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LOTM: Sword of Kings Special

Saga AA - Season 2

LOTM: Eckidina Arc

Sub Arc Finale


Kiss of Death & Revenge of the Evil

Part 2

Unit CM 130 Sub Arc - Final Episodes

Ninth and Tenth Special Episodes of Season 2


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Previous Season: LOTM: Sword of Kings AA - Raizen School Arc

Previous Episode: LOTM: Sword of Kings AA 2nd Season - Kiss of Death

Previous Spin-Off: LOTM: Sword of Kings Spin-Off - Rise of the Blue Haired Heroine

Previous Spin-Off Episode: LOTM: Sword of Kings: Rise of the Blue Haired Heroine - Liberty City War Arc - We Are Heroes (Final)

Previous Special: LOTM: Sword of Kings Special - KK Murder Case

Previous Storyline: LOTM: Witnesses of Sleepy Hollow & Sword of Kings Crossover - The Corbin Files


"We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery, we need humanity; more than cleverness, we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost."
— Charles Chaplin


LOTM: Sword of Kings: Kiss of Death is a mega-special film composed of two episodes that is set 1 month after the end of LOTM: Sword of Kings AA 2nd Season - Judgment Day and The Purge. The episodes are a canon episode appearing in LOTM: Sword of Kings Saga AA. It serves as the two final chapters of Unit-CM 130's Sub Arc.

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Not recommended for people under 18-years old. Gore images, obscene languages, sexual content and brutal violence. You have been warned. We are not responsible for any negative reaction.

Contents

Overview

Informations

  • Rated: PG-18
  • Genre: Romance, Drama, Historical, Action, Supernatural, Thriller, Magic, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Echii, Gore 
  • Stories: LOTM: Sword of Kings 

Timeline

  • Set 1 month and 1 day after the end of LOTM: Sword of Kings AA 2nd Season - Judgment Day - Part 1
  • Set 1 month and 2 days after the end of LOTM: Sword of Kings AA 2nd Season - The Purge - Part 2

Summary

Upon falling Vira's trap, the Rogues and Ratatoskr are now considered terrorists in the eyes of mankind while Black Demons wreck havoc the globe, ending entire civilizations in a blink of an eye as the said monsters continue to possess more humans to bring more chaos and paranoia to all mankind. Without knowing who is the enemy, all countries are forced to adopt the STAR LABS' system and began to purge their own population by killing half of it. The only one who refused to adopt such tactic was Maria Arzonia, the new temporary queen of Spain, but it ended in the collapse of the Kingdom of Spain. With million Black Demons knocking in the gates of Madrid, a new terrorist organization is ready to turn Maria's world upside down.

As the Rogues fight their ordeal to survive, the forces of Ratatoskr sent by Kotori to kill Mina Harker and destroy STAR LABS invades and attack the HQ of the STAR LABS in one final attempt to bring down Mina Harker and save mankind from themselves. Even so, the Revelation of Qliphoth is not done with the protectors of mankind and their leader, Astaroth Queen, personally confronts Katarina Couteau in Qliphoth to show the truth about her past.

The darkness... will rise once again...

Characters (Part 1 & Part 2)

Temporary Main Characters

  • Bruno Grants
  • Valeria Nobuyaki

Main Characters

  • Mina Harker

Revelation of Qliphoth

The Researchers of Divine Hand

  • Krul Rose 
  • Rainer Astaroth

STAR LABS

  • Mina Harker
  • Echidna Bathory
  • Minerva Layer
  • Sekhmet the Nun of Death
  • Bando
  • Typhon
  • Raven of Harker

Neutral Characters

United States' Republican Party

KnightWalker Family & Oracíon Imperium

Catholic Church & Iscariot

Republic of Korea

  • Kim Sae-Hak 

New Sovietic Union

Novosic Kingdom

Godom Empire

Peace Foundation

Global Pact Defense

Arzonia's Family

Others

Main Antagonists

Ratatoskr - the Rogues

Ratatoskr's Armed Forces

  • General Aldemiriana
  • Commander Torvaldo
  • Lieutenant Elektra
  • Captain Ashajji
  • Lieutenant Colonel Matthew
  • Senior Officer Bekkel

Witch Cult

  • Katya
  • Gaius Phoenix
  • Charllote Meyerias
  • Erika Seraphim
  • ???

Chronos Empire

Manufacturing Progressive Sciences - Purgadores

Opening - Nightglow

Nightglow_(Honkai_Impact_3_OST_崩坏3印象曲)演唱_蔡健雅_Tanya_Chua

Nightglow (Honkai Impact 3 OST 崩坏3印象曲)演唱 蔡健雅 Tanya Chua

Lyrics

Previously in LOTM: Sword of Kings...

Part 0 - Twisted Love

Asia

China

Hengsha

Beach

12 minutes later


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Atlantic Ocean

Fraxinus

Prison Deck

2 minutes later



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Flashback

Scenes from LOTM: Sword of Kings Special: Tales of a Lost Hero - Part 2


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Seeing the ship flying above them, all Black Demos regrouped beside Burckhardt as the soldiers from Chronos Empire and rebels did not dare to attack them again after witnessing their strength. After many minutes of fight, Vira's private army did not lose ANYONE. Her army is so powerful that all Rogues decided to not mess with them when they are leaving.

- Kruel: Now, we are going to leave this place. Time to summon the QG Portal.

As Vira's troops regrouped around Burckhardt, Vira, her knight and other soldiers stood beside Kruel while she raised her right hand and prepared to summon a portal to take everyone of her faction back to the ship from where they came from. After a few seconds, Kruel started to speak in Latin... No matter how it can be seen, she is spelling a black magic.

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- Kruel: Je renonce? Tous les biens tant spirituels que corporels qui me pourraient estre conferez de la part de Dieu! De la vierge Marie! Et de tous les, oui, les saincts du Paradis! Pareillement de mon patron saint Jean Baptiste! Saint Paul! Saint Pierre! Et Saint Franois! Et de me donner de corpsa Astaroth!

When Kruel finished her spell, she pressed her right palm against the floor while everyone, be they allies or enemy watched her ritual. At the same moment she pressed her hands on the floor, a giant portal similar to the entrance of a dark ancient temple came out of the ground, much to the shock of everyone there. 

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- Katya: Black Cult...

Hearing those soft words, Burckhardt stared at Katya on the righ corner of the outpost. While the Black Demons from Vira's army started to enter on the teleport, 

- Burckhardt: Ooh... So you're there, Katya. The woman who leads a rebellion against our Astaroth King. I never thought I would see you here. What happened? I thought with your power you could easily destroy... So is it? Slayer of Demons?

Indeed, Katya is by far the strongest person there... Even more than Katarina, Tomas and Imperia together. When Katya fought the Black God some days ago, she proved her value and power on the battlefield where she sealed the Black God from the Black Cult (the cult wheres Vira and her allies serves) in the moon.

- Katya: Tsk... You are on a total different level. Your Blackness is strong that I cannot even unleash my Light Magic energy here. You all are monsters in a total different level from the Black God and other average Black Demons.

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Burckhardt giggled after watching the prideful Katya admitting defeat... For Katya, the most prideful magician of the planet to assume defeat even without trying to fight must be a joke for the ears of those who were not next to her at that moment... Yes, Vira and her Black Demons were so superior that she could not even use her Light Magic to fight back.

- Burckhardt: Huh.

Burckhardt then entered on the teleport alongside Kruel and the other knights. Now, with all Black Demons gone, there was only Vira, standing on the middle of the temple.

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"....................................."

A very sinister silence invaded the atmosphere of the outpost. Despite the Black Demons were gone, the Rogues and all other soldiers feel a strangre and uncomfortable feeling from Vira.

- Vira: Hmmm... I'm forgetting something...

Vira put her right hand in her cheek and tried to remember for something she was supposed to do.

- All: ..........................

Everyone were ready to combat because at that point they cannot trust Vira when she has such high power level. Katarina tried to grab her sword but just thinking that she might kill Vira made her change her mind and lowered her head in depression.

- Imperia: Katarina...

Imperia felt bad for Katarina for witnessing such shock... Yet, they still don't know who the hell in that woman known as Vira who is very similar to the deceased Eugen Katsuragi but older.

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- Vira: I killed one of them. Check! I got the Infinity Clock hand. Check! I introduced myself to onne-san. Check! I found the lost Black Demon... Ohhh! That's it!

"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Like a hitwoman, Vira quickly pulled out her sword and sent a powerful wave of blackness at the Rogues. That wave was so big that it had 15 meters of height but was thin as a paper. However, the wave was so powerful that it pushed all objects where it passed by making people next to it be pushed almost 14 meters from where they were standing, even killing some guinea pigs on the process.

- Tomas: LUCAS! GET AWAY FRO---!

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Before they could notice, Lucas was right on the center of the attack and would be cut in half if wasn't for Tomas' bravure. Fast like a Jaguar, Tomas moved his body towards Lucas' location and pushed him out of the way of the attack. However, at the same moment he saved his friend, he was hit by the attack and was taken away by the wave until the wave hit the wall of the outpost and vanished in dark purple smoke.

After a few seconds, the dark smoke was gone and Tomas could be seen exactly where the wave hit the wall. For the surprise of many, he was alive but very injured. 

Tomas tried to get up after that brutal attack but when he looked at belly, he saw a small piece of wood stained in Vira's Blackness stuck there.

- Jellal: Tomas!

Jellal and all Rogues who were next to him rushed at him to give him medical attention.

- Vira: My work here is done! See ya!

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Imperia bit her lips in rage and tried to run towards Vira to hit her back while she is entering in the portal. Using her nano-machines, Imperia shots a powerful energy beam at Vira's back but before it could reach her, Vira had already disappeared inside of the portal, making the attack useless.

Imperia then looked around and saw hundreds of soldiers injured by the Black Demons and Vira's black wave. All of them had at least one of their limbs cut off... That was a brutal scene of a war scenary.

- Atala: Now, that was scary.






Nowadays

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Black King's Flashback

Scenes from LOTM: Sword of Kings AA 2nd Season - I Love You


Prussia

The Black Army Castle

Heis' Throne

2 days later

05:45 AM


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Somewhere of the destroyed country of Prussia, a new evil was about to rise. Prussia was one of the many destroyed nations wiped out by the World War III thanks to the nuclear war that left many countries uninhabited. Yet, what really destroyed Prussia were not the nuclear bombs... Actually, it was another evil force that killed all people of the continent.

On the middle of Königsberg, the former capital of Prussia, there were no signals of life. Instead, the whole land around the capital was stained in black... And what was previously known as Konigsberg, was now surrounded by a black shield that had the format of giant black ball.

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Inside of that shield the scenery was even more grotesque, sad and horrible. When the World War III started, a demonic force used the conflict to invade Prussia and took over their nation. With too many chaos happening across the planet, Prussia was forgotten by United Nations alongside many other nations.

The whole capitol of Prussia became a rotten territory, houses and buildings became some type of black and disgusting stone that formed a spiral swirl around a giant castle made of the same substance.

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Inside of the castle that reached the clouds, the environment was dark and sinister. The entire castle was made of black stones with some kind of bright diamond to lit up the dark castle. Like all castles, that disgusting place had a Throne Hall and it was located on the middle of the castle. The Throne Hall was a very large place with many pillars stained in black. And at the end of the hall, there was a throne with a man seated on it.

That dark man was wearing some kind of black king clothes like if he was some type of medieval king that came out of a fantasy game. He had the face of an old man with white beard and silver long hairs.

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Dark Man: The Griemoire Heart... So you had this with you, Heis...

The king was looking at a book in his hands. He named the book as Grimoire Heart. Right in front of him, there was a girl a black Gothic dress and long silver hairs. If normal people had to compare these people, they'll probably say they're similar and are a family... But they would be wrong. That girl was Heis... The twin sister of La Folia Rihavein (now known as Imperia Deamonne).

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Heis: No, King! I stole it! Using my skills, I entered in the secret base of your Mistress and I took it! You said that you would give me total power if I serve your needs! Black King!

A long time ago, Kanon Rihavein formed a pact with that man who is a Demon King. When Kanon became Heis, she possessed the power over the Black Army, an army made of Black Demons that killed millions of people during the battle of Aldegyr Kingdom. This ability of controlling the Black Army was a skill that man gave to her as a "gift".

Black King: The Grimoire Heart is the book that allows you to become an Omnipotent Demon similar to Gods. The person who created this Grimoire Heart is my Mistress, my Leader, Goddess and Supreme Creator. However, only normal living beings can use it. By becoming one with the Grimoire Heart, you'll be able to control Time and Space by your own free will.

Heis then stared at the Black King while in her knees. The Grimoire Heart was a book wrote by a Pure-Blooded Devil that rules over countless worlds. The Black King is a Demon created by this Devil but he desires to become even more powerful to become a Demon God.

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Heis: If Grimoire Heart is a book made of dark magic that can only turn people in Demon Gods, then this book has no use for us... Since you're a Demon and I'm Fallen Angel.

Heis then stood up and touched her hair.

Black King: Well, I have a plan... You said that there is a man between the Rogues that has a Demonic Lineage, right?

3 months ago, Heis fought the Rogues in Aldegyr Kingdom. During her battle, she felt that among the Rogues, there was a man that had the energy similar of a Devil. And a few days ago, Heis met that man again.

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Heis: Yes, this man is suppose to be a human but I felt a strong demonic energy inside of him... His name is Mahesvara... Better known as Tomas Sev. I studied about this Tomas Sev. He is a war hero that fought many times against KnightWalker Family in the past and fought against an entire army of KnightWalkers in India, becoming a legend. However, he has a mental illness; Tomas has dual personalities. One of his two personalities is a calm and kind man while the another personality that is known as "Mahesvara" is a savage, cold, wild, demonic and cruel entity that seeks to cause pain upon his enemies... Because of his dark personality, the KnightWalkers named him as The Demon of Global Pact Defense.

The Black King leaned his head with his right hand.

Black King: Ooh... So there is possibility this man is a Half-Demon.

Heis' eyes widened in surprise.

Heis: Half-Demon?

Black King: Half-Demons are a rare species of demons. Half-Demons are sons or daughters of a relationship between a demon and a mortal. The reason why this man known as Tomas Sev has two personalities is because he is human with demonic powers.

During the battle of the KnightWalker Airport, Nnoitra Jiruga also mentioned about Tomas' demonic energy after he finished with him. After he the Black King told the truth about Tomas, an army of Black Demons started to march outside of the castle.


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[Footsteps and screams]


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The sounds of thousands of footsteps marching made the Black King smile in pleasure. Those demons were the personal army of the Black King and were used to wipe out the entire population of Prussia's capitol.

Black King: If that man is Half-Demon that means he can support the power of the Grimoire Heart. There is no doubt this book is the most beautiful Artifact of the Past that my Goddess created. With this, you can turn a mere mortal in a Demon God with powers enough to destroy whole universes by controlling Time and Space itself!

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Heis walked towards a window and saw the Black Army marching.

Heis: So we're going to go after Tomas Sev?

Heis then turned around and changed her sight to her boss. Heis was working to the Black King in secret from the Fallen's Essence, who is her true God.

Black King: Not yet, my dear. We'll watch the Rogues. Their battles are just starting and I want Tomas Sev to get stronger so he will become a worthy vessel for me. Once he get strong enough to support the power of the Grimoire Heart, I'll transfer my soul to his physical body and so I'll become a Demon God by myself! As the Black King, I'll become the Black God and rule upon all Divine Dimensions, universes, galaxies, planets, stars and solar systems!

Heis then let out an evil grin and closed her eyes.

Heis: As you wish, Milord. The Multi-Universe will be ours. We cannot get stuck inside of this little rock called Earth forever. We'll expand our goals to other universes and rule above everything. 

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Heis, however, had never intentions of serving the Black King and swore her loyalty to Fallen's Essence. Everything that left from Heis' mouth was a lie.

Black King: Speaking of which... How are you doing with the Fallen's Essence?

Heis then crossed her arms and used one of her fingers to touch her forehead to remember her relationship with the Fallen's Essence.

Heis: Pretty good... He does not even suspect that I'm working with you behind the scenes. Recently, he revived a scientist droid known as Unit-CM 130 to restart World War III. And judging by the previous battle, it seems it worked. The World War III is back and a few hours ago, a nuclear power plant in South Korea had just exploded... The radiation started to spread and the government couldn't stop the media from butting in. It'll be only a matter of time to chaos and death start again all over the planet.

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Heis turned around and saw black trees filled with children's bones and limbs. They were kids that once lived in the capitol of Prussia... Of course, they were not the Black King's collection... They're collection of a PERSON who love to do those kind of things.

Black King: Good... So now... All Demons from this planet will get stronger. This war is a real banquet for everyone.

Heis slapped the head of one of the kids in the trees with disgust.

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Heis: Control yourself, you slut! You're always filling this place with dead kids!

Heis changed her sight to her left and there she saw a very beautiful woman seated on a table. That woman has long blonde hair in a ponytail and orange empty eyes. She wears a short red and white dress, black thigh high, brown lace-up boots, and moderate armor. 

The woman then turned stopped what she was doing and stared at Heis.

- (???): I cannot help myself! They're just so amazing! Also... 

The psychotic woman looked at Heis with sadistic eyes and was heavy breathing... She seemed to be sexually excited.

Black King: Let her be.

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The Black King returned to stare at the Grimoire Heart as Heis watched that beautiful woman doing something disgusting and cruel.

Right in front of that woman, there was a boy between 7-years old tied up in the wall. That woman proceeded to grab a knife from inside of one the dead kids on the Black Trees and slowly opened the belly of the boy. Every time drops of blood fell in her face, she started wet in her private parts... She was getting aroused by the screams of the boy.

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Boy: AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!

The screams of the young boy could be heard even from outside of the castle.

- (???): Heis... I call you by your name... So call by my true name: Vira. Please, never call me "slut" again.

The woman introduced herself as Vira.

