He was supposed to be beyond this feeling.
He was supposed to be the savior that the prophecies foretold of long ago. He was supposed to be the one who fulfilled the ambitions of the society that were once considered distant dreams. He was supposed to represent the next student in human evolution. He was supposed to be a shepherd that led the enlightened and converted the blasphemers, beyond the base human emotions of hate, avarice, and wrath.
So why did Gill, the ultimate embodiment of harmony whose physical and mental prowess were so perfect that his body was a flawlessly balanced hue of blue and red, with a long golden mane as shimmering as the finest gold, take such delight in watching the blood of the fallen pool on the floor?
With the emerald jewel on his forehead gradually fading as his heart rate evened, Gill looked past the blood pooling at his feet and to the fallen himself. If Gill was the shepherd of humanity, the man who Gill had just beaten was a wolf. Gill was no stranger to having martial artists challenge him, going so far as to considering martial artists the potential leaders of the new age he would usher in, but very few were so morally deformed like this fallen fighter. The deformities were so deep, in fact, that Gill’s servants warned him that the opponent was the Devil Made Flesh.
Gill noticed that the defeated foe was beginning to stir, and thus called out his name. Though it was hard to believe now, with his white karate pants deeply stained in his own blood, his previous scarred body now further marred with burns and bruises and his once-immaculate hair drenched in crimson, but Kazuya was once hailed as the strongest martial artist in the world. Having won the initial King of Iron Fist tournament, Kazuya used his strength to realize his ambitions of complete global conquest. Prior to this unfortunate incident was very close to achieving these ambitions as the secret head of G-Corporation and the supposed hero that the world clamored for to stand up to the Mishima Zaibatsu that he once led.
Kazuya groaned loudly as he faded in and out of consciousness, wondering how this defeat could have happened as he struggled to maintain awareness of his surroundings. He had come to this supposedly secret temple to challenge the owner of the Pandora fragment that his scientists had detected, expecting another easy but brutal victory. He had sacrificed so much for the sake of absolute power: his honor, his family, even his humanity. The darkness that had filled his soul was so profound that his DNA was fused with that of the Devil that claimed him in his childhood. He was more demon than man now, though if things would continue as they are he would be nothing more than dead meat as lifeless as the tiles that he was leaking over.
“It doesn’t have to end this way, Kazuya.”
Gill knelt down as Kazuya tried to push himself off the ground. Dying on his belly would have been a humiliating death, but to meet his end at the hands of this false messiah was completely unacceptable. Thankfully, Gill was giving him ample opportunity to recover by offering a monologue.
“Your soul is damaged. It’s been damaged for a very long time. All you’ve ever known is unimaginable pain on a physical and spiritual level. This pain is so ingrained into your mind that you instinctively seek to eradicate those who would offer you salvation. Love, compassion, mercy: these emotions are base substances that your body instantly rejects. Because of this, all you are left with is your hate.”
Gill smiled as Kazuya continued to bleed out at his feet. It was here, when his opponents were at death’s door, that they were at their most attentive. Kazuya might not have been responding to him in words, but Gill knew that he was listening to his words intently. Perhaps this is why Gill enjoys the complete decimation of his foes so much, because creation could not begin without destruction. It was only when a man had reached the very bottom could ascension be his only recourse.
“I do not hate you, Kazuya. To be truthful, I take pity on you. What you feel is not a sin, but an affliction, and above all else I consider myself a healer. I take pride in taking men such as yourself under my care and leading them on the true path of enlightenment. It is only through balance can one’s soul truly be considered perfect, and I want to mold your clay soul into a statue.”
Finally, Kazuya lifted his head and looked Gill in the face. The blood that had pooled from his body had reached his head, so when he lifted up, a good deal of it dripped down from his forehead and hair, and his teeth were stained with dark red. But his left eye glowed with crimson determination, indicating that he was unquestionably awake. Gill lowered his open hand to Kazuya’s face and made his offer.
“All you need to do, Kazuya Mishima…is take my hand.”
Gill did not take offense when Kazuya lifted his hand and struck Gill with whatever strength he had left. The blow landed squarely in Gill’s nerve center near his cheek: a knockout blow for anyone who was not of Gill’s unique status. Clearly Kazuya had not yet reached the bottom, so Gill took it upon himself to show him the way by grabbing onto Kazuya’s head and slamming him into the ground with such force that the tiled floor cracked and splintered into fragments upon impact. This time, Kazuya was completely still save for shallow, labored breaths.
If Kazuya was not cursed with the name “Mishima,” he would most certainly be dead by now. But Gill could sense that Kazuya had reached “the bottom.” Though Kazuya was too engulfed with pride to admit it, he knew that he was completely as Gill’s mercy with no way out. His body, even with the Devil Gene, could not heal fast enough without Gill quickly putting an end to his life. He had expended what was left of his vaunted strength in that last punch, and it didn’t even leave a blemish. It was a situation he couldn’t have fathomed, but even as Kazuya closed his eyes he remained defiant. He would have rather festered at the bottom than be forced to rise to the top against his will.
