Chapter 1: Phoenix, the Winged Warrior

This is strange. I, Moira Newberry, was working in the bank on Friday when a bank robber came in pointing a gun at me. I think I must have fallen asleep since I don’t remember what happened after that. It must have been a dream and yet I am having a dream within a dream. I am wearing a long white robe instead of my brown business suit with my long black hair let loose instead of in a bun. There’s nothing here…all I see is black.  I wouldn’t say it is dark, since I am looking at a man mumbling to himself. He seems troubled.

“WHY THE HELL DID YOU DIE SUCH A STUPID DEATH?”

“Are you talking to me?”

He didn’t answer me, but I suspect he is talking about me. I see…I died. I must have been shot in the head by the robber…I guess that’s my fault for falling asleep on the barrel of the gun. Is this the afterlife? It is pretty different from what I imagined. I didn’t even see the tunnel of light.

This man is still mumbling to himself with his back turned to me. It’s not healthy to mumble to yourself. I tried to get his attention, but he just kept ignoring me.

“Hello?”

“It’s decided.”

“Huh?”

He answered, but what’s decided? He faced me pointing his finger at me.

“You will have a repeat cycle.”

“…Huh?”

What’s a repeat cycle? Does he mean menstruation period? Oh, he might mean reincarnation, but why call it repeat cycle. I heard that in reincarnation, each life is different.

“I have never done this before, but I will make an exception.”

“An exception?”

“That’s right. You have eight previous lives that are trash to life.”

That’s rude.

“You will enter these lives again to purify that life and increase your good karma.”

Ah, so that’s what he meant by repeat cycle, but how do I repeat these lives?

“You will enter the body after the assigned death and make that life a life worth living before I take you to the next life. Do you understand?”

“I think I do.”

I have heard of this. He is talking about transmigration where a person enters a dead body and lives their life. I read enough light novels to know what this is, but it still worries me. How bad was I in those lives to be called trash by this man?

“If you understand then it is time to enter your first life.”

“Wait, shouldn’t you tell me what this life was like before?”

The man just chuckled, saying, “The memories will come when needed, so get going.” The next thing I knew, I felt my world spinning. It was like my head just hit a stone wall (that does hurt you know).

When I opened my eyes, I saw a stone ceiling. I am not surrounded by darkness anymore, but I am pretty confused. Where am I?

“Why did the gate close?”

“Was there a time limit?”

“Not that I know of.”

Those voices are very noisy. I sat up and glanced over my shoulder and saw two boys and two girls standing before a metal gate with confusion in their faces. Why are they so confused?

One of the girls suddenly faced me and squealed like a cat. Her voice is really high to the point I felt my hair stand up…I also feel something heavy on my back flapping. I glance back and saw two huge wings of brown and white attached to me…I admit they look cool, but why are they there? Now that I think about it, the man did send me to one of my previous lives, so maybe in this life, I have huge wings…I am starting to see something. These must be my current life’s memory.

Looks like I am a winged warrior demon known as a Warrior Harpy named Phoenix that serves under the Demon King. Oh, this is like an RPG world. I found entertainment in slaughtering humans…that’s pretty bad. I was the favorite warrior of the Demon King, so I was made a sub boss in his castle when I wasn’t out killing humans. Looks like I pretended to be male, since I saw women as weak. Oh, just before I took over, I was killed by the hero party that broke into the demon castle. I died from blood force trauma to the head…that must have really hurt and explains the headache I am having now.

I don’t think all the memories surfaced, but it is enough for me to know that the group facing me with seriousness in their eyes are the heroes that killed me not too long ago. I was pretty bad in this life, so I really shouldn’t hold a grudge. I actually don’t feel like holding a grudge.

“So, you still live Phoenix? No wonder the gate closed.”

One of the boys spoke. Long blonde hair and an armor of silver…yep, he definitely fits the description of a Bishounen Hero. If the memory serves me right, then I believe his name is Cornelius Braveheart. I only know this since he announced it in my memory. The other three…I think they said their names, but I don’t think I bothered to listen at the time.

I stand up noting that the hero party backed up a bit.

“I wonder where the exit is?”

“Huh?”

As I mentioned before, I have no grudge against them, so I rather just leave and live my life. I look around the room looking for an exit, but there are no windows and doors. The only exit is that gate…how did I get in here in the first place?

“What game are you playing Phoenix?”

Cornelius looks annoyed, but I just want to find an exit. Hold on, he said that the gate opened before, so maybe…

“Do you know how to get out of this room?”

“…Do you seriously not know?”

I shook my head.

“I have to defeat you and then the gate will open.”

Defeat me? Oh, just like in the RPGs. You have to beat the boss to go to the next level. I see. I guess that’s the only way.