Vira took a small part of her time to talk to Heis. Heis has her own ways to kill people... And there is something that Heis hates more than pacifists and people who wants to protect the world; Vira herself. Vira seemed to be a very sophisticated and gentle woman when she is not killing someone... Yet her eyes still scare Heis because this is the eyes of a souless person... A person who is not alive but "dead".

Heis: I don't know why you're here. You work for the Black King's Goddess and KnightWalker Family!

Vira then got riled up by the screams of the boy and then used the knife to stab his mouth by piercing his chin from below; shutting him up in a brutal death.

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Vira: I don't have sides in your war. I just want to be part of it in my own faction. I have my goals, my decisions and ideas. KnightWalker Family, the Black Army, Order of Terror, Catholic Church, Police Forces, Novosic Kingdom, Fiore Kingdom, Godom Empire... Nothing of it matters to me.

Heis rarely gets annoyed but Vira is an expert in taunt people.

Heis: The only reason you're helping us is to test your own stupid virus. You're just like Unit-CM 130; all things you do is for the sake of your experiments. Always destroying both allies and enemies. Do not think I'll forgive you after you killed 32,000 of my Demons in your stupid biological virus test!

Vira is a scientist who's only purpose to create a virus to cause death for the sake of Death itself. For Vira, Death is her God unlike Heis who has the Fallen's Essence as her God.

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Vira: I think we are just insects, we live a bit and then die and that’s the lot. There’s no mercy in things. There’s not even a Great Beyond. There’s nothing. Even if there is a Hell or Paradise, nothing will change. Life is irrelevant... Even life beyond death sucks. My purpose to end all life in both worlds... Worlds of the living and astral. So, all souls will have nowhere to go... And finally, we'll meet Death itself. A space filled with nothing but EMPTINESS!

Heis knew that she was just wasting time with Vira and wanted to have distance from her.

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Heis: You're a freak. I think I was right about killing all humans from this planet... Because you're the very personification of evil from all humans... Even people like that girl have this side.

With the same knife that Vira killed the boy, she started to cut his head off and put his head in the Black Tree.

Vira: 64 heads for my collection... But this is too boring... I got bored of this. Why people show value to their lives? Life's so fragile, a successful virus clinging to a speck of mud, suspended in endless nothing.

The Black King stood up from this throne and stared and created a image with the appearance of Tomas inside of a magic eye.

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Black King: Tomas Sev... Who exactly are you?

Heis and Vira prepared to leave after they were done with the Black King.

Vira: Hey, Heis, let's go eat some takoyaki...

Takoyaki is a ball-shaped Japanese snack made of a wheat flour-based batter and cooked in a special moulded pan. It is typically filled with minced or diced octopus (tako), tempura scraps (tenkasu), pickled ginger, and green onion. Takoyaki are brushed with takoyaki sauce (similar to Worcestershire sauce) and mayonnaise, and then sprinkled with green laver (aonori) and shavings of dried bonito. There are many variations to the takoyaki recipe, for example, ponzu (soy sauce with dashi and citrus vinegar), goma-dare (sesame-and-vinegar sauce) or vinegared dashi.

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Heis, however, teleported away without saying a word, ignoring Vira completely.

Vira: Meanie... Well, Black King... I'm going to Brazil now. I have my own business in Rio de Janeiro. I requested more civilians to my experiments in Rio to your Black Demons. According to my Omniscience, the Rogues are going to Brazil in some days... Also, I want to see my sister. I want to hug her. Kiss her. Love her. Feel her. Embrace her. I want to feel everything of her body.

Vira has an ability to predict the future and so she knows exactly what is going to happen. And what she saw predicted was that the Rogues will go to Brazil in a few days to fight an evil force.

Black King: I understand, Vira. Go. It'll be a nice test for my future vessel. I want Tomas Sev to show his true colors.

Vira then let out a grin as she was about to leave.

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Vira: If you live today, you breath in nihilism... It's the gas you breathe. If I hadn't had the life itself to fight it with or to tell me the necessity of fighting it, I would be the stinkiest logical positivist you ever saw right now.

Vira then left the throne, leaving the Black King with a chilling feeling in his spine.

The Black King stared at the gates of his hall closing slowly as Vira. Before the gates could close completely, he could swear he saw a devilish grin coming from Vira's mouth.

"........................."

Black King: I must keep an eye on her moves... Between all people I don't want to mess up with... It's her... She is a danger to all life and death. The only human who can even make the Supreme Devil cower in fear... 


- Black King: Vira.








Nowadays

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Meanwhile...

Fraxinus

Bridge Hallway


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Meanwhile...

Fraxinus

Hallway






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Meanwhile...

Outside of Fraxinus

90,000 meters above the Atlantic Ocean



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Heis' Flashback

Scenes from LOTM: Sword of Kings AA 2nd Season - A Place to Return (Sub Arc Finale)


Heis: Looks like I don't have time to play with you. It's time to show you the Apocalypse. With my power, I'll send everything to hell.

Heis raised her hand forward and pointed her finger to the ground, making Katarina and Imperia walked backward, they knew that her enemy was planning something big.

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Heis: NOW! IT'S TIME TO WELCOME A NEW WORLD! 

Heis yelled at the sky and shot a small laser beam the earth, suddenly, the ground of the entire country opened in 4 lines, the entire country was being cut in 4 slices like a pizza being cut. Suddenly, the entire planet was covered in a red light and shook the planet like an egg being crushed by a black hole.

Heis: YES!

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Imperia and Katarina looked around and saw the world around them was being destroyed and a red portal opened above them, sucking all living beings in the country.

Heis: This world has come to an end. It's the Final Judgement! It's time to send all sinners to hell! Sentence: DEATH to all humans!

The sky was engulfed by a red black hole that was sucking even entire mountains, even the ocean was being sucked, revealing sunk ships being brought to the surface of earth. The entire planet was being sucked by the black hole.

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Imperia: This thing is cleaning the surface planet!

Katarina and Imperia looked at Heis and saw she was being powered-up by the red hole.

Heis: This is truly the work of an Angel! It's time to clean what the mankind destroyed! It's time rebuild a new world! A new peaceful world is coming! A world without war! A world without despair! A world where humans will serve us for all eternity! Final Judgment has come upon you all! Humans! Now, face the Apocalypse!

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Katarina could only watch the world being covered by several crosses created by Heis, destroying nations in just 1 second, the first Apocalypse has begun.

Katarina: How can we defeat this?!

Imperia looked at Heis and tried to analyse her.

Imperia: Heis must have some weakness! If we find it, we can destroy her and stop the Apocalypse!

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HeisDO YOU THINK YOU CAN STOP ME?!

With just her words, Aldegyr shook and was painted with blood, even the voice of Heis had gained power, destroying everything around her.

Imperia: Tsk! Where is your weakness...

Imperia was about to fall in her knees since she could not find a weakness in Heis... But she had one... Inside of her brain...

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Heis: It's useless! Destruction is the fate that awaits this world! Accept it! There is nothing you can do! It's time to end your era and bring a new era upon this planet!

Heis was logically right but morally wrong, she was now acting like a doomsday bringer.

Imperia: I DON'T CARE! OUR FATE WILL BE NOT DECIDED BY YOU! IT BELONGS TO US! 


Nowadays

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Part 12 - Paladin of Iscariot

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While their battle took place, the few survivors of the Rogues and Ratatoskr's crew members took this chance to escape from Fraxinus that was now in the high-destruction countdown. However, while Imperia was escaping, Katarina was revived by her inner-self, Elesis Du Tirial, giving her a chance to escape together with her family. Yet, their hope are completely destroyed when Vira teleports Katarina to Limbo... Where she will personally face the architect of all pain in the world, Astaroth Queen.


Europe

Ireland

Badrick

Hotel

5 minutes later

Outside


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Inside of the Hotel

Hallway



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Meanwhile...

United States

Sleepy Hollow - STAR Center

STAR Central

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STAR Central

Strategic Room

12 minutes later






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Atlantic Ocean

Fraxinus

Lower Levels

2 minutes later









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Meanwhile...

Outside of Fraxinus

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Fraxinus

Bridge

1 minute later





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Part 12.5 - Astaroth

Atlantic Ocean

Fraxinus

Roof

Seconds later...


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Meanwhile...

Hangar


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Meanwhile...

Outside of Fraxinus



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Meanwhile...

203 meters away from Katarina's position



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Fraxinus

Bridge

5 minutes later




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Meanwhile...

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Revelation of Qliphoth's Mother Ship

Bridge

4 minutes later



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Fraxinus

Roof

9 minutes later



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???

​​​​​​???

???

???


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"................................................."

Silence... So cold... So empty... So dead... It's been almost 4 minutes since the vicious Vira Hermes, the woman who was similar to the late Eugen Katsuragi, had sent Katarina to a strange place.

After Katarina was pushed into a strange portal opened by Vira, she woke up in a strange place. A place that she never saw before.

- Katarina: T-This place...

Katarina stood up and noticed that all her wounds were healed and even her own clothes were back on. She reminds that during her battle against Heis, she was killed by the latter but latter came back to life thorough unknown reasons. Even now, she still confused... there is so many things happening in one single night that Katarina don't know what is reality or illusion. Actually, she doesn't even know if she is alive of dead again.

This place, was nothing similar to any place she have been before. This place was different... it was like a dead version of Earth filled with blackness and darkness. The horizon was black and white, the skies were stained in darkness, the stars were shining in grey, the trees were dead, the earth was pure mud...

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She kept walking down those lands for hours and hours until she arrived in a bizarre place. It was a town, a small medieval village with a few couple of houses and a huge church on the middle. However, they were all destroyed and seemed to be abandoned for years.

- Katarina: .......Where in the world I am?

While look at her surroudings, Katarina noticed that village was actually inside of a huge inactive vulcano--No. She was inside of a inactive volcano with its open being probably larger than Yellowstone's.

Without saying any words, the Red Haired Demon proceeded to walk down the mountain where she was standing and passed by a dead forest with black trees and mud... indeed, it was like if she had returned to the past but in an alternative version of the world. A version where it was wiped out by the darkness that covers this world.

After many minutes walking, she came to realize that she never grows tired. Indeed, she could feel she had infinite stamina and could walk forever there without feeling exhaustion.

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Arriving at the village, Katarina passed by the houses made of wood, which were totally destroyed and abandoned. There were no sounds beside her footsteps, what caused her to fear her situation as this world where she is in now doesn't produce any sounds besides herself.

In sheer curiousity, Katarina walked into the destroyed church on the middle of the village and saw its insides were completely wrecked like if a tornado had passed there, ripping off the ceiling.

- Katarina: Someone?!

Katarina began to lose her calm as she noticed there is no one but herself in this world. She thought it could be considered an illusion but she could still control her own power, which made her aware she was teleported to another unknown place.

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".........................."

Nothing but the silence was present but after a few seconds, Katarina could see someone walking out of the darkenss from the altar of the church, it was a black figure similar to a shadow but soon it took form of a human with long black hair and yellow eyes.

- Katarina: Who are you?! 

While clenching her fists to prepare to combat if that thing was hostily, Katarina shouted at the unknown figure that soon took form of a young woman. The strange figure began to descend from the altar with calm. 

- (???): I go by many names and I kill people and I love it. I know nine million ways to kill a body and I love every single one of them. All dull day every day right up until I hit the hay I think of bodies. Bodies burst. Bodies slit right up the middle and shared across a hundred nice little gardens. And when I sleep I dream of ways to kill a body that ain't nobody thought of yet.

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"........................"

Katarina noticed that voice was female... and how it sounded pretty much childish like if the unknown figure was trying to break the ice with something funny. 

- (???): I wonder if I was too simple-minded there...

Soon, the black figure was now in the form of a perfect female human.

Katarina considered her to be beautiful and an attractive woman between 19-years old or 20-years old and had the body of a model. She had extremely long and black hair which drops to floor-level; towards the bottom her hair is plaited into big braids that are tied off by a bandage-like band. Her hair-strands curve towards the left-side of her face and she has mid-length hair which is plaited and tied by a smaller bandage-band resting on her left shoulder. Besides, she had a white skin with yellow glowing eyes.

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Her outfit consists of a revealing ruby-red corset which reveals her midriff and the top half of her breasts. The red corset has an insignia visible below the belt which it hinders below. The same belt rests of her hip and above her torn, black jean trousers, which now look like shorts. The jean trouser has a chain, multiple belts wrapped around her right leg and a few which spiral towards the lower half of her left. Over her corset, she wears a black jacket in the form of a robe with red-velvet lacing; the jacket is ripped towards the bottom and is tightened towards her chest by the belt.

She also is wearing protective armour on her footwear as well as one extra armour plate on her right shin. She wears the same armour in the form of an arm protective gauntlet which rests above the same material as her coat; the material arches its way up to and wraps around her middle finger, highlighted by a rhombus-shaped piecing. The same gauntlet is where she rest her lance-blade in battle. Her left arm is wrapped and bandaged up for some unknwon reason.

She was probably the most attractive woman Katarina saw in her entire life.


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- (???): Well, sorry then. For starters, you can call me as...
 

 ...Astaroth Queen.


Part 13 - Human Nature (Warning: Psychologically Disturbing)

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Katarina Couteau is sent to Limbo by the vicious Vira Hermes! At that place, the devilish Astaroth King was waiting for her and show the truth of humanity. Its mistakes, its sins, its failures. The Purge of her souls continues. The focus is primarily on Katarina now, as she learns to accept the individual’s ability to shape their world, and how the self cannot exist without others to define it. Katarina learns the truth behind the Purge, the Black Demons and the existence of the Forces of Nature.

Tormented by her memories and darkest secrets, Katarina pushed to the brink of insanity as her true face is exposed! Haunted by her ghosts of the past, Katarina is devoured by her own inner monsters. An end always comes after the beginning. Will Katarina's hopes become her ultimate destruction? Is her hope death itself?



There was no time to even look back--It was the work of an instant. Astaroth... Black Cult... Blackness... The Purge... Black Demons... I took less than a second realize what is happening around my world is because of her. And I could feel it... that she was not even trying to scare me. She was just there. Standing like any normal person introducing themselves to me. The feeling I felt when I saw her... was not like Eckidina's coldness. It wasn't like the Fallen's Essence chills. It wasn't like Michael's darkness. It wasn't like Vira's fear. It wasn't like Heis' overwhelming power. No. No one I faced in my life had that. What happened... didn't even take a second. Even so, that woman's spirit... gave me the hallucionation of death... It was like as if I was staring at the bottom of Hell itself. I could hear millions of screams of agony coming from her left arm... while her presence alone almost made I and Elesis feel our souls was being ripped off our bodies... What's it? It's not true, is it, Yuri Barnes?! You want us to fight that... Don't tell me... then that is... Astaroth King...


???

???

???

???


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Astaroth... that never echoed in Katarina's ears like if they were in an infinite tunnel of deep darkness.

- Katarina (think): *H-Help me...*

- Elesis (subconsciouness): *IDIOT!! RUN!!*

- Katarina (think): *I-I can't move my legs...*

After saying that, Astaroth Queen narrowed those sharp eyes while she smiled like an innocent child.

Katarina slightly raised his eyebrows, when she felt an insane energy of pure evil coming from that woman. Even if she was trying to hide her malicious aura behind an innocent smile, Katarina could see right through her...

- Astaroth: Ah... You probably don't trust me because of my energy, little kitten. Just wait a second.

Astaroth... that woman is Astaroth King, who was in fact a woman. She is the true mastermind behind the Revelation of Qliphoth and the one behind Vira. If anyone watched TV, watched fantasy films, read novels and net videos, it was probably a name they had heard of at least once in their lives. It was the name of one of the most powerful demons from Hell in the Jewish traditions.

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After Astaroth said that, all energy coming from her body disappearing in an instant, making it clear that she was not hiding her demonic energy which was completely black like the Blackness itself. Seeing that, Katarina realized that she is in great danger... she is right now facing the root of all evil in this world.

- Katarina: ..................

Astaroth made an exaggerated nod and clapped her hands.

- Astaroth: Glad you came, Red Haired Demon. Despte my identity being Astaroth, there is no need for you to fear me. I'm not aggressive and violent like Vira. Trust me.

Astaroth's malicious aura disappeared, making her presence there less scary than before. When Astaroth was with her energy exposed, Katarina could barely move. Moreover, the feeling that woman gave Katarina was the feeling of death itself so it took a long time to Katarina to recover her senses.

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- Katarina: P-Please...

Katarina's legs were trembling... it was only a matter of time to her pee herself at some moment. In the worst scenario, Astaroth's presence alone almost made her vomit her breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Seeing that, Astaroth passed by Katarina with a bored face and walked her way to the exit of the church.

- Astaroth: Ahhh boy! How pathetic... And I thought you were the Earth's greatest defender! I heard from Heis you fought against her and almost won in a battle that could have ended Earth! Could it be I got the wrong girl?! I think I'll slap Vira's butt la--

"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Suddenly, Astaroth felt something pass right through her. It was a piece of sharp wood that was part of the church's structure. Without making much of a surprise, Astaroth turned around and saw the person who threw that piece of wood was none other than Katarina herself, who was sweating and taking several deep breaths only to break from Astaroth's feeling.

- Astaroth: Oh... So you can do it! I even went easy on you by hidding my energy! But you know... if I was a normal person, that piece of sharp wood could have killed me... And people die when they are killed! THAT MEANS I MUST ACT LIKE IF YOU WERE TRYING TO KILL ME! OOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!

With a loud shout, Astaroth lost her calm and began to power-up like a furious Saiyan... Seeing that, Katarina froze and lost all her senses, making her vision fade in darkness...

- Katarina: I-I am dead...


"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"


But then...

"......................................."

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Astaroth stopped screaming, which oddly made Katarina return to her senses.

- Astaroth: Nah! Just kidding! Did I made you pee?!

Astaroth's seriousness suddenly changed to a smug childish face of a prankster. Indeed... Astaroth had just trolled Katarina with the feeling of death.

- Katarina: W-WHAT WAS THAT?!

Katarina was not sure if she was confused or annoyed but it was clear that woman had just trolled her like a jerk pranking his victim.

- Astaroth: Nothing, I just wanted to make you pee or die since you're immortal here... But I'm not sure.

