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Chapter 11 (Part 1): Hail to the King

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The sounds of swords clashing against one another broke the silence issued by the reveal of the Old King's state. Gabriel parried the first strike to come in, only to be forced to roll out of the way on the ground when the next few strikes came in from the falsebound Excalibur. The King seemed to fight emotionlessly, his state like that of automata - moving only according to the whims of the puppetmaster.

Speaking of whom, Bethicia cackled outloud in abject fiendish delight, "This is just too good! The young knight faces one who has brought him great honor and pain - and he cannot bring himself to make even a single volt!"

Tamerin struck down one of the zombies with his spear and levitated up on the pole of the spear, "Explain yourself, you vile sorceress!"

Bethicia seemed to be happy to explain even as the fight continued in the clearing made by the swings of their blades, "I spent years perfecting this spell - the Art of Corpse Duplication, Enslavement of the Dead. With this I can bring someone back at a measure of the power they had in life...except then they have no choice but to obey my every command. Like this one; Lord Jaime, spill Gabriel Dulac's guts all over the ground."

Gabriel dodged a crucial and potentially fatal upward slice from the False Excalibur, as the two separated for a moment.

Gabriel wanted to belt out any number of curses, long and vile, at that harridan up there, taking delight in the suffering of mortals, but as it was his every single drop of focus was on surviving this fight. Long hair stained with sweat and dirt from numerous dodge rolls, Gabriel held his sword up in a defensive stance.

Bethicia crooned outloud, "Ohh not even willing to take an offensive? You know what that means, slave."

Jaime rushed in and started stabbing frantically at Gabriel, no regard to his own health.

Gabriel parried and dodged attacks as best he could, but one inevitably nicked his jawline, sending a brief spatter of red lifeblood into the night air. Bethicia let out a gasp of pleasure at this, rubbing her hands together. King Tamerin and Jerome winced at the sight, even as Jerome burned yet more of the witch Bethicia's zombies to dust.

Jerome morosely contemplated, "...How many many despoiled graveyards for this foul army...?"

Tamerin - when his own end of the fight looked to be free - started to fly in, but Gabriel turned his head and shouted, "NO! This is my fight! No matter matter what. This is my fight. From beginning to end...It was Jaime who brought me well and fully into the Knightly Order. And will be me...that returns him to peace within God's Heaven."

Bethicia crooned, "Ohh such bravado! But so lacking in substance. You can't even land a hit---"

That was when Jaime spoke, "...Gabriel...for all that...happened---I misjudged you. be a fine lad. F-Finish me off...please...I-I-I am...s-s-sorry..." Every word seemed like a battle for him to force out, and when he finished his mouth slammed shut, cracking several teeth.

Bethicia shouted and screamed, suddenly furious, "Did your master say you could speak you disgusting show piece!? KILL HIM! KILL GABRIEL DULAC! KILL!"

Gabriel readied his sword, pointed it forward, preparing his legs for a charge. Then he was in movement, sword poised for a stabbing attack - do or die.

"KILL!" Her voice loud to all other than Dulac.

The King, unwillingly, prepared a large skewering strike aimed at the chest - with such a sword it would be a fatal one.

Gabriel suddenly twisted to the side.

"KILL!" She was now sounding more and more desperate. Tamerin and Jerome gasped - neither could bear to look...

Gabriel slid just a bit more, as the King's sword instead of skewering him slid along the side of his armor, followed by a barrage of sparks due to this contact, as Gabriel's own stab punctured through the armor and befouled flesh of the undead King. Gabriel knew he had only one chance.

..I let you go. For good or ill. Gabriel's mind processed the images he saw in those dreams, his troubled thoughts, his memories. Goodbye King Jaime. Be at rest.

"THUNDER KING'S HAMMER!!" The invocation brought down a massive hammer shaped burst of lightning that sent Bethicia tumbling off of her shadowy energy, and incinerated the undead King's body for good. Gabriel thought he heard something before the attack happened, but could not fathom at that moment what it was.

