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Shadow Hearts Covenant OST Village of the Dog God ~ Inugami Village

Shadows: Part 2.0

Re-introducing Shadows! It felt good to write this. This story explores the darker side of being a hero, and what human desperation can do to the soul. 

DO NOT REPOST OR COPY. Enjoy!


When Adrien thought of Ladybug, he thought of her eyes. They reminded him of the trips his mother took with him to the sea. He would get the same feeling looking into her eyes as when he had looked into the water then: that he would never be able to quite capture its beauty in his memory. Each time he got to see that magnificent color was like the first time, and the awe that hitched his breath would never lose luster.

How Adrien loved to see that turquoise blue. Her eyes stood out against the red of her mask, a mask that reminded Adrien that, like the sea, Ladybug was a mystery to him. He ached to discover more, to dive into her vastness. What a wondrous beauty she was.

BOOM.

Chat ducked instinctively. An explosion of ash and ruble woke his senses. He could use those turquoise eyes right now, as well as the body that they captained.

Ladybug and Chat Noir’s battle with the Mongol had slowly dragged on for a month. The man, who began his campaign by tactfully destroying Paris’s icons of hope, was now beginning his second phase: the struggle for power. With the mayor of Paris safely tucked away into hiding, Chat Noir and Ladybug were his main targets. With them out of the way, he would off the mayor and declare Paris the first conquered territory of his future empire.

So for a month their fight had dragged on. With no akuma to free, Chat Noir and Ladybug were running out of ideas on how to defeat the Mongol. Much worse, the damage the Mongol caused could not be healed, allowing fear to grow behind closed doors. Everything had shut down after the first week of terror, and the people had to learn how to survive with what they had. Paris was on its knees.

CRACK, BOOM!

Chat flinched. Like lightning a surge of black energy whipped out to strike the building across the alley Chat was hiding in, sending bricks cascading through the air.

“Here, kitty, kitty…” the Mongol cooed. It sent a chill up Chat’s spine. This was what it was like to be hunted.

And he had been shot. With an arrow.

Knowing that he would have to pick the fight back up again soon, he grabbed its shaft and clenched his teeth. The tip came out with a gasp, soaked in his blood. Blood that was surprisingly spreading through his shoulder. In all of his battles beside Ladybug, he had never been wounded. The pain was like nothing else, but the wound wasn’t mortal. He would survive, he reminded himself, and he rested his head against the building’s cool exterior.

He could hear the Mongol’s calls growing closer.

“Five more minutes” Chat groaned. What he would do for some time off.

“Chat.”

The blond-headed superhero nearly cried out. Suddenly a red glove covered his mouth, and two turquoise gems stared back at him.

“My lady,” he breathed, kissing her hand and snatching her into his arms. Usually Ladybug did not permit such fondness, but given the dark situation she allowed it. He believed she once said that it was to help boost morale or something. He didn’t much care.

“We should move south,” she said, pulling away from him. She was business as usual, but there was a tiredness in her eyes. It was to be expected after fighting for a month, but this was something different. She was giving up hope.

“Towards the school? I thought we agreed to avoid places like that,” Chat protested.

“There’s no one inside,” she said grimly.

They paused as they processed this. No one was inside because Chat Noir and Ladybug were losing this battle.

The Mongol brought down another building with another crack of thunder.

“What’s your plan?” Ladybug demanded.

“Attack?” Chat said weakly.

Another explosion. The Mongol was on their heels. Chat grimaced at how his reaction to the sound made the pain rip through his shoulder. It drew Ladybug’s eyes to his wound.

“I’ll scope out his weak spots this time. I’ll draw him out, and you attack from behind. Hit him over the head or something. We need time to figure this out,” Chat said, preparing himself. With one click his baton extended out, ready for battle.

He was about to turn his back to her when she called his name. Her lips pressed a small kiss to his cheek.

“Thank you,” she said.

It irked him that she was saying thank you to him now. Before, when things still looked hopeful, she would say “good luck.” Now she said “thank you” as if she was going to die. Or as if Chat Noir might die. He didn’t like the thought of either scenario. Still he nodded at her with a small smile, and she sprinted off.