Katarina knew that in this place she had infinite stamina but something like immortality never passed through her mind. But... if it was true, that means she would have died when she laid her eyes on Astaroth when she appeared at that altar.

- Katarina: Wait... I am immortal in this place?!

- Astaroth: I don't know... Do you want to see if you're immortal for yourself? So let's make a test!

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Astaroth made another smug smile but Katarina quickly reacted to that as the moon of that world illuminated this black and white land.

- Katarina: N-NO, THANKS!

Katarina's fear of Astaroth slowly vanished since she was not using her demonic energy like before. At that point, she could speak and move normally... as expected of an ExKrieg, she has a quick restoration of both emotions and physical strength.

- Katarina: S-So... you're really Astaroth King? Because... I thought you were a--

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Astaroth interrupted her while twisting her head to the right while the church's structury began to change of nowhere. The world was slowly changing around them but not that much. When Katarina looked a the sky, she saw clouds of darkness taking different types of sizes and shapes.

- Astaroth: A man? I get a lot of that. Your people from Earth call me Astaroth King because saying my name is a taboo, even my own genre. The Witch Cult, for example, call me by many names but at times they can spell my name with a "Queen" at times. Of course, I can change my sex if I want but I was born as a woman so let be it. I have nothing against my own genre. But honestly, I hate when they refer to me as a man... have you ever experienced a moment where you are gay but they call you a transvestite because the two are among the same thing? Katarina twisted her eyebrows in confusion.

- Katarina: No?

- Astaroth: Me neither.

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Astaroth then walked out of the church while Katarina followed her. It was clear that woman had not evil intentions as she admitted she was not going to hurt Katarina.

- Katarina: I see... H-Hey... What is this place?

Astaroth stopped walking and looked at the abandoned village changing its form. The houses were actually made of some kind of black smoke.

- Astaroth: You're in Limbo, little kitten.

In Afterlife, Limbo is a dimension without color or shape, it is an infinite white or black reality without borders or limits. Limbo is a place to where all mages and people who formed a pact with dark magic are sent to be judge by Astaroth King... It's very similar to Purgatory in many aspects but they are totally different. Even Katarina knew that thanks to the wikia articles she read on Internet pages before the beginning of WWIII.

- Katarina: Limbo?! Why the hell I am here?! I am truly dead?!

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For a moment, Katarina thought she was really dead but even so she could mention many points why she still alive.

Astaroth giggled and continued walking.

- Astaroth: Not really, you're not dead. Vira sent you to Limbo to have a meeting with me. Well, it was me who ordered her to do it. It's also hilarious that you made the same questions of your mother when she arrived here.

"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Katarina almost gasped when she heard the word "mother". By mother, there is just one person who could be considered as such, Haruko Couteau, the late foster mother of Katarina Couteau who also happens to be the biological mother of the late Eugen Katsuragi.

- Katarina: My mother?! You said my mother, Haruko Couteau?! How do you know her?!

Katarina held Astaroth's shoulders but soon remembered who was this woman, making her calm herself in sheer fear. Even so, Astaroth was smilling like that smug prankster of always. She then continued walking while Katarina was more relaxed and followed her.

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- Astaroth: Yes, your mother, Haruko Couteau. I met her almost 18 years ago when you were just a little girl. Do you remember that she died in a brutal car accident, right? 

Katarina nodded.

- Katarina: Yes... because of that, I never had a family... Even when Vira appeared, I saw the only face of my family being corrupted.

When she spoke Vira's name, she was referring about her similarities with her deceased sister, Eugen Katsuragi. For Katarina, the fact that insane monster had the same face of Eugen was an insult.

- Astaroth: Well, I'm sorry for that. I'm like you. I never had a family because my own mother abandoned me and exiled me in a tower for thousand years. Until now, I never forgave her... but that was almost 40 billion years ago.

Katarina widened her eyes when she heard Astaroth's true age... or even what was suppose to be half of it. Despite being so old, she looked so young and energetic that it was almost impossible to think she is older than the universe itself.

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- Astaroth: In addition, I'm sorry for Vira's rudeness and violence. It was never my intention to torment you with your deceased sister's memories. All I can say... Vira and Eugen are different. They are not the same person. Your sister is living in another peaceful dimension. I can make sure of that.

Ara touched Katarina' nose like if she was someone very close to her.

- Katarina: Ah... A-Astaroth Queen...

Astaroth stopped walking and snapped her fingers, suddenly giving colors and life to the empty world of Limbo. Out of nowhere, the trees were alive, the sun appeared on the skies, birds could be heard singing, the sounds of a water from a nearby river... it was like that was the Limbo before that dead and black smoke corrupted everything.

- Astaroth: Just call me as "Astaroth". You're my guest here, there is no need for such formality. People fear me because of my status, power and appearance but in truth I'm not really that monster people on the mortal world say me to be. I'm an vile tyrant who destroy entire universes for no reason at all? I'm a demon who corrupts people into doing evil acts? No. I do nothing of the sort.

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Astaroth turned around and walked down the peaceful forest while Katarina continued to admire the sudden modification of the environment.

- Katarina: So, Astaroth... why my mother was sent to Limbo?

Katarina had enough reasons to kill that woman right now, mainly because of what she did to the world by sending her minions to Earth, causing humans to destroy themselves but she was more curious about the mystery of her own past... or actually, she doesn't want to annoy Astaroth by pushing a fight with her.

- Astaroth: Your mother... she was not a normal person... Well, she actually was a normal civilian living in the Japanese society, lived like a normal girl, graduated at the GDP academy, married a kind-hearted man and was too pure for that world but at some point she formed a magical contract with... someone... to escape from poverty and misery. However, she wasn't a greedy woman who wanted easy money. All she asked was a job in which she could work to gain her own honest money. She choose the hard way instead of going to the easy path where almost all humans go. Easy money. Easy fame. Easy lives... She lived and died like a honest woman she always was. Even if she wasn't a magician herself, she formed a magical contract, which affected her soul when she died, resulting in her being sent to me, in Limbo.

Astaroth put her hands on her mouth as if she was thinking of something. Katarina was extremely surprised with this story about her mother.

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- Katarina: So that means... she formed a pact with another magic user... only to find a job?

Katarina stopped walking and looked down. it was not like she was disappointed with her mother for forming a magic contract. She was simply surprised that she could have wished for anything but choose to difficult path to live honestly.

- Astaroth: Yes. What a strange woman, right? But that is what made Haruko so different from all the others who formed a magical contract with other demons or magicians.

Suddenly, Katarina's clothes changed to a lewd bunny girl suit. It just did, out of nowhere.

- Katarina: WHAT?!

Astaroth laughed like a normal person, obviously laughing at her outfit.

- Astaroth: HAHAHAHAHA! Your mother worked using this bunny suit in a bar during her years as an academic student! I kept it as one of my greatest collections about humans' memories. She was probably around your age when she first wore this suit.

Katarina blushed and was red like an apple. She then got in her knees and covered her breasts out of shame.

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- Astaroth: Yes, that was her reaction when she wore this suit for the first time. She endured this same for years until she found a job in the department of Global Pact Defense. Until her life came to and end... breaking our funny contract earlier than I expected.

Astaroth snapped her fingers, returning Katarina's clothes back to normal. The only thing Astaroth thought at the moment was that Katarina looked very much like her late mother.

- Katarina: "Our funny contract?"

With her face red, Katarina stood up and tried to avoid to look at Astaroth's smug face.

- Astaroth: Yes... It's a pity she died so early. And yes, Couteau, the person who she formed a pact was with me. The reason why I know everything about you, and the reason why I ordered Vira to take you to me is because I was a close friend to you mother. She was... probably the only human I truly cared. Because, like I said, she was special and different. And even now, I could see you're different from the others. In the face of extreme fear and death, you broke through the barrier of your limits and threw that piece of broken wood righ through me. You defied my own existence while many others would run away or commit suicide before I could lay my hands on them.

"..........................."

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Astaroth continued walking unti they arrived in a very beautiful open part of the forest.

- Astaroth: That's why I wanted to speak with you tonig--!

- Katarina: I had enough of this.

Katarina had enough of this façade... Astaroth was not really lying or trying to manipulate her, she was acting too normal when her actions on Earth destroyed the lives of billions and even her own. Astaroth's minions brough death and misery to all humans of Earth and even killed some of her friends.

- Katarina: Why you're acting like a sisterly figure or praising my mother when you have the blood of billions in your hands? You brought demons to our world! You wrecked our world into pieces! You killed my friends! You destroyed whole nations! You killed thousand of innocent children and infants! You killed millions of innocent people! You destroyed pure families! You caused people to destroy themselves into thinking they were demons! And now you want me the next "special human" because I am Haruko's daughter! YOU DESTROYED MY FREAKING WORLD AND IS NOW EXPECTING ME TO BE YOUR... FRIEND OR WHATEVER?!! DON'T MESS WITH ME! 

".....!!!"

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Ara smiled and stopped walking before staring deeply in her eyes, the eyes of a woman who saw evil and death with her own eyes. Katarina passed through tragic experiences she could not even describe... one of them being the murder of her own sister, Eugen Katsuragi, by the hands of the malicious Aki Honda.

- Astaroth: I see... you said I brought death to billions of humans, right? I helped in the rise of the Purge and bring down the concept of civilization. I understand you hate me because of that but first, let me tell you a story, a love story of life and death.

Katarina sharpened her eyes as she lost her fear of Astaroth.

- Astaroth: Once upon a time life met death in a dungeon. That’s where death lived, unlike life who lived freely in mountains. She was instantly captivated by death, his fearless nature, his determination, his abilities, his strength and his willpower. Unlike her, he knew what he wanted and he would never let it go until he reached his goals. While she kept oscillating between what if and what can be. She kept coming to this dark place just to get a glimpse of him. He was unaware of her presence. One day he was sharpening his weapons. She was staring at him from a distance. He pulled his armour and sword and struck it with red-hot heat. She was taken aback by his valour and how handsome he looked when he raised his sword. She took a step closer to get a closer look at him. In unawareness of her near surrounding, she placed her leg on wobbling stone and fell flat on her face. She screamed out of pain and started bleeding from her toe. Death was shaken by the noise and went out with a sword and rage and anger in his heart to kill the trespasser.

Katarina knew that fairy tale was some kind of parable to justify her actions involving death but she paid attention to it as the birds of the forest sang.

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- Astaroth: As he entered the backyard he saw a helpless lady screaming out of pain. He pulled back his sword and asked: “Who are you?” She raised her head to see him. She was the most beautiful creatures he has ever come across. He was taken aback by her beauty. “My name is life.” She answered. Death's expression changed and in an angry tone he said: “Walk away never come back here ever again.” Life looked down and said “Pardon me, I was just looking around. I had no intention of harming you.” “I know.” Death said and walked away. Life went back to her mountain and cried. She wanted to forget him but all she could do was to remember him more. She decided to give it a last try and tell death what she truly felt. She walked the same lane but this time with unsureness in her heart. Instead of going in the backyard she decided to go and meet death straight away.

Astaroth closed her eyes and blushed like a young girl telling a love story.

- Astaroth: Death saw her coming from the distance and ignored her. “Why are you doing this to me?” “Doing what?” “Avoiding me!” “I am not avoiding you. We are just not good enough for each other.” “Why?” “Because we just aren’t. Don’t ask too many questions.” He said. “But I have started to like you. I don’t have any friends. I just need you to be there.“I told you to go away.” “I won’t unless you tell me why?” “Because if we come together we will destroy this universe.” “That is not true. I.” Life hesitated and with the low voice said “I love you.” Death looked at her and said nothing silence filled the space between them. Death started walking away and she said: “Don’t do this to me.” “I have to.” And death went inside his room. Tears rolled down her eyes and she too walked back home with a heavy heart. Time passed hours rolled to days and days to months.

Katarina was now caught by that tale and was no longer acting with hostility.

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- Astaroth: One day, life in her usual attire was sitting near a treetop. Death was walking down the hill. She saw him and called him. “Hey, you!” She lost the balance while waving at him. Death looked up and saw her falling to the ground. He flew towards her and caught her by his arms. Life looked into his eyes and he looked back. They both lost themselves for a minute. “Remember never fall in love. That will be the destruction of everything that ever existed” His father once told him. He kept her back on the ground. “What are you doing here?” She asked. “I came here to meet you.” “Why?” She enquired back. "Because I missed you." “Really, you did.” “Yes.” “But you told me we are not good enough for each other.” “Yes, I did. We are not. But I cannot stay away from you for so long.” “Neither can I.” She cried. She hugged him and they united, that very second this universe was burst into a bubble and the whole world was absorbed into a black hole. Everything turned to nothing. There was no life, no death. Just plain black nothingness. After eons, there was a big bang and it gave birth to this universe. Every being that was ever born on the existence since then has to die. And every dead being on this existence has to be born again. And in between life and death, the only thing they will crave for is love. Life and death will be eternal lovers for eternity to come. And this is the greatest love story of all time.

Astaroth began to cry tears of blood but soon she wiped out them with her hands... she must be a very romantic person despite her trickster personality. Katarina only stared at her with a poker face, but she will not deny she found that story to be interesting.

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- Astaroth: Life and death are natural parts of life. They come and disappear, and so do I. As the Astaroth Queen, I'm a Force of Nature who keeps the balance of the existence. The balance between life and death. Between light and darkness. And between Good and evil. This is why I attacked you planet... simply because the time had come for you all; to be balanced in the hands of fate. Through death itself, a new life is born... this is the circle of life and my duty as Astaroth Queen. The reason why I use Black Demons is because they are also part of the Force of Nature that keeps balance between the divine and mortal worlds. If humans kill themselves for their own selfish reasons then this is not something to be praised as life and death comes naturally and go away by the hands of their representatives. Those who abuse of this natural circle are simply selfish mortals. She then slowly opened her eyes.

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- Astaroth: The reason why I came to Earth is because the unholy war between humans against humans, this Third World War, is vile and does not help in the balance between life and death. This is simple murder and endless destruction out of pure greed, hatred and selfishness. Nothing more than that. Life and death must come from the force of nature, by the will of nature, the very creation itself. If emotions are involved in the death of a living being, then that means this is unecessary to the world universe's elements. War is just like that too. The anger and hatred life creates destroy the very concept of death itself... and as the representative of Death of this reality, it's my duty to wipe out all humans before they can destroy themselves and leave nothing behind to grow. 

Katarina could understand if Astaroth was the death itself, that means she is only doing her work... but why bringing so much suffering? Why causing so much destruction? She is just making the world even more disgraceful, leaving nothing behind.

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- Katarina: Then why you're slowly destroying us instead of giving us a quick death for our sins? Even if saints and pure people are disappearing of this world, that doesn't mean you need to bring even more pain upon us as not everyone wanted this war to happen. 

"............."

Suddenly, the skies above them began to twist and exposed the beautiful shining stars of the infinite universe.

- Astaroth: The answer is simply: punishment. The human race disgraced this beautiful creation, they abused of their own lands to satisfy their own needs, they killed animals not to survive but for profit, they killed irrational creatures just to adorn themselves with beautiful accessories and cloths, they destroyed whole lands with their weapons of mass-destruction just to show who is superior and finally destroyed their own world because of their stupidity. And you ask me "why?". Punishment. If the unholy evil stained the Earth by the hands of humans, then I also must stain this world with the "rightfully evil", an evil that is part of Force of Nature to keep the balance and then wipe out all human race to build a new world where peace reigns and life grows without interference. But rest assured, once it's done, a new more pure and gentle race will inhabit the planet to fulfill the role that mankind could not. Do you understand now... Couteau?

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Katarina was out of words... that was perfect... she was right... that was the true word of a Force of Nature. She is alive in this world for many years and know the true nature of humans. Even if there are innocent people in this world, that doesn't mean their mere existence might change the world where most of them are stained in black. Astaroth was just that entity of evil, death and destruction. She is the right destruction this world needs, what all humans are doing is nothing but pure destruction without any benefits for the universe.

Astaroth was the salvior of this world but its destroyer. She is the killer but the good guy. She is the light but darkness at the same time. She destroy everything they built but creates a new world when the previous owners failed in making this world a proper place to live. That was it. That was the true truth no one could deny.

- Katarina: Y-You...

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Astaroth then snapped her fingers, changing the world around them again at her command. What Katarina saw next shocked her. She was in one of the WWIII's battlefields, a town completely obliterated by bombs and artillery. 

In front of them, there was a squad of KnightWalker executing civilians in cold-blood. The first shoot on the kids of people who had children just to see them suffer... and after minutes of agony, they put an ending to their suffering by finishing them with a bullet in their heads.

Seeing that, Katarina looked away... and she thought she was used to see violence and brutality... but not like that.

- Katarina: This is awful.

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Astaroth nodded and pet Katarina.

- Astaroth: Ahh... this is true. This is awful, but this a mere example of what mankind did in their reign over this world. And you know that very well, after you all saw the worst kind of trash rise in this world. Eckidina KnightWalker, Aki Honda, Juria KnightWalker, Michael Langdon, Terra of the Left and even Mina Harker. I could mention all types of crimes mankind did to this world, from simple murders to genocide of entire races. But I guess this is not necessary. 

Astaroth then snapped her fingers again, changing the reality to a calm and peaceful world above the clouds. 

- Katarina: This is...

Katarina's eyes shone in th beauty of this place. It was heaven but is more known as the Paradise to all Christians of the world, a place of eternal purity and peace.


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- Astaroth: Heaven, yes. This is the best place to see the advance of humanity throughout history. And let me tell you: the results are not good.

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Astaroth and Katarina went up the stairs while Katarina still confused about what exactly is happening.

- Katarina: Anyway... how do you do that? I mean... change this world at will. Katarina continued to show some kind of hostility towards Astaroth but she at least knew this woman was not trying to hurt her or anything--Rather, she is trying to prove her point of view and show her why she is doing all of that.

- Astaroth: It's because I control Limbo. It was me who created this dimension million years ago to judge magic users. If this magic user is a magician who did great sins but it's not a person of pure evil than this person will be sent to another floor of Limbo to be purged of their sins so they can go to Paradise... And as for the magicians who have a dark heart, they will be tormented and sent to Hell. It works like the Purgatory.

