Archer Post refused to call out to Jonah as the demon Nilas Nil had ordered him. The heavens had opened up and rain poured from the sky. Post’s legs were bound with rusty chains and he laid in the middle of the street. It was Nilas’ hope that Jonah would arrive to save his mentor weakened from his mental showdown with Leon Deskue (if he had survived at all) so that Nil could have the honor of slicing him open.
After Nil had bound his legs he had tied Archer’s wrists together with an old splintery rope. He dragged him by the rope up the stairs from the subway and up to the street level where he planned on making Post call out for Jonah. Post had fought many battles in his lifetime, but never had he been humiliated like this before.
“Your boy hasn’t come to save you yet,” Nil said grinning. “What can we do to pass the time?”
“Go fuck yourself,” Post spat. He was sick of this demon’s talking and he had no hopes of surviving this night. He had dealt with hundreds of demons as smart as as sadistic as this, and he was smart enough to know they don’t start something they don’t intend to finish.
“Don’t worry, Post,” Nil said. “The High Demons of Hell will be very pleased to hear that I added you to my list of kills. Most have thought you had died centuries ago. Tell me, Post. How is it you still walk the earth?”
Post said nothing.
“Keep your secret,” Nil said. “It doesn’t’ matter. Once your protege arrives you’ll witness his death before I give you yours.”
Post said nothing trying to decide his next move. He felt the wound on his chest finally festering and poisoning his blood. Now that the power of Barachiel had left him his time was limited. The only thing he could hope for was a quick death at the hands of Nilas Nil and that Jonah would fight hard to avenge his fallen mentor.
Kilian helped Jonah out of the Deskue building. The mental struggle took a lot out of his friend and he was still having trouble distinguishing reality from the reality Deskue had tried to implant in his head. In the end Jonah had triumphed in the mental battle with Deskue, and Killian had taken the opportunity to cut his throat and end his evil.
“We’re still alive,” Jonah said. “Gabriel and Rock must’ve found Rev and stopped him.”
Killian focused his sensed. He wasn’t sure how far away they were when they found Rev, but he tried to lock on their thoughts. After hearing the confused inner voices of the citizens of New Millennium he finally found who he was looking for.
“Rock is alive,” Killian finally said. “He’s too far away to get an exact thought from his head, but he is feeling relief. Rev was stopped.”
“What about Gabriel?” Jonah asked.
Killian focused again. This time he searched for Gabriel. “I can’t find him,” he finally said.
“Is he dead?” Jonah asked.
“I don’t know,” Killian replied. “He could just be unconscious.” Suddenly Killian turned his head. “Post is calling out to me,” he said.
“Post?” Jonah said. “Has he found Nilas Nil?”
Killian paused to think. Post had dropped his mental block so Killian to could hear his thoughts. He was practically screaming to keep Jonah away until he was killed at the hand of Nilas Nil. They were close and Killian was able to pry a little deeper into Post’s psyche. He was dying from an old wound. Killian wasn’t able to pinpoint the source, but it was there.
“Killian?” Jonah asked. “Where is Post?”
Killian pieced together Post’s thoughts. He wanted Jonah to avenge him instead of saving him. Was this his last lesson to Jonah or just a ploy to make Jonah fight harder. Either way Killian meant to defy Post’s order.
“Post is with Nilas Nil,” he said. “Three blocks south and two blocks west of here.”
“Is he in trouble?” Jonah asked.
“Nil means to kill Post,” Killian said. “Unless we get there first.”
Nilas Nil waited patiently with his prey bound in front of him. He knew it was a matter of time before Judge would come to the rescue. Maybe with Killian, but that didn’t matter. With Nilas able to negate Killian’s mental powers he wouldn’t prove to be much of an opponent. Even with Judge attacking simultaneously. Of course there was always the possibility that Deskue had taken out one or both of them, but Nilas had very little faith in the fat little human.
“It’s getting late,” Nilas said to Post who still had his legs bound in chains. Post was soaked from the pouring rain and said almost nothing. Nilas wondered what his plan was. He doubted Post had nothing up his sleeve.
Nilas looked down the road and saw two figures approaching. He smiled. It seemed that Deskue hadn’t even gotten one of them after all. At the very least Nilas didn’t have to trouble himself with killing Deskue later.
“No,” Post whispered.
“Oh yes,” said Nil with a grin under the bottom of his bone masked face. “Now watch your hopes die.”
Why are you here? the thoughts of Post said inside Killian’s head.
I refuse to let you die at the hands of demon scum like Nilas Nil, Killlian answered.
