• A raven flew through the skies. Its black wings beat in rhythm against the storm. The scattered rain splattered across the horizon, which strode forever in both directions. The sky broke into pieces, darkness filling its gaps. In the savanna below, animals instinctively looked for shelter. Their eyes became intense with fear, as they moaned in the yonder. The light was gone now; emptiness remained. Life had disappeared into the darkness, and only the sharp tones of the wind were left. Then the wind stopped, too.

    Thoughts bounced through Tanaka's head.

    "What happened?" he thought, drifting in consciousness.

    His tan complexion became lighter, and his pupils turned into slits as they dilated in a dark green presence. His ears narrowed, becoming pointy. Brown hair grew inside and through his natural black hair, becoming dense. From his cheeks grew long thick whiskers, like a cat.

    "Aah," he whispered, as he was too weak to shout.

    Tanaka's gauntlets slowly slipped off, revealing scorched hands. From his hands emanated a dark green light, which bubbled inside of his bones, replacing the patches of dead skin and veins. His hands formed into sickles, which curved in towards the light. Fur grew around his body, hiding all the physical features that once made him up. His face grew long, his nose morphed into a snout.

    As the transformation occurred, Tanaka slowly became more aware of his surroundings. His thoughts immediately went to the previous battle. A slow, whooshing sound was heard through his new, sensitive ears. He turned through the blackness of the abyss. Tanaka saw nothing, yet he still heard the whooshing sound.

    "Why does it sound familiar?" he thought aloud.

    He spied the greenish tint of the gauntlets, which suddenly disappeared. Suddenly, Tanaka realized that there was something there; he just couldn't see it.

    "A black vortex!" Tanaka thought, feeling slightly relieved.

    Then, just as the gloves disappeared, his own body vanished.

    Interval two

    Under the clouds and far away, a game of cricket was played. There were boys who could play well and others who couldn't play at all. The boys who couldn't play just stuck to watching, but one stood out of the crowd. He chose to play, even if he had the most trouble. They all hated him, they despised him, yet he kept on playing. His hands steadied as the ball came closer, and as he walked forward to hit, the ball curved.

    "Nice going, idiot. You missed the ball," the other boys said, glaring at the young boy.

    The wickets were no longer standing, instead lying on the ground waiting to be put back up.

    "Sorry, guys. I'm not doing my best today," the young boy said.

    "Ha! This is your best. Face it. You stink!" the boys said.

    "Get Sieg off the team."

    Sieg glared at them but dropped his bat, walking towards the spectator's division. A small group of girls watched from the side. Most of them laughed like monkeys, at the site of his loss. The others didn't look like they had even cared. Sieg passed the spectators, walking through an empty field. He had a clear mind to where he was headed. Home.

    Interval Three

    Gauntlets lay on a small place mat in the middle of a polished table. A large furry mammal slept on a large couch, to the side of a small clean room. Two men in white coats rested on chairs near the strange creature.

    "He still sleeps? It's been four hours," the man on the left said in a gruff voice.

    The other did not reply, as he watched the creature, studying its attributes. The creature's ears wiggled, and its dark green eyes lit up. It turned and faced the two men, who looked unfathomed.

    "The Impatient man? And you, the thick-haired guy. Klaus," the creature said, weakly.

    He pointed a sickle to the man with thick brown curls. He looked at the sickle and screamed.

    "Easy, Tanaka. Although, this wasn't supposed to happen..." Klaus stopped and did not speak anymore.

    "What exactly is this?" Tanaka cried.

    He looked over his sickles, searching desperately for hands.

    "Well, something strange occurred as you were fighting Romulus. Somehow, the locks on the gauntlets opened, and you heard the scream of a mandrake," the impatient man declared.

    Tanaka's mind erupted with images of the boy and the dog.

    "I opened the locks," Tanaka replied.

    "Impossible! You couldn't have opened the locks. They don't open unless you really are the creator."

    "You mean, I'm not this 'Creator'?" Tanaka asked, looking over his new limbs again.

    "No. You are not. That may have something to do with your new form."

