Many years after Dr. Alice Reinhardt, a world renowned scientist who was awarded with a Nobel Prize, developed the Reinhardt Teleportation Device, or RTD, at the World’s Fair, the world began using the device for another form of transporting goods. The RTD had the main function of using “quantum teleportation”, but cannot be used for human transportation as it essentially would “kill” the person it would be teleporting and “rebuild” the person at the destination atom-by-atom. Being practical for commercial use, the RTD cannot be hacked or rebuilt from scratch and virtually indestructible, thus it was staple product in every home.
Her brother, Headmaster Alexander Reinhardt, ran the prestigious Yggdrasil Academy, its campus built upon a manmade island. The academy can be broken down into six “main houses”, however, it is a story for another day. More importantly, the school has a large arena for combat in order to train both the “mind and body”. There, students of the six main houses compete to be the best in the arena ranks while using specially crafted items the user can “cast magic” varying from shoes to berets which are called “conduits”.
Our story begins with the mysterious appearance of a person who appeared at the Yggdrasil Academy roughly 18 years after the death of Headmaster Reinhardt. The leaders of the main houses, called the Chiefs, were leading their own battalions in the annual House War event held in commemoration of headmaster Reinhardt when he made his arrival known.
The houses of Aqua, Ventus, Terra, Incendia, Crystallos, and Fulgur halt at the center of the grand arena, all having stopped the fighting.
“In the name of House Aqua, who are you?” asks a girl who points her rapier at the person.
“Chief Sera, don’t try to attack… I have a feeling that person’s dangerous,” says a guy who is roughly the same age as Sera.
“Lets introduce ourselves first then. I am Sera Hartfield, chief of House Aqua,” she says with a polite bow.
“I am George Gregory, chief of House Terra,” says the same person who gave Sera the foreboding message.
“… I know it may seem impolite, but can we skip the formal introductions already?” the person replies in a voice so soothing and calming, it could calm even Satan.
He wears a silver mask with black runes carved on it, outlined with red. Aside from his mask, everything screamed “mysterious”.
“Well, there’s Souma, chief of House Ventus, Ignis, chief of House Incendia, Jin, chief of House Crystallos, and Thor, chief of House Fulgur. What is your name?” George replies as he puts on his gloves, seeming to be a conduit.
“I am Helios,” the person says in response.
“I hope you know what you are doing, Helios. After all, you are in the middle of an ongoing battle. Then again, you are just one person,” Sera says as she readies herself to fight, motioning to the others to do the same.
“… Why are people trying to fight me as of late? Seriously, I just transferred here…” Helios mutters under his breath.
Sera did have a point in which Helios is just one enemy, as no-one has ever managed to win against just one Chief, let alone the elite amongst elite. The entire combined might of the six houses is enough to deter the most arrogant student. Yet when they all attacked him, what happened next was considered impossible. Each and every single member had so easily fallen by Helios, who had not even used magic at all. Then, he got a call from a certain doctor.
“Helios, are you being good?” a woman’s voice inquired.
“Yes, mom,” he says sarcastically and quietly enough to not be heard by outsiders.
“Don’t be like that, Helios. After all, your maker is the one who made well-known RTD. Anyways, I think you’ll meet someone special there,” she replies in a singsong voice.
“… Have you been binge watching those romance shows?” he responds tonelessly before noticing Sera getting up.
“Just who are you…?” Sera asks.
“Who am I? I am…” Helios says in such a suspenseful manner, it was as if he was giving the secret to immortality. Each and every student listened carefully, the people literally standing up and trying to hear every single word.
“… a transfer student,” his fruity and matter-of-fact voice breaking the serious atmosphere.
Continuing from the incident, the House War went along as usual with House Aqua winning the event. Afterwards, it is lunchtime for all the students. On the roof garden, it looks similar to a grassy meadow with ring of flowers, as if it was a crown. In the center sits Helios, gazing at the empty blue sky, devoid of clouds.
“What can I do for you…?” Helios asks, noticing a girl in the doorway.
“How did you know I was here?” she asks in a silvery smooth voice.
“I’ll let you guess how I knew,” he replies soft-spoken with a gentle smile.