Katarina at least watched some fantasy and religious films to know the nature of Limbo and Purgatory. They are almost similar but different in many aspects.

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- Katarina: I think I got it.

Arring at the top of the skies, Astaroth and Katarina looked at the ground and saw an image of an ancient village. Actually, that village was similar to the one Katarina saw back then, but that one was full of life.

- Katarina: Wait... this is...

- Astaroth: A vision of the past. In the human religions, they believed there was a God who watched over them from the skies, watching their lives, for God was everywhere and nowhere at the same time.

Katarina rubbed her eyes; she also pinched her cheeks and confirmed that she wasn't daydreaming. She was truly looking at an ancient village of humans, when technology did not even exist.

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- Astaroth: Yes, this is the vision of what they would call God until the present. We are right now looking from the point of view of what they would call God. We are right now looking to the past, when mankind was vague and didn't form a society.

From what it seems, they are probably looking at a village of the year 100 or less. 

- Katarina: But how?

Astaroth twisted her shoulders with a smug smile.

- Astaroth: I told you, I can do anything down here. Limbo is my personal world I can changed at will. I can even show images of another universes and even from insides. And like that I can change my size, shape and create anything I imagine. In other words, I'm a Goddess here. Once someone enter in my reign, they are under my influence, the laws of reality doesn't work here.

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Katarina blinked several times and looked back at the ground showing the daily lives of all humans who lived at that era.

- Katarina: Why are you showing me this?

Astaroth put her hands in her hips and replied.

- Astaroth: Simple. At that time, most of humans were under the influence of Mother Nature. They didn't have weapons of mass destruction, they didn't create wars for greedy, they built societies innocently... well, it just MOST of them, but humans were never innocent to begin with because they were blessed with the Fruit of Knowledge. In resume, mankind at that time was just like all other species of this planet, eating and getting only what is necessary to live. I'm showing it to you tho show the difference of humans from the past and future.

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Suddenly, the ground in front of them closed, leaving only clouds but soon Ara rose her hand and a miniature of Earth appeared on her hand like a small ball.

- Astaroth: This Earth I'm holding is a miniature of Earth. The vision you saw on the ground was a village that exists inside of this Earth. My power allows me to create a perfect replica of Earth, copying its elements, geography, history, people and even time itself. So, what do you have to say, Katarina?

Katarina stared at the Earth.

- Katarina: Say about what?

- Astaroth: Mankind. What you have you to say about this mankind you saw earlier? At that time, they were defenseless and would commit only small sins and crimes that could be forgiven by the Gods and even by myself. They didn't destroy the Mother Nature out of greedy or for profit. That time was peaceful and beautiful. No wars. No conflicts. No violence in large scale. No drugs. No weapons. No religions and policies. It was perfect. The ideal world for a primitive but pure race.

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Katarina did not what to answer but the answer was obvious. There was a huge difference between the ancient human race that killed and destroyed only to survive while the future mankind did all of that out of pure greedy and evil will. Killing and destroying nature for money is just one of 'many differences.

Without warning, the EarthAstaroth was holding began to change its colors... the blue and beautiful planet was slowly being stained in brown like if pollution was changing the colors of the world--No, it was actually pollution. What Katarina was seeing was the planet Earth advancing to the future and mankind's technological advance.

- Katarina: The Earth is...

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- Astaroth: Yes, what you're looking at right now is YOUR Earth. The Earth you're living in after centuries of pollution and destruction. And this...

"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Suddenly, the Earth she was holding began to shine in several shining points. They were small like if several towns were on fire... yes... what she was looking at was the beginning of World War III, the night KnightWalker Family waged the WWIII and began the world's most destructive conflicts.

Bombs were falling everywhere across Asia, Oceania and Europe.

The beginning of the end. Katarina stared at this beautiful Earth burning to the groud as the days passed inside of it. The war continued to wreck havoc the world, destroying everything that was beautiful.

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- Astaroth: Hey, Katarina, let me tell you something about me. I’m such a negative person, and always have been. Was I born that way? I don’t know. I am constantly disgusted by reality, horrified and afraid. I cling desperately to the few things that give me some solace, that make me feel good.

Astaroth showed the once beautiful forests being burned to the ground by the actions of man. Even if there were people who helped to save it, another fire began by the hands of the same race.

- Astaroth: I hate most of humanity. Though I might be very fond of particular individuals, humanity in general fills me with contempt and despair. I hate most of what passes for civilization. I hate the modern world. For one thing there are just too many people. I hate the hordes, the crowds in their vast cities, with all their hateful vehicles, their noise and their constant meaningless comings and goings. I hate cars. I hate modern architecture. Every building built after 1955 should be torn down! I hate how they get addicted to small things like internet and post false emotions and words so they can get more views and followers. Be it in videos or social media.

Astaroth's coldness began to disappear as she finally confessed her hatred for mankind... a justified hatred and just as she continued to speak, the beautiful world she once showed Katarina was dying by the hands of men.

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- Astaroth: I despise modern music. Words cannot express how much it gets on my nerves – the false, pretentious, smug assertiveness of it. These goddmaned cellphones people can't simply look away for a second. They all become ignorants and divided their own society because of religion and policy. I hate all drugs who addict people into doing evil acts of murder their own loved ones just to get their money and get more vicious drugs. I hate business, having to deal with money. Money is one of the most hateful inventions of the human race. I hate the commodity culture, in which everything is bought and sold. No stone is left unturned.

And the world continued to die... rivers disappeared. The oceans were rising. Whole species of anaimals were dying for the lack of food and water. Katarina... couldn't get less scared.

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- Astaroth: I hate the mass media, and how passively people suck up to itm being manipulated by them into doing what they want or thinking in what they want them to think. I hate having to return to this planet and face another day of this insanity while I see mankind and other pathetic monsters destroying the beauty of this world I wanted to protect. I hate having to see you people eat the same industrialized trash that maintain the body – I hate your body. The thought of your internal functions, the organs, digestion, the brain, the nervous system, horrify me... To think you transform the natural resources of the world into something disgusting...

Astaroth continued to get more aggressive and was clear she could no longer stop herself from telling Katarina what she hate the most on mankind but until now...

- Katarina: .....................

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- Astaroth: Your world is horrible. It’s not cute and loveable. It’s kill or be killed. It's all about taking opportunity to win something from behind the others' back. It’s very dangerous out there. Your world is filled with violence, poverty and false emotions of friendship. I hate the whole way that human system functions. Work to death to win a misery to survive, resulting in people becoming criminals to get an easier life which even I may understand why they choose this path. They say to all scumbags of society to learn but no one is there to teach them because everyone are just big speakers and are too lazy to get out of their pathetic lives.

Astaroth began to bit her lips while her eyes' colors changed to red.

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- Astaroth: Sex is especially hateful and horrifying, the male penetrating the female, his genitals goes into her hole, she's impregnated, another being grows inside her, and then she must go through a painful ordeal as the new being pushes out of her, only to repeat the whole process in time. Reproduction – what could be more existentially repulsive? I could understand this is a natural part of life and nature but what it made me truly disgusted is how the mordern society turned sex into a pleasure-driving obsession. And what disgusts me the most is how people enjoy this... this dirty action of reproduction filled with juices and disgusting sexual diseases. Society is so screwed up that sex is now something like signing your suicide contract; people are infected everywhere with goddmaned plagues and virus. 

Astaroth's strange aura began to appear again as she continued to speak endless about mankind... and as a mere ExKrieg, Katarina could only step back in fear.

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- Astaroth: I hate the way the human psyche works, the way they are traumatized and stupidly imprinted in early childhood and have to spend the rest of their lives trying to overcome these infantile mental fixations! And they never ever fully succeed in this endeavor! I hate organized religions! Religions that caused countless wars and used an excuse for xenophobia and racism! I hate governments that divided society in right and left! It’s all a lot of power games played out by ambition-driven people, and foisted on the weak, the poor, and on children! Most humans are bullies! Adults pick on children! Older children pick on younger children! Men bully women! The rich bully the poor! People love to dominate but flee when the cowards are overthrow! I hate the way humans worship power and fame – one of the most disgusting of all human traits is to follow false prophets, musicians, authors and people with talent because they want to be among them!

The ground around Astaroth began to be stained in black thanks to her dark aura... there was no doubt that Astaroth was losing control. Her hatred for mankind was immense but everything she was saying was making sense to Katarina. Now, the Earth in her hands was in flames while all living beings were falling in an endless sea of fire; the Fiery Pit.

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- Astaroth: I hate the human tendency towards revenge and vindictiveness! I hate the way humans are constantly trying to trick and deceive one another, to swindle, to cheat, and take unfair advantage of the innocent, the naïve and the ignorant for money and profit! I hate the vacuous, false, banal conversation that goes on among people, talking like if they were friends when inside of their minds they are cursing each other! Sometimes I feel suffocated; I want to fix this world by wiping out every single one of you! To tell the truth, I'm not punishing you with the Purge because I'm following my duty as a Goddess of Death! For me, human is the most disgusting creature I can think of... No! All mortals are equal! The mistakes of all Gods! The cruelty incarnated in one single being! When I suddenly realize that I was like them in appearance, I want to scream in horror!!

The world continued to burn while thousand of screams could be heard coming from it. The smoke of the fire was filled with the faces of humans in agony. For Astaroth... that was the paradise. That was the ideal punishment for all humans of this planet; plunged into a fiery pit for all eternity.

Suddenly, Astaroth shut herself and gazed at Katarina with red glowing eyes of the doom. She was now making a hateful expression full of disgust and anger.

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- Astaroth: You're no different from them... Katarina Couteau. You're unlike your mother in many aspects.

Katarina widened her eyes but she was out of words to defend herself... actually, she felt like if she was no one to defend herself. Until now, Astaroth only told the pure truth, she was not lying or trying to manipulate Katarina's way of thinking.

- Astaroth: Your mother was different. She was special and full of surprises... But I don't expect nothing of you and all humans, and disown the race. The only folly is expecting what is never attained; man is most contemptible when compared with his own pretensions. It is better to laugh at man from outside the universe, than to weep for him within. Look at yourself, Katarina... will you try to deny you're enjoying this?!

Katarina stepped backwards while her vision was filled with illusions of herself killing Mafusa Gangsters and enjoying the chaos of the war during her missions in Ratatoskr.

- Astaroth: I've to tell you your true self. This whole nonsense of saving the world your friends put on you and all things you have been doing to save the world recently... It's not you. The true truth is that you're a sadistic killer like your enemies, and that woman who killed your sister, Aki Honda. You're a woman who lives struggling in violence, chaos and mayhem. You're sadistic woman hidding behind the façade of a goofy and amazon woma. You love the suffering of your opponents. You enjoy fighting because it's fun. You live for fighting to find a reason to live on the middle of the battle, because a world of peace is not what you want. All you want is endless war so you can find yourself in the battlefield to escape from your boredom and find a reason to live killing people.

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Katarina felt a painful headache and fell in her knees while she continued to tormented by images of her true-self. A brutal killer who inflict pain in other people to have self-satisfaction. 

- Astaroth: You joined Ratatoskr because they gave you missions to fight the Fallen's Essence and his minions. With enemies to fight, you had a reason to kill someone, you had an excuse to feel the blood of someone in your hands, you had a reason to live inflicting pain, Kotori gave you something you can enjoy, Ratatoskr was a place where you could break your own social chains and free yourself! Obviously, you were smarter and kept this side hidden from everyone.

".............."

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Katarina put both of her hands in her head as many of memories of her past continued to invade her mind without control. Her sanity was being invaded by her own memories.

- Astaroth: Mana Takamiya was someone who let herself be corrupted because she was weak. Deep inside, you never cared about her for being a child and for being weaker than you. That is a prove of how you never considered anyone around you a true family. You only see them as comrades you can rely on to help you find new places to fight and kill.

Katarina shouted while struggling against the pain in her head.

- Katarina: THAT'S NOT TRUE!

- Astaroth: So you fight for something else besides your own self-satisfaction? Why do you contnue to fight?

- Katarina: Because people ask me to fight!

Katarina's eyes began to blood.

- Astaroth: So you fight?

- Katarina: Isn't it OK?! It's for the sake of everybody! Isn't it OK?!

- Astaroth: You fight for the sake of others? And at the same time you find fun slaughtering your enemies in cold-blood? 

Katarina was losing her self-control and let out her most dark secrets.

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- Katarina: Yes! That is a good thing! That is a very good thing! Everyone prases me when I fight! I find more friends and people praise me! I was never so adored by people around me before! I suffered bullying in the hands of society while everyone laughed at me! For the first time I found a place where I could free myself and be praised for it! I enjoy it while other people cheer for me!

The heaven around them began to disappear and there was nothing but empty darkness. An infinite space of blackness. There was nothing but Astaroth and Katarina there.

- Astaroth: That's a lie.

Katarina gazed at Astaroth's feet.

- Katarina: What?!

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- Astaroth: You idiot? After all, it's for the sake of oneself. What you're doing is only for yourself. You created an image of yourself where you're a perfect heroine. You believed in this image of yourself so badly you started to see yourself like that... you lost your identity.

"....!!!!!"

Katarina began to cry tears of blood.

- Katarina: Eh?

- Astaroth: And you excuse yourself as usual. To think that you are doing your best for the sake of others is itself an easy way to live.

Katarina tried to stood up, just then the images of herself acting like a savage murderer disappeared but her vision was blurred.

- Katarina: I-Is that so?

- Astaroth: In other words, you are lonely, Katarina. You're still being tormented by the ghosts of your past. The training you had with the Rogues didn't work out. Instead, it only made you worse. You created a vision of yourself. A vision where you could rely on to unleash your primal desires. 

Astaroth slowly recovered her senses and was now calm, no longer acting with fury.

- Katarina: ............................ Is that so?

Katarina embraced herself and wiped out her tears... but now her eyes were empty like if they were dead.

Astaroth: That's nothing but a dependent or symbiotic relationship.

- Katarina: .......................... That might be.

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Katarina looked down as Astaroth continued to tell the truth about herself.

- Astaroth: All you wish is that people depend on you. And while they depend on you, you think you have all rights to kill your enemies in the most brutish ways. You're a egomaniac who believe in your lies.

- Katarina: That might be... true...

- Astaroth: All you do is to wait for someone's giving you a happiness. A false happiness.

Katarina began to cry as her legs began to shake. If she couldn't defend herself because everything she was telling was true.

- Katarina: U-Useless am I. No one needs me. No one needs someone who can't fight! That's why I fight! Ratatoskr and the Rogues are the only place where I could find myself! If I continued fighting, I would be useful and adored by everyone! Lucas, Tomas, Imperia, Shigure... everyone would praise me and depend on me! At the same time, I could unleash myself in my enemies! It works for everyone so why this is not RIGHT?! HUH?!​​​​​​

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Astaroth's strange black aura changed to a bloody red one as a strange claw came out of her bandaged left arm... It was a demonic claw larger than a human's hand... that thing was scary... and combined with the screams coming from the Earth Astaroth was holding, she could hear millions of scream of pain and agony coming from her arm.

- (???): HELP ME!!! GOD!!!

- (??? 1): FORGIVE ME!! MY LORD!!!

- (??? 2): SAVE ME!!!

- (??? 3): WATER!!! WATER!!! IT'S SO HOT!! TAKE ME OUT OF THIS PLACE!!!

"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

So loud... so many of them...

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And more, more, more, more, more, more voices continued to scream and cry for help. Voices of men, women and even children could be heard coming from that hand. That was the perfect vision of Hell.

Suddenly, the Earth Astaroth was holding exploded in a red explosion. The miniature of the once beautiful Earth, that was now turned into a hellish dystopia, began to explode into the oblivion.​​​​​

- Astaroth: No. This is a false happiness, Katarina. Just like this Earth here.

".........!!!!!"

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Astaroth then released the Earth, letting it float between her and Katarina. Just like that, the Earth began to be devoured by its own core, sucking the surface of the planet into the hellish core of the world.

Alongside the sounds of earth cracking and explosions, more screams came from it, like if billions of souls were being throw into a single abyss.

- Astaroth: But beside your own false happiness, you are trying to find yourself within others.

- Katarina: Shut up!

- Astaroth: You fear being alone. So you continue to fight so you can be acknowledged by everyone around you. You fear because you'd be erased together with others.


- Katarina: Shut up! Shut up! Shut up! I don't wanna be told that by a monster like you!!


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Astaroth stared at Katarina with pit, but more like if she was disgusted of that woman. Katarina continue to avoid looking at Astaroth's eyes.

​​​​​- Katarina: H-Hey... why this is happening to me? 

Astaroth looked around with a tone of anger.

- Astaroth: Punishment, but at the same time, it's your revelation. We are no longer in Limbo. This blackness is your mind. This is the "me" within your mind and at the same time, it's my mind within you. How do you find yourself in this world, Katarina?

- Katarina: In order for me to find myself, I have to feel myself in other people. I have to gaze inside of me. I have to gaze myself within me reflecting in other people. I did that when I was a child... when my parents died... Haruko and Iruka... they left me in this rotten world.

Katarina did not look away from the empty ground.

- Astaroth: What do you hope for? You wanna be a good child to your foster parents? When Iruka and Haruko died in tha car accident, you were adopted by another family... but this family was abusive so you had to be a good child for them. Do you remember them... Hana Langley? Why do you had to be a good child in your childhood?

"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

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This... is something that Katarina never told to no one, but Astaroth continued to bring her worst memories.

- Katarina: Because that time I had to be a good girl!

- Astaroth: Why, my chid?

"...........'"

Suddenly, Katarina's body was smaller... she now was in form of herself when she was a child. She was naked while crying on the floor

- Katarina (child): Because I don't have a daddy. Because I have to be a good girl and not bother mommy. But, I don't wanna be like my mom. When daddy is absent, mom is always crying. I can't cry! I can't depend on anyone else! So must I be a good child! That way, daddy may not hate me!

