Written: June 1, 2013 at 22:09
Finally got around to putting up part 4. Enjoy!
He heaved with all His might. Lucifer’s eyes widened. Slowly, both swords moved to the right. Then in one gargantuan effort He pushed again, breaking the deadlock and saving Himself while knocking them both off balance. He fell to the ground but quickly rolled to His feet, panting; while Lucifer, having been sent off course by the sheer momentum and veering to the left, took two quick steps to prevent himself from plummeting headlong into the ground.
He whipped around to face Christ, glaring angrily at Him. “Look at You! Weakling! Nothing like what You were before! Dripping with sweat and struggling to catch Your breath after a brief encounter like that… What is so special about these fools that You would put Yourself into such a deplorable condition just for them?”
He clenched his fist. “They’re blithering idiots! Nothing is easier to deceive in all of creation! You Yourself know each and every one of the myriads of brilliant schemes and lies I’ve fed them over the years — lies to make them hate You or forget You or worship everything else but You while sincerely thinking that they are actually worshiping You! Stop this garbage at once! No one will blame You if You choose not to go through with this! The humans deserve their fate!”
Christ smiled a little. “What’s the matter? I thought You’d be ecstatic right about now. I thought you preferred Me this way. It’s the closest you’ll ever come to harming Me directly or defeating Me, and you’ll never get another chance like this one ever again.”
Then suddenly He clutched His chest, eyes wide, and coughed harshly, spitting up blood in the process. His body! It wouldn’t last much longer at this rate. Not after having taken such a beating and undergoing such torture. Even now He was being tortured in the physical, nailed to a cross with His body weight pulling cruelly at the grip of the nails and threatening to tear Him away from the cross and throw Him helpless to the ground. His time in the living world was almost up. He’d have to end this quickly.
Abject terror gripped Him again. With little time left to live, that abhorred moment was speeding ever closer towards Him. The last few moments of life, that event that would clinch the entire journey from the Upper Room to the cross and give meaning to the 33 years of life He had led — He had lived it all to face just that one point in time. Satan had a point. It would be a heavy price to pay. An insanely heavy price. Payed for a race that had rebelled from the beginning and would continue to do so. Payed for people who scoffed and screamed and spat and jeered and beat Him mercilessly and refused Him. They did deserve their fate. And no one could really blame Him for backing down now.
But He loved them.
Loved them too much to watch them fall into a trap, the horrors of which they could never conceive in their wildest nightmares and which they hardly even knew existed; a trap from which there was never and would never be an escape. Loved them enough to put everything else aside and take their place in that trap once and for all time. So He would not give into the rising sense of fear which was threatening to suffocate Him, even though He knew better than anyone what awaited Him. Because perfect love casts out all fear.
“Dammit, You’re not allowed to bleed unless I’m the one who caused it!” Satan bellowed and rushed at Him in a frenzy. “Since you have a death wish, I’ll grant it here and now and make sure You have no happily-ever-afters to look forward to. It ends here!”
He was incredibly fast. Both hands were now transformed into gigantic, sharp, barbed claws, hideous to behold and spinning at high speeds like two high-powered drills. He attacked brutally and with full force. Christ’s breathing came to a jarring standstill and it was all He could do to jump in time. He launched Himself high into the air and exhaled.
“Not good enough!” Lucifer glowered at Him, his eyes filled with pure, unrestrained hatred. “One touch is all it takes and You FAIL!” Suddenly he was right above Christ, bringing those claws down with full power. “Die!”
Christ raised His shield quickly, almost in desperation. One touch. Only one, and everything would be over. One touch and He would be tainted, no longer without blemish, no longer worthy to be the sacrifice. After going 33 whole years without being soiled even once, how tragic it would be to fail now, when the time had finally come for the mission to be completed and brought to an end! The claws slammed into the shield with savage abandon, the sheer force of it sending Him hurtling toward the ground like a blazing meteor. At the moment of impact, His entire being had been shaken, His teeth rattling against each other, and His head had begun to pound mercilessly. No! He couldn’t close His eyes and indulge the pain, not in the middle of a struggle like this…!
Still falling rapidly, He peered over the shield and saw His assailant rocketing towards Him on fell wings, flying far faster than He was falling. In this position, there wasn’t much He could do, though, to stop that charge. Already Lucifer was upon Him, in fact. The prince of darkness raised those deadly claws again and Christ moved His shield to meet them. But there was no impact.
Oh no, a feint! He realized too late. Satan had rapidly changed direction, swooping around Him to attack from below; a blow from the back where He would be a sitting duck. He was in real danger here. In His current state, weakened as He had never been weakened before by the load of an infinitude of sins, His already greatly dulled powers were even less functional. When He had taken on flesh, He had effectively stripped Himself of His divine strength, limiting what He could do. But even in human form, it had never been this bad under normal circumstances. He hadn’t been able to predict that attack or even see much of the movement itself. Fatigue was finally catching up.
He turned His head. He couldn’t see them but He knew He was seconds away from being cruelly impaled from behind. He heard the demonic roar and knew He had to think fast, for everything depended on Him. The breastplate He wore glinted and started glowing suddenly. The Breastplate of Righteousness! Of course! With a hurried prayer to His Father that it would make it in time, He made His move. He couldn’t fail now! A sudden stubborn refusal to be defeated leapt into being in His heart.
Instantly a glowing orb of dazzling white light formed on His back just where the points of the claws were about to hit. It was very tiny, only big enough to stop the claws dead in their tracks, literally 2 millimetres away from actual contact. Then very rapidly, it expanded to cover all of Christ’s back before encasing Him and forming a perfect protective circle with Him at it’s epicentre. Satan suddenly found himself plastered against the outer edge of the shield, his body curving to fit its form, and being pushed away from what had been his hapless target. Not having been very far above ground, he was unceremoniously slammed into it, caught in a painful embrace and being pushed underground.
Christ landed gently and managed to stay on His feet. It was time! He could feel it. His breathing was ragged as His eyes scanned the skies above for several seconds. Then His attention was dragged away from the heavens by the advent of His adversary from the ground. It was a noisy and explosive entry, kicking up rocks and clouds of dust. Apparently he had been pushed very far underground.
The figure leapt from the dust cloud and Christ found Himself fending off wild attacks at high speeds; stepping back, lunging to one side or the other, parrying thrusts, spinning and countering, ducking, jumping, cartwheeling and performing various other acrobatics and feats of dexterity. He had not lost His edge. But He had to admit that He was only barely able to dodge most of the onslaught. Satan lunged straight at Him and performed a double outward slash. Christ evaded with a graceful backflip, slamming His palms into the ground as He landed.
Immediately the ground rose up to trap the demon-king’s feet, immobilizing him. He roared and breathed a long stream of flame at Christ. Christ lunged to the left with great speed, seeming to disappear momentarily only to reappear behind Satan who had used the spare moments to break himself free with two simultaneous bashes from his claws. He kicked out behind him. Christ leaned quickly to the right, evading, but the foot had become like elastic, stretching and rapidly encircling Him and closing in like a snake about to constrict its prey. But at the very last second, Christ disappeared from view.