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Replay – fanfiction by Refugnic
Under a crimson sky, three people stood in the middle of a desert, whose sands had been dyed a red hue from all the blood and destruction they came to cover up.
“I really hate your surprises…!” the young man yelled as he brandished his blade with the intent of ending the miserable life of the man resting in the sand before him, beaten and cuffed up, yet not broken.
And even as the blade cut through his flesh, the smile on his lips never left the man’s face and eventually the severed head came to rest, the empty eyes facing the evening sky as the night became ready to fall over the weary warriors, who had at long last managed to defeat their greatest adversary.
However they had no time for triumph, for as Faust’s blood soaked the ground, a giant tremor shook the world around them, as if it planned to tear open and swallow the two young people and the corpse all at once.
“What’s happening?!” Ada screamed, trying hard to keep her balance.
“How would I know?!”
The tremor stopped, but the air was laden with the foreboding sense of death and destruction, as the clouds themselves took the shape of the great demon, who had plunged the world into chaos and turned it into a wasteland, where nary a live could persist.
As it opened its eyes, its gaze fixated on the two young people and an eerie laughter, that felt like a thousand needles piercing their very souls resonated through the emptiness.
“This…this isn’t happening! We…we defeated Faust! We broke your pact! You’re supposed to go back to hell now that he’s dead!” Robert shouted towards the sky.
The demon laughed even harder before disappearing from the clouds and reforming in the sand, causing Robert and Ada to both assume a battle stance.
As the creature made from sand walked straight by them, Robert tried to slash it, however without even raising its arm in defense, the blade simply stopped as it came into contact with the creature.
“You insult me, mortal. Your petty little toys have long lost their luster…” it said while constantly pacing towards Faust’s remains.
He picked up the head, momentarily turning it into a grinning skull.
He extended his arm and said, “Poor Faust, I knew thee well…hah!” before hurling the skull into the distance.
He turned to Ada and Robert and asked, “Did you really think that killing him would end this? That you would get your world back?”
“…to be honest, yeah, we kinda were hoping it…” Robert replied, trying hard to fight the urge to just run away, placing himself between the demon and Ada, who frantically searched her beat up diary for a way to escape this situation.
“You’ve done really well to come this far, mortals…you’ve put up an admirable fight, to say the least. But quite honestly…you never had a chance to begin with. These blades may have been able to bind me once because I underestimated your kind, but I will not make the same mistakes again,” the demon said while slowly pacing around the two, Robert moving with him, trying to shield Ada from whatever he might be trying.
“Make no mistakes…the pentacles you’ve been learning to use so masterfully…they are mine. By the end of this night, I will be completely reborn and all of my power will return to me and only then, I will show you true terror…this is the sole reason, why I’ve allowed you to live for this long.”
Suddenly, a demon surfaced from the sands, trying to get the drop on Ada, however Ada quickly ended him with a slice to the throat, adding more blood to the ground to feed from. However just as suddenly, ten more demons appeared all around them, forcing Ada and Robert to stand back to back, just so none would surface between them.
The demon master said, slightly bored, “This ground…this sand…this very world is mine. I can spawn as many soldiers I want and never even grow tired. You, on the other hand…”
With a wave of his hand, all of the demons attacked the pair synchronously.
With swift strikes they ended all of them, however the exhaustion of the past few hours was beginning to show as the two of them panted heavily.
“Why waste time then?! Why aren’t we dead yet?!”
“Simply because it would be a shame to kill you after all the hard work you’ve put into surviving…all the sacrifices you made, just to get here. I can still hear their screams as they gave up their lives, so you could live. What were their names again? Sofia, the timid little cat, who thought her machines could save her? Casper, the brave soldier, who thought he could protect people? Or all the others, who relied on you and your little toys for protection…you bit off far more than you can chew. Already the remaining people have begun to worship me, feeding me the powers of their prayers for a little bit of mercy…you on the other hand…”
The demon made a wide reaching gesture, shouting, “You have made this victory so much sweeter by killing the only one who possibly could have stopped me! Really, you did me a favor by ending that poor fool.”
“What…what do you mean?!” Robert asked breathlessly as the words slowly sunk in.