Astaroth's eyes began to shine as the red aura around her began to disappear.

- Katarina (child): But I hate my daddy. So I hate my daddy.. I disliked him! I'm tired of keeping myself pure, pretending to be pure. I'm tired. I want to disgrace myself. I want to destroy everything. I wished to see the true me dirty. I wanted to beat other children... because their pain would help me unleash my inner wrath and hatred. Daddy and mommy abused me... My daddy hit my mommy, and my mommy beat me... so I had to beat others... that was wrong? I am not wrong, right?!

"..................."

- Astaroth: So you began your own journey to become the most wicked one of Tenguu City? Beating, abusing, torturing and even killing other children and Mafusa Gangsters to break your own chains of being a good girl? So you began a outlaw to disgrace yourself?

Suddenly, Katarina's arch-enemy, the Fallen's Essence, appeared before Katarina while Astaroth was standing beside him. Judging from his form, it seems he is just a illusion--No, it's a memory of Katarina's past. A memory she had with the Fallen.


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- The Fallen (memories): [No, it's not. Be honest, Katarina Couteau. It's the 10 seconds between starting and finishing when you're not thinking in anything. No family, no responsibilities... Just you. Being free. I've to tell you: this whole nonsense of saving the world that Kotori Itsuka put on you and all things you have been doing to save the world recently... It's not you. You're a killer. You're a woman who lives fighting and see the suffering from your opponents. You live for fighting to find a reason to live on the middle of the battle. Be who you are. Be free. Do what you want to do. Why live like a dog swinging your tail behind Kotori Itsuka when you can get out from your cage and live your whole life on your own path without anyone saying you what to do? Join me, Katarina. Together, we can create a world where we can be free. Out of our duty of serving our leaders. We can create a world according to our image. Our desires. Without rules, laws or strings to control us. You're a fighter with thirst for blood and I'm a conqueror of worlds who unleash the most dark creatures living inside of humans. Think about it: we mate and our desires are similar; we want a world where we can do whatever we want... See? You're just forcing yourself to fight me. You know I can turn you to what you were before you met La Folia Rihavein... Or better, Imperia Deamonne. At that time, you were a woman who went to all places you wanted. But then La Folia entered in your life and your heart was cleaned by stupid things like "love" and "kindness".]


The Fallen disappeared with an evil grin. What he said was the first time Katarina's true nature was exposed.

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- Astaroth: He always knew about you. After all, you two are from the same species... Abyssals? I think this is the name... But I think you already knew about your ExKrieg-Abyssal lineage. And you don't even know from where you came from or even what exactly you are. And more importantly... when he called you to his side, you almost hesitated when you thought you could have a world where you could be yourself. Now tell me, Katarina... the Fallen and I are the only people in this world who knows who you truly are... but what would happen if the people who trust and love you saw that? Have you ever imagined that?

Suddenly, another figure appeared before Katarina and Astaroth. It was a tall, slender handsome man with brown hair and blue eyes wearing black clothes... that man was Ichabod Crane, the former soldier of United States of America who died almost 300 years ago. Katarina met this man back in Sleepy Hollow during her fight with Michael Langdon. 

Despite having a short interaction, it was clear Katarina and Ichabod had a friendly relationship. He was unlike any other men Katarina saw before, he was truly serious, complex and intelligent... If such man saw what she truly was... what would happen?

- Katarina (child): Ichabod?

"........................."

Ichabod closed his eyes and held himself to not punch Katarina for being a woman.

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- Ichabod: To... To think the scarlet warrior I found back then was such wicked person. You're nothing more than hyprocrite trying to find yourself in other people. You slaughter your own enemies expecting to be praised and be adored by all people around you so you can be comforted in the image of yourself. A false image of yourself that you created, an image you wanted to be. But you were just using your image to enjoy the suffering of others while being the center of all atentions. You're no better than your enemies... you're the very meaning of TRASH! Stay away from me... you're repulsive and disgusting!

".............!!!!!!!!!!!"

- Katarina (child): NO! DON'T SHOW THIS TO ICHABOD!

- Astaroth: Why you're shamed? You can show to someone who trusted in you. You can show your egocentric and hypocrite side. Moreover, you wish to show this.

- Katarina (child): NO! Stop!

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- Astaroth: You must be glad to show this to Ichabod. You want to show to everyone you're a disgusting two-faced woman who manipulate other people to receive their attention and be liked by everyone.

Suddenly, Ichabod disappeared, leaving nothing but ashes.

- Katarina (child): NO! NO! NO WAY! THIS IS JUST AN ILLUSION! JUST A HALLUCIONATION! I FELT THAT BEFORE! I KNOW WHAT IS REALITY AND ILLUSION!

Astaroth closed her eyes and smiled.

- Astaroth: Fufufu... do you think I use the same pathetic psychological abilities of all from Earth? It's true that the Fallen's Essence and Ichabod were hallucinations. However, like Limbo, I can create my own future. Since I'm inside of your mind, I can't alter the setting of your mind but I have my own powers inside of your mind. By reading your memories, I can analyze the personality, appearance and features of all people who met you before. I can create a prototype of the future of all people who met you. In other words, if they saw your true nature in real-life, they would react like this... just like Ichabod. An ability that allows me to create the future of an individual.

Katarina, who continued looking at the ground in sheer shame of having her secrets exposed, put both of her hands on her head and pressed her fingers against her skull.

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- Astaroth: I wonder, it's Maria Arzonia that you wanna show this. Maria is a holy woman even I'm interested. With such composed woman near you, how she would react if there was someone like you nearby? Unlike her previous comrades, you're totally lost in the abyss of your own mind.

And like that, another smoke of blackness appeared and form the image of Maria Arzonia... or better the Future Maria Arzonia.

- Maria: ...................

- Katarina (child): NO! NO!

Maria stared at Katarina with a disappointed expression.

- Maria: And I thought... you were different from him. I thought you were someone who could your own emotions and fight your own ghosts. But I was wrong, you're worse than Carl. At least he did not try to gain fame and attention from his own actions while pretending to be a hero. His actions were genuine, extremes but genuine. They were not false like yours, they were born out of true care, emotions that could make the lives of other people better while you were only thinking in yourself!

Katarina rose her head, with her eyes filled with tears.

- Katarina (child): NO! LISTEN TO ME! I W--!

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Before she could finish, Maria slapped her face, the slap was so strong that she fell on the floor again, with her mouth full of blood.

- Maria: You're selfish...You tried to find a peace on our backs while making yourself the center of all while behind of eyes you delighted in the suffering of your enemies as you used your role as a heroine you gave to yourself. There is nothing more nasty than that. Never in my life I saw someone so disgraceful and dirty like you. A sadistic egocentric woman who sees herself as a heroine.

Maria tried to force a smile but soon she fell in tears... tears of disappointment. Maria was suffering, more than Katarina...

- Maria: A-And I truly love you... as part of my family...

Maria turned around and walked away, disappearing in the darkness of Katarina's subconsciouness.

- Katarina (child): NO! NO! STOP THAT ALREADY!

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- Astaroth: Stop? You brought this upon yourself. You tried to use the friendship and genuine love of all your friends to become a heroine and later use them to make yourself the center of attention, fame and praise of everyone. You tried to find a peace in Ratatoskr as a false heroine while enjoying the misery and pain from all victims of the WWIII. Even I'm disgusted, Couteau... And so is your beloved Rentaro Satomi.

"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

After hearing Rentaro's name, Katarina immediately widened her eyes in sheer terror. Now, Katarina was back to her young adult form.

- Katarina: WHAT DI--?!

Katarina felt a presence behind her, and saw her crush, the man she is supposed in love, staring at her with anger and hatred. That was the first time she saw Rentaro angry like that.

- Katarina: Rentaro?

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With eyes fueled with wrath, Rentaro spit on her face. Why? He was not angry because of what she did to her friends and people who loved her. Astaroth was going to torment her... break her...

- Rentaro: Worthless whore... You're the worst! If I knew whom you truly were, I would have avoided you for years! I should have let yourself be killed by those gangsters!

Astaroth touched Katarina's shoulder while the latter's eyes were empty like if she was dead.

- Astaroth: Do you know why this boy is angry? He was not part of your violent world. He was just a mere student at Raizen High School. So... what happened for you to leave him so pissed off? Do you want me to show him?!

Katarina immediately let out a loud scream as if she there was something worse to be shown there... something darker than her own hypocrisy. It was a memory of her, a memory of her past related to Rentaro.

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- Katarina: NO!! DON'T SHOW HIM!!! EVERYTHING BUT NOT THAT!!

With a snap of fingers, Astaroth created a huge screen above her head, showing an immortal video of Katarina masturbating in her room while saying Rentaro's name. That memory was from a past that happened 3 years ago but more of them continued to appear one after another.

- Katarina (screen): [R-Rentaro... you p-pig... stronger...]

"........................."

- Katarina: N-No... Not that...

With eyes full of despair, Katarina fell to the ground and looked behind to see that Rentaro was watching the video with tears falling from his eyes.

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- Astaroth: You know why he is crying? It's not because you were masturbing thinking of him. By the contrary, I think any man would  like to know that his woman is thinking of him in that way. Well, that would be great if their love would be a sexual one. The reason why he is crying is because even after 1 decade of pure love, you only saw him as a sexual object. The reason why you never accepted his feelings is because you were too busy thinking lewd and impure thoughts with him. Actually, you never considered him to be a person, only a sexual tool where one day you could use him as your sex-driving machine.

Astaroth continued to be even more disappointed with Katarina... the point is that Katarina is just being more and more exposed. That was different from Aki Honda's memory maker, she was noy changing her memories, she was showing her most disgraceful memories to all people close to her. It was only a matter of time until all of the Rogues, Ratatoskr, Witch Cult, Arzonia Family and even Raizen High School to came out of the darkness and watch the video...

Yes, more than 400 people were there, watching Katarina's masturbate to Rentaro... that was the most disgraceful memory a human can have in this plane of existence.

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- Katarina: DON'T LOOK!!

Katarina tried to run away from the crowd that surrounded the area around the screen but a tentacle came out of Astaroth's back, holding her feet and making her fall to the ground in shame. Soon, more tentacles appeared and forced Katarina to watch the video by forcing her to open her eyes.

- Katarina (screen): [I'm coming! A-Almost!]

Seeing that suffering, Astaroth abandoned her lady personality and finally showed her true-self... A pure malicious, sadistic, cold-hearted and cruel Demon Queen who was delighting in Katarina's humiliation and suffering.

Seeing that face, Astaroth laughed like a monster.

- Astaroth: HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!! Mortals forget their foolishness and repeat their mistakes! If mortals do not redeem themselves willingly, they will not change! This is punishment, Couteau! There are more ways to destroy a mortal instead of death! And the best way to do it is breaking them!

"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

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While Astaroth was holding Katarina, an angered Rentaro walked towards her and grabbed her neck before starting to punch her in the face. For several seconds, Rentaro punched Katarina's face, breaking her nose and teeth.

- Rentaro: This! Is! What! Whores! Like! You! Deserve!

From behind Rentaro, the crowd that was fully composed of people who knew Katarina, stared at her with disgust while some others avoided looking at her for being too shocked with this revelation... on the other side, people like her enemies; Eckidina KnightWalker, Aki Honda, Michael Langdon, Terra of the Left and even Akrak Couteau were laughing at her.

- Akrak: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! WHAT A PATHETIC SIGHT, RED HAIRED DEMON!!

- Michael: HAHAHAHAHAHA!! And I thought you to be a threat! I was wrong! You're nothing more than a slut! I guess I understimated you! In the end, it was just my fault I got wounded by you in Sleepy Hollow!

Michael and Eckidina stepped forward and left the crowd that was formed from all her enemies and most personal evil-doers.

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- Eckidina: KYAHAHAHAHA!!! NOT EVEN I'M SUCH WHORE, YOU KNOW! SERVES YOU RIGHT! YOU DIRTY BITCH!

Suddenly, Rentaro stopped punching her and everyone behind him disappeared in ashes, leaving nothing behind but  Astaroth herself who made the screen disappear.

- Astaroth: Ahh... look at yourself, Red Haired Demon. We are away from ending like this. Look, there is someone who wants to talk to you.

Astaroth grabbed Katarina by the neck, and showed Sephiria Arks KnightWalker seated on a chair while gazing at her with boredom. Katarina, who had her nose and several teeth broken by Rentaro, was now fully healed and all blood on her face disappeared.

- Sephiria: I think you got it wrong, I don't see no one here worth of my presence.

With the same prideful personality of her, Sephiria closed her eyes and stood up before turning around and walking away, disappearing in the darkness.

- Astaroth: Opss! I was wrong! There is no one here who wants to look at your face! But I guess you parents would love to see you. Do you want to remember those days?

Astaroth giggled maliciously and threw Katarina on the floor like if she was a trash bag.

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- Astaroth: But man... I have to tell, I never thought you would be so easy to break. Well, with all those secrets anyone couldn't hold for too long. But even myself I was getting tired of keeping that façade of a sophisticated woman acting like a holy-than-thou Goddess! I'm almost like you in a sense!

Suddenly, Katarina's body changed once again, returning her to her child form... But now, Katarina was almost broken. No one in her entire life made her feel such brutal and cruel psychological experience. If she was hurt physically too, then she would have been pushed to insanity by now.

- Katarina: K..K...K..

- Astaroth: K...K...K... HAHAHAHA! That sounds so pathetic, Couteau! KKK what? Kux Klun Klan? But yeah, I'm not done with you. Shall I take you to old days during your childhood? Maybe you can find something back then you could have avoided before becoming this trash of woman you're now.

Astaroth then rose her demonic hand that had the sound of cracking wood and grabbed Katarina's head, giving her visions of her past when she was a child. 

This memory takes place 14 years ago, almost 4 years after Haruko and Iruka Couteau's death in a car accident... that was the beginning of everything... the day Katarina was adopted by the Langley family.



- Astaroth: Be a good girl, Couteau!


Katarina's Flashback - Adoptive Family

14 years ago

Japan

Tenguu City

House of the Langleys

09:34 PM


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Entering in Katarina's mind, Astaroth forced her to review her most darkest memories. While she was doing that, Katarina appeared in her normal young adult form beside Astaroth.

- Katarina: No... Not this house...

Now, they were standing on the middle of a street at the town of Tenguu City but no one around them could feel, hear or see their presence, after all, it was a memory.

Katarina began to shake in fear as she went pale all ouf sudden. Yes, that house was part of Katarina's past.​​​​​​

- Astaroth: This is your memories from 14 years ago. At that time your parents, Iruka and Haruko had already died in a car accident. Following their death, you became an orphan for almost 4 years until a couple close to Couteau family decided to adopt you as their child. So... what do you want, Katarina?

Katarina wanted to hide her face again but her move was not moving.

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​- Katarina: I wanted to live alone... I don't needed daddy or mommy. I could take care of myself. My only family died at that accident... but I had no option but to decide the adults choose my path.

That was a part of Katarina's memory. When her parents died, she was sent to an Orphanage for months until a family close to Couteau family appeared and adopted her as she was the daughter of both Iruka and Haruko. They were the Langley family, a German family involved with the Global Pact Defense.

- Astaroth:. You don't want to cry anymore?

Suddenly, a black car appeared and stopped in front of the house. 

- Katarina: I vowed to myself to never cry anymore because this is what good girls do. They don't bother their parents with their whinning.

From the black car, two people left, a man and a woman. After that, another person left the car from the back seat. It was a red-haired girl with an enraged expression. Yes, that was...


- Astaroth: That was you, Couteau.

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Yes, that girl who left the car was a young Katarina. And that car belonged to the orphanage where she was living at. 

The man who was driving the car knocked on the door of that house while Katarina followed the woman who was dressing a nun's outfit. After that, a person opened the door, it was a middle-aged woman with blonde hair.

- Man (memory): Excuse me, Ms. Hana Langley. We brought yout child as promised.

The woman who looked gentle and kind-hearted saw Katarina and got in her knees before her. She began to pet the head of the red-haired girl with a kind smile.

However, just as they were at that moment, both Katarinas could feel a sense of relaxation coming from that man and woman who were delivering her to the Langleys.

- Man (memory): ...............

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- Woman (memory): ................

Katarina spotted a grin coming from their mouths. It was not a gentle one, but a malicious one.​​​

- Woman (memory): Miss Hana, I must inform you that the daughter of Couteau family is... a troublemaker.

Hana stopped petting Katarina and gazed at the nun.

- Hana (memory): Troublemaker?

- Man (memory): Yes. She is always making confusions with other children... last time a boy stole her toy and she answered this action by throwing a rock at his head. Not even the teachers liked her too due to her rebellious personality. But I don't blame her... I guess the lack of education is the answer... but her parents are already dead so she never got the chance to be educated unlike other children who had their parents at some points in their lives.

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Seeing that, Astaroth blinked and changed her sight to Katarina beside her, who was watching that scene with extreme fear.

- Woman (memory): It's just as you heard... Because of her aggressive behavior we couldn't keep her for too long in the orphanage out of fear of her causing a disaster. So we are happy to have someone like you and your husband taking care of her. I believe what she needs is a true family.

Suddenly, the world around them disappeared, leaving only infinite blackness again.

- Astaroth: And so you vowed to never see them as your family because you promised to yourself years ago to never have another family. I lived part of your childhood in an orphanage where you suffered bullying thanks to your scarlet eyes and hair. Oh yeah, they called you a Red Devil... And it turns out some Mafusa Gangsters whom were children at the time met you, and from there they grew up and nicknamed you as Red Haired Demon in the future when Mafusa Gang was formed.

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​​​​​​Katarina clenched her fists while Astaroth paid attention to her words.

- Katarina: I vowed to never see the Langleys as my family, no matter if they were close friends to my late parents. But I had to be a good girl, because at least they gave me a home and took me out of that orphanage which I consider to be the most dreadful place in this Earth. But, my days as their daughter were counted because the couple was destabilized. They fought very often, my father was a drinker who cheated on her almost all weeks and she was a depressive person who could barely live without him. So I had to be a good girl to avoid being the center of attention. I had to be a good girl to not be a problem for her. But in the end, my own mother unleashed all her anger on me, beating me all days and night when my father was out or stopped abusing her.