“Aw, please tell me,” she replies, with a little huff as she sits next to Helios.
“No-one can sneak up behind me,” he replies with a smirk.
“I bet I can one day.”
“Maybe. Anyways, why are you up here?”
“This place always has the best view,” she says as she brushes a strand of her glacial blue hair away from her face.
“I have to agree with you on that,” he responds while glancing at her and back at the sky, despite not a single person could tell what he is looking at due to his mask, but he was a little paranoid about it.
“What’s your name?” she asks quietly.
“Helios. What’s yours?”
Selene and Helios could ever so easily be distinguished. Helios didn’t wear his hood which revealed his black hair, some strands reaching down to his hips and his black robes contrasted to Selene’s snowy white dress, the difference was as clear as night and day.
“I know it might be a little sensitive for you, but why do you wear the mask?” she, a little careful with her wording.
“I don’t know why, but this mask always felt like a part of me. I haven’t taken it off in so long,” he replies with a hint of nostalgia in his voice.
“Really? You’ve never wondered what you looked like without your mask?”
“Yeah,” he says.
Time goes by and the pair spends more time together. When it was time to part, they said their goodbyes. One time, Selene found Helios sleeping when he read a book. Feeling a little mischievous, she begins to braid his hair.
“Selene?” Helios asks as he woke up.
“Yes?” she asks in response.
“What did you do…? Something doesn’t feel right…”
“Hm… could it be this?” she asks as she holds up a mirror, revealing Helios having two braided ponytails and she tries to suppress her laughter.
Helios disapproving, he lightly hits Selene on the head with his book. Several days pass and the day comes for a sparring in combat training as an assessment of the students.
“Helios, you here?” the teacher asks as he takes attendance and Helios raises his hand.
“Well, looks like Selene has a partner to spar with. I heard you were pretty powerful, so I thought you could a good match with Selene.”
Helios walks over Selene and asks, “looks like I’ll spar with you, are you ready?” to which she responds with a nod.
He removes his hood and creates a powerful sword from a dark miasma. A great explosion is heard as Helios lunges at Selene with some of his strength, miraculously blocked by Selene’s barrier and the impact forms a crater around her while the others look on, astonished. The sparring continues and Helios manages to break through her barrier, but is sent flying back by Selene’s magic. Just then, he noticed Selene stepped on what appears to be a landmine.
“Selene!” he yells, his voice strangled and he leaps with all of his energy to save her.
When the bomb went off, he made it just in time to use magic to protect Selene. He lands on his back, holding Selene tight in his arms. When she woke, she notices that she is in the infirmary and sees Helios sitting on a chair, fast asleep.
“Helios?” she asks quietly, waking him up.
“You’re awake,” he says as he opens his eyes, being a light sleeper.
For a moment, Selene almost felt as if she nearly died and went to Heaven as she realizes Helios has his mask off. The color of his eyes reminded her of a beautiful red sunset and red as rubies. His gentle smile causing her to blush bright red. She was at a loss for words as she gazed at him. Before she could say anything, Helios receives a call.
“Sorry, I need to answer this,” he says apologetically before leaving the room.
Outside the infirmary, Helios answers the call.
“A little bird told me you took down the strongest magic users with your bare hands.”
“I apologize, Dr. Reinhardt.”
“… you didn’t kill them all, right?” she asks very gravely.
“Of course not.”
“Aside from other matters, I heard you saved a classmate. My Helios is growing up so fast!”
“You’re not my mother…”
“Of course, I did only made you into who you are today,” she replied.
“The SOLACE Project, correct?”
“As expected from my prototype.”
“Onto other matters, do you think it is him?”
“Dr. Christopher Vaughn? Of course. After all, he probably found the ‘astral crystal’ he has been looking for. If you do cross paths with him, make sure he is terminated.”
“No-one can betray IGNIS and get away with it. ”
“Naturally. If Dr. Vaughn was targeting the girl, do you reckon she might be special?”
“Considering he placed a weapon on the school grounds, very likely.”
“You have permission to use the Quantum Drive. Remember, ‘fronti nulla fides’.”
“ ‘Verba volant, scripta manent’, Dr. Reinhardt.”
