Bittersweet Victory

 Rhazin awoke to the sun shining in his face.

He smiled and allowed himself to feel it's warmth. For some reason, Rhazin felt great. It was almost as if he had had a good nights sleep as well as some sleeping in. It was a wonderful feeling, one he hadn't had in what seemed like forever. Maybe his master wouldn't make him train today?

Rhazin sat up and stretched, looking at his surroundings. He hoped his master wasn't-

Surrounding Rhazin was several corpses.

A scream escaped his mouth as he remembered what he had done. With ever blood soaked body he noticed, came a memory of Rhazin slicing a man with a sword or burning them with Flame. He felt like vile trash, all thoughts of anything positive quickly replaced with regret and shame.

He remembered Exceed, then.

Frantically, Rhazin jumped up, ignoring his blood stained hands and traveling clothes. He searched his surroundings for Exceed, finding the man propped against a boulder with a sword in his gut. Rhazin ignored his hair in his face, something he had never done before, and rushed to his friend.

“Please be alive, please be alive, please be alive...” Rhazin whispered to himself continuously as he checked the man for a pulse. To his relief, he found a weak pulse. “Yes!” Rhazin cheered, pulling the sword from Exceeds gut. Grief filled Rhazin as he remembered how he had stabbed Exceed.

“No!” Rhazin yelled at himself, “I must focus on the now!” He quickly pulled his cloak off and wrapped it around Exceeds stomach tightly. He had been forced to learn first aid. Never did Rhazin think it would pay off this well.

It wasn't enough, however. Exceeds chest slowed down, his breathing becoming shallow and forced. Rhazin knew he was dying, and yet he couldn't do anything. Tears formed in his eyes. He knew the Darkness was to blame, but he also knew he held more of the blame. If only he had controlled the Darkness better...

Rhazin felt the tears fall down his face as his mind frantically thought on what he might do to save his friend. He grabbed Exceeds shoulders in desperation when his friend's chest came to a stop.

“Come back to me!” Rhazin yelled, mad that bad things kept happening. It was always other's that died because of him. His mother, who had died trying to steal him some food. His brother, who had gave up the food he had scavenged, so that Rhazin could eat. His friend, Jenny, who had allowed herself to be raped and murdered so that a group of angry men wouldn't find and kill Rhazin. And lastly, Rhazin's master, who was probably still risking his life to buy Rhazin time.

Now, it was a man who had put complete trust in Rhazin, despite never knowing him before-hand and seeing the Darkness first hand. Was Rhazin doomed to have bad luck forever?

In a sudden rush, Rhazin fell to the ground. He felt drained physically and mentally, as if someone had pulled the energy right out of him. He didn't care though. Maybe it was Death, coming to take him at last?

Someone nearby let out a gasp.

Jerking his head up, Rhazin saw Exceed breathe deeply and cough. He couldn't believe his eyes. Was Exceed alive!?

“Hey, so what in the Scarred Father were you thinking?” Exceed said hoarsely. Rhazin jumped back and crawled away slowly. For some reason, Exceed being alive seemed too good to be true. It must be an illusion, or some trick by another Void user.

“Who are you!?” Rhazin yelled, fearing the possibilities.

Exceed coughed before answering. “One lucky marked man,” he cursed. Rhazin forced himself calm. It was obvious that Exceed had not been dead and had used his Plasma mystics to heal himself by instinct. Yes, that was what it was.

“Let... let me help you up...” Rhazin said shakely. He stood slowly and walked toward Exceed. Caution still filled his soul, but he tried his best to ignore the unnatural fear and accept logic. There was always a logical explination.

“Thanks, but you look worse,” Exceed said, standing up. “For your first time using Plasma , you're actually not bad.” The larger man laughed.

Rhazin, on the other hand, froze. “Wha... what do you mean?” He asked, genuinely confused.

Exceed barked another laugh. “Well, let's just say if it wasn't for you, I wouldn't have this scar.” He pulled off the cloak that Rhazin had remembered tying around his waist, revealing a wide scar. To Rhazin's surprise, it wasn't the only one on the man's stomach. Several other scars of varying sizes were painted across Exceeds stomach.

“But... I can't use...”

“You can now, apparently,” Exceed replied, stretching, “I don't know who stabbed me, but I think we killed enough of them to compensate for that.” He looked at Rhazin, who had a feeling of relief and guilt that must have leaked into his expression. “What?”

Rhazin jumped, half expecting the silver haired man to remember Rhazin stabbing him. “No... Nothing...”

“Oh yeah!” Exceed said suddenly, “This is your first time killing someone, isn't it?” He walked over to Rhazin and placed a hand on his shoulder, causing Rhazin to flinch. Exceed noticed and released him. “Don't worry, the shock will pass,” he said earnestly, “Until then, just remember that you fought and killed because they attacked you!”

With that, Exceed went off to the nearest body and started picking through the pockets. Rhazin was left to feel an array of emotions. Guilt, relief, anger, confusion, and many more mixed into what was Rhazin's present being.

'How could Exceed forget something like that?' Rhazin thought incredulously. He still felt guilty about the act, but his logic kicked in. The men who wanted them dead could come back any minute. Rhazin and Exceed needed to get out of that bloody field before then.

Rhazin rushed after Exceed, eager to be in Port Eint, the next checkpoints location, already.


The End

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