Chat took a breath and counted down. Three…for his family. Two…for his friends. One…for his spotted beauty.

He jumped out into the street yelling.

Chat had accurately guessed that the Mongol had been 10 steps away from where he had been hiding. The element of surprise gave Chat the advantage, and he swung his baton at the Mongol, angrily aiming for his neck. The Mongol’s reflexes were quick, however, and the villain deflected the blow with the back of his bow. Covered in dark animal hide, the weapon was surprisingly sturdy.

“There you are alley cat!” the Mongol bellowed. His dark eyes glinted against the sun. It was clear he enjoyed the fight.

Using the advantage that the opponent was off balance, Chat swung at his feet, but each time the Mongol found sturdy footing. Left, left, right. Left, left, left, right! No matter his efforts to get the Mongol to stumble, the villain remained centered.

Chat, however, was too nimble, and his dancing around left him with his weight on the balls of his feet. The Mongol swung at Chat’s head, the hero ducked, and the sudden force of the maneuver made Chat fall on his side. His bad side.

The Mongol cackled. Chat quickly recovered.

Angry, Chat swung at the Mongol’s sides, his throat, his stomach. He remembered that his job was to find a weak point, but it wasn’t helping that Chat wasn’t landing any hits.

Fluidly blocking and avoiding Chat’s swings, the Mongol decided that it was time for a speech.

“You think that you can win against me, boy?” the Mongol made his first attack, hitting Chat square on his wound. Chat yelled in pain, losing his footing.

“You think that your miraculous can save you?” Another hit, this time Chat’s rib cage, knocking the wind out of him.

“How cute.” With a sinister smile the Mongol jutted his hand out, sending the black lightning straight at Chat. The hero was blinded by it as the force sent him flying through the air. His body landed on a mailbox, folding backwards over it, then crumpled to the street.

Chat groaned, trying to keep his vision clear. Looking up through squinted eyes, he saw the Mongol walking steadily and haughtily towards him, black eyes eager to kill. But behind the villain was red. Behind the Mongol was Ladybug, looking pale, a few paces away. And behind Ladybug, peeking from behind a corner was a blonde girl. Chloe?

Chat stood, only to be knocked back by the black lightning again. The Mongol yelled over his screams.

“What power have you to match my will? I AM THE GREAT CONQUERER!”

Chat was on his knees, the energy like liquid fire pulsing through his own heart. Death, he wanted death.

The Mongol stopped only when he had Chat Noir by the throat.

“A measly boy in a cat suit cannot stop me. You are nothing!”

“Lucky Charm!!”

In desperation Ladybug had resorted to using her miraculous immediately. For a moment she was beautiful, with red light shining above her. Her arms waited outstretched, her eyes full of faith that she would find a solution to this mess.

The Mongol threw Chat Noir down to the pavement. Over the noise of his own coughing, Chat Noir barely made out the villain’s next words: “Watch me pry the wings off your precious Ladybug.”

Then, before Chat could do anything to stop it, the Mongol drew an arrow to his bow and shot it. In an instant his arrow founds its target: in the dead center of Ladybug’s chest. 

The world stopped.

She stumbled backward from the blow, surprise washed over her face. It was like the face of someone finding out that their trust had been broken. Then Chat watched as her knees buckled, her heels lost ground, and she fell backward, her arms falling loosely through the air. Her yoyo cracked against the pavement before her head did. Her eyes were still open, turquoise clouded over and lifeless. Like the broken world Chat was witnessing, red glass rained down on her body, her Lucky Charm fragmented.

There was ringing in Chat’s ears. He hadn’t realized that he had been screaming. When Ladybug didn’t stir to his calls he bowed his head and squeezed his eyes shut. This couldn’t be happening. He had the Mongol’s attention again. The villain was taunting him, but Chat’s head was spinning too fast to fully grasp the words.

Pain. There was pain in his stomach. Chat looked up at Ladybug’s fallen form, which Chloe now attended. It was as if he could feel the arrow she had been hurt with. The arrow he failed to protect her from.

