[AOG] Chapter 2: Crescent’s Domination

The orb that revealed Crescent’s presence pulsated once again, warning Rev of a further plot of some sort. It was him, and he was alive and well. He’d appeared above the boss, the sclera of his eyes turned black, his blue pupils now red. He emanated a dark aura, towering hundreds of feet above the ground. Multiple red magic circles formed and rotated all around him. These magic circles flew out and encircled the World Serpent, creating a six-headed star. Nine flame dragons flew out from the magical star. All of them far larger than the dragon that had formed as his supposedly final gambit against Rev. This was his true strength!

The nine dragons stood majestically before the Black Moon players. The blonde priestess materialized a grey orb. The object pulsated, generating a wave of disturbance that rippled through the mighty dragons. It had no effect.

“Truth, don’t waste orbs. That’s a sixth tier magic spell, we can’t counter it. Wait until it’s completed, and then we shall direct fire at it. There is no way he can one-shot the boss from 5% using that spell. He can’t do it. Don’t worry.”

“Alright, Leo. It’s Crescent’s loss for being foolish,” the purple-haired Fate responded.

While Black Moon’s members were discussing the matter, Crescent took further action, summoning a purple staff. He started chanting, and as he did, multiple dark magic circles generated one after another until six had assembled. They flew towards the World Serpent. They completed yet another six-headed star.

Leo, noticing the nature of the dark spell, was shocked, then galvanized into action. Clouds gathered when he raised his sword high up in the sky. Thunder rumbled, then a bolt appeared to strike down towards aloft Crescent. He was unaffected in every way. 

A spheric shield shimmered around Crescent. It had no cracks, despite the colossal power of Leo’s golden lightning.

“Dammit!” Leo cursed, before issuing commands. “All, take him down at any cost!”

Quickly, Fate began chanting, but her reaction was too slow. A very light blue ball of flame, shining a thousand times brighter than the most luminous stars, appeared before the World Serpent. Space folded, and the boss’ figure was disfigured. As though it were a black hole, the blue star sucked in the World Serpent. 

The nine dragons that gathered around the boss stood impassively, unaffected by the immense gravity field generated by the star. The star imploded gradually, having reached the end of its brief life.  While that occurred, all the dragons dove towards the World Serpent. The myriad of colors from another explosion blinded onlookers. Uttering a final cry, the World Serpent became a million specks, all rainbow-colored.

Black Moon’s members stared intensely, shock and awe evident on their faces, at the dead boss. They hadn’t thought it possible, but 5% of its lifespan was terminated by one person’s spells. 

Fate’s eyes brimmed with curiosity and excitement. “Woah, to think his prowess had reached the sixth tier already—It’s actually giving me goosebumps. He’s way too good. Against that power, even if we all attacked him, we’d have no hope of victory. Goddamn, this is exciting!”

Fate’s perverted expression made Leo shudder. He shook his head vigorously before chastising, “Fate, this is no time for you to go insane!” He activated telepathic communication. “Shesmu, we need assistance. When are you coming?!”

Shesmu’s response came quick. “Don’t worry. I’ll be there in a second. We just unlocked the seal for the Arcane Scroll.”

Having heard Shesmu’s confident words, the members of Black Moon calmed, reassured that not all was yet lost. Realizing just how powerful Crescent had become was extremely demoralizing. However, their belief in their leader helped them remember the fight was not over. It alleviated their worries simply because of their belief in him. Crescent stood aloof in the sky, looking down on the Black Moon members with his cold, dark eyes. He raised his right arm high, calling forth a black flame that flew from the palm of his hand. The black flame enlarged until it overshadowed the sun itself.

“Everyone, run!” Leo shouted, recognizing the threat this attack posed.

All players immediately dispersed, moving in all different directions per evacuation procedures. The ball of flame continued to grow, and it wasn’t long before this behemoth of a spell dwarfed every spell that had been used since.

Crescent’s cold eyes trailed Black Moon as they fled upon his attack. The dark energy emanating from him gave him an aura of dark eldritch majesty. His hand drew an arc towards his fleeing enemies, as he did, the ball of flame followed the path drawn.

Leo was aware of the moment the fireball launched, looking back at it. He ceased to move. Its speed was mind-boggling. He couldn’t outrace it, nor could anyone else. An object of such size shouldn’t achieve such terrifying velocity, yet it did.

