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                                  Time was fickle. The safety railing creaked as he pressed his back into it for support. Clear evidence of their tax payer dollars at work; he knew he should have voted for his local representative last year but he couldn't be bothered. It seemed a trifle matter at the time -- as everything often does in retrospect. People are prone to melodrama. Young people ever more. Silly thoughts of "I'm the strongest" or "I'll fly higher than anyone," and even "I love you more than anyone else, we'll be together forever." Such thoughts were the right of the youthful and jubilant. To press onward in search of themselves and their destiny they were a tool to light the darkness and keep the future bright. Destiny, like time however, was cruel. It always had other plans of who people become and what roads would cross down the line. The softest of breaths escaped the pass between his lips and he heaved a heavy sigh. Getting old had really made him soft. In his prime he commenced a reign of terror that sent ripples through the Storm Riding world. Shattering earth and crushing bone until he sat perched upon a throne forged from the corpses of both friend and foe. His reckless power had no need for distinction nor any desire for reflection. He would simply rage and destroy until he was all that was left standing. And after all his hard work he was finally adorned with his prize. A crown of thorns for the coronation. Long live the king, the mighty Behemoth indeed. But that was then. Who was he now? Did he even know?

                                  Hibino, Hareluya. Devil to some, jackass to many, Marcello to one. He was all those things and many more. A best friend, an arch-nemesis, a freeloader. Regardless of whom you asked, those who knew him for better or worse would unmistakably agree -- He was always Hareluya. And all that entailed. But time had changed him, hours passed had worn him soft like leather. That ferocious edge he once wore with pride was now all but gone. In its stead he exuded a more gentle air. A sense of serenity that only comes from wisdom with age. He didn't need to be so volatile to express himself anymore. Impulsivity was a privilege of the young, the call to action before thought. But for the old and experienced there was foresight, recollection... a savvy they gain through the constant trials and tribulations of adulthood. At this point, he's seen it all before. Where he used to promise a swift end to someone who even looked at him the wrong way, now he projected a subtle indifference. His time in the sun was over, his throne was left empty though he kept the crown as a keepsake. To reminisce on days long since passed when he could run wild and free. It was a heavy burden to bear, weighing down his neck as if to strangle him with his own self aggrandizing.

                                  Around it they swung. The symbol of his right to rule, the crown, his precious Dark Golems. Meticulously tuned and crafted by himself to handle the overbearing might he displayed with abandon. Battered, beaten, and bruised but never broken. He saw them as extensions of himself and on the very top of them they shined; right there in front of the Air Trecks' tongue sat the strongest gems -- Hardest Apostolica. How many bodies did he have to step over to reach them? Just how much of his humanity did he forsake to stand alone at that summit? His own guilt refused to allow him an answer. A lump pressed against the back of his throat as he swallowed it, gazing his striking scarlet eyes to the sky he skewered his doubt. It was a beautiful day out. He made sure to take it all in... The birds were singing, the sun was kissing his face, and almost as if on cue a gentle breeze bristled across his skin. Brushing back his bundled locks as he found himself alive in this very moment. It was so honestly simple that he found himself taking it for granted. After all was said and done, he was living his life. But was it much of one? For a while now he'd been having the sweetest dreams. They were almost like fairy-tales...

                                  Narrated by a voice he could never forget. Soft and gentle, it whispered into his ears in the dead of night. "Once upon a time... there was a princess." Her soothing tone grated the back of his mind, raising the hair on his neck to attention. It gave him goosebumps. "A princess, huh?" He conceded, the corners of his lips playfully hanging into a smile. A princess. His princess... Formerly. He puckered his lips together and spat on the ground in reflex at the sour taste in his mouth. Not a day went by that he didn't think of her. Not a single one. His proclamation of love for her. Her promises of staying by his side forever. The poisonous sting of her warm lips on his in the rain that fateful day... Tender tips of fingers traced the lining of his mouth as if she were still there. All of it a fresh wound that swore never to close. Did she ever think of him? Was she well? Had she moved on? Together forever but forever never seems that long until you're grown. What did that make ten years apart? Suffering? Agony? Adulthood?

