"...Your brother has been protecting you from the start."
Hannah blinked a couple of times as King subtly waved his hand toward her. But even after several seconds had passed, the most that happened was Diana and Aerith recovering from being slammed to the floor.
The two, instead of attacking again, were also just wondering what King just did. But as King casually waved his hand again, Diana did not wait for something to happen as she quickly moved in front of her daughter — and as soon as she did so, her clothes were ripped in half and a very tiny scratch could be seen on her torso.
"You…" Diana glanced at this tiny scratch for a few seconds; her breaths, turning heavier by the second as her eyes turned to King. The invisible attack that King made may have only caused a small and insignificant wound on Diana, but she was a themarian — the outermost layer of their skin, even just a nanometer of it, is already multiple times harder than diamond.
If this attack hit Hannah… she would completely be cleaved in half.
Diana's eyes quickly glowed red; her body, now slowly being veiled by a red light that soon wrapped around her entire body like silk.
"Oh, I haven't seen that bef—"
King immediately stopped talking as Diana's fist suddenly appeared right in front of his face. He was going to dodge to the side, but it was already too late — it did not matter for him, however, as Diana's attack just once again passed through his intangible body.
"It is usele—!!!"
King was going to say something, but before he could do so, he found his face suddenly grabbed by Diana. And a loud growl, she just slammed his face to the floor; molding a small crater that grew wider and wider as she started pounding King's face with her fists.
"..." Aerith squinted her eyes as she wondered for a few seconds how Diana was able to hit King without Riley's help, and after a few seconds, she finally realized that Diana's fists were… vibrating at a speed that even her perception was having a hard time trying to keep up with.
Aerith did not really bother thinking how it worked exactly, she just started fading away from everyone's view as she imitated what Diana was doing before rushing toward the already fallen King and smashing her fists down on his stomach.
Unlike Diana, however, her fists still just went through King's body from time to time.
"Kh…" And with a click of his tongue, King started covering his face; eventually grabbing both Aerith and Diana's fists. And before they could start letting out another barrage of strikes with their free hand, King's body once again became intangible and disappeared into the floor.
"Gah!" Diana, however, did not stop slamming her fists down and even struck harder; almost hammering her hands through the hard themarian floor as she screamed in frustration, "Come out!"
"What I do not want to?"
"..." Diana quickly turned to look at where King's voice was coming from, only to see a silhouette of him on the floor—no, in the floor. King's body was now merged with the floor, or perhaps it was better to say that his body was made of the floor now.
"Do you have this ability, Riley Ross? It is quite useful."
"No," Riley shook his head, "Ew."
King was not allowed to say another word as Diana's foot suddenly stomped on his face. Diana was not able to hit him, however, as King just appeared in another part of the auditorium.
"..." He seemed to want to say something, but noticed the frozen bits of flesh of Xra starting to move, "That's not good. I suppose it is time we ended this…
…I did have fun."
"You think you can just escape!?"
And as King's body was slowly removing itself from the floor, Diana once again appeared above him.
"Escape?" King did not seem to bother dodging the attack at all as he even stood up to meet Diana's foot that was threatening to squash his head into smithereens. And even as his nose was on the verge of being shattered, King just let out a smile…
…because Diana's foot did not manage to reach the rest of his face at all.
King's nose started bleeding, but it did not seem to be from Diana's attack as blood also started flowing profusely from his white eyes and ears. King then let out a long and deep breath, stuttering almost violently as he continued to stand up.
"Tch…" The blood flowing from his face rained down… but did not truly touch the floor and instead just froze in the air as they decoupled themselves away from him,
"...What is wrong with the people of Riley Ross's universe? I should avoid these people as much as possible."
King then started looking around, but as soon as he did so, everything around him turned dark. Even then, however, he started walking; no, limping across the darkness. And with each step, his breaths were getting heavier and heavier.
"..." He then stopped walking; his eyes, slightly turning up almost as if he was looking at something, "Killing Riley Ross is something that I must not do no matter what. So…"
King once again started looking across the darkness, "...I am sure he will also actively go after me from now on since I tried to hurt his sister. So…
…Might as well just kill her to rile him up."
King then sluggishly walked toward a certain direction, before suddenly coughing up blood as he caressed his chest… but it was no longer beating.
"Tch…" King's head shivered as he once again clicked his tongue. And after a few seconds, he slowly raised his hand, forming a blade with his armor — and with his entire body now trembling, he very slowly stretched his hand forward.
And then, with a loud and almost suffocating gasp, light returned to King's vision as the blood flowing from every orifice on his body finally stopped gushing out. King then blinked a couple of times before turning his head to the side to look at Riley,
"Riley Ross," King then smiled despite the blood covering his face, "Chase after me if you wish, but know that your sister will no longer be part of your life."
"..." Riley glanced to where King was pointing his blade, and then back to him as he tilted his head.
"..." King slightly squinted his eyes as he noticed Riley not reacting, he then very slowly turned his head in front of him…
…only to see Bernard holding his wrist with one hand.
"...How?" King's eyes started to widen as he looked Bernard in the eyes. And despite the color in them fading away, the smile on Bernard's face just continued to grow wider.
"D… dad?" King was not the only one that was confused. Hannah was also batting her eyes as the view of her father's back suddenly flickered and appeared in front of her, seemingly bigger than it ever was before.
Or maybe perhaps it was her that became smaller, like a child following behind her father; afraid of being left behind and so, she grabs his hand.
"...Dad?" Hannah held his father's left hand that was already slightly reaching toward her, "What…"
And as Bernard's silhouette seemed to become smaller and smaller in her eyes, she finally noticed the blood very slowly dripping from his armor; the tip of a blade, poking out of it.
Hannah was going to let go of Bernard's hand to check on him, but Bernard grabbed her hand and did not let her go.
"Bernard?" Diana, whose face was previously filled with rage as her foot stomped on the floor, could not help but just stare as she saw a blade lodged in her husband's chest, "...No."
Diana was going to rush toward King, but Bernard looked at her in the eyes; his head, very slowly shaking as he whispered, 'No.'
"Huh…" King stared at Bernard with his eyes still slightly turned wide. But after a few breaths, he looked him in the eyes as he smiled, "Family…
…are they really worth all that?"
"You tell me, Bernard Ross," Bernard returned King's stare; blood, very slowly escaping his lips; the veins on his skin, starting to glow orange as he whispered,
"You took revenge against the rest of the universe for your family."
"..." King's eyebrows lowered as he slightly looked down.
"They are worth everything to me," Bernard let go of Hannah's hand and he used both hands to grab King's wrists; his gloves, very slowly merging with King's armor as he did so,
"More than the universe itself."
And with those words, Bernard suddenly lunged forward—letting King's arm go through his chest completely as he embraced him.
"What are you doing?" King breathed out, "Do you think the guardian force exploding point blank would kill me?"
"No," Bernard coughed as he smiled; his eyes, now reflecting the image of his wife, "But it would damage you enough that anyone in this room could kill you after — even a norinlad's body would not be able to remain unscathed. And most importantly…
…you're getting tired."
"..." King's eyebrows furrowed even further as he started looking around again, and with a subtle wince and a look to the side, a portal suddenly appeared behind him.
"Riley…" And finally, Bernard quickly glanced at Riley, "...Destroy everything if you want. But promise me…
…You will protect them no matter what."
"..." Riley did not really say anything and just nodded. And without even another word being uttered…
…King and Bernard disappeared into the portal.
"What…?" Hannah started looking around as she stepped forward, almost as if trying to reach out to her father who was suddenly no longer in front of him, "What…
…What just happened?"
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