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Chapter 158 by Funatic Funatic

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In the shadow of the day.

That was it. She was done. John would have loved to have this feel like a victory. He came here, prepared for her to be a mindless monster, to kill her for what she did to Rave. He came here, prepared to help her if she was just as much a victim of happenstance as he was. He came here, and he failed on both accounts, there was no way to remove her from the site in time, neither could he heal her without Undine. He didn’t feel victorious, just tired. Tired of training, tired of this fight, tired of loss and tired of tragedy.

However, fate had one more tragedy prepared for him. Thana groaned and moved her fingers in what John interpreted to be a desperate gesture to step closer. He did. The pain of his body, the lack of security he had, none of it mattered anymore as he walked to her side and kneeled down. Carefully, like touching a piece of porcelain, he turned her over in his arms.

“Hey…John…” her voice was barely a whisper behind her wide smile. Despite the knowledge that she would die within the minute, Thana was happy. Despite the pain she was in, she was happy. Despite the complete despair that her life had been, she was very happy at this moment. “…describe the sun to me…”

“What do you even mean by that?” he asked, despite knowing better. He couldn’t fathom such a question, how somebody could even need to ask. “I never saw it…hey, what are you crying for?” she asked and half-laughed, half-coughed. The tears had started without him noticing, and there was no way to stop them now. Tears of relief and of depression, of sadness and the knowledge that it was over. For him this chapter of his life was over, for Thana it was everything.

Still, the pale girl in his arms was grinning. “…I am the one dying here, you baby…come on…tell me…” she said, her eyes were barely moving anymore. “The sun it…it’s a big circle in the sky…and…” “The sky…that is blue, right?” Thana asked as the fire in her eyes slowly dimmed down. The fire of life that had burnt too bright in her, if only for a few days, so bright that it had consumed her own in the process, now nothing more than dying embers, eaten up by that very flame.

“Yes, a beautiful light blue,” John explained while sobbing, “it stretches everywhere like an endless ceiling but you know it doesn’t matter how far it stretches because you will never reach it.” “That…sounds…awful…” Thana giggled, followed by a series of coughs that shook her whole body, robbing her of a few more precious seconds. These mere moments must have been an eternity to the girl. “A-are you…still there?” she asked, the dots in her eyes had stopped. Her tiny pale hand twitched ever so slightly. John took it and then, following an impulse he embraced her whole body. He was incredibly careful like she could shatter at any second.

“I…think that…means…yes…” she whispered, one of John’s tears landing on her face. He was crying with her in his arms. “The sun travels along the horizon during the day; you can’t even look at it because it is too bright. It…” he spoke hastily, wanting to tell her everything he could, fill her last moments with something but deafening silence. Then he noticed a window in front of him.

Gaia had sent this his way; there was no doubt about it. Even the goddess had taken pity on the fate of this girl. John accepted and the world around him transformed. From where he sat green started growing outwards, replacing the floor and everything else. The blood-red carpet ripped, apart by the fight, it was replaced by a radiant green. It replaced the shards of the tank that Thana had spent most of her life in. It replaced the dark spots of fallen lifeblood, spilled by Thana in her torment induced insanity. It replaced the reason and the actions of her sins.

“I…just…hope…this is the…end…” Thana whispered with a smile, “I…hear them…again…they are different...friendly...” “Don’t say that. Just for a moment longer. Stay with me for just another moment,” John begged. “…Fine…” was the final answer he got as it hit the walls. The plain stretched further as the walls unraveled and the twilight of the chandelier was replaced with the twilight of the rising sun.

A beautiful green sea that endlessly stretched around John tinted softly red like the sky that covered the world from one horizon to the other. The sun in all its glory rose, its rays touching the world gently, ending the shadow of the day.

“Hey, Thana. There it is. There is the sun,” he said with a smile, he bathed in the warm light and then looked down at the figure in his arms. The smile he wore for just a second died immediately and was replaced with even more tears. In his arms lay the lifeless body of Thana, a name that was not even her own. Her mouth had never tasted food but nutrimental solutions; her nose never picked up the smell of anything outside of blood and chemicals; her eyes had never seen the sky, only cement ceilings; her ears until her last day never picked up on a word of niceness, and even in the end, her skin had never felt the touch of sunlight.

Her eyes looked at nothing; her body was cold already. Her powers had consumed all the blood and warmth inside her. Yet she smiled. Not the insane smile she had worn at the start, not the apologetic smile she had given him towards the end of their fight, not the broad smile she had worn once she knew she would get what she wanted. No, a fulfilled smile. At the very last moments she hadn’t lamented her life, she had only been happy that it was over.

John wanted to hate her for this, for just accepting her fate and aiming at death. But could he really? Would he, in her situation, have done anything differently? Only in pain, denied emotions unless he was fighting or killing? What could he have done? He was left without answers.

One last service he could do her, he could close her eyes for the last time, allowing her that endless sleep she had wanted. Even this humanity was denied Thana. The moment John reached for her she started to fall apart. Slowly at first, the pale blue tinged skin of Thana transformed into a red dust, but quicker and quicker she dissolved. At the end he was left with nothing but the dark red remains, Aclysia’s crystal and a hellishly deformed piece of metal, roughly looking like a small spine, where her head had just been. He didn’t need to use Observe to know what the hated thing was.

A sudden gust of wind rolled over the field, claimed the red dust and whirled it through the world, this radiant plain. The first and only natural wind John would feel inside an Illusion Barrier, Gaia claimed the remains of Thana. John hoped that the goddess carried her somewhere better.

Season 1 – The End.

Up Next: Epilogue

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