                                  Knowing now what he didn't know then, he came to respect that they were perfectly bad for one another. A true match made in hell. A princess and her devil. Forever intertwined but destined to be apart. And perhaps that was for the best. She was always fated to lose herself. And he would conquer entire nations to find her. For the one he loved most he would have rained fire and destruction upon those who interfered. Slaughtering innocents, even children, sparing none if they so much as even dared to stop him from seeing her... from being with her. Her love for him was toxic and his reciprocation of it was catastrophic. Perhaps she knew when she spoke those words. She might have even considered it a form of protection in her own twisted way. He found it ironic that she may have caused him more pain than anything else, but devil's don't cry. He chuckled remembering the last time he actually did. In a race with his best friend, Alastair. He never claimed to be a great loser, but he'd made some good friends in his time. Ray, Alastair, Vivien... even Satome, loathe was he to admit. It wasn't the future he wanted, but it was the one he got. One surrounded by wonderful people and a legacy that would stand the test of time.

                                  You need to leave... how those words echoed in the chambers of his heart. But what hurt the most was she wasn't wrong. He couldn't refute that he was living a wonderful life. He was doing well for himself, managing as best he could in a world without Hibara Ai. Sometimes the road was arduous, there were days were he questioned himself. Even the great Hareluya couldn't overcome the anxiety of a mundane everyday life. What good was an unstoppable force to the social pressures of dating and job interviews? Could he tear apart a last notice bill like he did a Cage of Fangs? Traversing the normal world was entirely different to the one he was used to. But he adapted, grew, and changed. This was his life now and he would live it. ROLL CREDITS

                                  Once upon a time... A devil met a princess. And though they loved one another deeply they were destined to remain in separate worlds. Even so the devil kept on living for both their sake. Regardless of how hard it gets he'll persevere until the very end. So that Ai Hibara and Marcello Silva would never be forgotten. Never together but never apart. Skreeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee... the shriek of the train's brakes split his ears as it slowed to a halt beneath the underpass below his feet. Looks like his ride was here. His grip on the rail tightened as he contracted his core, hoisting himself into a handstand while counting the seconds in his head. "5... 4... 3... 2... " He had to time this just right. Too soon and his landing would be noticed, but too late and he'd miss his ride. Chuuuh-chuh chuuuh-chuh he could hear the train's struggling breath as its pistons began to churn. Chuuuh-chuh chuuuh-chuh it began to crawl. Chuuuuuuuuh-chuh chuuuuuuuuh-chuh a second wind as it sprang back to life once more. Flexing his arms he slapped the palms of his hands off the railing and flew into the air gracefully. Clothes and hair billowing in the wild winds as he landed on the roof standing. Some things shouldn't change... especially if you're a little light on fare, but all things must come to an end. And this was the end of the past that held him chained. He had a life to live, and although the story of the Dreadlocked Devil was coming to an end. The next chapter of Hareluya Hibino's saga was just beginning. He would decide his own future now, until his very last breath. Reaching his spindly fingers around the laces that adorned the nape of his neck he jutted his arm into the air and tossed his once mighty crown into the sky; leaving that part of him behind. Who was Hareluya Hibino? He was many things. But if he had to describe himself in one word he'd pick...

                                  FREE

                                  Until next time! His lips curled into that devilish grin and uttered, "Sayonara, shitheads!" White hot crosses emblazoned his eyes as he stared at his audience with arrogant bravado. The train he stood so proudly on top of riding into the distance, his next adventure unknown. And just when the curtain began to close -- several miles behind, his Air Trecks landed on a phone line with an audible clack! as the screen cut to black.

                                  「LAST TRAIN HOME」

                                  All for being a part of the largest collection of writing talent I've ever had the pleasure to come across. For better or worse. This place has had an enormous impact on the person that I've grown into. And while I'm not the most vocal person when it comes to things like this... I will always cherish the memories and the time I spent honing my skills into a fine craft. This is my last post in a role play setting, and most certainly with the character Hareluya. And although it's bittersweet, I'm a firm believer in happy endings! I feel fortunate enough to share it in the very same guild where I made him almost 10 years ago. It's hard to believe how much time flies. I was even Captain a few times. I know we've all changed and grown but I consider myself truly fortunate for being a part of the strongest guild. And I hope in someway I was able to share that joy with you and impact you in a positive way. Even if its hard, y'gotta live your life (roll credits) the best you can. Later!

                                  - Kazzoh