The world around then once again began to change, now they were inside of the Langley's house. It's been many weeks later after Katarina was adopted.

- Astaroth: And then, Hana Langley put all the blame on your existence as she noticed when you arrived at their house, tragedies and problems began to appear one after another in their lives. ​​​​​

Days later...

House of the Langleys

Living Room


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Days later, the couple that adopted Katarina was discussing in the living room about her. At those days, the couple was passing though difficulty days as Hana's husband was constantly being abuisng and cheating on his wife.

- Hana (memory): It's difficult for me to deal with that child. Hana's husband was seated on the sofa gazing at her with a cold expression.

- Langley Husband (memory): You're worried? It's not like you, a doctor from STAR LABS. Could it be Mina Harker is going easy on you? A kid should be easy for you.

Yes, at that time, Hana Langley was one of STAR LABS' workers at their facility in the Japanese Branch. Like aforementioned, she was affiliated to Global Pact Defense. And as such, Mina Harker was her boss.

- Hana (memory): A Doctor is a human, as I said before. And no, Mina Harker is not going easy on us. Recently she began to some kind of new experiment called Noro... we don't know the nature of this thing but...

The husband began to drink a beer while a young Katarina was listening to their conversation from behind the door.

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- Langley Husband (memory): But still, how can a professional like you... Well, she lost her parents, after all.

Hana clenched her fists and felt hatred when she thought about Katarina.

- Hana (memory): She is quite adult in some ways and rejects everything about me with tension. Sometimes she even scares me. Don't you think so? Her presence here is a curse.

The thing is, Hana was trying to push everything on Katarina, the abuse, cheating, aggression and distrust between the couple as it all started when she arrived in their house. She was doing that to believe in something that is destroying their marriage.

- Langley Husband (memory): Well, you are her new mother, after all.

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Hana (memory): I became your wife before that.

Hana sharpened her eyes while the husband yawned like if he was bored.

- Langley Husband (memory): Didn't you become them at the same time?

".........................."

With a false smile, the husband replied her.

- Hana (memory): Yes, from a social standpoint. However, I can stop being her mother at anytime, though you cannot stop being her father.

After listening to that, Katarina who was spying them behind the door slowly walked away, but for some reason she was not angry. She was like usual.

- Langley Husband (memory): That might be true.

The present Katarina closed her eyes as she saw the young Katarina walking away from the living room. She was sad for herself for taking the blame of everything happening... even though she did her best to be a good girl.

- Astaroth: They were jerks. Both of them. The truth is that your mother was simply putting the guilty of your father's abuses on you so she could continue to love him. She created an image of yourself where you were the villain.

Astaroth snapped her fingers, causing the time to advance in the speed of light. They continued standing on the living room and suddenly the time stopped. At the same place...


Months later...

Living Room


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At the same place where the two were discussing months ago, the husband of Hana Langley was on the top of her while cutting her face with a butcher knife...

- Langley Husband (memory): YOU FUCKING SLUT! KNOW YOUR PLACE! I DO WHATEVER I WANT SO YOU BETTER SHUT THE FUCK UP!!!

Seeing that brutal scene, Katarina clenched her fists and bit her lips. Astaroth simply lifted the sides of her lips.

- Astaroth: You know what is happening here, Couteau?

"............................."

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Katarina nodded as the brutish husband continued to cut her face. The screams of Hana Langley didn't stop, what caused the husband to get more aggressive.

Not far away from there, Katarina spotted a young Katarina eating behind the sofa, she was so calm... it was like if nothing was happening around her.

- Katarina: One night he returned home crazier than usual... when Hana said to him to stop drinking too much, he punched her on the face. She then ran to get the kitchen knife to defend herself. He then grabbed another knife and subjugated her, laughing while he continued to mutilate her face.

Astaroth saw the young Katarina as well.

- Astaroth: Why you were so calm back then?

- Katarina: It's because I was tired. I tries to be a good girl but they ditched me. My mother hated me... They hated me. I was nothing to them besides a burden and a bag of meat. That's why I didn't do nothing. I left her there to get what she deserved. Just then, days later, when my mother was sent to a Hospital, the medics said she was mentally disturbed by something. According to their exams, she was exposed to some kind of experiment of Global Pact Defense but the American government denied any involvement with Hana's case.

Astaroth snapped her fingers again, going 4 days ahead in time.


4 days later...

Hospital of Tenguu City


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After 4 days had passed in time, Astaroth snapped her fingers again, showing Katarina a different scenario. Before anything could appear, the first thing they saw a doll with red hair hanging in a rope. That doll was...

- Katarina: ...............

Katarina fell in tears after she saw that doll, smilling at her with like a possessed object.

- Astaroth: And so 4 days had passed since then.

Yes... 4 days after the Langley Husband violently attacked Hana, he was sent to prison by the police. During the attack, 5 police officers arrived and invaded the house before he could kill Hana and Katarina in cold-blood. However, 2 days later he killed himself in the cell was being kept.

And as for Katarina and Hana... they were sent to the hospital of Tenguu City to stay for the time being. During those days, Katarina subjected to several psychological exams to avaluate her mental health. But, much to the medics' shock, she was alright. There was nothing wrong with her, and this is what shocked everyone of the hospital and media. She witnessed her mother being abused and violently tortured by her father while she watched, but she didn't feel anything. Most people didn't know if that was a good or bad thing.

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And about Hana, things were not well. Hana had to go through a plastic surgery to rebuilt her destroyed face. Her nose was gone, her ears were ripped off, her tongue was cut off, cheeks were brutally torn off... her face was completely gone but thanks to the technology of the medicine at the era they could rebuild her face. But there was one thing they could not recover...

Her sanity. Her mental health was completely shattered by her social life and work. The abuses she suffered and the strange human experiment Global Pact Defense did to her completely destroyed what was left of her sanity. When her husband tried to kill her, it was the last drop of water.

- Astaroth: Your mother went insane afterwards. And so... she replaced you with a doll to find a comfort in something in this world that abandoned her.

Katarina felt sad for the young Katarina as she finally came to realize Hana decided to replace her with a doll... but that was something to be expected as Katarina never wanted nothing from her. Even so, she did her best to be a good girl for Hana, which was something she expected to be enjoyed by Hana. But in the end, it didn't work out.

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​​​​​​The doll she was talking about was the same doll hanging in front of them. Suddenly, they were teleported to a hospital, right in front of Hana's room. In front of the window, they spotted a young Katarina looking at Hana while she was speaking with her "daughter" doll inside.

- Hana (memory): Your daddy now hates mommy. Your daddy left me. No... I always knew it. He never loved me from the very beginning. He never needed me, I guess.  He was just using our money, honey.

The young Katarina felt nothing as she gazed at her insane mother speaking to a doll. Of course, that doll was given to the medics as she refused to see the real Katarina but in the end she got more attached to that doll instead of a living being. That worried the medics but they thought she was going to recover her senses soon, but never did it. She was completely plunged into insanity.

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- Hana (memory): So, let's die together. Daddy don't need us.

As Hana gazed at the doll, she imagined that this doll was actually Katarina but a more version of her she could enjoy be around. A version of Katarina she could be her mother. A version in which was her true daughter.

- Doll Katarina (Hana's mind): Am I in the way?! Am I useless?!

Feeling happy that the doll was had the same reactions of a normal human being, she smiled and began to strangle the doll like if it was a real person.

- Hana (memory): Let's die together! Be a good girl and obey what you mother say!

"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

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- Doll Katarina (Hana's mind): NO! I'm not your doll! I can think by myself, I can live by myself! 

- Hana (memory): This is the reality! This world don't need us! Daddy don't need us! This world abandoned us! Mina Harker used and abandoned us! There is nothing left in this world for us! So our existence is insignificant!

Seeing that, the young Katarina could only watch in horror, reacting to her mother for the first time in weeks.

"...............!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Suddenly, everything was stained in darkness. Nothing but the silence could be heard around.

"......................................................."

- Katarina: I don't want to see what comes next.

Katarina closed her eyes and changed the direction of her eyes to the ground.

- Astaroth: But what did you feel back then?

"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Without warning, a red light appeared on the middle of the darkness, revealing a corpse hanging in a rope.


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​​​


That person hanging on the ceiling was none other than Hana Langley... she committed suicide just like she promised to her doll daughter. She fell into the infinite depths of forgetfulness. No one would ever remember someone so pitful and pathetic.

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- Astaroth: At that time, Hana was hung from the ceiling...

Katarina continued her words but without looking at the corpse.

- Katarina: She looked very happy. But I hated how she looked. She was so happy to die with her true daughter that not even death shattered her happiness.

- Astaroth: What you wished for back then?

Katarina finally had the courage to look at the body and yelled at Hana's corpse.

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- Katarina: I don't wanna die! I don't wanna let myself disappear! So that's why I wanted to rebel and be someone dirty and wicked! People don't remember of good deeds! I wanted to leave my mark in this world as a heroine or a villainess! Anything that could make my mark and be forever remembered by all people so I could continue to live in the minds of others! I wanted it so badly I was not above to use my own friends to do it! So I did it! I used my own weakness and sorrow into my weapons! If I don't want to die and forgotten then I'll use everything to my favor... comrades, family and friends!

Astaroth closed her eyes and put her hands in her chin.

- Astaroth: So you wanted to live forever even after your death to prevent from falling into the oblivion like your mother and father. And to do this, you pretended to be a heroine so you could find self-satisfaction in other people. You wanted people to depend on you so you could be useful to them to not repeat the same mistakes you did with Hana who deemed you as someone useless to this world... just like her. In order to be remembered, you were not above pretending yourself to be a heroine by being glorified by others and be respected by your allies.

Astaroth once again snapped her fingers with her demonic arm.


Case Ended

Limbo

Seconds later...


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After Astaroth snapped her fingers, the two left Katarina's subconsciouness and returned to Limbo, to an empty blackness that was similar to Katarina's mind. Infinite blackness.

Astaroth stared at Katarina while she fell in her knees. She was just tired of keeping this rhythm. At that point, Katarina finally noticed Astaroth was not that kind and soft woman she showed to be at first, she was just pretending to be innocent... But what impressed her the most was the fact this woman can hide her emotions and intentions very well, it was almost like if she was a machine who could choose her emotions.

- Katarina: I fear that one day I'll disappear. Yet, I can disappear because I think I'm unworthy of existence... yes, deep inside I always knew Hana was right. When I used my own friends for my own purposes I knew that would make me even more worthless. My existence is useless... So I had to pretend to be a heroine so I could be useful and leave my mark in this world! 

- Astaroth: Why of that?

Astaroth, despite her cruelty back then, was not acting like that sadistic monster of before. But Katarina was not going to be deceived again, she knew she was trying to break her but had nos strength or determination to fight back because she was simple too superior and deep inside she knew this woman was right about all things. She was a trash. Unworthy of existence. Yet, she didn't want to die and be forgotten.

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- Katarina: Because I am useless. After all, I am an useless child. I was replaced by a doll, showing how unworthy I am of living. Nobody cares about me if I show who I truly am. Do you think they would love an anti-social sadist who cares about nothing but cause pain for fun, a woman who thinks in nothing but lust?! NO! Look at me! I have to be the heroine the believe me to be!

Suddenly, Astaroth disappeared and another person appeared behind her. He just appeared there out of nowhere, like if he was invisible until now. That figure was Lucas Kellan.

- Lucas: You run away considering nobody cares about you. You fear to fail. You fear to be hated by everyone. You fear acknowledging the weakness within you.

Katarina turned to Lucas and yelled at him.

- Katarina: You're not one to talk! You fear to be abandoned too! Did you forget how you become a soldier of VSA to hid your own weakness?!

- Lucas: Exactly, we are the same.

Suddenly, more people began to appear around Katarina but disappeared every time they finished speaking.

- Sister Mary Eunice: Being human means that your mind lacks something.

- Ichabod Crane: We fear that deficiency.

- Tomas Sev: We fear it. There is always something basic missing in our lives. That's why true happiness doesn't exist. Because the more get, we will lose something in exchange.

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- Shigure Yukimi: That's why many humans are trying to be one, believing humans are born from the image of God so we can be one to meld with and fill each other. 

- Tamae Okamine: We are always trying to find something or someone who can fill ourselves.

Sonia Nevermind: Mankind cannot live without being surrounded by others.

- Matt Butcher: Mankind cannot live alone. When I say alone, means that people can't live alone in their own minds.

- Kotori Itsuka: Although you, yourself, are always unique. And alone.

- Azul Jissele: That's why living is hard. Being alone inside of your mind... trying to become something else you don't want just so you can accepted into society.

- Atala Arck: That's why nihilism exists... because life in truth is sad and empty.

- Kyouhei Kannazuki: That's why you want affection, the close physical and emotional presence of others. That's why deep inside people can't live away from others.

- Rindel: That's why society exists.

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- Asuha Chigusa: That's why deep inside we wish to be one.

- Jellal Fernandes: A human is made of weak and fragile materials. The mind and body are also made of brittle components as well.

- Sephiria Arks KnightWalker: That's why the Purge is happening. Astaroth is trying to punish mankind but at the same time trying to save it by making the world in unique form. All humans can only think in one thing: survive.

"....................."

After that, everyone disappeared, revealing Astaroth again in the darkness.

- Astaroth: Why do you live?

Astaroth's eyes began to glow in red but her voice was softer than before.

- Katarina: Maybe I live to find out why I exist. 

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- Astaroth: For whom do you live? There is no need to hide the truth, Couteau.

- Katarina: Obviously, for me. To find my own happiness in the infinite crowd of people living in this world. To find myself between billions.

Katarina stood up but looked at the other side of the darkness.

- Astaroth: You enjoy your life?

- Katarina: I don't know... sometimes I lose myself. I don't know if I'm the false persona I imagined myself to be or my own true pathetic and pitful persona.

- Astaroth: Are you happy for being alive?

- Katarina: I don't want to do anything to be happy.

Katarina disappeared again, revealing another familiar person to Katarina.

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- Eckidina KnightWalker: To escape from my own pitful and disgraceful persona, I choose the path of war, madness and despair... everything that could take me out of that boring hole of peace. You tried to do the same by pretending to be a heroine. However, you failed to do so... because that was not the true place you wanted to be... you just wanted to be admired, respected and remembered by everyone by the actions you choose to be part of your true-self. The image you created of yourself to be a heroine is the only thing you could think to be morally and ethically right... but deep inside you always knew being a heroine and saving the world wasn't the true place you wanted to be part of.

Despite being Eckidina herself, Katarina was just too impacted to recognize friends and enemies. Besides, it's not like Eckidina is trying to look down on her as she is part of her subconsciouness.

- Katarina: Yes... that's right... I deceived myself into becoming someone I didn't want to.

Katarina sat on the floor with her knees on her face.

- Mana Takamiya: You hate being sad?

Mana disappeared in the darkness as the random sounds could be heard... first it was the sound of one of the metros of Tenguu City.

- Katarina: I don't like that.

- Kyouko Kirigiri: Do you hate enduring pain?

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The sound of an ambulance echoed in the place... there was no doubt Katarina's small fragments of her memories were being messed up. The sounds she heard in her life are just coming out of nowhere.

- Katarina: I don't like that.

- Rentaro Satomi: Is that why you run away?

The sound of beach echoed in the darkness.

- Katarina: Yes! I ran back then! Do you blame me?! Why not run from something that hurts?! Now I created this image of myself! I'm not allowed to run away this time! I mustn't run away!

- Isis Maxwell: Why you mustn't run away?

The sound of a bus echoed in the darkness.

- Katarina: If ran away, it would be more painful. I would lose everything I dreamed to be. Because escaping from the reality can be painful too!

- Maeve: Even though you're running from something more painful?

- Katarina: I can't bear it!

The sound of a train's horn echoed in the darkness.

- Asuna: As long you know the pain then it can be endured!

- Maria Arzonia: You may run away if it's painful.

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- Imperia Deamonne: If you truly hate it, you can run away.

The sound of an urban town echoed in the darkness.

- Katarina: No! I won't! I'm tired of runnin awya and trying to become someone I don't want to be!

- Imperia: It's because you already know that running away results in more pain.

- Millian Gravik: That's because running away can be worse.

- Astaroth: That's why you do not wish to escape from reality.

- Katarina: It's because if I run away nobody would care about me! They will see who I truly am! I hypocrite and sadistic woman who take joy and pleasure in causing more pain and suffering in my enemies! Do you think they will continue to be my friends if I showed them this side?! Don't desert me! Don't leave me alone! Don't desert me, I'm begging you!

The sound another ambulance echoed in the darkness.

Cassie Cage: There she goes again, doing whatever others tell her to do. If you were your true-self, you wouldn't be in Ratatoskr to begin with. You never wanted to follow any rules beside following your own instinct.

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- Katarina: That's right! Otherwise, I would be deserted! Everyone would disappear while Imperia would abandon me to fight alongside the Rogue and Ratatoskr without me! I would continue to be that small and meaningless person back in Tenguu City! I would be no one! I would be just one between billions! A normal existence in a normal world! I won my title as the Red Haired Demon because I wanted to be known! But with the beginning of something greater like the Third World War, I came to realize I would be forgotten in the darkness of this world! Who would remember a stupid vigilante in a Japanese town when there were heroes out there saving whole countries and even the world itself?!

The sound a plane echoed in the darkness.

- Cole MacGrath: You fear being hurt.

- Toshiro Hitsugaya: You try to make yourself believe that, don't you?

- Shido Itsuka: You're not the only one who gets hurt, Katarina. Everybody feels the pain and harship. You aren't the only one.

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Otoya Takechi: It's easier for you to think that's true, isn't it?

- Katarina: Shut up! I don't care! Why should I? If I was my true-self no one would care or even remember about my existence!

- Jin Kisaragi: Once again, you abandoned all sense of self-worth.

The sound of a tractor echoed in the darkness.

- Tomas: There you go again, saying that you have no worth at all.

