without a shred of a soul. The only fact that made this simple act terrifying was that Rin chose to pick them out and do so. The Chrono was infamous for her imperious attitude that even dwarfed that of her partner, she never called anyone but Angel by their name, for her the existence of all those around her were the equivalent of insects. You never pay them any heed until and unless they begin to irk you and when that happens you crush them without mercy. The Chrono's blood lust was almost palpable and solely directed towards the Banshees, the sheer magnitude of her presence was towering as if a vengeful God tore the heavens apart and now stood above you, gazing at you, contemplating judgement.
The Lost Number oblivious to his partner, perhaps due to his fatigue and or simple callousness, he turned to SenDep and observed Olivia and Lawrence. "Little girl, your past is quite the bar tale. How much of it all do you still have hidden behind doors like these?" Angel spoke, his tone a match for his expression, callous and cold. "There are three prominent cult factions that dabbled in the taboo and even the forbidden arts. One abducted children and forced their bodies to transmutate, organic alchemic change....permanent....repulsive." A hint of fury spread across the Reaper's face and in an instant it was snuffed out. "Then there was one that meddled in soul melding, the art of ripping out your sole and locking it into an artificially created body or even another....human. The last of these cults were obsessed with relics of old, weapons that possessed an alchemic drive, curses, runes that possessed ever lasting sigils, lost alchemic arts." Once Angel finished speaking a cruel smirk spread across his face. "They were all persecuted and destroyed, though not entirely....they broke away and formed clusters and faded away into obscurity." With that Angel turned away from the two and another gargantuan door war opened up revealing their bodies frozen exactly where they had been.
By the time it had taken the second exit to be formed for SenDep, Rin had approached the Banshees at an excruciatingly slow pace and now stood within striking distance, her blood lust toxic, her gaze unforgiving, her presence suffocating. "A time will come
when the darkness held at bay will break, I care not for the carnage that will come but you will seek aid....and...your options will be limited....for in a witch hunt....help comes seldom....you will approach him....and he is fond of one of you....he will say yes....and then comes the toll....always the toll. It is is fortunate....such a time will never come
"I see you ladies are getting along," Angel's voice suddenly echoed behind the Chrono, though it did not startle her, nothing ever did, it did succeed in stealing away her attention and allowing the Banshee's some breathing room.
"You need to leave, you are over extending yourself." Rin ignored her partner's sarcasm and instead focused on the signs of his fluctuating appearance. His clothes would vary between a withered cloak and a pristine cloak, his posture stiff and then bent, his face sharp and then gaunt.
"Aren't you sweet, the precious little sister worrying over her brash brother." Angel chuckled softly and ruffled the Chrono's hair causing her twin tail to swing about as if a cat twitching its ears. "But yes it is time to leave this place, I will follow you shortly little one." As the Reaper continued coddling the Chrono he raised his right hand and a shimmer began to appear between his thumb and forefinger, the glint growing brighter and brighter until the light was blinding and it manifested itself into a key.
"...A key?" Rin inquired in her usual uninterested tone and without a hint of an expression that could tell she was curious or even mildly interested.
"Indeed, there a few things you have yet to learn. Within the void the architect creates his domain and he has the key that allows him to safely exit in a situation where the domain is compromised. Think of it like a safe means of retreat when the world around you collapses. In our current situation due to the tethers creates by the Asylum it unhinged my domain and as such it was necessary to un-tether yourself first in order to safely leave the void. This key on the other hand will allow you to leave without performing any such extraneous activities."
"Was it morbid self-satisfaction the reason why you chose not to use the key for the others or is it the key can only be used once?" As Rin spoke she raised her index finger and in response the world around her shifted, the ground became quicksand trapping her partner, the furniture transformed into metal beams that extended and wrapped around her partner and if that was not enough a massive construct of a hand erupted out of the ground and clenched the Lost Number in its grasp.
"Your stupidity is tiring Angel, use the key and leave. I have no tethers." Rin spoke and despite her callous tone and expression, her steps slowly retreated, hesitant.
"Ah little one, you really are a prodigy. To influence my domain so easily, it baffles the mind....but it is my domain. I am sorry Rin but you know I won't leave you here alone, I did promise to never you alone didn't I?" Angel merely shrugged and all the tools of entrapment turned to ash.
"You are haunted by the ghosts of thousands...upon thousand....why?" It was at this moment Angel felt his very heart break, it had been a life time since he saw any expression on Rin's face and for it to be sadness, it was painful. "I would face them all if it mean't protecting you little one," and with that Angel vanished and reappeared in front of Rin and in a single thrust he had stabbed the Chrono with the key.
"Damn fool," was all Rin could say before vanishing.
Angel finally turned to face the Banshees with an expression of utter dismay and self loathing. "I suppose I don't kill you two because you don't run away. To stare at the sun and not flinch when your eyes are scorched, blindness is blissful is it not?" The Lost Number whispered. The final gateway appeared in front of the Banshees.
"Begone all of you, your demons are satiated and mine are about to be released. Avert your gaze, step through the gate and remember this kindness." With those words Angel casually turned away from the Asylums and their gateways to reality. The world around them darkened until the only light came from the gateways belonging to the Asylums and that too was being swallowed up. Then other points of illumination appeared, thousands of red lights appearing all around and coming closer and closer until they took the form of doors, each next to the other and orbiting Angel forming a titanic red halo.
Any Asylum that remained, the last spectacle they would witness before being pulled through their gateways would be this. The massive rotating halo of red door and Angel in between. His appearance finally constant, no more fluctuations just a man staring up and silently trembling, all the doors opening at the same time with each spewing a torrent of blood followed by screams and then nothing.
Innocence Log Report
• It is reported that the Ante Mortem abruptly left Innocence
• Lost Number Davis Silverfield, partnered to the Chrono titled Terra, attempted to intercept the duo and was grievously injured by the Chrono VI, titled Reri.
• The Asylums that had accompanied Ante Mortem were not associated with this sudden outburst and were given freedom to go about normally, though it is to be noted they displayed minor behavioral fluctuations. Psychoanalytical tests are not advised for now.
• The mission of over-seeing the "Meeting of Crests" has been delegated to the Chrono VIII, titled Yang. The meeting will take place at the Laofeng residence and the matter of the Bloodline massacre will be the subject of discussion. The sole witness of the event is to join them.
• Intelligence unit has detected a small village (location classified) that is a source of an erratic alchemic drive. Investigation over the matter have begun and three Asylum teams have been sent for reconnaissance and information gathering.