“You know, these pacts are a nasty thing…all these rules and regulations. Faust was a bright one, you see? He made it a pact condition, that my minions and me must not harm him or the ones dear to him…which is another reason why I’ve allowed you to live…but now that he is dead, I am no longer bound by the pact…I am free…and I owe it all to you.”
The demon broke out into mad laughter, sending chills down the spines of the two friends.
He then disappeared back into the sand, leaving only his voice behind, “By dawn, my rebirth will be complete. By then you must have decided…to either serve me…or die.”
Then his presence faded, leaving the pair to sink to their knees, both from exhaustion as well as relief that the demon had spared them for the moment.
After setting up camp, Ada slapped down her journal next to the fireplace and yelled, “Great! Just great! We had him! We had him cornered! But you had to be all trigger happy and make him shorter by a head!”
“As if you wouldn’t have done it yourself!” Robert countered, before continuing, “We need a plan…a good one. We still have magic till dawn. There has to be some sort of spell that can help us out of this pickle.”
Ada began listing the spells they had collected over the past few years of battling Faust and eventually said completely frustrated, “But none of these are going to help us any! I mean…glory and riches? In a desolate world? Heavy rains? Lotta good is that gonna do us. War, disorder and wrath?! That’s what destroyed the world to begin with! Let’s face it, it’s hopeless!”
Ada through her diary and it landed open in front of Robert’s feet, who picked it up.
“Hey, what does this one do?”
“Just read it…”
“You handwriting is a mess, Ada…even Einstein couldn’t read this,” Robert retorted and handed the open page back to Ada, who scanned over the entry.
“…one of Saturn pentacles, eh? ‘For everything there is a fixed time, and a time for every business under the sun’…I remember this one. Unfortunately the pentacle is incomplete…otherwise this might actually be useful.”
“Why, what is it supposed to do?”
“…according to the record, this pentacle is called ‘Replay’. It transports everyone within the pentacle back in time, so they can experience the past again.”
“Wait, so we could retry this whole thing? Keep the world from getting destroyed?”
“You aren’t listening, the pentacle is incomplete! And you know what happens when you do it wrong, don’t you? And this is a really powerful one too!”
Robert regretfully remembered the last time one of the pentacles had gone wrong. Even though Ada didn’t show it, the scar the explosion had given her was still hurting every time they had to fight.
They went back to mulling over the topic while the hours slowly ticked away.
As dawn slowly approached, they still hadn’t come to a conclusion and were just about ready to simply give up. Robert had even proposed a dual suicide to escape the looming doom, however they both knew that the demon could just drag their souls back from hell if they tried to escape that way. He had proven that he was capable of feats like that more than just once.
Ada looked at the pentacle again and suddenly said, “Hey Robert, look at this…”
Robert stood up from polishing his blade for the coming battle and walked over to Ada, who was drawing in her diary.
“What are you doing?”
“I think I finally figured it out…remember how I told you that there was some sort of pattern in the pentacles?”
“…I think I finally figured out the pattern. And if I apply this pattern, the Replay pattern will look like…this.”
Robert looked at the picture Ada had drawn and asked, “And…you’re sure this will work?”
“…no. But we have no other choice…want to try magic for the last time?”
“…better than fighting a lost battle,” Robert conceded and they hastily began drawing the pentacle using Ada’s records as the first rays of the sun crept over the horizon.
Just when the sun was about to touch the pentacle, it activated and in a flash of light, the world stopped around Robert and Ada.
“Did…did it work?”
“No idea…but it at least didn’t explode…”
“Foolish mortals…try as you might, you will never defeat me!” the voice of the demon resounded through the silence as the signs of the pentacle shifted and turned.
When Ada and Robert woke again, they were both lying in their respective beds at home, the entire incident nothing more than a quickly fading dream.
As they went to work together, Robert started, “You won’t believe the dream I had!”
Ada waved the beat up notebook and said, “…I think we have some talking to do…”
And thus their fight began anew. Devoid of their memories with nothing but the beat up diary and their trusted blades for aid, they searched for an explanation for these strange dreams, which seemed to haunt them ever since waking up that fateful morning.