Atticus let out a groan. A blazing sword had penetrated through the front of his chest, leaving him with a numb sensation. He expected that he would feel the agony of burning flame, however, he could only feel the cold bite of steel tearing at his flesh.
In fact, the pain of betrayal hurt him more than the sharp piece of metal slicing his body.
He turned his head slightly to see who had stabbed him in the back. The man had golden hair resembling the sun. His electric blue eyes were colder than the blizzards during midwinter. His face held no emotion, not even a hint of guilt or anger. Not even regret.
It took him a moment to realize who it was. He seemed like a total different person in his eyes, or maybe it was him rejecting the truth of what had happened, for the person who had attempted to kill him was his leader. The one he idolized and respected the most. Someone he would die for..
But not like this.
Atticus drew in a gasp, the pain was gradually becoming stronger. Almost akin to a flame being fed tinder. He slowly sank to the floor, his eyes moving back to the blade that rose from his chest.
The sword's flame flickered. It was as if it knew it had just attempted to slay its creator, its golden flames wavering in the wind. Atticus had given it as a gift, an oath of loyalty to the very one who had used it to break it.
Quite ironic really, he never imagined that it would end like this. He had expected the sword to slay many demons, but never him. It was foolish to consider that a demon like him could ever be a friend to humans.
Atticus let out a chuckle, causing the people behind him to flinch. They drew their swords and increased their wariness.
"Why do you laugh, Atticus? Is this situation funny to you?"
"Your voice is as cold as your expression Lance," replied Atticus, once again turning his head towards his leader. "It might even be as cold as your heart."
Atticus saw Lance's expression flicker, and for a slight second, he saw an emotion. Was it guilt? Anger? Despair? Maybe infuriation that a demon had the gall to speak back against him?
"You know nothing of my situation. Don't speak as if you know me. You filthy demon," Lance coldly muttered.
Atticus let out another chuckle. "I guess you are right. I don't know you," Atticus looked up and gave Lance a wild grin, "I thought I could trust you with my back but here I am. Looking like a fool."
Lance watched on emotionlessly.
"You called me a Filthy Demon, right? Hahaha, I guess you have a point there. How could a filthy demon ever become your brother? Your friend? I must have been delusional."
Atticus slowly stood up, pushing the sword out of his chest with his bare hands. The flames burned his skin while the blade sliced his hands but Atticus didn't care.
This little amount of pain was nothing.
The sword fell to the floor with a clang as Atticus let out a deep breath. The hole in his chest immediately began to heal at an alarming pace and soon closed. Atticus stretched his arms a couple of times before turning around to grin at his former friends. Or maybe not, they probably never thought of him as friends. Atticus let out a chuckle.
"Lance, you couldn't have possibly forgotten my ability to regenerate. You should've gone for my head."
Lance replied with a cold stare. "I wanted to warn you before I killed you."
"A stab in a back is a warning for you? Seemed like a declaration of war to me."
"This isn't a war but an execution," replied Lance coolly, "you won't be able to win Atticus."
Atticus shrugged, "so? Are you asking me to surrender?"
"Yes, I am."
Atticus let out a loud laugh. "Asking your enemy to surrender? What nerve. What are you? A second rate villain?"
Atticus gave Lance a derisive look, "or maybe you see yourself as a hero? Hah! A hero who stabs his guild member in the back? I've never heard of anything more comical."
Lance did not show any change of emotion as he continued to give Atticus a cold look.
"How about you all? Do you all believe that Lance is the hero? The righteous one?" Scorned Atticus. He glared at a girl with brown hair wearing ceremonial white clothing.
"You, Marissa? I helped you so many times, I protected you on so many occasions. Was that nothing to you?"
Atticus saw Marissa bite her lips and avert her gaze. Atticus turned his eyes towards a boy with flaming red hair and an elegant sword.
"What about you Pierce? All those nights where I taught you my swordsmanship? All those times I helped you get stronger? Do you still wish to kill me?"