Helios temporarily activates the Quantum Drive and crystal-like weapons appear, floating gracefully in the air like a flower petal floating in the wind. Confirming everything is in order, he deactivates the Quantum Drive and walks back in.
“Sorry about that.” he says and sits back on the chair.
“It’s fine,” she responds after she had calmed herself when Helios was out of the room.
“The nurse said you will be fine and it was just a simple concussion, but you should rest,” he lies through his teeth.
“I feel fine though,” she replied questioningly.
“Trust me, you really need to rest.”
“If you say so…” Selene responds and falls back asleep.
Meanwhile, a man was biding his time in a rather exquisite conference room. A man in a suit enters.
“Milord, the retrieval of Subject 388.5 has failed.”
“If we lose her, Project EVE will be in shambles.”
He reveals a beautifully crafted staff, embedded with various gems.
“That staff-! Milord, are you going to…?”
“Yes. I will personally retrieve the EVE Subject if two of my best men fail.”
“Do you think it was Dr. Reinhardt’s toy who protected the subject, milord?”
“I would be crazy to say it isn’t a possibility.”
Two men dressed head to toe in armor enter the room, their appearance giving a clear sign that the men were once human. The man stands up from his seat, a smirk appearing on his youthful face.
“This will be quite fun.”
Helios, having escorted Selene to her dorm, he stays at the rooftop garden and looks at the gray sky. Raising his arm skyward, he summons forth a scepter, the object gleaming with otherworldly power and sovereignty. The scepter was meant to be held by his creator, yet she gave it to him. Transparent flames float in the air, having appeared once the scepter was grasped by Helios.
“Even so, are we truly free?“ one flame asked, somehow speaking.
“To act differently with other people will surely be your undoing.” said another.
“Why try pretending?” asked another.
“We are you, Helios. Well, at least each of us is a part of you.”
“So tell us – yourself – that even if we have our ‘key’ to freedom, why are you holding back?”
“There is something – no, someone – who seems so familiar to me,” Helios responds.
“We would be lying if we said we didn’t notice that at all. Just who is she?”
“Why did Dr. Reinhardt choose us?”
“What is true freedom?”
“True freedom is to share, all the chains our brothers wear, and with heart and hand to be earnest to make others free,” Helios responds calmly.
“She is but a caged bird, wanting to be free, after all. But who holds the key?”
“Is she even human?”
“She is. From what I can tell, maybe she’s like us.”
The flames disappear, leaving Helios by himself. He stares toward the gray clouds, remembering it was supposed to rain. Making his way to the bus stop, the rain had begun once he opened his umbrella in the shivering cold. By the time he entered the bus, the sky was dark with the heavy downpour. Nearly falling asleep, the sleepiness was quickly cast away as someone asked “can I sit next to you?” turning his head, he sees a boy with snowy white hair and red eyes who had what looks like a barcode under his left eye. He replies with a nod and the boy sits by his side.
“Um… did something happen?” he politely asks Helios.
“Hm? How can you tell?” Helios asks in response.
“You seem to be a bit troubled judging by the look in your eyes.”
Helios decided not to ask how the boy could possibly know and replies, “I guess I am, with how everything is going on after the little incident.”
“Some rumors say there’s some sort of ‘secret society’ that purposely targeted Selene for reasons unknown.”
“Still, a rumor is a rumor. Then again, rumors have a grain of truth within.”
“The winds seem to carry a foreboding message for you especially. It’s no mistake considering how well I understand the wind.”
“… just how old are you?” Helios asks, questioning the boy.
“I’m 25, why do you ask?” he replies along with the glint of maturity in his eyes. Indeed the boyish male was tall (178cm), but his childlike demeanor and looks betray any thoughts he might as well be a long shot to guess he was 18. Taken aback, Helios could not comprehend the person’s youthful appearance.
“Ah, I haven’t introduced myself! My name is Souma,” he replies.
“My name is Helios. Nice to meet you, Souma.”
“You’re Helios? I was expecting a super buff guy with enough strength to tear a person in half with a single punch!”
What made Souma even more remarkable to Helios was Souma’s vocal range when Souma sings. Combining the fact Souma was 25, Helios was wondering if Souma was inhuman. Several minutes pass and Souma got off before Helios after saying his farewell. However, what Souma said before his farewell caught attention.
