• A yak pulled cart was the last thing the four expected. Katsu, Niko, Karraidin, and Belace, all for different reasons, were sharing a ride to Stratos.
    “So…” Belace began, “What are you guys heading to Stratos for?”
    Karraidin made no answer. Niko, however, decided to speak. “Someone blew up our house.”
    “Oh I see….” Belace looked away nervously. “Where are you guys from?”
    “Storm City.” Katsu answered, opening his umbrella. “And cover up, it’s going to rain.”
    Karraidin looked over at Katsu. “Impossible.” He had no sooner spoken when rain began to fall heavily. “What the hell?” he looked perplexed.
    “Be thankful it isn’t acidic.” Katsu smiled slightly.
    “Hey I know that grin!” Belace jumped up. “You two are all over wanted posters. You’re the Brothers of the Crying Sky aren’t you?”
    “Hey we’re famous.” Niko joked. “Though I should tell you we aren’t really brothers.”
    “Welcome to Stratos travelers.” The old man driving the cart said. “Enjoy your stay.”
    The passengers got off and let the man start the journey back down the mountain. Katsu put up his umbrella and the rain stopped.
    “I hate you…” Karraidin muttered.
    “Why are we here again, Niko?” Katsu ignored Karraidin.
    “You’re kidding right?” Belace started to laugh.
    “You can’t arrest someone in Stratos without an order from the Vatican.” Karraidin coolly explained. “Even then, you have to be a Vatican Hunter.”
    “Speaking of which,” Niko continued the sentence, “isn’t that a squad of the upper level Vatican Hunters coming at us?”
    “Well, well, well, what do we happen to have here?” the largest and most armored of the men turned to face the quartet. “Is that you Guard Captain Karraidin?”
    Karraidin turned away. Belace spoke instead. “Guard Captain? He wouldn’t say a word until it started raining a little while ago.” He shrugged.
    “Idiot, it can’t rain up here. The elevation is so high it comes as snow.” One of the lesser hunters took his turn in the spotlight. “On top of that, you all are now wanted criminals, including you Guard Captain Karraidin.”
    “What did we do?” Belace inquired, careful not to just blow the guy up for no reason.
    “We know you’re faces from the posters. Karraidin, however, is not supposed to leave the New Vatican. Even with permission, he’s with you.” The captain grinned satisfactorily.
    “They’re going to kill us.” Karraidin muttered. “Unless we do something, and that’ll be a waste of time.”
    “Leave it to us.” Niko sighed, clenching his left fist. He and Katsu stepped forward simultaneously.
    “Yes. Please let us prove ourselves.” Katsu gave an evil smile. Thunder rumbled in the distance, and the sound was getting closer, much faster than should be possible. Very soon a moderate rain was falling from the sky.
    “I- I don’t believe this.” The third and final hunter gazed upward as the rain came down.
    “Why not?” NIko shrugged. He unclenched his left hand and the ground center of the guards exploded outwards, knocking them off their feet. “Your turn Katsu.”
    “I know Niko.” Katsu jumped the closest guard. A few swift strokes of his hidden sword slit the man’s throat, the blood spraying wildly over the ground. “You got that on my shirt.” Katsu looked at the splatters that had hit him.
    “What kind of trick was that?” The other two had gotten ready for the fight. It was the captain speaking now. “I thought you Brothers of the Crying Sky were supposed to be terrifying. All you did was knock us over and cheap shot a rookie. That won’t happen again.”
    “He’s right you know.” The remaining underling taunted.
    “Oh shut up would you. Stop complaining and fight or I’ll personally see through it that your soul meets a painful-” Katsu never finished his sentence. An arrow had went through is heart. “Congratulations.” His body turned into an infinite and surrounding darkness, blinding the lesser hunter.
    “This is an Art of the Damned.” The hunter looked around.
    “That’s right, Clouded Mind. What you hit, my poor fool, was your own Captain, but only in his shoulder. Nonetheless,” Katsu let himself laugh, “Nothing but death shall let you leave.”
    “Stop toying with him Katsu, just get it over already!” Niko was handling the Captain by himself, doing little more than deflecting any offensive measures. Belace and Karraidin watched, knowing they could do something but too entertained to ruin the fun.
    “This is ridiculous.” The hunter began to shake, feeling cold and lost in the darkness that existed in his mind. “It’s inhumane, horrible, beyond human boundaries of terrifying.”
    “That’s just what I wanted to hear.” Katsu’s voice was in some way almost demonic in its malevolence. “Art of the Damned, Obvious Fear.”
    The darkness left the hunter as immense pain, cold, and fear filled his body from within. “It hurts. What is this?” The soldier was on the ground, shaking violently.
    “It’s your final moments alive. Your soul will feel pain forever though.” Katsu smiled in a malicious manner. “Art of the Damned, Life Siphon.” The hunter lurched forward, a ghostly white wisp ripping out of his chest. It floated into Katsu.s mouth, turning pitch black. The shell of the soldier fell over, a phantasmal sound of screaming ringing for only seconds.
    “I still need help over here Katsu!!!” Niko was now only dodging, conserving energy instead of wasting it against the Hunter Captain’s extremely powerful attacks.
    “Should we help?” Belace called from the sidelines.
    “Why ask such a stupid question?” Karraidin drew his broadsword, running into combat. He clashed with the Hunter Captain head on, stopping him in his tracks.
    Several minutes passed by, Karraidin and the opposing captain ramming into each other. The other three and now even some citizens, watched from out of the way. Katsu had actually sat down and began a cup of tea with one of the random crowd members. Finally the Captain grew tired of the stalemate.
    “That’s it! One of us needs to die.” The captain said. His breathing was heavy from duress.
    “I agree entirely.” Karraidin nodded.
    The next words were said in unison. “Art of the Blessed, Godswrath!”
    The ground around the battle zone began to shake. Many of the citizens fell to their knees from the power. Karraidin and the Hunter Captain charged towards the other simultaneously. The power of the clashing attacks was immense. Neither Katsu nor the other person let their tea spill. When the smoke and dust cleared, Karraidin was still standing.
    A bit of finger was up in the air, its trajectory sending it right into Katsu’s tea. “Disgusting.” he dumped the tea out.