Rei kept her aim on the knight.
"You can't lie to me anymore. I know who my dad is, and you aren't him."
The knight chuckled. "Fufufufu. Are you certain? How well do you know your own father?"
"What kind of question is that? How would I not know Dad?"
"He hasn't been sharing everything. He's kept secrets that you deserve to know. Not just about yourself, but who he is. I believe you've been contemplating on this yourself."
Rei's draw relaxed a bit. "What? How…?"
Keena stepped forward. "That's enough! Stop trying to get into her head. If you want to get to her you'll have to go through me, first!"
The knight glared at Keena. "None of this is a concern of yours. Stay out of this."
Keena's jaw clenched. "You've no idea how long I've been waiting for this opportunity. I'm not going to lose it, even if I have to go down with you!"
Bard tried to stop her. "Keena! Wait!"
The knight made no reaction as Keena sprinted toward him. She swung her dagger across his chest plate, but the blade phased through him, as if he was only a phantom.
"This is a family matter." The knight said with a wave of his hand. "Now begone!"
Keena was slowly repelled backwards. When she stopped, she noticed she couldn't advance. Bard walked forward, and realized he was also unable to proceed. A strange force field cut them off from Rei.
The knight turned his attention back to Rei. "They cannot get in, and neither can you get out."
Rei swore under her breath. She tried to think.
"Tell me then -- why are you so interested in me? And what was Dad hiding for so long?"
"Why? Your father and I were once one. But he eventually lost his memory, and I was in a severely weakened state. We were nearly reunited, but he kept trying to push me away, and wouldn't relinquish his control. I was imprisoned within his body until I was passed on to his offspring. In other words -- you."
Rei almost dropped her bow. "I…possess two souls?"
"Yes in a manner of speaking. With your help I've been able to manifest a meta-physical form. All I lack is a bond with you, and I'll be once again complete."
"You can't sell me this nonsense! All you've ever done is lie to me!"
The knight's wings shifted a bit.
"Have I, Rei? All I've been doing is help you to make your feelings a reality. Both of us believe human beings to be slimy mithril-hoarders. Together, we can fix that. Your anger toward them and everything else is what helped me form. Destiny willed us to once again change the world."
Rei kept silent and let him continue.
"You see, you cannot run or hide from me…your Destiny. I'm the bridge between you and your father's emotions. He already knows of your grudge toward the wrongs of this world. You don't want to let him down do you? Let me guide your mind and we will bring justice to this pathetic planet."
"We share feelings? I don't know what kind of stuff you've been smoking, but I'll take a doubt on that."
The knight laughed. "Believe what you wish. But if you want to resist, then I'll have to consume your mind and soul -- by force!"
"Forget it! I won't be your rag doll to throw around!"
Rei fired. All three arrows passed through him. The knight laughed again.
"Foolish child. I told you I was nothing but a mere phantom. While we can't physically harm one another…inner power is a different story."
He rushed forward with blinding speed, even with his visibly heavy armor and weapon. He held his hand out toward Rei and she was sent flying. She bounced off the invisible walls and fell to the ground.
Bard called from behind his invisible barrier. "Do not attempt to fight him, Rei! Everything you've ever faced pales in comparison."
Rei swallowed and tried to stand. "I know. I don't have any other choice. I can't run. I'm like a cornered cat right now."
Rei ignored the rest of his protests. She staggered to her feet. She then engaged her Phoenix armor. While it might help her take more heat, she was already struggling to stand. Since the knight was only a phantom, she couldn't force contact to use her own ability. She was completely powerless.
A strange purple energy formed beside her, and the knight appeared from it, as if teleporting through it. There was another small explosion and Rei was sent flying again. She rolled along the ground until a tree stopped her. The knight appeared in yet another portal. He took Rei by the neck and held her against the tree.
"The angrier you get the more I grow in strength and form. Your struggle is futile."
Now able to make contact, Rei tried to wrap her hands around his arm and pull the energy from his body. Her own hands still phased through however, even though she was being held. Rei almost felt her own energy being absorbed. She fought with her mind to stay conscious.
"There is no reason to keep fighting it. You've lost, child. Let go of your body and mind and give them to me!"
With a quick and desperate thought, Rei reached for her bag behind her and grabbed for her cutter. She drew it first chance and began to swing wildly, with every slash passing straight through her foe. She was out of options, but refused to submit.
Come on, sword! You're my last hope!
There was a strange tightening sensation in Rei's gut. The cutter suddenly glowed bright green, and the she felt the blade make contact. The knight dropped Rei and clutched at his smoldering shoulder. She was slow to recover, and the knight was aiming his own large sword at her before she could make another move.
"You little bitch! I'll destroy your wretched soul!"
As the knight rushed her, time seem to slow to almost a halt. A voice entered Rei's mind. She had thought she had shaken it off, but this voice felt different. It was warmer and more comforting.
"-ei. Rei! Stand your ground! Resist his will and don't show fear. Show him you are the dominant soul!"
Rei closed her eyes. The knight swung when he closed in. Rei's body moved like a petal on a breeze, avoiding his blow with ease. She thrust her blade, and caught him square in the chest. The knight fell to his knees. She finally opened her eyes, almost shocked at her triumph.
"I…wanted to help you eradicate human life and bring justice to this planet, as you'd always planned…You'd be a hero, just as your father would have been…"
Rei was brimming with energy. She felt neither tired nor weary, despite the struggle from a moment ago. With confidence, she replied:
"I never cared about justice, and I don't recall ever calling myself a hero…I have always only fought for the people I believe in. I won't hesitate…If an enemy appears in front of me, I will destroy it!"
Bard and Keena immediately rushed to Rei's side as the barrier separating them faded. The knight spoke again.
"Very well. You and your father are too much alike…One minute wanting humanity gone, and then you join them…And just in the same way, I find myself back where I slept for two-hundred years…I hope that you, your daddy, and his beloved woman that tore him from my grasp, will burn in the black fires of damnation…Rei Hadron!"
The knight collapsed, and faded away. Keena began bombarding Rei with questions.
"Are you alright?! Anything broken?!"
"No, Keena. I'm -- "
"You could have been killed!"
Rei looked away. "…I will never die. Somehow I felt like Dad was there, guarding me."
Bard repeated the knight's final word in question.
Rei looked back toward him. "Yes. That's my last name."
Bard's face showed no signs of emotion. He repeated himself, but with a much firmer tone.
"……Hadron…It all makes sense. Your unexplainable power. Your earlier intolerance for human beings. 'I find myself back where I slept for two-hundred years'. I thought I'd recognized your cutter…"
Rei's expression was a mix of confusion and anticipation. "What? What makes sense? What do you know?"
Bard blinked a few times. Emotionlessness continued to cloud his face. "Your parents, Rei. They are being held at Hell's Keep."
How Bard can suddenly guess where my parents are now, I'll never figure out. Even more confusing, how he feels that everything about me is explained by my last name. Will have to get an answer later, priority is finding my parents as it always has been. He believes they are in Hell's Keep, a wasteland I never thought anything of growing up. It's as good a place as any to look at this point. The only thing is, its on the south axis of the whole planet, and how do I get there a lot quicker than on foot…without running into trouble?
- One quote in here is taken from the script of Mega Man Zero 4. Mega Man is property of CAPCOM.