A Tragic End
Centuries ago, a mystical scene had lit up the starry night skies. Countless lights shone above the heavens, forming a dazzling ring at the universe’s core. When it came into existence, the infinite space-time shook as an ancient voice sounded to all beings.
“To those chosen by the Universe Ring, venture beyond its boundaries and achieve your grandest wish. Whether for power, glory, or knowledge, find my legacy, and you will acquire what you seek.”
The majestic voice echoed into the souls of all chosen lifeforms. Rumors say that following its announcement, the ring at the depths of the cosmos released many rays across the endless galaxies, shrouding card-shaped objects that traveled to distant worlds.
They were the Digitize Cards — sacred items that could grant their wielder powers unseen and the privilege to enter a brand-new world, one where only the chosen deemed worthy could aspire to seek their newfound destiny, the world known as the Digiverse.
In an unknown land at the depths of a sinister-looking mountain range, one with a grim atmosphere as its sky had a dark blood-red hue. A vast temple with sky-reaching pillars that rose beyond an average man’s eyesight stood proudly. The ancient stones and walls that paved this structure engraved with unique markings glowed dimly, adding a bit of light to the dark atmosphere.
Above a central platform made from an unknown stone was an unusual card-shaped object hovering silently. It glowed in a dazzling golden light that lit up the various surfaces, showing stone steles with cryptic markings and detailed sculptures of humanoid beings with unique weapons.
These lights cast shadows from the various objects along those of the pillars across the vast temple, reaching out to the distant entrance, whose exceedingly long opening shone with the blood-red lights of its outside sky.
At this moment, the sound of footsteps echoed through the quiet temple. Following the source, one would notice that a silhouette had appeared at the entryway. His profile became apparent after he walked into the room and halted at the entrance, looking at the hovering card from a distance.
It was a handsome man in his early twenties. He wore a long reaper-like dark robe with unique marks sewn into the worn fabric torn at its edges. His well-chiseled face was pale as bits of blood flowed down his cheek. Yet, even with such wounds, he stared ahead in silence.
Suddenly, a scarlet wind blew from beyond the temple’s entrance, lifting the corners of his dark robe from the ground, causing it to flap forwards before his tall and well-toned body. His long silver hair similarly brushed forwards as each strand glistened in the light before his red pupils, which showed anticipation.
As this individual gazed at his front, a red semi-transparent screen appeared before his eyes, with a written text notification that sounded to his ears.
━━━━━━━━┛ ✠ ┗━━━━━━━━
You have entered the Temple of Time!
━━━━━━━━┓ ✠ ┏━━━━━━━━
Unalarmed by the strange screen and its words, the silver-haired man showed an unperturbed expression as his gaze shifted to the scene ahead.
Finally, after such a long time, I have discovered one of the most important clues to uncovering the legacy of this world, the Primal Time Shard. Rumor has it that this could only come upon chance, and it seems that after so many hurdles, it is finally my turn to gain.
The silver-haired man’s eyes showed a recollective look, the face of a pale and sickly-looking beauty appearing in his mind. Many other silhouettes faded into the background of his looming shadow, squirming with hordes of sinister-looking souls threatening to devour his mind.
Not bothering to pay attention to the evil spirits in his shadow, the silver-haired man continued, taking a step forward before flickering and appearing at its front in a flash.
Now that he was closer, the man could see more of the Primal Shard’s features. The shard had the engraving of a ring with a series of unique lines as if like a circuit board, each pulsing with zeros and ones that flowed about it in an endless stream. Time flowed differently around it as everything seemed to exist within a separate instance.
“It is even more remarkable than I’d imagined. I suppose that battle against Pershiya’s Ghost was worth it,” he said as he eyed a section of the room.
There, he saw a looming statue overlooking the temple. Naturally, this was the sculpture of Pershiya, a warrior from an ancient time, guardian of the Temple of Time.