“An interesting person will be arriving after school in a few days for Selene.”
At the moment, Helios concentrated on his spoken words. When he arrived at his house, Helios went to the backyard to summon the crystal-like weapons again, heeding what Souma had said.
“Just who are you, Souma?” Helios said as he stood alone.
Meanwhile, Souma is in his room and it is apparent he is not alone, for a hooded figure floated around.
“Selene has an Astral Crystal Core and Helios with a Quantum Core, I am sure of it,” Souma says.
“- And you, who has the God Core. You can easily crush them both, since I gave it to you after all,” the figure replies.
“You know, I find it hard to believe a sort of god exists until you came along.”
“Naturally, but I am no god – in this world, yes due to this being created from my mind, but I am simply a mortal being. After all, gods rely on faith whereas I do not”
“It is pretty fun to know what is going to happen. Can’t say the same for Selene nor Helios, but I won’t directly influence the events. Why are you living in my place to being with?” Souma asks with a stern look at the person, who is playing a video game and eating ramen.
“It’d be a shame if my favorite character died of health problems or killed,” the person replies.
“Helios and Selene – god of the sun and the goddess of the moon… I think I know where this is going. Might as well make a painting, have to ‘brush up’ my skills after all.”
“I can help you out,” the person replied, creating the finest paint and materials.
“It’s a bit cruel for their future.”
“All humans know pain and suffering throughout their lives, some more than others.”
“But still… they don’t deserve it. They’re good people.”
“You’ll have your moment, Souma. After all, it is fated that you will come to their aid.”
A moment of silence passes, although the person’s face could not be seen, one can tell how serious the person was.
“Cryptid defeated! Time to equip the item,” the person says cheerfully, breaking the atmosphere.
“Honestly… a person with enough power to destroy the universe and begin it again is like this…” Souma thought to himself.
“Why did you call the core I received, the ‘God Core’ anyways?”
“It just sounds cooler.”
The next day, Souma leaves his room and passed by a rough sketch he had made yesterday. The rough sketch reveals a person with an outstretched hand toward another person who was bound by chains, surrounded by dark figures which almost appear to worship the bound person and sneer at the person with the outstretched hand. The ‘god’ looks at the rough sketch approvingly and mutters, “he sure is quite interesting indeed.”
At school, Helios is in History class. Being a rather studious, he sat in the front row.
“After the great war, Ragnarok, had ended, the world changed. Helios, would you like to explain how the world changed?” the teacher, Mr. Adams, says.
“The supercontinent, Sobrius, was broken apart and formed what is now known as the Octo Saecula, or ‘Eight Worlds’. On each of the Mundi are the ruling lords, their territory decided by each having already wanted the land in advance, thus no quarrels had occurred as each was satisfied with their own land. Due to Ragnarok, some had said the world became flat from the sheer power of the battle. From space, it is confirmed that the world is not actually flat. However, it led to the discovery of the Decem Tenebris Mundi, or ‘Ten Dark Worlds’. When this fact was discovered, IGNIS had been formed by Dr. Alice Reinhardt and Yggdrasil Academy was founded by the first headmaster, Alexander Reinhardt.”
“Excellent, mister Helios. At this rate you might replace me after I retire!” Mr. Adams says with praise.
“I was only curious as to how this world came to be, that is all,” Helios replies politely.
“Continuing from what Helios said, each of the Octo Saecula had held relics and ruins of a civilization before Ragnarok. There goes a tale that during Ragnarok, a great city called ‘Arcadia’, had technology beyond even today’s modern technology had sunk into the ocean. Would anyone like to explain what happened after the discovery of the Decem Tenebris Mundi, aside from the formation of IGNIS and Yggdrasil Academy? Maybe miss Hartfield?”
“It was decided by the lords of the Octo Saecula in which something must be done to prevent war with the whole other world. At the same time, Dr. Reinhardt had made the Conduits to help aid students of Yggdrasil Academy to ‘cast magic’, in accordance to the agreement she made with her brother. The kings determined to have their citizens test their ability to use the Conduits, including their own children-”
“Mister Gregory, since you were sleeping, how about you say the names of the houses each lord had formed and what lands they occupy?” Mr. Adams asks after slamming his hand on Gregory’s desk to wake him.