“Kazuya…I accept your hand. Now, as your shepherd, I will lead you to a better life. My gifts allow me to reach into a man’s soul, and through healing that soul, promote harmony across everything connected to him. This Devil Gene of yours is a steroid: a short-term enhancement with long-term damaging effects. I will strain this Devil Gene of yours, dilute it and more evenly distribute it across your body. When you wake up, you will realize what has happened, and you will thank me. You will become one of my disciples, and together with your G-Corporation we shall lead the world into an Age of Enlightenment.”
In most cases, Gill’s followers needed minimal coercion to realize that his way was the way of harmony, but there were rare, extreme cases where Gill needed to be a stern parent to the naughty child. As Gill charged his fiery and chilling ki and reached down to take Kazuya’s head once more, he prepared to centrifuge Kazuya’s body and soul and mused at what a powerful and competent disciple he would have when this was all over. Even now he could sense the defiance in Kazuya’s soul, like a brat who wouldn’t sit in time-out. But it was the more difficult students that Gill took pleasure in enlightening.
Gill probed Kazuya’s soul and was about to begin the process of duality, when a markedly different energy than what he was expecting suddenly activated within that soul. Gill had thought that Kazuya’s darkness was so overwhelming that light had to be reintroduced into him, but now a light purer than Gill had ever felt was forcibly driving Gill’s influence out of Kazuya. When the influence threatened to completely overwhelm Gill, he opened his eyes and dropped Kazuya to the floor, where he landed in a heap.
Gill looked past Kazuya and saw that he was no longer alone. Standing over the fallen Mishima was a woman, dressed in shimmering white robes with clean skin and short golden hair held in a hearth with a sapphire jewel placed in the center of her tiara. Feathery wings as white as arctic snow arched from her back, and crystalline blue eyes looked down upon the fallen warrior. Was this the source of the light that drove Gill away from Kazuya?
“Madam…I’m in the middle of an operation. I would prefer if no one interfered.”
From one savior to another, Gill addressed the entity as politely as he could while ignoring whatever anger he might as felt for being interrupted. Whoever this woman was, she radiated with the light of a prime celestial force that even Gill could respect. But as fascinated as Gill was by the Angel that had come down to visit him, he remained devoted to his patient, and stepped forward to reclaim Kazuya and again dichotomize the conflicting forces within him.
But the moment Gill stepped forward, the Angel suddenly lifted her head towards Gill and shot him a glare of such uncommon wrath that the supposedly-perfect leader of the Secret Society froze in his tracks. It was a moment’s hesitation that Gill paid for dearly, as a piercing beam of white light blasted out of the Angel’s tiara and pierced Gill through his right shoulder. For the first time in a long while, Gill’s molten-hot blood dripped on the tiled floor, and his eyes widened in shock.
The Angel knelt down next to Kazuya and placed her hand on his head, grimacing at the red-and-blue dichotomy Gill had forced upon him. With a soft glow enveloping him, Kazuya had the dichotomy removed from him, restoring his natural skin color and the cursed Devil Gene along with it. The Angel smiled thinly, but her smile was wiped away when a ball of frozen ki smashed against her face, forcing her stumbling away as the ki encased half of her face and left shoulder in ice.
The ice shattered moments later as the Angel broke free and diverted all of her attention to Gill, who altered his stance into a fighting position while Angel bared her teeth and entered her own.
“It would seem that I will need to prove myself in order to claim custody of Kazuya. Very well…I accept your trial. Come at me with everything you have, servant of Heaven!”
The Angel did not formally introduce herself, but Gill knew who this woman was to Kazuya the moment she removed Gill’s blessing from his body. There was a phenomenon spoken about in legends but known as fact to a select few in the world, about individuals with a touch of destiny to them being assigned a celestial guardian to attend to them so that they did not stray from their intended path. Kazuya Mishima, clearly one such fated individual, was believed to have the Devil as his celestial guardian, but now Gill knew that this wasn’t entirely true. Rather, this Angel was that guardian, and Gill would need to humble her in order to succeed where she had once failed.
Gill watched the Angel take flight with her wings flapping aggressively before diving towards Gill with a plummeting kick. It was a surprisingly straight-forward attack for someone that was sent from Heaven, but Gill didn’t complain as he parried the attack with a flick of his wrist and countered with a rising elbow that knocked the Angel’s out of the air. Before she could let gravity take hold, Gill hurried her descent back to the ground with a jumping headbutt that smashed her against the floor.
The Angel opened her eyes just in time to see Gill take to the air and attempt to drop his knees upon her, and rolled to the side to avoid the crushing attack. Gill rolled forward to lessen the impact of his missed attack, and by chance moved his head to the side just as Angel attempted to take it off with another beam of energy. Gill returned fire with another blast of ki from his outstretched fist, this time utilizing the fiery side of his power, but the Angel swatted it away and resumed her fighting stance.
