Chapter 6: Over Tower
Eight exited the machine room through the doorway that the mysterious figure appeared from. A tall, spiraling stairwell was all that stood between him and the Grand Room of Over Tower, where he would surely meet the first of much opposition.
Eight traversed the stairs carefully, and during his ascension, recalled the time he first woke up inside of The Void, just a few days prior:
• • •
Slowly, he opened his eyes.
The sky was basked in complete darkness. Eight slowly stood, and noticed seven rock spires around him, all glowing in the pitch-black surroundings, each with a different, vibrant color.
“What the hell…?” Eight wondered aloud, walking towards the green spire at his left. Louder, he questioned, “Where am I?!”
Suddenly, a voice actually replied,
“You are in a place known as The Cosmic Edge, a location within The Void. You are the first to awaken before being moved to the city. You are quite a strong soul, indeed.”
Eight stood, utterly dumbfounded. He could not even see where this voice was coming from.
“...What even was anything that you just said? I just want to go home. Now.” Eight replied, growing frustrated.
“If that is what you seek, you’re in the right place,” The voice consoled. Suddenly, all of the spires ceased their glowing, except for the red one directly across from Eight, “Think back to that place you call home. Reflect on your time there. Is there anything at all you would change?”
Eight, seeing as this was the only viable option at this point, humored the mysterious voice. He did come up with something. “...I suppose...myself.” Eight replied, “I would change how I acted...I can’t believe I--”
The voice cut him off.
“I see...so redemption,” The voice answered, “Then you will have a very important role to play in the coming days. In this world you shall soon come to understand, there are more like you who must return to where they are from. In particular, a girl named Amy stands as the most powerful of all,” Only a white spire glowed now, “She needs to recover her memories, then you will all be set. They are kept in a book by a man which controls the powers of darkness, at least, at the moment...I will do my best to help the others along, but you must first commit yourself.”
“...I will.” Eight accepted. “...Do you have a name?”
“Of course,” The voice replied, almost with a laugh at the question itself, “You may come to learn it soon.”
“Well, then…” Eight started, not being able to recall a moniker of his own, “What do I call myself?”
It took the voice a while to respond, but eventually, it offered, “...Eight. The time in which your yearning for redemption certainly began.”
Despite his total confusion, Eight did accept the name.
• • •
“So that’s what all the noise was, eh?” Xander watched from a platform upon which two staircases converged at the left and right, as Eight emerged into the Grand Room, “You should’ve been lighter on your feet there; those basement stairs are pretty old.”
“Save the snark, okay? I’m going to get Amy’s memories back, no matter what you been sent to do to me.” Eight walked towards the right flight of stairs, determined.
Xander turned, his eyes following Eight. “Is that so?” He asked, rhetorically, “Well then, you won’t mind if we tempt fate here, will you?”
With a powerful, mocking laugh, Xander held out his right hand, and a huge blade, almost like a machete the size of a broadsword, materialized within his grasp. At the same time, Eight’s hands crackled with his signature Crimson Voidness energy.
Xander was the first to go on the offensive, leaping from his platform, blade leading the incoming charge to the boy. Eight quickly dodge-rolled out of the way, and used the inertia to swing around and fire a successful blast of red lightning into Xander’s back.
“Aagh!!” The once sarcastic and cocky Xander was beginning to understand just how skilled his opponent may be. Trying to retain his image, however, he commented, “Nice shot, kid.” Eight and Xander’s battle raged throughout the Grand Room. The ornate architectural detailing quickly gave way to the failed charges of Xander’s darkness-infused giant machete, and the misfirings of Eight’s crackling bolts.
In the archway from which Xander appeared, the shadow girl, Kami, watched, obscured in the relative darkness compared to the sparks, flashes, and dust of the battle playing out below. A mischievous smirk revealed itself in a brief light.
“Do you even know what you’re after, truly?” Xander offered a question as he slid out of the way of an oncoming lightning beam, “You fight like you’re determined, perhaps a bit too much for one girl’s memories. What do they mean to you that you’re still alive?”
“Returning Amy’s memories gives me a purpose here. I don’t remember where I came from, but I can’t help but feel regret whenever I think about it. I don’t care how small it is, I have to do right in any way I can. Now, stand aside!” Eight curtly replied, sending more lightning the way of Xander, all direct, powerful hits!
Kami’s smirk turned into a shocked, yet satisfied grin. “Redemption.” She whispered to herself.
Xander staggered back, clutching his chest. As he looked up at Eight, his entire body shook as crimson lightning crackled throughout.
“Urgh...heh...I admire your focus, kid. But you should probably know that my tempting your fate was not a single-part mission…” Suddenly, Xander’s phsyical shape began to melt into dark energy.
“You...You aren’t...How...?!” Eight stood, watching in a terrified chill as what he considered to human grotesquely reduced.
“...You’ll never get past her...You don’t even know what she...” Xander completely dissolved. The energy of darkness that composed him speedily flew up into the archway, coming with the now revealed figure of Kami.
“Aw, did I really not get my point across last time?” Kami teased.
“You.” Eight sternly recognized. This time, Eight took the offensive, trying to mask his being shaken up over defeating Xander. Unfortunately, Kami instantly proved to be way more powerful. In one uneasily graceful motion, the teenage girl made of darkness leapt back and outstretched her hand. Her arm extended outward and met Eight’s body with an inertia-powered direct punch. The boy flew back into a huge window of the Grand Room, right above the front door to the tower. With a deafening shatter, glass shards flew off in a glorious explosion upon impact.
• • •
“...Hmmuh?” Sixty opened his eyes to the sound of a huge, shattering explosion. Leaning his head to look out the window from his position on the couch, he saw one of the large windows of Over Tower glowing with the ominous purple of dark energy.
• • •
Jayl Cel was seated on his bed, pouring through the pages of the Book of Memories. A single tear dripped down his obscured face, revealing itself only for a few seconds on the lower half before dropping off entirely.
Suddenly, the double doors to his penthouse bedroom opened. A tall man entered. He was wearing a robe very similar to Jayl’s, except instead of that signature turquoise color, his was dark gray. Over that, a tan shawl covered in strange markings adorned the upper half of his body, and its hood cast a shadow over his face.
“...This is the second time you’ve come to face me directly.” Jayl spoke in a monotone, deep voice.
“Hello to you too, ‘Jayl Cel’.” The man had a much more pleasant, and lighter voice when compared. He placed special emphasis on Jayl’s name, almost as if he truly wanted to call him something else.
“So, you’re plan was to remove Xander and keep Kami occupied, then?” Jayl conjectured.
“It’s not exactly hard to get at someone with such little support.” The man replied. For some reason, Jayl seemed particularly enraged over that comment.
The man cut to the point, “Regardless, I’m here for what I was here for last.” The man pointed to the book in Jayl’s hands.
“I had a feeling.” Jayl tossed the book aside, stood, and brandished his twin katanas, “Too bad this’ll end just as before.”
“Well then, you won’t mind if we tempt fate here, will you?” The man revealed his own twin katanas.
“Amy needs to be protected until she can stabilize this world and replace the original reality. Lockand Key...no matter what you do to stop me...it won’t ever work.”
To Be Continued...