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Star Knight's Cross Chapter 1: Answer

by SalisRuinen

There are Five Great Powers that govern all of space and time: Order, Life, Death, Chaos and the Balance between those four. The conflict between the Five is constant, each Power using champions to eliminate the representatives of the others.

The Five Powers’ conflict took a sudden turn, however, when the main representative of Order referring to itself only as God decimated the forces of Chaos singlehandedly. This God of Order did more than that, transforming Tiar, one of the main Distroya (a group of Chaos champions) into a champion of Order, the likes of which the cosmos had never seen before – a being called a Viktar. After the transformation God sent him back to the dimension he ruled over when he was still a Distroya – Yut, telling him he needed to now find his own path.

That is where Tiar found himself in the present, asking only one question:

‘-Why won’t you answer me?’

He only wanted Got to answer a few of his questions. In truth, there were hundreds of questions in his mind, but having the few that stood out answered would be really useful to help keep his sanity.

As every other time he prayed for a response, he was met with only silence. He stayed in that silence for a bit amid the wood of black dried-up trees under the crimson sky. When he realized no one was going to answer him, he resumed his journey through the broken land, searching for a new purpose in his life.

During his journey he could clearly tell something had changed simply by looking around. An environment like the one he was currently in used to bring him comfort and even pleasure. All it made him feel right now was disgust, uneasiness and if not pain, then at least a sort of irritation spreading all over his skin with each passing moment in the most unpleasant way.

Yes, another difference about him was the fact he now had skin. Distroyas’ muscle tissues were entirely exposed with no upper layer of skin over them, but now those tissues were covered by blurple-colored skin with dark blue lines spread in right-angle patters all across. And not only did he have skin, but Tiar was also dressed.

As servants of Chaos who only sought to spread more destruction, Distroyas had no need for clothing of any kind, but after being transformed into a Viktar, he had been given partial armor and a uniform, both white in color. Considering he had skin and clothing, he was supposed to be far more protected from any effects the environment had on him, yet he felt more exposed than ever.

The air was also very heavy for him, at times feeling as if he could choke on the stench and pollution it seemed to be filled with. Thankfully, the new Order champion’s stamina had not diminished one bit, being able to survive even under conditions as unfavorable as the current ones. While his body was fine, though, he sensed his mind had been weakened after his transformation, maybe due to the huge amount of stress it had been put under.

If only he could find someone to talk to, someone he knew in Yut. Maybe someone in this dimension had more knowledge of all that had happened, how it had happened and what was to happen after it and that someone could clear up the Viktar’s confusion. Finding a creature such as this in the present was no easy task, however. Back when he had been a Distroya, he could freely teleport to wherever he wanted within Yut and even outside it, but no matter how many times he had tried after his return, it had led to no avail.

Having appeared in the middle of nowhere and with no other options available, all he could do was keep on walking. And keep on thinking. Until maybe either one killed him, which Tiar knew sadly was not going to happen, meaning a very prolonged torture lay ahead of him.

The first glimmer of hope that his situation could change for the better came when Tiar reached the end of the dreadful forest. His eyes revealed that beyond that forest lay a rocky field just as black as the trees near it, riddled with fiery-red cracks, having an even more unpleasant feel to it than the forest. What stood out amid its terrain, however, was an outpost – a place the Viktar surely had allies in.

The tower with four horn-like structures attached to its top and the wide hemisphere-shaped building next to it offered no comfort to the new champion of Order much like everything else around. That is why at that point he gave up on relying on the environment’s help to feel better or clear his mind, turning to the one tool for salvation he had left – the inhabitants of said environment.

And there they were – a Chaos griffin was perched atop the outpost’s tower, taking notice of Tiar soon enough. Mainly because the Viktar was waving and shouting as much as he could. And he was really good at doing both.

‘-Your master Tiar has returned! Are you going to give me a proper welcome or what?!’

The griffin seemed very confused at first and then his confusion turned to utter shock, Tiar realizing with some delay that his appearance had changed, which probably made him unrecognizable. More than that, his energy signature was probably of an Order type now. Finding out he was the same Tiar the servants of Chaos knew was not going to be easy.

But all his memories were intact, so there had to be a way to convince his old comrades he was still the same being they knew. Soon enough that griffin spread his wings with black feathers that turned bright yellow toward the end, flying down from the tower and landing right in front of the Viktar. Tiar thought it was now time to start proving his identity, but as it turned out, such actions were not necessary.

‘-T-Tiar? You … what has happened to you? What has happened to everyone?’

‘-You know it’s me?’

‘-An actual servant of Order wouldn’t just come to one of our outposts shouting and waving unless it was a trick. If it had been a trick though, that bastard would at least try to disguise itself as one of your own, not flash its Order armor around. (following that statement the lion-eagle hybrid made a detailed observation of his master from head to toe) So is this look some kind of illusion you’ve put around yourself to blend in with our enemies?’

‘-This … I actually don’t know what this is. And what did you mean by ‘what’s happened to everyone’?’

Another wave of confusion passed through the griffin’s face before he spoke again.

‘-We’ve lost contact with Konton*, as well as the Rainbow Sins. We didn’t have any contact with you, either, and since you’d gone there, we assumed the worse.’