He stood there as the spell's power faded from immediate view, lightning crackling off of him. He looked at Bethicia, raising his sword. "Contend with me without your minions, wench!!"

Bethicia got back up and a large inky mass of darkness exploded out from underneath her, and she coldly pronounced, "Then you will face all the powers of Hell!"

Chapter 11 Part 2

"...Not if I have anything to say about that "powers of Hell" bit, my Demon."

Bethicia suddenly gasped and fell over, planting her face quite embarrassingly on the ground, and her aura of power was cut short.

A much, much larger aura formed out of the ground, in a geyser of malignant force - and an ashen skinned, red eyed figure slowly materialized, seated on a blasphemous throne. Long nails and vein covered claws stretched out of a golden and black decorated shirt and leather pants that looked like they retained some of the bloodier bits of the animal they were made from.

This was Lucifer, the Demon Lord, the Devil, the Morning Star Fallen Angel.

Bethicia gave a look that spoke to feeling betrayed, "M-My lord!? Why are you---"

Lucifer simply raised a hand and Bethicia started choking, desperately clawing at an invisible hand at her throat.

Gabriel went from mystified by this intrusion to horrified - and he shouted, "What are you doing!? Isn't she with you!?"

Lucifer outright chuckled with scarcely concealed glee, "Ahh yes the tendency for humans to empathize even with those who were just trying to KILL you. She bastardized your King's memories, didn't she? And here you stand, complaining that I discipline my underlings harshly...ahh, I adore humans!"

Gabriel elaborated, pointing his sword at Bethicia, "I would extract my due from her, not have her be torn to shreds by one she holds as a lord in stark betrayal."

A horrified Tamerin moved over to Gabriel's side and tugged at his sleeve, "Sir Gabriel, you're talking to the Demon Lord careful...he's...I've heard he's unspeakably powerful..."

Lucifer materialized a glass of very suspect looking bright red wine, and drank at it, "I am not here to engage you. In fact I would rather that you hurry up and fight that overeager braggart to the East. What she was SUPPOSED to do was retrieve something...and then necessitated my decision that if you want something done, you need to do it yourself."

Bethicia ineffectually choked and groveled nonverbally.

Jerome stepped forward and asked, "So then, what IS it that the Demon Lord Lucifer was here to achieve?"

Lucifer sipped at his wine, "...I'll answer your question...with a question! What is affliction without Panacea?"

Gabriel realized something - he knew the answer. He knew there was something here, lurking just outside of his awareness. Something that should be dreadfully obvious, a connection between recent events, and with what happened in this village. A fact about something taken, and then something given. The dreams, the God of Affliction, the ranting of that foreign god, and now Lucifer here, looking for "Panacea"...

Lucifer tapped his fingers on his blasphemous throne, and smirked, "I see you are THINKING, Sir Gabriel Dulac. A good look for you. Think, contemplate what happened, come to your own conclusions about events. You have a mind of your own, yes? If so, then exercise it and decide."

A swirl of darkness brought Lucifer and the still choking Bethicia back down to the home of all Demons.

Lucifer departed with a sinister, parting cackle.

Gabriel looked around the damaged and scarred town - he did not want to know what the Demon Lord would want from a place like this, but they needed to put the town back together. It was they that fought here, and only they could do the work of reassembling it.

Jacob Harrison:
Panacea is the Greek Goddess of Universal Health.

Jacob Harrison:
Since Bethicia was revealed to be Lana Reverse in my Halloween Story, how about my parallel self seduces Bethicia to turn against her cruel master Lucifer and help stop his evil plans. That might cause the Lana Reverse in this universe to fall in love with me when reading Parallel Hero and then me and Lana can produce children that will help me with my English monarchist plans in this universe.

Jacob Harrison:
You said that you realized that the canon of Parallel Hero is a mess. Please explain. Maybe I could help. After all, I came up with an idea regarding Lana Reverse/Bethicia in my previous comment.


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