You should not have come, Post said before putting his wall back up.
Nil walked away from the bound Post and approached Killian and Jonah. “You have fared well so far this evening,” he said. “I suppose you came to free your friend from his chains.”
“I came to kill you, Nil,” Jonah said unsheathing Barachiel again. The sword shone white in the rain. “Let him go and I’ll fight you.”
Killian knew Jonah’s mind was still recovering from their battle with Deskue and needed more time to recuperate. Going to Nil this unprepared was foolish, and Killian knew it. It was Nil’s plan all along to not show himself until Jonah was already weakened. Still he resolved not to just hand over Post’s life.
With no more talk Killian took action. His sword was out and he rushed Nil. He had no hope to use his psychic abilities against this opponent who had been trained in mental blocking. Instead he swung his sword towards the tall demons midsection, but Nil was quick and had his dual bone blade out to bock and push back. The hooks on Killian’s sword got caught and Killian was thrown in the air and landed at least ten feet away.
“You don’t learn do you, Killian,” Nil said aiming a kick into Killian’s ribs. Killian felt two of them crack. Nil punched down hard with his right fist into the side of Killian’s head. “You should have ran back into whatever hole you were hiding in! Hid in your hole and died!” Nil picked Killian up by the neck and threw him through a store window. Glass shattered inward as the black demon fell into the dark store.
Nil turned from the scene and turned his attention towards Jonah.
Jonah stood transfixed. Killian had rushed into battle ahead of him and ended up taking a beating. Jonah was going to have to be quick if he was going to land a killing blow. His mind still raced with the double memory Deskue had implanted in his head. He could still see Deskue as the police officer telling him Killian was demon responsible for his father and uncle’s death. The very demon he was worried about.
Jonah pushed his mental walls back in place and snapped himself back to the reality of here and now. Nilas Nil was fast approaching with his dual bone blade extended from his left arm. The bones were jagged and serrated. Meant only to rip and tear flesh rather than cutting it neatly like his own blade. Jonah took a deep breath and focused his will and chakras. “Be my shield,” he said focusing that will and chakra into his forearm. His silver shield emerged as Nilas Nil began his furious attack.
Silver-white sparcks flew as Nil slashed at Jonah’s shield. All Jonah could do was read Nil’s next attack and get his shield in the way of the deadly bone blade. With every hit Jonah’s legs muscles became weaker as he was pushed back by the strong attacks of Nil.
Nil laughed. “Is this all you have?!” he screamed. “Is this really the hope of this pathetic race?!”
Jonah began to notice the deep scratches and dents in his shield. He had thought the shield was manifest of his imagining (or Barachiel’s). He had never seen it dented and abused in such a way in training. With a side attack from Nil’s blade the shield was torn from Jonah arm. It flew away a few feet before dissolving in a cloud of white dust.
Jonah backed up a step and noticed his back was against the hood of a car. He had been cornered by Nil whilst defending his blows. Nil took to the air and brought his knee down towards Jonah. Jonah rolled out of the way just in time as the knee connected with the car and crushed it to ground. Jonah rebounded on the sidewalk with his sword out. So far all he had been able to do in this fight was defend. If he couldn’t land the smallest of cuts on Nil he had no hope of winning.
Post wriggled his wrists and tried to get out of the ropes. To his surprise something sharp was cutting his bonds. He turned to see the demon Killian bleeding from at least a dozen places using a piece of his shrapnel blades to cut the rope. The rope came free and Killian started trying to loosen the chains.
“You were supposed to stay away,” Post said.
“And do what?” Killian said. “Let Nil bleed you out in his anger and let him hide to plot against Jonah again. I know you had nobility in your heart, but you being dead won’t do Jonah much good.”
“It wasn’t nobility,” Post said. “Jonah should’ve been avenging me.”
“Can’t you see what’s happening?” Killian said. “Nil is too strong and Jonah can’t beat him. Not as he is! Avenging your death wouldn’t change that, and neither one of us are in any shape to help him!”
“What am I to do?” Post said. “You’ve been in my head. You know I probably won’t live to see tomorrow either way.”
“You still have time,” Killian said.
“For what?” Post asked.
“Jonah’s final lesson.”
Jonah dodged the bone blade and ducked to the left. He swung his sword across Nil’s stomach, but came up short by inches. Nil jumped back a foot or two and came forward with another attack.
Except he didn’t.
Nilas Nil seemed to be stuck in mid-air. When Jonah looked closer it appeared as if he were moving very slow. He wondered what kind of trick this was until he saw Post standing to his side.