Pierce clenched his sword but did not avoid his gaze and glared back at him with a defiant gaze.
Atticus narrowed his gaze as his grin became more venomous.
"Do you all wish to kill me? Then be prepared for pain, for I want to show you the demon you think I am."
Atticus raised his hand and everyone leaned backwards. Seeing this, Atticus let out a laugh that held no mirth.
"Today, you will fight the Alexander Atticus Ferrum, heir to the house of Ferrum. Show me your strength, self proclaimed heroes, and make sure to kill me before I kill you."
The entire floor became covered in shadows as blades covered in darkness slowly rose out of the ground.
A black coat of metal slowly covered his body and his eyes changed into an inky black as his red pupils stared at the others with murderous intent.
"So this is your true form," said Lance with his voice laced disgust. "You look hideous."
"Its what you wanted right? Don't I look like a demon now? Maybe it'll be easier for you to kill me?"
Everyone watched Atticus warily waiting for him to make the first move, however, even with their heightened sense of alertness, they never even saw him coming.
Atticus disappeared from their sights and someone from the rear let out a scream. When they turned around, Atticus was holding someone by the neck, choking him.
"How many people came to kill me today? Twenty? Guess that's one down and nineteen more to go."
There was a snap as the screaming man went silent and crumpled to the floor. Atticus had once again disappeared.
Lance calmly observed his surroundings before giving an order. "Circle Formation. Priests to the front, long range in the middle. Melee fighters protect the rear with me."
Four priests stepped forward to make a circle as eight archers and mages raised their staffs and knocked their bows before withdrawing behind the priests. The remaining people made a smaller circle in the center of it all, their weapons casting light all around.
Lance frowned. "North."
Immediately, the southernmost priest raised his staff and a silvery film of milky white appeared in front of the group. Almost instantly, Atticus appeared and stabbed at the barrier with a grin.
"You sly son of a bitch. You said north. This is south-"
Before he could finish, the archers shot out gleaming beams of light forcing Atticus to retreat. He reappeared a few dozen feet behind where he originally was, laughing.
"I always did hate your instincts. It's almost similar to the bastards from the fifth house. It's like you already know where I'll be before I even decide."
"Don't compare me to demons," said Lance with a disgusted look. "I don't wanna be lowered down to your status."
Atticus smirked. "What's so bad about being a demon? We also betray and kill our friends just like humans-"
Atticus clicked his tongue as a silvery barrier blocked his sword from cutting into the body of a shivering priest behind it.
"It's ok little boy," Atticus said while smiling at the priest. "As long as papa Lance is behind you, I can't cut into your chest-"
A burst of flame erupted from the ground enveloping Atticus. "Mother fuckers. Can't you let me have a one on one talk with your men? I'm trying my best to scare the shit out of him."
"Mages, retreat to the center and fighters fill in the gaps. Elemental magic will not affect him, save your essence for binding spells or essence transfusion for the priests."
Atticus walked out of the flames virtually undamaged while holding a blazing sword in his hand, the very one that was used to stab him in the heart. He threw the sword onto the ground.
"You know, you really do know me well. How long have you been analyzing my power? How long has it been since you made your mind about killing me? No need to answer. I just think it's time for me to-"
Atticus vanished from their view once more.
"-Get a little serious."
There was a scream as the mages in the center of the circle were sliced on their backs. Atticus had teleported into the tight circle and had waved his blade around, tearing through the flimsy clothing the mages wore like paper.
Blood spattered over everyone as Atticus disappeared like a shadow.
Just as a priest was about to heal the four fallen mages, Lance snarled. "It's a trap! Ignore the mages and stay in formation-"
Atticus appeared from the ground and grabbed the ankle of the priest. Like a snake dragging his prey back into his den, the two of them disappeared into the shadows, all the while the priest screamed.
Soon, the screaming was cut short and the field was once more enveloped in silence.