He was a powerful being, a giant no less, grasping a staff even more enormous than itself. He wore a flowing cloak that shrouded most of his features, leaving only his frail arms that held onto the large weapon visible. The staff had a large clock at its head, styled with spirals that coiled around its handle connecting to its end.
The silver-haired man’s mind had a buzz just by looking at it as he reminisced on the battle he had just fought. It was a close fight with shockwaves that devastated all in its reach, but Pershiya had met his defeat at its end. His arms firmly grasped his staff before him as his giant body dissipated with the wind like dust fragments.
Vaguely, he could recall the Pershiya smiling as his body faded away, leaving behind a few words he couldn’t quite understand.
“For everything in the universe, there is its price, even with time. As Primal, I, too, must bear its burden. Seeker of Death, my shard is now yours to command, but know this, it can only aid you in ‘one’ time.”
As the silver-haired man finished his recollection, he reached his hand out, touching the surface of the Primal Time Shard. The blood on his fingers seeped into the shard, and following it was a peculiar change. Instantly, the circuit-like line started to glow in a blinding light. It had even begun to heal the man from his injuries.
A group of runes made of zeros and ones had begun to flow toward him as images started to appear in his mind. The man was only moments away from acquiring new knowledge, but suddenly, a voice sounded from all directions before that could happen.
“As I thought, you’ve led me to its origin… as expected of the famous Death God, the Scarlet Grim. They say all it takes is a flash of your scythe to end your adversaries, but… are rumors as they say? How about we find out, Scarlet—or better yet, Nero Agustine?”
“You’re aren’t the first to come after me. Show yourself, assassin!” Nero shouted as he instantly went on guard.
He twirled his scythe with his free hand, holding it at an angle as its edge shimmered balefully. His eyes carefully glanced left and right before a rippling ring of red energy erupted from the center of his brows.
As it spread out in all directions, all the surrounding scenes became visible to his eyes. But strangely enough, despite using a unique scanning method, Nero couldn’t find a trace of the mysterious party, forcing him to frown as he contemplated.
I cannot sense his Combat Force. He’s either stronger or isn’t any weaker than me. How troubling. I’m still wounded from the battle against Pershiya. To appear at such a time, who is this guy, and how does he know my name?
While Nero set up his guard, the mysterious party didn’t speak but acted directly. Instantly, a blinding golden ray fired from an obscure location, arriving upon Nero in less than a second.
Even if weakened, I’m not so easily beaten!
Nero inwardly cried as he waved his scythe, its edge drawing a line that swiftly collided with the ray of golden light.
Following the sounds of metal smashing together, a shockwave of power blew violent energies across the surroundings. Peering through the wave of power, one would notice that clashing against the edge of Nero’s scythe was a dazzling golden spear with intricate markings just as profound as his own.
That weapon… how could it be here?
Nero mentally exclaimed as he looked on in shock, but the collision blew him backward, forcing him away platform as the Primal Time Shard fell to the ground, severing their connection.
With a quick maneuver, Nero did a backflip to regain his balance before spitting out a chunk of blood. After wiping the blood from his mouth corners, he showed a stern face. He gripped his scythe firmly at his side and glared at the golden spear that floated before the platform as if waiting for something.
“Who are you? How did you get that weapon? And how do you know my name?!” Nero shouted in rage as he glared toward the dark parts of the temple, his manner no longer as composed as before.
A footstep sounded as a figure garbed in a cloak appeared not long after, the upper portion of his face hidden behind a golden mask. A dark aura radiated from his being, causing his cape to flutter as if blown by the wind.
Nero frowned. He didn’t know who the man was, as even his aura was unknown to him. His mind rapidly calculated. But before he could even figure anything out, the man smirked and lifted one of his arms while speaking.
“The dead needs no such knowledge; you shall only wallow in your despair. Now, allow me to send you to the real Death God. Go forth my spear and pierce your enemies!”
A brilliant light erupted from the spear following the stranger’s outcry, which fired toward Nero even faster than before.