“OK then please defeat me,” I stated as I spread my arms. He just needs to defeat me for us to leave this room. Huh, for some reason Cornelius and his group are frozen solid with puzzled looks.

“ARE YOU MAKING FOOLS OUT OF US?”

Oh dear, the other boy with a green headband spoke and he sounds pretty mad, but why is he mad? I just asked them to defeat me, so we can leave the room.

One of the girls in a purple poufy dress gripped a scepter in her hand as she pointed at me.

“You are a blood thirsty warrior. Do you really expect us to believe that you want to be defeated?”

She does have a point, but I want you guys to defeat me.

The last girl with silver hair (nice color) looked at Cornelius saying, “We should strike before he makes a move.”

“…I don’t feel right, fighting him when he is unarmed.”

“CORNELIUS!”

All of them yelled at him, but I guess he does have a point. They all have weapons, except for me. I know I had a weapon, but it is nowhere in sight. Oh, this should do. I picked up my “weapon” from the ground and pointed it at the group saying, “Now attack me.”

“…”

Why are they so silent?

“THAT’S A TWIG!”

I know it is, but I am armed, so they can attack now. If I didn’t use a twig then I might accidentally hurt them. My memories seem to point that I was pretty strong.

“He’s seriously mocking us!”

“Take us seriously!”

But I don’t want you guys to get hurt. As heroes, I want you to succeed in saving the human race. I tried to say this with my eyes, but the message was not getting through to them.

“I’ve had enough. DIE!”

The girl with the scepter sent a ball of fire at me. That looks really dangerous. I whacked it away with the twig. The twig surprisingly didn’t burn, but the ball of fire completely vanished.

“…He…stopped it…with a twig?”

Oh dear, she looks pretty shocked. I am shocked too. I didn’t expect this twig to be so strong. I guess seeing that the twig was indeed strong, the other members of the hero party began to attack me. For some reason, their attacks look pretty slow. Dodge to the right. Dodge to the left. Leap up and kick. Oh dear, I kicked the headband boy pretty strong in the head. He is bleeding. I dodge the other attacks and press my hand to the boy’s bleeding forehead.

“Sebastian!”

Light emits from my hand. Good thing I have a healing ability in this life. I wouldn’t want scars to appear on the heroes’ bodies. The boy, I think they called him Sebastian, jumped away placing a hand to his forehead in confusion. He’s not cringing, so I guess I healed him good, but I didn’t have time to take pride in myself, since I had to whack away some fire balls coming at me.

Dodge, dodge, and then swing the twig. Oh, a burst of wind came out and caused the scepter girl to tumble over. Her leg is bleeding. Touch her leg quickly to heal it and then jump away before I can get hit. Ok, now you guys have to fight harder to defeat me. I want to be defeated, but I also don’t want to hurt their pride. Maybe I can fake my defeat in a way that doesn’t hurt them. Oh dear…dodge, dodge, dodge and swing the twig. I hit all four of them this time. They look hurt, so better use more healing. This time a mist came out when I healed them. So pretty.

Now that they are healed, please continue. I will fake my defeat the best I can…they are not moving. They look puzzled as they all stare at me. Cornelius suddenly lifted his Holy Blade (I think) and cut his arm. KYAHH, are you trying to kill yourself now? I must have hurt his pride somehow.

I heal his arm and then go back into fighting stance. Now he looks angry.

“WHY ARE YOU HEALING US?”

“I don’t want you to have scars.”

“Scars?”

“You guys are heroes, so you can’t have scars when you fight the demon king.”

“…”

They really look confused. I guess I would be confused too if my enemy suddenly asked them to beat my boss.

The girl with silver hair glanced at Cornelius and stated, “I don’t think Phoenix has any intention to hurt us.”

“Are you sure, Luna?”

The girl, Luna, nodded and added, “I feel no hostility from him compared to when we first fought him. It is like he is a different person.”

Looks like she suspects that I am a different person. Well I am not really trying to hide it.

They placed their weapons away and approached me. Cornelius was the closes to me as he looked at me up and down. He suddenly grabbed my head and tossed off my helmet…I was wearing a helmet? Cornelius was frozen as our eyes met. He looks pretty red. Is he sick? He tilted my head slightly looking at the back of my head. Is something there?

“I think he has amnesia.”

“Are you serious?”

“I did fling him against the wall pretty hard. There’s even a dent in his helmet.”

I was flung hard against the wall. That’s what killed me according to my memories.

“So is he really harmless?” asked the girl that I still didn’t know the name of. The other girl, Luna, nodded saying, “There is no murderous intent in him and the fact that he was healing us makes me believe that he is harmless.”

Luna sounds so nice.