- Kyoji Kawagoe: Do you believe that by not expecting anything, you won't get hurt either?

- Kotori: Is that how you sustain your pathetic ego, by asking others to praise you?! The sound of birds singing echoed in the darkness.

- Katarina: Nobody accepts me the way I am.

- Tomas: You are trying to think so.

"............................"

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- Katarina: So, I have to be a heroine! The world's greatest defender! If I return to be my former self, I'll be left alone! Because no one wants a idiot anti-social woman who is good for nothing but kill! I would be nothing more than a savage living in an urban area! A primitive women with no education and civilization!

- Munechika Nakatsugawa: You've been trying to think yourself valueless since the very begining.

- Katarina: I have to! I have to do so! Otherwise, who I am in this vast world?! I'm going to be left behind by the world and time. Forgotten in the emptiness of the past... - Shigure: No, it's not so.

- Lucas: No, you just believe that you must.

The sound of a ship echoed in the darkness.

- Katarina: No, you're wrong. My life is pointless otherwise. I have nothing to be pride of. Being a warrior in Ratatoskr gives me a reason to exist, a purpose. I had no value before becoming a member of the Rogues... before La Folia was kidnapped by Kanon Rihavein... I was just the Red Haired Demon. Sure, people considered me famous but not in the way I wanted. I wanted to be praised and loved and not hated or be saw as a scary figure of violence! But I wanted to be loved through violence! Because I can't find nothing more interesting and fun than doing it!!

Katarina put her head between her legs and cried.

- Katarina: I have nothing. I have other values! No other value at all.

The voice of Astaroth echoed in the darkness.

- Astaroth: The value to live as true-self?

The sound of a telephone echoed in the darkness and suddenly, an old phone appeared in Katarina's hand.

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- Katarina: No don't I have that. I have nothing that makes me proud of being my true-self. 

Suddenly, many different male and female voices came out of the phone like if they were cursing Katarina from the bottom of their hearts.

- Kozue Minowa (telephone): *I hate you! I hate you! You're disgusting! Die!*

- Masaomi Mikimoto (telephone): *I hate you... you murderer!*

- Hinako Shiizaki (telephone): *I hate everything about you.*

- Rindou (telephone): *Sorry, but I hate you.*

- Kei Nozaki (telephone): *I hate you... to think I was seated next to you in the class makes me want commit suicide!*

- Tama Sakai (telephone): *Listen well, you slut: I hate you!*

- Abbie Mills (telephone): *I hate you... kill yourself!*

- Katya (telephone): *I hate everything about you. DIE!*

- Valnir Kruls (telephone): *I hope you die! No one loves you!*

- Sanada (telephone): * I hate you! Disappear!*

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After the voices stopped coming, the phone disappeared while Katarina smiled sarcastically at herself.

- Katarina: Haha. See? Everyones hates me. Every person in existence hates me. Who would love a lazy, egocentric and cold-hearted woman like me? No one would love my true persona. My own existence is hateful.

Imperia appeared behind her while the sound of a giant engine echoed in the darkness.

- Imperia: No, you are trying to think so.

- Katarina: NO! That must be it! Because I hate myself!

- Imperia: Because you hate yourself, no one respects you. You don't love yourself as you wish to be. Deep inside, you wanted to be like me who loved myself as La Folia and even as Imperia Deamonne.

Katarina smiled when she remembered how she got my friends after the battle of Aldegyr Kingdom.

- Katarina: But, I was praised when I fought Heis! I am praised when I fight and use my strange powers! For the first time people were happy to see my abilities while people back in Raizen High School people only got friendly around me to get closer to La Folia! People began to act nice to me! They liked me!

- Imperia: So you're happy for having people around you... but deep inside you're sad they're not there because of your true-self. 

The sound of cars' horns echoed in the darkness.

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- Astaroth: Which are your true feelings?

The world around Katarina began to change ramdonly in a fraction of seconds. First she was in her house, then in Raizen High School, then in the building where she fought Aki Honda, then in Sleepy Hollow, then in Fraxinus... and so go on. The most important places she was in her lifetime were returning back to her.

- Katarina: I don't know, or, both of them are my true feelings.

- Misogi Kumagawa: So that's why you continue to be a Rogue?

- Katarina: I have no choice! I have nothing but being a Rogue! This is the only place I can be recognized! Outside... I'm just air.

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- Kurumi Tokisaki: Otherwise you cannot keep your identity?

- Kotori: It's true that being a Rogues is part of your mind, your sense of being. Outside from them, you consider yourself to be a talentless person.

- Yuuji Kazami: If you depend on the Rogues too much, you might kill yourself internally. Because what you're doing is merely trying to find a place to live in your own dreams while your true-self is suffering. That's why you're happy but sad at the same time.

- Sanada: The Rogues will be your only value... and they are not eternal. You, the real you, will be erased from existence while the false Katarina you created to be will perish alongside yourself for having no nowhere to go.

- Katarina: It's alright! I had no other values and talents to begin with! If the only thing that keep me alive is gone than I'm no better than dead... if that came to happen one day then Imperia would be the only reason for me to live. She is the only person who accepted like I was back then... but she never saw my true fetishes, dark secrets and tendencies! I'm sure even her would be disgusted and abandon me! When that happens, then I can finally die.

- Sephiria: You just didn't disciple yourself.

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​​​​​- Katarina: But! Now I can fight to be myself! I have a purpose to live! Kotori gave me a reason to continue existing in this world! When I'm not a Rogue, I'm just a normal and mediocre person... but if I show them my true persona, then they will hate and avoid me at all costs. Because I'm a disgusting and repulsive. I'm rotten to the core. They will laugh at me again because of my red hair, but when I show them my fury they will fear me and treat me like some kind of monster!

"..............................."

Suddenly, the world around Katarina changed again, but this time, it wasn't a place she knew, it was different types of horizon. The first scenario was a raining day.

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- Katarina: Rain, gloomy mood, just like my mood. I don't like that.

The second scenario was the sunset.

- Katarina: The setting sun, the ending of life, my hope. I don't like that.

The third scenario was a mornind day.

- Katarina: Morning, the begining of today, the begining of a terrible day. I don't like that.

The fourth scenario was a beautiful afternoon with blue skies.

- Katarina: Blue sky. Something warm, something unfamiliar, something that fills me with horror. I don't want that. 

"............................"

Astaroth then appeared before Katarina, as the seasons of the years continued to change.

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Astaroth: What do you hope for? What do you need? What do you want.

- Katarina: I hope that people don't hate me... What I fear is rejection. What I want is acceptance and contact... I wanted to be like La Folia... she was so strong and overthrew her ghosts of the past! She was the perfect ideal for me... but I wanted to be better than her so it helped me to created an image of myself I could be proud of!

Astaroth touched Katarina's head with her demonic claw.

- Astaroth: Your mother, do you love her?

"......................"

- Katarina: No, I don't.

Katarina continued seated like a scared child as her mind continued to be abused by Astaroth.

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- Astaroth: Do you want to be with your daddy?

"......................."

- Katarina: No, I don't.

- Astaroth: Why not?

Instead of her voice, several letters that appeared around them. Those letters were the words of what Katarina was thinking.

BECAUSE I FEAR

- Katarina: I'm afraid of being hated by them again... And if I returned to their side, my identity might start to disappear. I could no longer recognize myself in this world.

- Astaroth: What do you wish for?

- Katarina: Ending the fear.

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- Astaroth: What do you need?

- Katarina: End the loneliness.

Katarina began to remember her childhood, living as an outcast of society. The eyes of hundreds judging her, the girls trash-talking behind her back... everything.


- Astaroth: You're very insecure, aren't you?

- Katarina: To become secure, I have to have... value! I want to be worth something! I need power! I want to be worth enough to attract the attention of others! In order to be appreciated! in order to not be deserted! I need my VALUE!

- Astaroth: That is what you must have to find for yourself. You must admit your own value.

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Astaroth disappeared again, once again introducing many people familiar to Katarina.

- Reine Murasame: Where is your value in the world? There is no one living being in this world whose only talent is killing. 

- Tamae: Then, without the Rogues and Ratatoskr, what you are?

"............................"

Katarina looked at the two female figures before disappearing in smoke and then she stood up and yelled at the infinite darkness above her.

- Katarina: I don't have any value! I'm not worth living! Then what am I? Where am I? What I am in this world?! What the hell am I without them?!  ".........!!!!!!!!!!!!"

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Suddenly, the world around Katarina was stained in white, removing the darkness from it. Soon afterwards, several photos and images of Katarina began to appear in all sides of that white empty world.

- Katarina: What? It's me.

Katarina noticed a beautiful painting of herself in a dress with angel wings.  The sound of piano echoed in the infinite emptiness.

- Katarina: This is the shape that I let others recognize me as myself. The symbol representing me.

Katarina continued to look around as more and more pictures appeared one after another without pause.

- Katarina: This, and this, and this! All of these are the representation of me! Nothing but things that make let recognize me as Katarina Couteau. What am I? This is me? The true me? The false me?

Suddenly, Azul Jissele appeared behind her but Katarina didn't look around.

- Azul: You are you. However, there is a little difference between how you interpret yourself and how others interpret you.

Katarina's eyes widened when she realized something.

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- Katarina: That's right... my clothes, my shoes, my room. Those are part of myself.

- Azul: These things are connected through your consciouness.

- Katarina: So, what I think is me, is me. I am nothing but myself. Yet, I don't understand. Where am I? What am I? What am I? Nobody understands me!

- Atala: You idiot! That's matter here! Nobody ever understands you. The only one who can take care of you, and the only one that understands you is nobody but yourself.

- Rentaro: So, you must take care of yourself.

- Katarina: But still I don't understand myself! I don't even know what makes me myself! How could I love myself?! 

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The sound of a telephone ringing echoed in the darkness.

- Lucas: You are unstable.

- Tomas: That is: the present you.

- Asuha: And people around the present you.

- Kotori: The environment that surrounds the present you... None of these last forever. Time continues to flow.

- Jellal: Your world is in a state of constant change. You're capable of change anytime. Your mind perceives these changes.

Suddenly, everyone disappeared, leaving nothing but an empty space. Out of nowhere, Katarina began to fall as if the ground around her had disappeared... She fell... and fell... but could see no ending on the bottom of even feeling the air. It was like... she was falling into an empty world deprived of all elements of reality, including oxygen and gravity.

- Katarina: This is...


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Pure... emptiness.


Katarina's Personal World

Seconds later...


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Katarina is floating inside a world of nothingness.

- Katarina: ..............

An empty white void.

A world with no obstacles and perfect freedom.

Katarina continued to float inside of that world for endless hours... actually, every single second was like a thousand years in the real-life. She felt like if she was floating inside of that world for thousand years while only a few seconds had passed since she appeared in this world.

- Katarina: What's it? The world with nothing... A world with nobody in it? For Katarina, it was almost like if she was inside of a paper... if drawing something in an empty paper would mean to create a new reality where that draw could exist then she must be inside of it.

"......................."

Suddenly, the voice of Astaroth could be heard inside of that world but she was nowhere to be found.

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- Astaroth: This is a world of freedom.

Just then, Astaroth appeared beside Katarina... but she was not floating, she was standing still while Katarina continued to fall in an infinite abyss of emptiness.

- Katarina: Freedom?

Katarina noticed she and Astaroth were colored in white and black. Even their own colors disappeared in this world.

- Astaroth: Yes, this is a world of perfect freedom, a world in which you have no restrictions.

Katarina looked around only to see true emptiness.

- Katarina: Is this freedom?

- Astaroth: Yes. This is the true meaning of freedom. A world in which you can be whatever you want and be part of it like if it was your true-self. If I have to take an example, that would be the existence before the Creators and God appeared to create life and all creation. It's so empty. But that's what definy true freedom. 

The random sounds of Katarina's mind had already stopped... only the sound of their breath could be heard in that world.

- Astaroth: As a result, this world has nothing in it. Couteau, this is your personal world. It's like how you mind were before you could even exist as a seed inside of father. Before the existence of a sentient being, there is always a world waiting to be part of them, and this world is your subconsciouness. 

Katarina widened her eyes.

- Katarina: Unless I do something?

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- Astaroth: Yes, unless you do or think in something to build this world. And all people build this world based in the experiences, memories and emotions they felt in their lives. But more importantly, this world is the definition of what you truly are.

- Katarina: But... I don't know what I should do or think.

- Astaroth: You are uncertain. You don't have an image of yourself to orient yourself because you feel shame of your true-self and at the same time you can't hold your heroine image for too long for being something you don't want to be. There's nothing solid here... This world is a world where you can be yourself with no obstacles.

Suddenly, the voice of Astaroth disappeared and then familiar voice replaced hers.

- Maria: This a world that you can do anything you wish to be true. You're own Goddess here. Your own creator and own designer.

- Kotori: But, you're afraid, aren't you? Don't you know what it is that you want to do?

Katarina asked in confusion.

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- Katarina: What I should do?

- Imperia: Let me give you a restriction.

"!!!!!!!!!!!"

Suddenly, a line appeared right below Katarina, making her fall against that line that extended to the infinity.

- Katya: Now that you have top and bottom. But now you lost a degree of your freedom. Now you must stand on the ground. But now you feel easier, don't you?

- Ichabod: You have less to trouble with your mind.

Katarina stood up and began to walk in that world with nothing but emptiness. Indeed, it was like if she was inside of a paper as that line was the only keeping her from continue to fall in an endless abyss.

- Tomas: And now, you can walk. This is happening because you will it to be.

Katarina stopped walking and looked at her hands.

- Katarina: Is this my... will?

Eckidina: This world with the floor is the only thing around yourself. But now, you can move around anywhere you wish within it.

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- Astaroth: If you wish, you can change the position of the world.

The world of Katarina changed its position by itself several times. Katarina felt as if the ground was moving around in different directions. First, she was upside down, then standing on the right side, then on the left, then on the mid air... 

- Matt: And the position of your world is not the same either. It changes with the passage of time You can also change yourself in many forms.

Katarina's body began to change in several forms... first it was a star, then a cross, then a telephone, then a car, then a laptop, then a gun, then a hammer.

- Astaroth: What forms your shape is your mind and its interaction with the world that surrounds you... Since this is your own world. This is the shape of your reality. 

Katarina then was transformed into an eye, a smoke, a pen, a TV... for minutes she changed her shape in different forms until she lied on the ground with an empty expression.

- Katarina: So this is my own world? A world with nothing, a space with nothing, a world with nothing within it. A world with nothing but me. With only myself, I have nothing to interact with. It's as if I'm here, but not here at all. It's as if I'm slowly fading out of existence. My existence is fading away. Why?

"........................"

- Astaroth: Because there's nobody but you. You're the only one here.

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- Katarina: Nobody but me?

- Kyouhei: Without others to interact with, you cannot truly recognize yourself in this vast and empty world.

- Katarina: My shape? My image.

- Isis: Yes. In the act of observing others, you may recognized yourself. Your image of yourself is restrained. by having to observe the barriers between yourself and others. You cannot see yourself unless there are others.

Katarina stood up and looked at the ground around her that formed several shapes of crosses.

- Katarina: When there are others, I can perceive myself as an individual. If I am alone, then I'll be the same as everything else. There will be no difference between myself and nothing!

- Imperia: By cognizing the difference between you and others, you form the image of yourself.

- Sonia: The very first other person is your sister, Eugen Katsuragi. Your sister is a different person from you.

"........................"

- Katarina: Yes! I am me and she is she! But are you really sure that others form my self?

- Rentaro: That's right, Katarina.

Suddenly, a loud female voice echoed from the top of the world. It was Astaroth's who was almost losing her patience.


- Astaroth: GIRL, HAS IT TAKEN YOU THIS LONG TO REALIZE THAT SIMPLE FACT?! KATARINA, YOU IDIOT!


Real World - Earth

Japan

Pacific Ocean

Iron Bottom Sound

Seconds later...


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"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Seconds after she heard Astaroth's loud voice, she closed her eyes fearing that she might have done something horrible to her... but then nothing happened. Nothing bad, actually.

- Katarina: This is...

Katarina felt a cool breeze around her. She felt a cold air freezing her nose, a wet sensation coming from her feet and a loud sound of something similar to a nuclear reactor. She then opened her eyes and saw that she was in another place. It wasn't that empty world devoid of all creation and life.

It was different.

- Katarina: The sea?

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She was standing on the middle of the ocean, a vast ocean stained in red. The water of the sea was red and was filled with something dark and evil coming from it. Katarina could be feel it... the sea was smelling like... herself...

- Katarina: I... am in another reality?

Suddenly, Katarina felt a presence behind and saw Astaroth standing behind her. Astaroth was looking kinda happy now.

- Astaroth: You're even more pathetic than a monkey with AIDS! Why did you take too long to realize your own identity?!

Astaroth's voice was not sounding with many echoes like if she was speaking inside of a cave. Her voice was now normal, like a human's.

- Katarina: You... what?

Astaroth scratched her head like a sleepy and bored person and put her hands in her hips. 

- Astaroth: "You" what? Are you not satisfied?

"......................."

Katarina sharpened her eyes with hostility. Deep inside, she still hadn't forgive that monster.

- Katarina: Why did you do this?! Why you toyed with me?! Just to act like if you tried to help?!

Katarina still mentally disturbed, her head was a mess, she was feeling many emotions at the same time, her head was in pain... What Astaroth did to her was too brutal... it wasn't like any hallucination she experienced before.

- Astaroth: Ahh... about that... Okay! I'm sorry! Okay! I was just trying to help you by messing with your head a little bit!

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Astaroth blushed and looked at the other way, obviously trying to avoid eye contact with Katarina. Now, she was acting like a tsundere.

- Katarina: Help me... Help me...

Katarina was quite of a dumb but even her could realize something important back then. Astaroth's intentions were not harmful at the end... She was trying to help Katarina to break free from her own chains.

She was trying to help Katarina realize her own identity.

She was trying to show Katarina her point of view.

She was trying to show Katarina the monster she had become without noticing it for being such delusional woman.

She was so messed up that Katarina was slowly becoming someone she never intended to be. 