Damn! That’s one of its unique abilities. I can’t face it in my current state. I must try to use that ability before it’s too late!
Nero quickly acted as his arm, which held the scythe, changed. If one looked at the back of his palm, one would notice the outline of a mark. It began to glow in a brilliant red light, drawing even the eyes of the golden-masked man.
Nero prepared to invoke one of his innate skills, but he couldn’t gather it swiftly due to his exhausted energy and wounds. In a flash, the spear arrived directly before Nero’s chest, but as if time slowed, it halted at that position.
Suddenly, a power quickly flowed from the back of his palm, flowing into his scythe, which then shone with unique runes. At that moment, the energy twisted around his body as if wrapping his entirety.
Nero’s eyes showed a tinge of relief as he felt the power rolling around him, but before it could even celebrate its effects, a series of black chains appeared from the direction of the golden-masked man. In shock, Nero watched as the chains wrapped on the back of his scythe, sealing off his ability.
Nero, who now had a look of horror, stared in shock at the golden mask man, even more so when he saw a black card above the man’s hand.
“Impossible!” Nero exclaimed; he wanted to try and avoid his situation, but sadly it was too late.
The gruesome sound of the spear piercing into him resounded as it tore through his chest, causing him to fall into weakness.
With a few heavy coughs, blood flowed from Nero’s mouth and his torn-open chest as he fell onto his knees. His other arm trembled as it held onto the spear’s shaft still embedded within him. His eyes darkened as he struggled to keep his fading consciousness.
“No… not like this… I can’t die here! I have yet… to see the end. I must…” Nero struggled to speak as he felt himself getting weaker with each passing breath, the footsteps of the golden-masked man echoing in his ears as he walked over and stood before him.
Looking down on the dying man, the golden-masked man smirked as he stooped down and spoke, “You… have failed.”
Not even bothering to hear Nero’s reply, the man yanked out the spear from his chest, causing Nero’s blood to gush about widely, staining even his robes.
Unable to take the stress, Nero’s eyes began to droop as his body fell forward, but right before his head hit the ground, he used his last bit of strength to covey his will.
“I don’t know who you are… but… even if I perish today. This karma… shall return… onto you…”
Nero’s voice echoed about the silent temple as he finally collapsed to the ground, blood flowing from his chest, staining the ancient stone-paved ground and the armored boots of the golden-masked man.
“So foolish… a dead man leaves no tales,” the golden-masked man scoffed, no longer paying attention to Nero. His attention turned to the Primal Time Shard, which rested near the platform.
With excitement, he took a step forward, flickering and appearing before the card, but a strange scene occurred before he could reach his hand towards it. The Primal Time Shard had started to glow even brighter with a buzzing sound, causing the entire temple to tremble as if undergoing a quake.
“What’s this… a Primal Resonance? That’s not right. I’ve already killed him, so how could it be active?” The golden-masked man said in shock, but he soon found the answer as he spoke.
A brilliant purple light erupted from Nero’s corpse and formed a ray of light connected with the Primal Time Shard.
“It’s can’t be? Did he succeed in bounding it before I struck him? Curses, to think I’d notice it only now!” The golden-masked man said in alarm, but the situation continued to change even as he spoke.
Instantly, the Primal Shard of Time vanished, appearing directly before Nero. It spiraled around his body as if invoking a spell that compelled Nero’s figure to float.
“Come back here!” The golden masked man yelled in rage as he prepared to charge over, but sadly, his attempt was vain as it had already completed the spell.
With a brilliant beam of light that rose to the summits of the temple, Nero’s figure was wrapped around by a unique power. Soon, the temple became enveloped by this light that covered all things as an image of a clock formed around Nero’s body. The clock was bizarre as its handles turned in reverse order as if turning back time at an incredible speed.
In a moment, the clock’s handle, which spun at insane speeds, halted, and following it was the loud echoes of a chime as Nero turned into fragments of lights that vanished into an unknown rift in space-time.