The boy, Sebastian, rubbed his chin and stated, “So how do we get out? We need to beat him remember?” Sebastian does have a point.  I know this will hurt their pride, but I do want to get out.

I collided into Cornelius making both of us fall over.

“Kyah, I have been defeated!”

Nothing happens, so I guess this doesn’t count me being defeated. All of them seem to be looking at me with pitiful looks. Is something wrong?

Cornelius suddenly rolled me off of him with burning red cheeks. I wonder if it is hot in here.

“Pretending won’t work!” exclaimed Cornelius. He looks a little mad. I guess I shouldn’t have pushed him over.

“Maybe Phoenix can open it another way. He is the sub boss of this floor after all,” suggested the scepter girl. I still don’t know her name.

“Korra is right.”

So her name is Korra.

“Phoenix, you must remember a way out of here.”

You guys say that, but I really don’t know how to get out of here. The only exit is the gate, so maybe…

“Open sesame!”

Nothing happens.

“What was that supposed to do?” Cornelius asked me with a raised eyebrow. I shrugged not really knowing how to answer his question.

I then began to fly around the room. Flying comes natural to me by the looks of it…or not. I come crashing into the ground quickly. That really hurt.

“Looks like Phoenix forgot how to fly,” I heard Sebastian say, but I could also hear him suppressing his laughter. I am new at this, so I guess I do look pretty silly.

Wait a second, there’s something on the floor glowing. What is this? The next thing I know; I find myself kneeling in a different room with Cornelius and the others standing behind me.

“What did you do, Phoenix?” Cornelius asked, but even I don’t know what just happened. We are in a different room, but before us stood a man with horns on his head. He was shirtless, but he wore fur pants and his hands and feet had claws.

The man was glaring at us pretty hard.

“What is the meaning of this, Phoenix?” demanded the man, “Why did you teleport the heroes to this floor of his majesty?”

Oh, so this is the demon king’s floor, but I remember that the demon king looks different compared to the man before me, so he must be another sub boss before the demon king.

“Are you betraying us?”

The horned man looks pretty hurt. I guess this is betrayal, but what the demons are doing is pretty bad. Killing is wrong.

Cornelius and his party suddenly stood before me facing the horned man.

“Amaruq, we have come to end this!”

So that man is called Amaruq…cool name.

Amaruq smirked extending his claws.

“Is that so? Well you will have to defeat me to reach his majesty, so prepare to meet your doom.”

With those words, he rushed at the hero party. Luna made a defense shield repelling Amaruq’s attack and then they went on the attack. Clashing with the claws of Amaruq and casting spells, this is just like a fantasy movie. I’ll just watch this fight and cheer for the heroes.

“Go heroes!”

“DON’T CHEER FOR THEM!”

Amaruq just scolded me. It kind of scared me. Oh, more memories are flowing in…they’re related to Amaruq. It seems we met when I was a kid and he was an adult. Looks like he is way older than me and he is a race that doesn’t grow old when they reach a certain age. I healed him when I found him wounded and then we became fast friends. Such nice memories, but these memories that surfaced won’t tell me why we became the bad guys. It doesn’t change the fact that we were friends and my “betrayal” hurt him. I feel pretty bad about this, but we have to stop the killing. We need to stop killing humans.

Looks like Cornelius and the others finally defeated Amaruq. Amaruq is shaking on the ground in pain, but he is obviously defeated. Cornelius raised his sword to finish him off, but I immediately stood before the fallen Amaruq preventing Cornelius from attacking.

“What are you doing, Phoenix?”

“Amaruq…I remember him being my friend, so please allow him to live.”

Cornelius looked hesitant to attack as I stood before him, but his eyes suddenly widened as he grabbed me and pulled me to his chest. Amaruq had stood up and tried to slash my back, but missed thanks to Cornelius pulling me. Amaruq, still shaking in pain, suddenly burst through a pair of doors.

“Amaruq, what are you doing? PUT ME DOWN!”

That voice…it was in the memories I obtained. That’s the demon king. I separated from Cornelius and then ran into what I believed was the throne room. It was empty, but through the opened balcony, I could see Amaruq flying away on what looked like a winged horse with the demon king (he had long black hair and horns on his head) over his shoulder. Looks like they escaped.

Cornelius and the others soon entered. I could see the disappointment in their faces when they realized the demon king had escaped. I bowed to them in apology, but Cornelius placed a hand to my shoulder saying, “It’s OK, Phoenix. The demon King has fled, so this is our victory.”

“Victory?”

Cornelius nodded and added, “Without a leader, the demons will fall. The country belongs to us once again. Let’s work hard to make peace.” I nodded, but I feel like something is missing. What memory didn’t return?

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