Deep in the realm of Nightmare, a lone warrior traversed the darkness. Small in stature and clad in blue, he focused his eternally smiling face forward, red cape flapping against the abyssal winds. It was a path he had walked many times before, the same exact steps repeated more times than he could care to recall. But he was never deterred by this repetition. If anything, the memories of his past attempts drove him onward: to that same destination, every time.
A stir arose in the background of the void as he came upon the blurred grey visage that always met him at trek's end. In seconds he stopped before the idol, and with a flash the five seals released and shot out, revealing the mistress of the realm: Kamilia. Garbed in black and with short purple hair, she looked down upon her "guest" with great, impassive eyes. A brief glint of regard passed through those large pupils before she spoke.
"Back again, I see."
"You know it," The Kid replied with his usual upbeatness. "I'm not the kind of guy to quit."
"I don't rather see the point, as things shall end much the same way as before," she said dully. "But it's of little concern to me in prolonging this exercise in futility. With that said, let us begin anew."
The Kid gave a nod of his blocky head. "Right on."
Everything became dark briefly, and as light quickly returned the backdrop had become a flickering red. With her gaze basked in shadow, Kamilia commenced her attack. First came the shower of explosive purple orbs that kicked off every battle, and as in those previous engagements the Kid stepped between the gaps, making sure to shoot at his towering foe all the while. Next he stepped in line with the blasts of purple lasers from above, followed by the first wave of red and blue orbs. It was here the Kid switched his aura for the first time while also keeping clear of the runaway gears.
After the Kid avoided a volley of purple laser pillars, Kamilia spoke up.
"Nimble as always," she said blankly amid the flurry of her ear bullets.
"Well I gotta be if I'm to get past the first phase," the Kid said cheerfully as he made his way around the projectiles of Kamilia's twin moons.
"Although it will ultimately be for naught, as usual," she balked as she conjured up a slew of massive purple orbs to be slammed down onto the pixelated hero. These he sidestepped calmly, then proceeded to avoid even more color-coded bullets and wild gears. Still he kept shooting, and after the latest wild barrage from his enemy the whole realm began to shake and fade to red, signaling his triumph over the first phase.
But a streak of purple and a blast of colored bullets marked the immediate start of the second phase, as well as lighting up Kamilia's face to reveal her grey eyes and interesting choice of lipstick. Despite the purple substance smeared over her mouth, a hint of a smile twisted its edges as a massive arcane rune hovered behind her.
"Well done. Now for the real challenge."
"I'm looking forward to it," Kid said back.
Kamilia began by launching a fiery Phoenix at the Kid. The diminutive gunfighter rushed to the far right to avoid the flaming bird, which crashed and sunk into the ground, letting off several fireballs that dispersed in various directions as a second Phoenix was formed. It flew after the fleeing Kid, who juked to the left to avoid it while also running from the third Phoenix that came for him, jumping and maneuvering through the many fireballs they produced. The last flaming orb wasn't offscreen before Kamilia unleashed Aqua onto the field, forcing the Kid to move carefully amidst bouncing water balls.
When the last threat boinged its way from sight, Kamilia chose to speak to her tiny foe in a most condescending tone.
"Ever swift and careful. But it's only a matter of time before you slip up yet again."
With that, she cast her Insanity over the Kid's head, making him position himself in anticipation of the splitting bullet arrays. The final wave nearly caught his foot had it not been for a sudden juke to the right that brought his midair jump to safety. Kamilia then conjured up some Wind, filling the air with a cloud of deadly orbs while sending updrafts from the ground. As the Kid maneuvered over the gusty traps, his tormentor goaded him some more.
"Such repetition and still you go through the same motions. Surely all of this has become utter tedium to even yourself."
"Nope. It's always a fun time with you."
Not expecting that kind of response, Kamilia focused and dropped down some Earth on the tireless sprite. With rocks crashing and shooting up all around, there were a few instances where it seemed the Kid would meet another end. Yet he survived, and suddenly made curious by her foe's word, Kamilia summoned the brilliance of Miracle to entrap him in a dazzling display. As the lances of light went off, she took the opportunity to speak some more.
"Tell me this, boy: why is it that you persist in challenging me over and over again, after so many repeated failures?"