He felt an urge to run again, but before he could move a step, he halted. He glanced at his map. His teammates had run far, but it would not be far enough. Considering the apparent power of this spell Crescent had employed, Leo determined what the radius of its shockwave might’ve been like. His teammates wouldn’t be able to escape the impact.

Leo faced it, the colossal black ball of power surging towards him. His black hair fluttered in the wind, and his green eyes shined with a piercing light. His eyelids shut close and he chanted. 

A golden light shined beneath Leo's feet. Five magical circles rotated, resonating with high speed before converging into a single enormous one. Leo's body was clad in a golden aura. A large shield manifested itself, strapping onto his arm. He plunged it deep into the earth. Etched on the facing side of the shield was a lion's face.

The golden aura emanating from Leo completely focused on his shield, imbuing it a blinding intensity. The particles of light emanating from it became denser and denser. They flew out to the sky and a torrent of light pierced the heavens. Golden lightning formed and thunder rumbled throughout the skies.

"Stay where you are!" Leo's order was firm. "This is our last stand."

Having heard Leo's telepathic order, all Black Moon's members froze in their tracks, turning around to look in the direction where Leo’s call had originated. Their gazes were solemn. 

The golden pillar reached out in the skies to the point where it was visible to them all. From the top of it, they could see particles of light flying in an arc towards them, and then beyond. A golden thread remained in their wake. Billions of particles flew, making the top of the golden pillar resemble the form of a radiant dome.

The clash was high. Everyone held their breaths. The world was sucked into an oxymoronic silence, only white noise serving as the background. The ball of black flame reached the dazzling dome—only, there was no clash. The fire of doom passed through the golden dome as though it was air. It continued on its trajectory towards the members of Black Moon. By this point, there was no retreat.

Silence. A moonless night embraced the world. That serene and soothing darkness was ever-present. Such as one where you’d crawl into in the face of danger, searching for safety. A blast of fire illuminated the world, accompanied by a chilling sharp cry. The golden flames converged, and from the mesh, a dragon soared. 

Like dawn after a long night, the cleared dragon burned the sky incandescently with a flap of its golden wings. The darkness disintegrated, only to reveal the members of Black Moon, unharmed. They examined themselves, inspecting their statuses to see if anything had been inflicted on them. They found nothing, and their HP was also full. They looked around, expecting to see the large boulders nearby crumbling, or gray clouds of dust billowing, but to their surprise, they instead saw the green adorning the forest.

It remained intact. Birds chirped, animals ran, and the tree leaves continued fluttering with the spring breeze. The black fireball had done nothing that was obvious, it was as though it were an illusion. But an illusion it was not, and every player present knew exactly that. 

A blade of grass danced with the wind. From its tip, a golden orb emerged. Every blade did as well. A torrent of golden lights emerged from the earth. No matter where one's eyes searched, a flow of golden light rose. Trees, shrubs, grass and even animals emitted a soothing holy light that converged into a massive airborne stream.

Fate looked around her, taking in the magical scene in front of them, before focusing on herself. From her right arm, particles of light emitted. Then, her whole body glowed golden. The other Black Moon members experienced the same phenomena. Their light rose to merge with the stream. It moved to one location all could see: the light pillar.

Crescent examined the golden pillar with his glacial eyes. His expression was aloof, and he seemed immovable. Despite that sense one would get by looking at his face, his expression broke into a smile.

“You really know how to put on a show, Leo.”

Within the golden pillar, Leo was gritting his teeth. Thousands upon thousands of damage ticks gnawed at his HP bar. This light was as soothing as a summer breeze for his teammates, but for him, it was more scorching than Hell’s fire. His tanned skin, filled to the brim with vitality and vigor, turned dry. Patches of Leo’s skin peeled off and burned to ashes by the golden flames.

While the golden orbs continued to converge on the light pillar, Fate turned to her comrades, taking charge. “Everyone! Snap out of it! Crescent isn’t just gonna stand there and let us watch this spectacle. Now we need to buy time until the leader comes! Disperse!”

No words were said as everyone followed Fate’s command. Crescent’s power was great so they didn’t have time to idly chatter. They dispersed, all three in different directions, not willing to waste a single moment of their reprieve.