“You can beat him,” Post said.
“Archer!” Jonah exclaimed. “How are you doing this?”
“It’s Killian,” Post said. “You still haven’t mastered keeping your mind closed while fighting. He’s letting me talk to you from inside your mind. I have one last thing to show you.”
“What?” Jonah asked.
“What happens if you fail,” Post said.
Suddenly the landscape changed to the wasteland of a destroyed city. “Is this New Millennium?” Jonah asked.
“No,” Post replied. “It’s the city as I remember it. Decimated by demons.”
Jonah looked around at the image of the fallen city from Post’s mind. The buildings were scorched black and mostly in rubble. Broken glass and power lines were strewn across the road. The clouds were jet black and the smell of burning flesh was everywhere.
“This will be New Millennium,” Post said. “This will spread to every city and town.” A broken building collapsed in a cloud of smoke and read sparks a few blocks away. “Every death will be on you if you can’t stop this from happening.”
“How?” Jonah asked.
“You have the power,” Post said. “I failed at stopping the forces of evil from ravaging the earth, but where I failed you can succeed.”
“But you stopped them!” Jonah said. “Your actions healed the earth!”
“Did I?” Post said. “Look around! I was at the post when the demons burnt the sky and destroyed the buildings! I doubted myself after my master’s death and the demons used that opportunity to take over! Never doubt your ability! Never doubt Barachiel! Most of all, never doubt your allies!”
Jonah was once again snapped back to reality and an attacking Nilas Nil. Jonah ducked another attack and swung out once more with his sword. Nil was able to dodge easily, but Jonah had him stepping back. He took advantage and swung with a barrage of arcs that had Nil busy sidestepping and blocking. Finally Nil took a couple of quick steps back to give him some space from Jonah.
“Be my shield,” Jonah said. White mist appeared around Jonah’s arm and his shield had returned new and bigger than before. A cross formed that intersected in its center.
“Be my armor,” Jonah said as white light surrounded him turning giving him a white doublet and a silver breastplate. a white cloak adorned his back.
“Be my light in the darkness to ward off evil,” Barachiel shone with a renewed brightness. Nilas Nil had to fight not to block his eyes.
“Be my beacon of death, Barachiel!”
Jonah found his weariness had gone and his mind focused. He rushed towards Nilas Nil as if his feet were not even touching the ground, He struck hard at Nil’s bone blade and a fierce white light threw Nil backwards. Nil looked with disgust down at his dual bone blade which was now cracking form Jonah’s attack.
“TONIGHT YOU DIE!” Nilas Nil screamed as he tore the bone mask from his face. He threw it to the ground along with his torn skin and blood. What was left was a black and twisted menagerie of scorched flesh and wounds. He started laughing hysterically as a black and red aura formed around him. He pointed his bone blade at Jonah still laughing as the black and red power lashed forth and threw Jonah into the side of a building.
Jonah got up to one knee and the demon was instantly on him again. Nil brought down his right first with his laughing mouth wide open. Jonah got his shield above him as the fist hit, but he could feel himself cracking the sidewalk under him. Nil pounded on the shield again and again. Barachiel was helping him deflect the punishment, but Jonah didn’t know how much it could take.
Jonah swung is sword up in an upward arc and brith light shone as it brushed passed Nil. The blade had missed making contact with the demon’s skin, but it was blistering where the sword had come close. Nil pressed his left hand to the burnt area and healed for the brief second Jonah had given him.
Once again Jonah was swinging at his foe. Light and sparks flew as Barachiel his the bone blade. Red and black power flowed as Nilas lashed out in return only meeting Jonah’s shield. Finally Nil fell to one knee and back a little. Jonah knew he had him.
“You won’t take my city,” Jonah said readying his sword to take Nil’s head.
Nil mumbled something.
“Your words won’t save you….”
Nil opened his mouth wide and a large dart of black and red energy flew out and hit Jonah in the chest. He flew backward and hit the ground hard. He got to his knees and scrambled to pick up his sword. He noticed the powerful shot from Nil was enough to take out his armor and his shield.
Before he could get up he noticed Nilas Nil standing over him. Jonah looked up into his back and twisted face. He had a grin that was horrid to look at, but he could not look away. With no more banter Nil raised his bone blade over his head and brought it down for the kill.
Nilas Nil was in a room of all white. He did not even cast a shadow. He saw no floor, not walls, and no ceiling. It was a place he knew well. This was a place he had visited many times with his instructor Leon Deskue. Nilas was in his own subconscious…. But how?