The Kid shrugged in his shiny prison. "It's just like I said: it's all about the fun."
"There is no fun here."
The severity in her tone was matched by the onslaught of Darkness that corralled the Kid through streams of death blotted out by patches of smoky black, all while she continued her interrogation.
"This has gone on far past what could be deemed as fun by any sensible individual. What is your real reason for doing all this?"
"W-what do you mean?" The Kid gave a yelp as Kamilia abruptly switched to Frozen, sending him scooting back the other way to avoid a chilly death.
"You insult me by feigning ignorance. Calling your suffering fun; what fool do you take me for? I know there is some end goal to necessitate such persistence in so painful an endeavor."
"I-I-I…" He was stopped once again as Insects crawled onto the field, making him jump as well as shift his aura against oncoming red and blue orbs.
"Then it's true. What are your motives for doing all this?" Seeing the Kid stumble and juke about in uncertainty, she pressed on. "Tell me now."
"I demand it!"
Kamilia fired off Rainbow onto the hesitant hero, adding further pressure by making him dodge a shower of winding bullets.
"I, I want to be worthy…"
That came as a surprise to the towering mistress, which quickly turned to derision. "Worthy? I see. Because killing your father wasn't enough. Because killing me wasn't enough. You just have to go asserting your strength above all else. So typical, it borders on depressing. There are far too many instances of foolish men destroying themselves seeking greater power, when what they achieved originally proved more than enough. And that's how it is with you: prove that you're better than others? That you are supreme without equal?"
"I want to be worthy of you!"
The exclamation surprised Kamilia, and most startling of all it made her unconsciously cease her attack. She was quick to compose herself, however.
"What did you say?"
"I, I said I wanted to be worthy of you…" the Kid answered meekly, his upbeat tone immensely subdued.
The young gunslinger shifted hesitantly, averting his gaze while speaking. "Well, uh, it's uh… kind of silly. Maybe a bit weird."
"Yes, which is why I want you to explain yourself. Why did you say you wanted to be worthy of me?"
An uncomfortable pause weighed on the Kid, before he succumbed and gave his explanation. "I guess, it all started around the second time we fought. The first time, I thought you were some weirdo ripping apart fangames and recombining them. I had gone through them for a challenge, you know, and then we fought and you went and dropped the moon on us. Figured that'd be the end."
"Hardly, as you've clearly seen."
"You came back a second time and did the exact same thing. Except it was more challenging, especially with the final stafe leading up to you. I got to thinking that you must be something else to think up these jumps and spike arrangements. But that changed when I saw you for the rematch."
"Hmm?" Kamilia voiced, tilting her head in an uncharacteristic show of curiosity.
"Not right away. When you popped up I was blown away by the presentation, plus the makeover made you look way more imposing. Also a lot cuter…"
"Ah-ah nothing. But yeah, I was awestruck. All the attacks you were throwing at me, your battle phases, I couldn't help but be impressed. I wound up dying and retrying a whole lot, but it was a fight like none I've ever experienced before. It's a battle that sticks with you long after all is said and done, you know?"
"But even after it was over, after I settled down from that victory… I couldn't help but wonder." Kamilia raised an eyebrow at that. "For someone as powerful as you were, it had to have been a bit lonely for you. It got to be that way for me when I became the Guy and went around beating other fangames. But I never saw you around anybody else when we fought: you just seemed to do things alone. Dunno if that was because you wanted it that way, but I just couldn't stop thinking about you always out there being this powerful force of reckoning, without anyone to talk to."
The drop in his tone prompted a momentary pause, but the Kid was quick to amend. "It was silly, like I said, but I couldn't stop thinking about you. Then when I heard you had returned to wreak more chaos with your slew of buffed fangame screens, I jumped right at the opportunity. Only… it wasn't just solely to beat you. I... earnestly wanted to see you again, maybe try talking to you. And I guess that, on my way here, I came to realize that I… had feelings for you."
A silence of biblical proportions settled over everything, yet it didn't seem to affect the embarrassed blush that was on the Kid's face following his confession. Kamilia stared hard at him, but without malice, or even her usual level of indifference.
"So you have an affection for me?"
"Uhhh, yeah. Yes I do."
"And you came into this hellish realm just to talk with me?"
"That's, more or less it, heh heh…"
"Even though we've been talking plenty thus far?"