“I was only resting my eyes!” George says after moving back with such force he would’ve fallen backwards. “The Gregory family rules over the great plains, with a great desert to the west of the land. The Hartfields are known to have many lakes, waterfalls, and many other bodies of water. The Flamma family are famous for their unique land – a combination of deserts, mountains, and oases. The Glacio family rules over the icy tundras. The Adtonitus family rules over the metal enriched land where IGNIS is currently based in. Finally, there is the Spiritus family to the East, famous for its unique style and weaponry. The other two have yet to say anything about forming a house, but it is confirmed that the Reinhardt family is alive and well after the lord’s son, Wolfe Reinhardt, had gone missing.”
“Excellent, mister Gregory. But only if your homework grades were as good as your test scores,” Mr. Adams replies.
After that, Mr. Adams continued to keep teaching until the bell rang. Helios went to the training ground to practice martial arts after deciding he should brush up on his skills. Activating a specially made android for sparring, he readied himself. Though one enemy wasn’t too difficult as Helios himself mastered Krav Maga, Vale Tudo, Ninjutsu, and LINE, the four martial arts were considered top 5 of the world’s deadliest martial arts and for this reason he had used an android. From afar, Selene watched after she left the school’s infirmary (which also dubbed as the world’s best hospital). It was rather interesting to see Helios fight 10 of the androids, but he then beat 100 androids at the same time, each android holding a different weapon. Souma, who was hidden, was not surprised at the scene given that Krav Maga was a martial art focused on counter attacking swiftly and efficiently along with ending the fight as quickly as possible.
“Not too shabby, but I can do better,” Helios says as he looks at the broken androids. Deciding to do better, he fights 2,000 androids – the result was his victory.
“This is pretty good, though I still have a long way to go…” he mutters to himself.
“How can you possibly be better? Frankly, I’m terrified what you could do with a weapon!” Souma thought as he witnessed the fight.
“God Core: Byakko,” he says, and upon saying so, beautiful green shards begin floating off of his body and floated in the air as if they were flower petals. Souma, with an astonishingly fast leap, leaves the scene, leaving behind the dancing green shards as if a spirit had stood there.
“Hm, the winds seem favorable today…” Helios says while wiping his forehead with a towel.
After finishing up, Helios and Selene walk around the school grounds. Although Helios hid it well, he was concerned about Selene’s safety, again remembering Souma’s words. Almost as if she knew, she asks Helios if he was alright after she noticed him being concerned as of late. Helios was about to reply, until two men in armor attacked him – and would have killed him instantly, if Helios had not activated the Quantum Core and countered.
“Who are you?” Helios asks with a strained countenance and grabbed one of the crystal-like weapons he summoned – it was but a mere shield.
“Ah Helios, Dr. Reinhardt’s toy,” says a man behind the two men with a voice excruciatingly condescending and stereotypically villainous to the point it nearly made Helios question the man’s sanity.
“What do you want, stereotypical villain of the year?”
“I want you to give Subject 388.5 which you are currently guarding and your Quantum Core, which both belong to me.”
“Sure, just come and take them,” Helios responds in a slightly low voice.
The two men walk over to Helios, and just when they were close to him, Helios grabs one man by the head, the same he did to the other, and slammed the two men’s heads together, quickly decapitating with a quick slash with his shield.
“It will be the day I die when I bow down before you,” Helios declares with a voice filled with power. The man ordered hidden snipers to shoot, but Helios blocked them all by creating clones of himself, making the walls of Sparta.
“Hmph. It is just a mere shield, boy. If you thought I had only brought just those two, you are mistaken!” the man says as he raises a platinum staff into the air.
The staff broke apart – or more like disassembled itself as if it was made of nanotechnology and made a crown upon the man’s head. The sky darkened as cloud formed, more of the men in armor flew down from above and failed to successfully attack Helios. Helios thought to himself how can the Academy let this happen, until a large artillery hit his shield. It was not just this explosion – it was happening all around the island.
“What are you doing?!” Helios yelled at the villain, his now raspy voice filled with both confusion and anger.