“I think you know the answer to that,” a voice said.
“Killian?” Nilas said turning around. “Come out so I can gut you. You know you have no power over me. Not even in my mind. Deskue made sure of that.”
“I am inside, Nil,” Killian’s voice said. “And now you will die.”
“YOU CANNOT BE IN MY MIND!” Nilas shouted. “I DID NOT LET YOU IN!”
“You didn’t have to,” Killian’s voice said from behind him.
Nilas turned suddenly and saw the form of Max Klennon draped in the black aura of a demon. His eyes were yellow and he had a smile on his fat little face. Without having to ask Nilas knew what happened. He had pushed the little shit far into the back of his mind where he lay and festered with guilt for what he had done. In the end he had become fed up with Nilas Nil and finally decided to do something good with himself.
“You’re right,” Max said in Killian’s voice reading the thoughts. “And now that Max has let me inside you’re powerless to stop me.” The black aura around Max turned into back tendrils and flew out towards Nilas. He slashed and fought against him, but they swung around and wrapped around his wrists. The tendrils hardened and pulled his arms apart so the was standing helpless staring at blackened form of Max Klennon.
“Do it, Jonah!” Max said.
Jonah couldn’t believe his eyes. A moment ago he was about to be killed by the demon Nilas Nil and now he was just standing there with his arms held out to his sides.
“Do it, Jonah!” he head Killian yell. He looked over to where he heard the voice and saw a blood covered Killian with his hand outstretched towards Nil. Jonah nodded and picked up his sword.
With one forceful thrust he speared Nil’s heart with Barachiel and he screamed out. White light poured from the wound and shot out from Nil’s mouth into the sky. When Jonah pulled the sword from his chest he fell to the ground already mostly ash. Nilas Nil was dead.
Killian waked over as Jonah sheathed his sword. “You did it, Jonah,” he said.
“We did it,” Jonah said. “I’d be dead if it weren’t for you.”
The pair turned to see a truck with flashing lights coming down the road. The front of the truck had the NMW logo on it.
“That would be Rock,” Jonah said.
“So what now?” Killian asked.
“Now we watch,” Jonah said. “It’s clear this is only the beginning, and I intend to defend New Millennium against its foes.”
“I meant for me,” Killian said. “Is there really a place here for a demon?”
“No,” Jonah said. “But there is always a place for a friend.”
The rain was finally slowing to its end, and Archer Post stood back and let Jonah have his victory. It was a long night and it was hard fought. Jonah and his friends had a very long road ahead of them, but tonight they could relax. The scheming assassin Nilas Nil was finally put to rest, and Deskue and Rev were both dealt with respectively. Archer thought maybe he’d be able to find a quiet place and let death finally take him. He thought he might even have enough time to saw goodbye to Willow.
Something caught Post’s eye. He felt out with his senses and felt an aura all too familiar. He ran off down an alley while Jonah was helping Killian with his wounds. Rock had shown up as well and was telling them of Gabriel’s battle with Rev.
Post came to the end of the alley and saw the figure standing in front of him. The man standing there had a bald head and the beard was trimmed, but other than that he cold have been looking into a mirror.
“What is the meaning of this?” Post asked.
The man smiled. “I am you, Archer,” he said. “Well I am and I am not. Jano Xing awakened me recently and didn’t know who I was. Were you aware that in your time there were underground sects of scientists who were able to clone humans from nothing more than a drop of blood? Fascinating. The sword has told me this and many other things, Archer.”
“What sword?” Post asked.
“Your sword holds the soul of the Arcangel Barachiel, or so I’ve been told,” the man who was but wasn’t Archer Post went on. “If an Archangel can do it so could a demon as powerful as an Archangel.” The man unsheathed the sword at his belt. It was jet black and had evil siguls engraved down the front of it. “This is my sword. We share our name. We are called Caim.”
Post’s heart stopped. The demon Caim had been destroyed, but Post was never sure what happened after the portal to Hell was destroyed. Caim must haven given up his soul to infuse this sword with his evil power.
Suddenly Post felt a great pain in his chest and was vaguely aware of the blood flowing into the air in front of him. The cut came so quickly he didn’t even notice the demon that did it. Before he fell he saw the four-armed demon standing at the side of Caim.
“Goodbye, Archer Post,” Caim said with a smile. “It’s a shame we couldn’t do battle when you were at your peak. Although, I’m sure this Jonah Judge will suffice nicely in your stead.”
Archer Post watched the pair turn and walk away as he fell to the ground.