While Black Moon’s members scattered, Crescent stood where he remained above in the sky,  the same place he had slain the World’s Serpent. He wasn’t paying the fleeing players any heed, instead, his focus directed solely upon the pillar of light. The contrast between the dark aura oozing out of his body and the golden light gave the scene a surrealistic element.

The light eventually died, as the ashes scattered quickly. Crescent watched as the wind carried off the remains of Leo before they could no longer be seen. His void eyes lingered on that spot where Leo had passed, standing gallantly for a couple of seconds. His piercing gaze restored as he decided to act again. His focus shifted on the remaining Black Moon players.

At that moment, Fate and her teammates felt his gaze penetrating them from behind. They all halted, looking back, stunned by the ferocity of his gaze. It shook their foundations. Crescent didn’t move, raising his arm high again. That same orb of darkness converged in his palm. It grew in size, again and again, until it dwarfed everyone and everything in sight. Once again it was a giant ball of madness ready to consume all life.

The ball then compacted. At a rapid, uneven and discontinued pace, it kept growing smaller and smaller. By the end, the ball was barely half the size of its wielder, though it was still black. A void, such darkness could never exist in this fair world.

Fate was fearful for the first time. Terror consumed her as she witnessed the birth of a new worse monstrosity. It was as if reality had ripped open above Crescent. The universe itself seemed unable to accept his power. Primal fear oozed from her. It filled her, giving her goosebumps.

“What are you guys doing?!” Fate demanded, attempting to take command. “D—Disperse!”

“No,” a counter-command was issued quickly along the telepathic channel. “Stay where you are.” 

Fate was surprised. “Leader?” 

“Vez,” Shesmu continued. “Prep a mass TP spell! Everyone, gather towards him!”

“Roger that!” Everyone responded simultaneously.

The team sprang into action. Vez, the silver-haired magician, chanted at a high speed when a dark purple magical circle appeared below him. The circle continued to grow until it reached the diameter of a small room. By then, Fate had already caught up to him, waiting for the rest of the members to converge on them. 

Seeing that Vez was intensely focused, Fate refrained from disturbing him. Her attention was drawn back towards the elephant in the room—Crescent. She was shocked by what her eyes landed on. The void ball was still floating in the air, suspended above his hands. The orb had reduced to no larger than a tennis ball. Even so, it had a menacing aura far larger than its real size. This flame grew bigger and bigger, and so did the fear that grasped Fate’s heart.

Another ball of void was born beside the other, making it one per hand. The two radiated that same incredible power. The tension in the air announced loudly that they were ready to be launched, and they did as Crescent flicked both of his indexes. Upon that signal, the orbs vanished.

Fate’s instincts screamed. After filling the air with menace, those horrible orbs had simply disappeared. Her eyes darted in every direction. She spotted them as she knew she would, because they would not simply dissolve. They vanished the moment her eyes locked upon them, only to appear yet again, now hundreds of meters closer to Fate and Vez’s position. She screamed a command. “Everyone! Get your ass over here and fast! We don’t have time left!”

“Give me ten seconds,” responded the priestess.

“We don’t have that!” Fate yelled. “Crescent is gonna demolish us! Rev, where are you?!”

Rev’s response came instantly. “Behind you.”

Fate looked behind her in time to see Rev wading out of her shadow as if it were a pool. She was already used to Rev’s penchant for dramatic appearances. Thus, she didn’t react, except to chew him out. “Oh, goddamnit! Get serious and while you’re at it, go get Truth here! We need to escape!”

“Roger,” He simply responded, diving back into her shadow. Watching Rev disappear as dramatically as he appeared, Fate sighed and stomped her foot. “Damnit, that’s why he’s single. He’s so creepy! Does he live in my shadow?!”

While Fate rambled on, the orbs of darkness refused to wait for her complaints to end. They were barely a hundred meters away from the teleportation circle, yet Black Moon still had no answer. Fate felt her heart stop its steady beating when a blurry, greenish shadow appeared in the corner of her vision. “Leader?!” she exclaimed.

He appeared, a dark green aura surrounding him, dressed in a black cloak, leaping from branch to branch amidst the trees of the forest, and through the flower-scented air. Black hair floated in the air, brown skin dully reflected the sun, but his hazel eyes reflected it brilliantly, conveying confidence and charm. His lips were pressed into a thin line, his hand firmly gripping the hilt of his sword. 

Shesmu had finally come.