“What am I doing? I am merely euthanizing the Reinhardt’s dogs. So pathetically weak under the superiority of the Vaughn family,” the man says with a look of both scorn and amusement at the rain of destruction, one that of a boy burning ants.
More men in the armor land, now armed with guns, spears, and swords. Helios, with his shield, summons a ningata – a type of Japanese spear. The spear’s blade becomes engulfed in a sinister flame and Helios swiftly makes a barrier around Selene.
“I presume you are Dr. Vaughn?” Helios asks while he prepares his spear for battle.
“If you join me, I will tell you,” the man replies with a child-like grin.
Even though Helios was surrounded, he had stabbed one of the men in armor with his spear and the man gurgled as if he was screaming as the flames burst from his body. Even though Helios took down just one man, the sudden appearance of his clones had already did the same to the others.
“Too easy,” he says as he wipes away the blood with a quick swing. The sound of what sounded like food being fried was coming from the charred bodies, the smoke still rising. Helios raises his spear at the supposed Dr. Vaughn and says, “don’t think you’ll be getting away,” and four blades stabbed deep into the man.
Just when he cleaned off the blood from his blade, a dark, low laugh is heard from Dr. Vaughn.
“Do you think I, Dr. Vaughn, could possibly be felled by a mere lower construct? Laughable! Unfortunately for you, boy, I was only playing around,” Dr. Vaughn says as he crushes the blades with his bloody hands.
“The stereotypical ‘this is not even my final form’? Well, it will now be interesting at least,” Helios replies with a grin.
Dr. Vaughn summons a certain staff, to which Selene suddenly collapses as if she had a terrible headache.
“Unfortunately for you, Helios, Selene was created by me,” Dr. Vaughn says triumphantly.
Selene’s snowy white skin turns slightly gray, her oceanic blue hair becomes blue-gray, her beautiful white and gold dress becomes a black dress one would wear at a funeral, chains begin to whirl around her in the shape of an orb, and her blue eyes turn red. In the sky, the ever-present moon becomes blood red.
“Now then, fall to the deepest pits of dispair,” Dr. Vaughn arrogantly says as he snaps his fingers.
Selene shatters Helios’ barrier and stabs him with a greatsword, followed by countless hacks and slashes. Surprised by all of this, Helios manages to get away, although now heavily wounded.
“I did not think you would stoop so low,” Helios speaks, his voice now gruff and weary.
A few minutes pass by in silence. Dr. Vaughn breaks the silence as asks of Helios, “Shall you join me?”
“I would rather live a hermit.”
“I know your strength, Helios. Why have you not even so much utter a surrender, or attempt to retreat?”
“Hmph, you know nothing of the way of the warrior, Dr. Vaughn. I shall stand my ground and fight until my death, because I would rather die a warrior at the pinnacle of my strength!” Helios shouts towards the Heavens. He stabs the ground with his spear and raises his shield over his heart. The sun above darkens and black tendrils slither out, as if the sun itself was an all-seeing being. The Quantum Core activates its full power.
Thousands upon millions of copies of Helios appear, brandishing the same gear. His foes number many, but even in his current state, Helios never once yielded to fear. Selene and Dr. Vaughn’s men try so hard to attack, but are repelled by the clones. A sane person can ask “how” and get a very simple answer – Helios can teleport. Many foes were struck down by Helios, whom fiercely fought as if this fight truly was his last. No attack was in vain, no movement was a mistake, not even his very thoughts wavered from battle.
Soon enough, only Helios, Selene, and Dr. Vaughn remained. The battle continued between Helios and Selene, who was manipulated by Dr. Vaughn.
However, black chains coiled around Helios, binding him to the ground.
“I had already won, pathetic dog of IGNIS,” Dr. Vaughn arrogantly says as Helios falls to the planet’s core.
Helios cursed humanity to only see an eternal night, robbing them of the sun. All other flora and fauna will not have this curse. Dr. Vaughn had robbed Helios of not only Selene, but his very livelihood of a warrior. He had also cursed that any ruler after and including Dr. Vaughn will live a long life, with pain and suffering increasing every day. He had also bestowed blessings upon warriors who valiantly fought and died in battle.
It was this that Helios received another name – Ares.