    Tanaka said nothing. He looked over his new body, inspecting the brown fur, confused and tired.

    "By the way," the impatient man declared, "my name is Eraci."

    "Hmph, you finally tell me your name. And what a weird one it is. I can see why you refrained from telling it to me." Tanaka said.

    Eraci became infuriated with the insult but cooled down quickly.

    "Maybe, I shouldn't tell you how to change back," he said, in an evil voice.

    Tanaka's rabbit-like ears twitched, and he suddenly became serious.

    "You know how to turn me back?" he asked feverishly.

    "There is a price, however," Eraci said, knowingly.

    "Anything! Please change me back!" Tanaka begged.

    Klaus listened carefully, as he read a small book, with a small picture of Tanaka's gauntlets on the front cover.

    "Well, you need to bring some items, and..." Eraci started.

    "I can do that!" Tanaka interrupted.

    "There is also a small price in blood..."



    "Hope was an illusion, and yet it was the only thing that kept me alive for so long."

    The sickles that replaced Tanaka's hands glistened with blood. Tears dropped from his almost lifeless eyes, from which hate coiled up.

    "Why am I so angry? I'm no longer human, so killing shouldn't have been a problem," he thought.

    He slashed at empty space, till he wore himself out. Falling from exhaustion, he expected to hit the ground hard.

    He woke up to find himself on a seemingly endless desert. It had not affected him, for he had experienced things that were far worse.

    "Sand, sand everywhere. Not black or white, only fair. A new place and time, what other place to rhyme..."

    Tanaka got up and brushed the sand off his body with his furry arms. He tried to remember the events that had occurred before he dropped into this new area.

    "I killed someone, or was that a dream?" thought Tanaka.

    Not being able to discern reality from dreams, he gave up and walked to wherever his feet could lead him. He had missed having hands, and overall all his regular limbs and appendages, but mostly his hands because he could not catch, grab, and do what hands can do. He could not grab at the sand feeling how soft it was, only cleave it, and to what avail did that do? His new sickles were meant for fighting, right? No, they were meant for killing.

    As he stared at the blood-stained weapon that stole life, the moon's light reflected upon it. He saw a mirror image of his old body, turning around, searching for the key to save him from the curse, a way back into the past; but luck was still not on his side - only vast dunes of sand. He say back down, trying again to remember what happened earlier; however, his memories seemed to have been shattered.

    After some time, he fell asleep from pure stress. His last hope before shut-eye was that his subconscious had some answers.

    They called me an Angel, though I know for certain my traits are far from angelic, for I had never bothered to help anyone. I asked them why they would say such a thing. They said they believed in the prophecy, the one determining me as their guardian angel.

    In his dreams, a masked, gray-haired human with a hole in his chest appeared, asking Tanaka, with a weak voice, to hear his last words.

    "During my visit in the human cities, I talked to many of the elders. They told me about death and how you would see your memories appear in a flash of light or something. Now I know, though, dying doesn't bring any memories; it destroys them.

    I've never believed in destiny or prophecies, but the looks of the humans were enough to tell me that they seemed to really believe in that stuff. I tried to get out of it, but they persisted that I 'follow my destiny.' I guess the prophecy was proven false, though, since I lie here dying amidst the range of mountains, in the city of devils.

    Though I may not be destined to defeat that demon army, I have some special powers that will help you, the one truly destined to defeat the army. Just before I die, I will transfer my soul's remaining energy to you. Don't worry, I am prepared to go to hell, as long as you save those humans. I deserve to go there anyway.

    So just listen to me: hope may be the farthest thing from your mind, but it is the only thing that can keep you alive.

    So, be careful not to lose... it."

    The old man closed his eyes, and a surge of energy went through Tanaka.

    Waking up, Tanaka cried, desperately pleading for another way. Realizing that the vision was over, Tanaka tried hard to calm himself down. After he was calm, he tried to think of a plan to get out of the desert.

    "I have some time, so I might as well try to figure out what my new powers are," thought Tanaka.

    From a distance, it seemed a bright orange dust cloud was traveling at an almost unrecordable pace.