No, the arrow the Mongol harmed her with. This was his fault.

“Enough!” Chat’s voice rang out, silencing the Mongol’s gloating. There was a low ripple edging its way through the back of Chat’s throat - a growl - growing from his chest and expanding outwards, changing his very form. Still on his hands and knees, Chat’s shoulders hunched forward, something feral taking over him. He gave way to his instincts, his fingers unleashing silver claws, his eyes able to see…more. It was like looking through heat vision goggles, but more complex than that. He could see swirls of different wispy shadows tethered to the Mongol, who was now tentatively backing away. There was one shadow, however, that swirled above the Mongol’s head, unable to find its place and looking lost.

Chat’s growl rippled through his throat louder now, and he stood slowly. The Mongol drew his bow, but Chat’s reflexes were much faster now, and he deflected the shot with his…sword. His baton was now a sword! Unluckily for the Mongol, Adrien was an expert with swords.

Quickly realizing that his arrows would no longer protect him, the Mongol glanced back towards Ladybug, an idea forming in his mind. Before the Mongol could draw his hand to summon his black lightning, Chat was in between the space between him and her, snarling.

“Down, kitty,” the Mongol played, but there was fear behind his eyes. He made a move to attack Chat’s wound again, but Chat could now see every muscle moving in slow motion. Before the Mongol could strike, Chat struck the space between the Mongol’s arm and arm pit, effectively displacing the shoulder.

The Mongol yelled, but Chat was not done working. He struck just below the navel, the space between the ribs, below the chin, and, for good measure, the nose.

The villain was on the pavement gasping, and Chat crouched above him, claws raised and snarling. He was debating whether to use his claws or his teeth to rip the Mongol’s throat out when the villain spoke.

“You’ve done it. You’ve accessed the dark power within you!” The Mongol choked and spit blood. “You truly have the most powerful miraculous. Abandon your binding to Ladybug. Join me and I will teach you how to use that power!”

His words only enraged Chat. The black cat swung his claws, but an explosion of black energy blew him back. Rolling over on his side, Chat was quickly up again. But the Mongol was gone.

Chat spit and snarled, searching, but when he was sure the villain was somewhere far away he looked back at Ladybug. Her head was cradled in Chloe’s lap, still lifeless.

With a shudder Chat fell on his knees. Everything felt heavy, and then all at once the weight melted away. He was back in his old Chat Noir form.

Exasperated, it took him a while to get off his hands and knees. It was as if the extra power took a toll on something much deeper within him.

Chloe grew rigid when he drew near, but he ignored it. He joined them on the street, kneeling to sweep the hair away from Ladybug’s face. His throat began to feel tight as he looked her over.

“Is she…?”

“She’s alive,” Chloe stated firmly. He could feel her eyes on him.

He breathed a sigh of relief. His worst nightmare was narrowly avoided. Barely. 

“Chat, what was that out there?”

Chat looked at her. Chloe’s eyes were wide. Judging by her trembling hands, she was in shock. 

“I think I know someone who can help her,” he said, gathering Ladybug into his arms and picking her up. He rested her head on his shoulder, painful as it was. He could feel her shallow breath on his neck, and that would keep him going.

“You need to get out of here,” Chat demanded. “Get somewhere safe.”

“But, Chat -”

“Go!” he snarled.

Fear washed over Chloe’s face, and he felt a twinge of regret. She was just an innocent bystander, and the last thing he wanted was for the public to start fearing him too. But he couldn’t help it. Something very human in him resorted to anger to protect his wounded heart.

He watched Chloe run away stumbling, unable to help the feeling that he had caused the start of something very, very bad. He couldn’t focus on that now though.

He looked at his other half. The Mongol’s words were still stuck in Chat’s head. He would never abandon Ladybug, no matter what. Still, it was his job to protect her, and he had failed. What good was he is his darkness couldn’t guard her light?

Tears began to escape his eyes. He rested his forehead on Ladybug’s and closed his eyes.

“I’m so sorry my lady.”