There was a smile on Gill’s face as he left his hand outstretched for another blast, but suddenly the Angel reminded him that she was not in the same class as the usual mortals that challenged him. With a lunging dash, the Angel closed the gap between them with such uncanny speed that Gill had no time to protect himself from the Angel driving her fist into his chin with a standing uppercut, her arm flashing in neon white energy. Gill had absorbed a similar attack from Kazuya moments before, a technique that was dubbed “the Electric Wind Godfist”, but the Angel’s variation was so potent that it knocked Gill off of his feet and into the air.
The Angel let out a shrill battle cry and she struck the prone Gill with another Electric Wind Godfist, propelling his ascent further before driving him into the ground with a thrusting kick, followed by a jumping heel drop. Gill quickly stood up and resumed his stance just in time to parry a spinning backfist, and countered with a ki-infused punch that sent the Angel stumbling backwards to brush the flames out of her face.
She opened her eyes just in time to receive a monstrous lariat of freezing ki, encasing her upper body in ice just long enough for Gill to smash her encasing with a fiery kick. The Angel gasped as the searing pain released her from her prison, but the shock in her eyes turned back into determination as she stepped to the right to avoid another punch, and sent Gill rocketing into the air with a standing uppercut even more forceful than the last. This time, Gill was sent rocketing into the air like he had just been launched out of a cannon…and awaiting him at the zenith of his ascent was the Angel who sent him up there in the first place.
With almost instantaneous movement, Angel exceeded the speed of which she had sent Gill flying and smashed him back down to the ground with an axehandle blow. With the jewel in her tiara flashing with power, Angel’s eyes flashed white as she prepared to skewer Gill upon her ki, but as she looked down, she received a blast of frozen ki to her face, this time encasing her entire head in ice and causing her to careen down to the tiled floor like a broken airplane. The resulting crash splintered the floor once more, and Gill landed gracefully on one knee before standing up to see that the ice had not yet been shattered.
Mercy was an essential part of Gill’s teachings as the savior, but there was a morbid curiosity about the prospect of the Angel suffocating in her icy helmet. To that end, he folded his arms and waited for Angel to break free with her beam bisecting the helmet and forcing air back in her lungs. Apparently even servants of Heaven required air if they were to walk among the mortals, even short-term.
“You are a worthy opponent! This is quite entertaining!”
Gill waited for the Angel to again dash towards him, and prepared himself for another uppercut. This time, the Angel went low and disrupted Gill’s footing with a sweeping kick, followed by a rising knee that sent him stumbling backwards. Not willing to give her foe a chance to recover, Angel decided to once again take Gill for a ride, this time with her directly guiding his ascent: a leaping uppercut her charge had dubbed the “Thunder Godfist” followed by her latching onto the still-careening Gill and driving him headfirst into the floor. Quickly rising up, the Angel looked down at Gill and unleashed a thin beam of power. This one wasn’t enough to pierce Gill, but it was powerful enough to leave a scorch mark on his left arm when he raised it to defend himself.
Ignoring the pain, Gill lunged for the Angel while still in the midst of firing her attack and grabbed onto her head, this time with his left hand infused with fiery energy. With the potency of the attack greatly reduced, Gill squeezed down on her head and again wondered with morbid curiosity the limits of the Angel’s unique physiology. Did servants of Heaven bleed? If so, what was it that ran through their veins? Was it blood as red as any other human? If it wasn’t, was it something that could be gathered and analyzed for later study?
The Angel grit her teeth before wrapping her hands around Gill’s massive arm and focusing her supernatural ki into them. With her wings flapping wildly, Angel lifted the arm off of her and wrapped out to grab Gill’s throat just as her wings brought that two of them airborne. Now in full control, Angel nosedived into the ground and again drove Gill’s head into the ground, and then began pounding him into submission with mounted punches.
Gill lifted his legs and pushed the Angel off of him before rising back up and seeing that the scar on his left arm was healing up as expected. Angel focused her ki into her right fist and lunged forward in an attempt to run Gill through, but Gill narrowly stepped to the side and delivered a swift chop to the back of the Angel’s head. The Angel stumbled forward before spinning around with a roundhouse kick, this time hitting her mark and forcing Gill to stumble backwards. She lunged for Gill once more, this time jumping into the air with the intent to drive her fist through his head.
Gill’s wild swat hit its mark, sending the Angel careening to the side and sliding to a halt on the floor. Standing up on one knee taking deep, focused breaths, the Angel looked up to her opponent and saw that he too was taking long gasps for air. But after a moment, Gill smiled warmly at the Angel and stood upright while lowering his fists. Apparently, Gill wished to talk to her, from one savior to another.
“In the excitement of battle…I have forgotten my upbringing. We are kindred spirits, you and I, and we should not be fighting over something so petty. We are higher beings, placed on this Earth to guide and teach. Let us compare philosophies for a moment…”
For all of Angel’s fighting prowess and aggression, in order to be considered protected under Heaven’s power it was necessary for her to remain a source of purity. Gill knew that, if she truly was an Angel, that purity would include a strong desire for peace and diplomacy if she were offered it. Therefore, the Angel stood up and lowered her fighting stance while Gill folded his arms and spoke.