"Not like battle banter. More casual stuff, like how your day was and favorite foods and hobbies. Those kinds of things."
"That's absurd." That pierced the Kid's embarrassment and filled him with shame. But before it could fester, Kamilia said, "One thing still remains unclear to me. Why were you wanting to prove your worthiness in battle if you only wanted to exchange pleasantries?"
"That goes back to what I said before, about you being all powerful but alone. I figured that if I beat you a third time, when you're at your strongest, you'll think me worthy enough to be around. If someone were as strong or maybe stronger than you, you'd want to hang out with them. You get what I'm saying?"
"...You wanted to make yourself more attractive to me."
"W-well that's putting it pretty bluntly, but yes. I guess that's what, uh, I was trying to do."
The Kid went back to blushing up a storm and keeping to himself, but Kamilia wouldn't have it. With her mighty telekinesis, she yanked the Kid right off the ground and brought him up before her large face, her gray eyes boring right between his own dotted black ones.
"I have killed you hundreds of times, both in our previous encounters and this one. You find perpetual death desirable?"
"I don't die permanently, and I'm back on my feet in an instant, so it's not that much of a bother. Otherwise I wouldn't still be doing this."
"You see how massive I am. I can crush you with just my hand, or simply step on you."
"To be honest, I've always had this thing for… larger women, uh-hum…"
"What you see before you is a mental manifestation. My true appearance is nowhere as comely."
"That's alright with me! I thought your last look was cuter, and way more laid-back and friendly."
The mistress of destruction sighed. "Your optimism is incorrigible." She looked to the pint-sized suitor and brought him a bit closer. "However, if these feelings of yours are truly sincere…" For once she was the one to avert her gaze, but only momentarily. "I suppose I could humor you with some casual conversation."
The Kid's pixels seemed to sharpen in surprise at that. "R-really? You'd want that?"
"It would break up the monotony, for sure. And I have to admit, I'm now rather curious to know what garnered such resilience and determination in one so small as yourself."
"Yeah, that'd be cool! Just some talking if that's what you want to do. Though uh, could you maybe put me down first? I'm a little uncomfortable hovering like this without being able to do anything."
"Trembling before my power already, boy? If I wanted, I could snap you asunder with just a thought. And given your apparent masochism, you might actually enjoy that." Before the Kid could properly freak out, an unexpected giggle left Kamilia's lips. "You're an easy one to tease. But don't worry: I have just the compromise."
The grip on the Kid suddenly vanished, only for a section of ground to rise and catch him after a brief one inch fall. "Huh. This'll do nicely, actually."
"Since I'm giving a friendly audience, it would do to make my guest comfortable. So then, what do you wish to discuss first?"
"Huh? Oh uh, maybe what your favorite drink is?"
"Tea, of the bitter variety. With maybe a squeeze of lemon zest. Why do you ask?"
"Oh that's just a random thing people talk about. Also it'd be nice to know what to get you on a date."
A momentary pause followed, and before the Kid could start to regret his words Kamilia said, "Getting ahead of ourselves, aren't we?"
"Well not date right now, maybe later. After talking and getting to know each other better."
"That's wise of you."
"I'd still want to hang out with you, take you out to a cafe or something when I get out. Speaking of which, uh, how do I get out of here, exactly?"
"Normally by defeating me. But I suppose I can think of other means to get you out of head, fufufu." The Kid wasn't too keen on what that could entail, as evidenced by the look he made. "That will be for later, after I've learned some more about you."
"Okay. What do you want me to talk about?"
"Your interests; dreams; fears; early life; embarrassing moments; anything. At this point I only know you for your battle prowess, so you can start wherever you want."
"Alright, I can do that. But where to start. Ummm… I guess I can start with…"
Thus, the third catastrophic reign of Kamilia was brought to a close, not in bloodshed but in cordial conversation. When one is so used to handling a situation via a specific way, they often overlook alternative, unconventional means of problem resolution. Realization of these other means can lead to rather unexpected and potentially pleasant outcomes, as was the case with the Kid and his rival.
And sometimes, a Guy deserves a nice ending, right?
Author's Note: Massive props to TakuyaRawr on DeviantArt for the exquisite Kamilia pic. You should check them out and give praise as well.