- Katarina: Why?

She was trying... to save Katarina from herself.

Astaroth stared at Katarina with a confused expression. She had stated it before... Astaroth then crossed her arms and smiled like a caring person. Suddenly, Katarina's appearance began to change; her eyes were stained in empty red, she had several black tattoos in her arms that was similar to tribals, her clothes were changing, her hairstyle was the same but it was longer than before, she was wearing asymmetrical clothes and torn pantyhose, and had a tattoo on her upper chest. 

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- Astaroth: It's obvious... because it was your mother's last wish... to keep you safe. Her magical contract with me was to escape from poverty to give you a life full of peace and fruits. A life where you never needed to suffer to survive in this vast world. I just did my part in the contract by saving you.

Katarina began to remember about the humilliation and suffering she experienced back then... that was horrible, inhuman and cruel... but Astaroth's ends were different. She was cruel and cold, but only enough to make Katarina open her eyes.

- Katarina: Mommy's last... wish... was... to save... me?

Katarina was too shocked to speak correctly so she took many pauses between her words.

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- Astaroth: Yes. My part was that. I was looking over you your whole life. From the day that Haruko found you in a river, from the day you received your first gift, from the day you drank milk for the first time, from the day you gave your first step, from the day you cried for the first time, from the day you lost your parents, from the day you hit a person for the first time in your life, from the day you were adopted by the Langleys, from the day you met La Folia Rihavein, from the day you stepped in Raizen High School, from the day you lost Eugen to Aki Honda... Always... Always there to prevent you from doing. Why do you think the Fallen's Essence, Heis and Michael Langdon feel pain and fear from sensing your power? Because you have a part of me inside of you... a part that is combined with your two-powers; Abyssal and ExKrieg. I'm always with you. Always...

".................."

Katarina felt tears coming from her eyes.

- Astaroth: But in the end, I ended liking you so much that I tried to help you many times. The first time I helped was when I alerted the police officers next to Langley house by using my sensation effects. They felt like if something bad was happening inside of your house so they invaded it before your father could kill you.

That was a joke? No... she was serious.

- Astaroth: When Aki Honda called for you, I made sure to let her voice reach you on the other side of the city so you could settle all things between yourselves.

And Katarina thought she just had a feeling back then... how it's possible for a normal human yell from the other side of the town and being heard from the other side. Katarina thought it was just a sensation.

- Astaroth: But when you found new comrades, I thought you could save yourself from now on. But then, I began to realize you were losing yourself in your own image. When you died by the hands of Heis back then, I came to the conclusion you could be devoured by your ExKrieg's power and become a savage woman like your inner-twin sister, Elesis.

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Elesis... at that point Katarina was not surprised. Elesis is an entity living inside of Katarina but Astaroth already knew everything about her so it was not really a surprise if she knew about Elesis.

- Katarina: So you knew about her... Did you made her suffer too?

Elesis and Katarina share the same mind so it can be said if Astaroth manipulated her memories she also messed up Elesis'.

- Astaroth: No... Elesis is Elesis. She is pure, straightforward and easy to understand. She is what she wants to be. Nothing more. Nothing less. Like an apple, she is born in a tree and choose her own fate: wait to be enjoyed by someone... or fall to the ground and become the next seed for the generation of apples to come. If I had to compare you two, you would a retarded worm trying to find a way out of the ground.

Astaroth summoned an apple in her hand with bandages. Soon, the apple was devoured by her hand, causing it to disappear in darkness.

- Katarina: But did you appear only now, of all times?

- Astaroth: I'm the Goddess of Death. Almost like death itself. I know the time of a life. I know when a sentient being is born and when they're going to die. Death is a natural part of life, you can't change or stop it. But, as death itself, I can alter the fate of the mortals fated to die from outside causes. I can't save you from age and diseases as they are definitive death, but I can save you from external threats or revert your death. When you were killed by Heis, your time of life continued to count like if you were alive so I knew you would return. Back when you returned back to life, the ExKrieg's power began to consume you, meaning your identity as Katarina would disappear eventually, leading Elesis to take over your body and mind.

That's why...

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Astaroth: That's why... I can be considered your foster mother. Ironic, isn't it? The enemy of my friend is my friend.

Katarina the lifted the sides of her lips and cried, Astaroth made a satisfied smile while making a big nod. All of her behavior was filled with life and cheerfulness. The strange feeling she was feeling from Astaroth disappeared. At that point, she felt the experience she experienced in Limbo was like if she was punished severely for becoming a delusional.

- Katarina: But I am your enemy... I'll try to kill you for being a threat to my world. Nothing will change.

- Astaroth: I don't care. As long you survive, for me is enough. As long you're alive being yourself is already enough for me. At least I did my part in the contract, and I gave you several chances to live. My mission to end the lives of all mortals in this world continues to be the same, and you'll be there to stop me... as yourself.

Katarina could feel that Astaroth's eyes had some kind of complex emotion inside when she was looking at that her face. Astaroth was her ally, but her enemy as well, the two understood that fact.

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- Katarina: When I'm gone... you'll be there. After all, you said you're death itself. And I know perfectly... there is no way for us to win against you. There is no living being in this world who can kill you... because you're death yourself. But for how long you're here in this world? And how long you'll be around here?

Astaroth crossed her arms and looked at the sky.

- Astaroth: I was not always here. I was chosen to be the Goddess of Death. My only mission is to continue cause deaths of mortals. For personal and professional reasons. Also, can you stop asking so many questions so we can go straight to the point here? You're look like an overgrown lizard with a tongue so big you can't stop asking more questions!

Katarina kicked Astaroth's legs, showing she lost the fear of death itself completely. Indeed, Katarina was different now. She had a smug smile the entire time, her seriousness disappeared and more importantly, her outfit and hair-style changed.

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- Katarina: Oh my, sorry! And you're nothing but an overgrown that thing Kotori keeps in her drawer!

What is referring about must be Kotori's... yes... dildo... This is one of Kotori's darkest secrets too.

- Astaroth: Will you just piss off?

- Katarina: I don't have to use the bathroom... now... Astaroth, can you tell me... what happened to me? Why I am so different... I feel funny... Like I could do whatever I wanted. I feel so free now.

Astaroth touched her cheeks with a smug smile like Katarina's.

- Astaroth: This is your true-self. This is what you wanted to be... That's why you image changed.

Katarina looked at her hands and noticed she was taller than before. She could describe herself to be kinda of scary. She could tell she was no longer worried to keep her true-self hidden from the people she cared the most. She can be herself without caring about attention and fame.

- Katarina: This is... myself? This is what I wanted to be?

Astaroth released her cheeks from her claws.

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- Astaroth: Yes, but your loyalty and sanity are there. If you lost your sanity, you would lose control of your identity. There is nothing wrong in enjoying the suffering of other people as long you cause them on the right people... just like I feel towards mortals, but you must not forget who you truly are. In what side you're on, for what you're fighting for and what do you want. You must not let your likings and dislikings take over your true-self. If you want to fight for yourself, then fight for you. If you want to fight for your friends, then fight for them instead of fighting for them expecting to receive something in exchange. You can be yourself and show them who you truly are. Even if they find you repulsive, you know death will always accept you. If one day you decide the first option, you can always look for me! Hahahahahahah--I'm joking.

Katarina clenched her fists and felt that her power had increased by the millions.

- Katarina: My power is...

Astaroth touched her chest, revealing her new image. An image born from Elesis and Katarina.

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- Astaroth: ...Overflowing? That was supposed to happen. You were lost, you couldn't find your own identity, so you lost yourself. That's why you lent Elesis' power to fight. You were weak... now that you found yourself, you and Elesis had finally became one. That's why her power belongs to you now. Elesis still living inside of you but she is asleep now but you can still talk to her if you want learn more about her power. But as expected from an ExKrieg... you're more powerful than that Oriax. She was a failure...

Katarina rose her head when Astaroth removed her hand from her chest.

- Katarina: Oriax?

Oriax Wheelahr was one of the Black Demons who attacked Fraxinus directly but Katarina never had the chance to face her before she was dragged to Limbo by Vira.

- Astaroth: No... it's nobody important. More importantly...

Just then, Katarina remembered where she was. From her normal point of view, she was standing on the waters of the sea but the waters were scarlet like the colors of her hair...

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- Katarina: What in the world is that... the blackness is so strong there...

Katarina came to know about the existence of the Blackness by Yuri Barnes who finally exposed the existence of this demonic material after the ending of Morte's battle.

What was the scariest thing was just ahead. More than 3 kilometers ahead, Astaroth and Katarina saw a dark purple light coming from a huge crater in the middle of the ocean.

It was a dark portal in the middle of the Crimson Sea... Suddenly...

"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

- Voice: Return... to me... give... back... to me... back...

That female voice that echoed all across the globe spoke again. It was a weak, sad and empty voice of a young girl crying in sorrow and solitude... it was like that voice was in suffering for years. And now, Katarina could tell, that voice was coming from there, from the bottom of that abyss. That abyss that lead to the bottom of the ocean.

- Astaroth: Ahh... so you know about my Blackness. 

Astaroth walked further and extended her arms like a tyrant.

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- Katarina: I heard that the source of all evil in this world, the Blackness, is part of you. This is true?

Astaroth nodded but without looking back at Katarina.

- Astaroth: I'm alive for billion years, Katarina Couteau. I arrived in this Earth only a few million years ago. Even so, my mere presence here was already enough to let a few portion of my power escape. The Blacknes is my source of power and the thing that keeps me alive. However, because of my overwhelming energy and presence, my power often escapes from my body and becomes the so-called demonic material you people from Earth. The Witch Cult calls it Blackness because my minions worship it... but I prefer to call it simply as "Qlipha", a word that comes from "Qliphoth". But, well, Blackness seems more famous so let's call it that way.

"......................."

Katarina gazed at the dark purple light that was actually a laser beam made of Blackness. For being an ExKrieg, Katarina could finally sense that all Blackness of this world is being gathered there, in one single point.

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- Katarina: What is happening there? Why all Blackness of this reality is regrouping there? You should know about this.

- Astaroth: Ahhh! Girl! You ask too many questions! If you did not notice yet, we are no longer in Limbo or on your mind, we are back to Earth, the real world. Honestly, I brought you here just to make you face this.

- Katarina: Face this? You mean that voice coming from there. So that means we are in the Iron Bottom Sound, the place where Kotori confirmed to be the point of origin of that thing.

Katarina assumed a position of confusion while Astaroth turned around with a annoyed expression. 

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- Astaroth: Yes, we are right now at the top of Iron Bottom Sound, located in the Pacific Ocean. I brought here to face your final test. In order to complete your training, you must face what is down there.

Katarina sharpened her eyes when she felt a heavy and vile presence coming from down there. The fact that the sea smelled like Katarina only made her think about the worst... it was like if the Blackness was calling for her.

- Astaroth: What lies in the bottom of the abyss is your past. The past you need to defeat so you can finally be free. But can you do it?

Astaroth was obviously the mastermind behind it, but Katarina was not sure if Astaroth was telling about her next enemy being her past itself. Indeed, the fact that the ocea smelled like her, the voice sounded like Katarina's and the Blackness of the entire world was being centered in one single point was not mere conscidence.

- Katarina: But, can you control the Blackness?

- Voice: Come... here... help... me...

- Astaroth: The Blackness is myself, my own essence and my own source of power. If someone is infected with it, I can directly communicate with them with my own mind or even bring them to me. Even if someone idiot and pathetic enough use my source of power to convert it in their own weapon or personal magical plague, the Blackness will obey me, because its very existence is me. I'm the Blackness itself. If you have a small fraction of Blackness inside of you, I can simply rip it out of you and kill you on the process because once I do it the Blackness will drag your very existence to me, stealing your power, soul and even self-consciouness. Basically, you ceases to exist.

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- Katarina: So you can do the same with me? You said I was infected by the Blackness so that's why my enemies fear me.

Astaroth giggled before letting out a sloppy and sarcastic smile.

- Astaroth: Kukuku... who knows? I have no idea what you're talking about. The reason because you and others are not dead yet is because it's been billions years since I returned all the Blackness back to me. I never returned the Blackness to me for years because my extension and influence continues to expand in massive scale. There is so much power that I can barely control it.

Katarina sharpened her eyes in anger but if Astaroth was her ally then that means she would never kill her.

Playing around with the Blackness is like playing with fire. There were thousands of people throughout history who tried to use the Blackness to fulfill their own selfish goals, but if Astaroth orders her Blackness return to her, everyone infected or used it at some point die instantly by her curse that drags their very soul and even existence to her. In the end, their fate is just one: being devoured by Astaroth and increase her own energy. Luckily, it's been 1,000,000,000 years since she last ordered her Blackness return to her body. If she decided to do that now, maybe the population of Earth would be dragged to her, including Katarina herself.

- Katarina: You little...

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- Astaroth: Well, but I'll not lie what is down there is almost like my Blackness incarnated. If one manages to steal all my source of power, this person will be consumed by it and become the Blackness itself. So what lies down there is a living part of my Blackness but I can kill it at any time. Yet, where would be the fun to kill instantly instead of letting you face the ghosts of your past?​​​​​​

Katarina then confirmed it, Astaroth created that thing so she could make a challenge to test her. It could be to test anything, her new identity, power and resistance.

Katarina then let out a sigh.

- Katarina: So I have to do it, right? You said that voice is my past but is also the Blackness, what's the connection between those two?​​​​​​

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"....................."

Astaroth made a sign and used a tentacle that came out of her back to slap Katarina's as a way to order her to go into that abyss.

- Astaroth: Just go already.

Seeing that Astaroth was losing her patience, Katarina closed her eyes and began to walk towards the abyss of Blackness... but then she remembered about something embarassing that Astaroth made to her back then in Limbo.

Katarina turned around, blushing in sheer embarassment while trying to hid her emotions.

- Katarina: H-Hey... Astaroth? C-Can you please don't s-show that video to a-anyone? I-I mean... that... that one where I was.... Ahhh... That was s-so terrible... I-beg you... so please can you not?

The video she was talking about was that one where Katarina was touching herself thinking in Rentaro. Well, Astaroth made it clear that she was watching over Katarina for years. But right now, she is not amused.

"....................."

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An angry vein appeared in Astaroth's forehead as she clenched her fists with anger.

- Astaroth: STOP ASKING SO MANY GODDMANED QUESTIONS AND GO DOWN THERE!!

Astaroth then grabbed Katarina's body and threw her at the hole 3 kilometers away like a trash can. She did it in a rather comic way.

- Katarina: AAAAAAAHHHH?!!!!

Katarina fell in the depths of the abyss as the Blackness of all the globe continued to be gathered in one single place. Soon afterwards, Astaroth began to float and stared at the darkness from the bottom of the abyss.


- Astaroth: May the winner be decided... Fufufu.

Part 13.5 - Red Bloody Moon

Pacific Ocean

Iron Bottom Sound

Kilometers below the surface

Seconds later...


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It's been almost a minute since Katarina jumped into the abyss. Curious enough, at the same she jumped into that huge hole, she felt her strength fading away.

- Katarina (think): *So cold...*

It's been not even 5 minutes since she survived Astaroth's ordeal that sought to free her from her own prison but now she felt like if she was going to experience another ordeal. Just like Astaroth said, it's the final step for her ordeal.

Even now, Katarina don't know what exactly she is doing but since it was Astaroth who ordered her to face this threat that is related to her past, she had to do it. Some of Astaroth's words echoed in her head: "...your past". Katarina couldn't understand the meaning of those words but felt she was going to understand what was coming for her.

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- Katarina (think): *This is... the ocean?*

Katarina let herself sink in the deep waters of the Pacific Ocean. She can't remember very well but she first thought that hole was a portal as she felt another aura coming from it. However, once she reached the bottom of the hole in a long free fall, she sunk in deep waters.

Katarina was now in the deepest part of the Pacific Ocean, a level that no human could reach before. All she could describe is that this place is cold, dark and silently. There is no signal of life around, there is no light, no sound but her own heartbeat.

Yes, Katarina is now in the abyssal zone of the ocean that is a layer of the pelagic zone of the ocean. At depths of 4,000 to 6,000 metres (13,000 to 20,000 ft), this zone remains in perpetual darkness. These regions are also characterized by continuous cold and lack of nutrients. The abyssal zone has temperatures around 2 to 3 °C (36 to 37 °F) through the large majority of its mass.

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It is the deeper part of the midnight zone which starts in the bathypelagic waters above. 

The abyssal realm is the largest environment for Earth life, covering 300,000,000 square km (115,000,000 square miles), about 60 percent of the global surface and 83 percent of the area of oceans and seas. This place is where all life and creation are forgotten.

Just as Katarina continued sinking deep into those waters, she noticed she finally reached a level of the abyss where all darkness disappeared and was replaced with a red atmosphere. Yes, she reached a level so deep that the magma from the core of Earth illuminated the ground with a bloody color of scarlet. This is the result of the mixture of colors.

- Katarina: ..................

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This unknown place was like a different realm that is very calm, being far removed from storms that agitate the ocean at the air-sea interface.

In this place, Katarina could see sunk ships, military frigates and battleships from World War II... With the illumination around, she noticed she was falling into a vast cemetery of destroyed ships. The cemetery was so vsast and long that she lost the visual contact to where that cemetery ended.

It was so silently... a place forgotten by God and all living beings. There were no fish, crustaceons or seal life. Only a vast land of emptiness and destruction. In this place, billion years ago, was part of Earth's first geographic creations.

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Suddenly, the female voice that was crying, whose voice was heard across the globe, began to talk with Katarina in her ear but she was nowhere to be found. It was a weak and depressive voice.

Just as she began to speak, every dark memory Katarina had in her mind began to surface like a wave of nightmares.

- Voice: So you came... to return what is supposed to be mine... Endlessly repeated wars. Across all eras, seas and emotions, the regrets grow stronger with each cycle.

- Katarina (think): *Who are you?*

Katarina thought while she could barely open her eyes.

- Voice: Welcome to Savo Sound. Iron Bottom Sound. Many ships have sunk here, including you... Katarina Couteau... </