‘-If it’s any comfort, I at least am alive. I don’t know what happened to the others after we were hit as well, though.’

‘-Are we going to mount a search for them, then?’

‘-I’d like to, but there’s something wrong with my teleportation. I can’t do it like I used to.’

‘-We’ll figure something out. Let’s get inside first so everyone can see you’re alright and then …’

Their conversation was interrupted by some clamor which drew the attention of both of them to the right side of the outpost, a group of about twenty Chaos griffins having landed there.

The clamor actually didn’t come from them, but from the ones tied to their backs, who were now put down and revealed as humanoid creatures with pale blue skin, green eyes and a few gold horn-like structures coming out of their heads. Tiar recognized them as herkleri, the race that had held the most power in Yut before the forces of Chaos conquered it.

What was unfamiliar to the Viktar was the armor they wore – it was dark blue with four green rhombuses surrounded by a bigger yellow one on their shoulder plates. More than that, while the majority of these creatures, who were evidently prisoners, were fully grown men and women, one among their ranks was a boy no more than 9 years old and as expected, he was the most terrified one. The rest were still trying to resist, shouting at and cursing their captors despite being tied, chained and beaten-up, but the boy only screamed as tears fell from his eyes.

The captors’ response to all this was simply mocking and for some even manic laughter as they reached Tiar and the griffin he had been talking to. While his gaze were fixed on the captured herkleri, the new Order champion still registered the sentences exchanged between the griffins as they gathered up.

‘-Another good catch, I see.’

‘-Oh, this is a legendary catch if I do say so myself! You know who we’ve got here with us? (the griffin pointed to the little boy) This one is the former herkleri planetary leader’s last surviving child!’

‘-Huh?! But he’s just a boy! The herkleri leader was executed hundreds of years ago! How come his child is still so young? You sure you weren’t tricked or something?’

‘-Oh, no, no! I’m quite sure! See these others who we’ve captured? They are the sole survivors of the herkleri royal guard. They’ve managed to stay hidden for very long and keep the heir to the throne safe by placing an age seal on him, making sure he would never grow older than 9, no matter how long he lives for.’

‘-That doesn’t mean he regenerates, does it?’

‘-Can’t you see we’ve already made him bleed to check? He’s quite mortal, only difference being he doesn’t age. They’ve done this so he would never grow up to resemble his father and thus be targeted, but we finally got our hands on intel concerning his whereabouts and we fleshed out his guards and then him!’

‘-We can actually put a perfect end to the herkleri’s hope for freedom today! All thanks to our hunting group! Though we’ll wait for Master Tiar to return before we get to the execution. We’ll have to make it as public as possible and have him give us one of his legendary speeches before he rips the boy to pieces!!’

‘-Luckily for you, he’s here.’

‘-Really? Where?’

The griffin pointed at Tiar and while the other servants of Chaos around him were shocked by this revelation, his own shock still far outmatched theirs. And that shock stemmed from what he felt at the present.

‘-T-this is Master Tiar? How?! I’ve never seen a creature like this! And why do I sense Order in him?’

‘-He doesn’t know how he turned into this, either. We’ll get to the bottom of it, but at least now we have some good news to lift our spirits, right, Master?’

Tiar’s spirits had hardly been lifted. Rather he had been plunged into a pit of dread. Dread for the only thing he felt he cared for right now, addressing that thing’s future with his next question despite knowing how redundant it was.

‘-The boy … you’re going kill him?’

‘-Well, not just him. All of them. We wanted to make a proper example of them as the last remnants of the herkleri elite, so we deliberately spared just this lot’s lives. As before, the honor of killing the heir will be yours alone, but we were hoping you could let some of us join in the execution of his guards as well. So we can …’

That sentence could not be finished as Tiar experienced the most shocking event for the day then, having successfully teleported this time and with very high speed as well. He still had no idea how he had done it, seemingly being driven by some instinct that had suddenly awakened in him, that instinct’s effects reaching even further than simply making him teleport.

Under that very instinct’s influence, the Viktar had reached the griffin who had been talking up to that point and had pierced him in the throat, what followed after the creature spilled some of its dark blood and started choking on the rest being even more astounding. Energy mixing a dark blue and white color came out of Tiar’s hand, quickly wrapping around the griffin, splitting his body into thousands of blocks that disappeared into nothing, every trace of the creature’s existence being extinguished.

The color of the energy he had used and its effect were something Tiar was familiar with – it was Order energy and the restructuring effect that came with it. In this case the griffin had been restructured to a point where the very existence of his body and soul as structures had been rejected, causing them to vanish.

As he killed a comrade for the first time, the Viktar finally came to a realization. What he felt about the environment had transferred over to all those who had had something to do with giving it its current appearance. And it wasn’t simply disgust or irritation. It was HATRED. Now that he knew what he felt, Tiar understood what his new purpose was: to rid himself of all that he hated.

That is how one dimension’s battle for freedom and one Order champion’s tragedy began.

Konton* (from Jap. "konton" - chaos)

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Between living and dreaming there is a third thing. Guess it.
— Antonio Machado