On the trek back to what remained of Iliya's home, Dizzy repeatedly dropped in and out of consciousness. For minutes at a time, her eyes would flutter open, only to taken in the sensation of being carried by Ky and Testament through the pouring rain. For those few lucid instants, she would shiver, being soaked to the bone. Her Gear blood was naturally resistant to the cold, but having lost a significant amount of blood and without proper time to heal, the cold was beginning to get to her.
By the time she could even voice a protest of her discomfort, her eyes would close and she would drift back into the void of her mind. Waiting for her, would be the specter that was, to her dismay, the woman that had given her birth. The woman that was, in fact, Justice. The scourge of humanity for more than a century.
When she came to, internally, she ignored the void which surrounded herself and Justice, clad in the same robe she had seen during those awful dreams. However, instead of the smirk that usually accompanied the woman's visage, there was a clear sense of anger and frustration.
Dizzy met the woman's frown with one of her own. She was not oblivious to what she had done. Killing the woman in red, nearly killing her father, mentally violating Ky. These stirred the same anger she felt earlier when she saw the woman in red hurting her father, but without the violent edge that was with the previous instant. That violent feeling seemed to coalesce around Justice, and it was strong enough so that it gave Dizzy an eerie sense of Deja Vu.
It was then, it hit Dizzy. Justice had been manipulating her for longer than she had been aware. Those moments of weakness, of fear, uncertainty, loss of control, and hatred. They were simply the result of Justice's meddling, exacerbating the moment, to push her beyond her limits of awareness.
"How could you?" Dizzy whispered heatedly. "My father.. the woman... Ky... how could you do that to them?"
Justice's frown remained static as she answered with a sneer, "I see no need to answer. Besides, aren't you more incensed that I, your own flesh and blood, was trying to subvert your will?"
Dizzy stood her ground, shook her head, and answered as calmly as she could, "No. What I can't stand more is seeing you hurt those I care about. Bad enough you hurt my father... but what you did to Sir Kiske..."
When Justice had taken everything from Ky's memory, the commander Gear was not the only one to be the recipient of the pilfered memories. Dizzy had also gotten much of the holy knight's emotion, memory, and experience. It left a very uneasy feeling in her stomach. She wanted to know of Ky more, like Jam did, but to see those the events of the Crusades take so much from his life was almost as traumatizing as if she experienced it herself.
Justice snorted in derision. "Are you to say that you would protect him? Correct the wrongs that I did to him? He nearly killed you, not a few days prior."
Dizzy clenched her hands and replied evenly, "He's apologized... he's changing... he is not the person you think he is. It will take a while, but I know he will trust me, just like I trust him."
Justice raised an eyebrow. "You trust him?"
Dizzy nodded and continued, "he saved me. When I lost control, I felt everything inside of me was dying. Not only that, if he had done nothing, I know that something terrible would have happened. But, he brought me back."
Justice appeared disgusted, but Dizzy payed her no heed.
"He isn't my enemy. He never was my enemy," she said quietly, but far more resolute than she had ever been before.
The commander gear interrupted, "That's not to say he won't possibly be in the future."
Dizzy was about to reply just as heated, but refrained, stepped back and said calmly, "Perhaps... but, I have a feeling he won't."
Justice pressed, "What makes you so sure?"
As valid as the question was, Dizzy could not properly explain it. She had a feeling about Sir Kiske. It was true that trust was a rare commodity with him, but given time, it could be earned. That much she was certain about.
The half-human Gear looked to Justice, noting the anger, resentment, and wrath in her eyes. Slowly, anger against Justice turned to pity as she said, "I'm not sure you would understand."
Dizzy expected Justice to scoff and belittle her judgment, but to her surprise and shock, Justice began to cackle in her throat. Soon, the cackle grew into a full and frightening guffaw which shook Dizzy's courage. When it seemed that the laughter was dying down, Justice's form changed from a human being to the almost robotic image that struck fear into the heart of humanity.
"No, child. It's *you* who doesn't understand. And you will pay dearly for your lack of vision!" with that, Justice charged her daughter, bringing to bear the same powers that had killed countless people when the Crusades began.
Knowing that she had to defend herself, Dizzy's wings spread, without the consciousness of Undine and Necro to help her. it seemed that if she was to retain control over her own life, she had to face this alone.
As the rain petered out in the small town of Porvoo-3, the sun's rays gave the central square the serene appearance of a regular small town, despite the horrors that had occurred the night before when the populace was asleep. So quiet was the town, that in the first few hours of the dawn, that five figures, four of which injured, were able to pass through the area without disturbance.
Ky Kiske and Testament, both with their own wounds, struggled to follow the youth, Olaf, to the doctor's house as they tried to keep the unconscious Dizzy from slipping from their grip. Blood seeped from Ky's arm, and from Testaments abdomen. During their trek, Testament had inquired of Ky what had brought her into Ky's care and despite the pain searing through his arm, he had recounted in the simplest terms of the circumstances of her staying in France, in hiding whilst living in his home, and ultimately finding herself with him to destroying the Robo-Ky facilities.
When Ky had ended with their inevitable arrival to Porvoo, Testament looked ahead and whispered, "I never should have let her leave."
Catching his statement, Ky looked to him, slightly irritated at not only the words the sub-commander Gear had used, but the tone in which he used it. It seemed derogatory of him and the Jellyfish for him to imagine that he would fare any better. He was about to speak up when Iliya had said tiredly behind them,
"Whatever her choice was, it was hers to make. Do not think for a moment that she should be faulted because of it."
Testament, having met Iliya in combat in the past, turned to the old soldier and shot back, though equally exhausted, "I am aware of that. However, it still does not erase the fact that she has suffered because she left the grove in the first place."
Iliya frowned back as he replied, "I was in a similar position as you. It angered me when she had to leave because of how simple minded the people of this town was. From time to time, we would be taunted for trying to raise her, just because she was a Gear. However, she was wise enough to know what was best, even if her mother and I didn't like it. If you hold any affection for her, you'd respect her judgment."
Testament was unfazed. "She is still young. She doesn't deserve to be faced with living among humans that would scorn her."
Ky, frustrated, added idly, "That didn't stop her from joining the Jellyfish. They seemed to accept her just fine and it was no fault of her own that she's not with them now." The younger soldier wondered if that was true, but felt he needed that little bit of extra leverage against Testament's argument.
It was no secret to both former Holy Order knights that Testaments scorn for the race he used to belong to was often heard in the battlefield. Though it had seemed that years following Justice's demise had cooled that perspective somewhat, the core of those twisted beliefs still ran true. It bothered Ky to see him act as though Dizzy was never meant to live among humans, just because he thought differently.
The sub-Commander Gear gave him a slightly irritated gaze, but remained silent as they closed in on the boy, who was waiting at the door to the physician of the town.
"Let me," Iliya said, moving forward, "Alexi's a friend of mine and I hope he'll can be trusted with keeping out predicament secret."
"You hope?" Testament said with a raised eyebrow.
Iliya looked back to him and said as a matter of fact, "Yes. We've had our rough spots, but we've still been friends over the years. But it's not that I'm worried about."
Ky asked, curious. "What is it then?"
Iliya gave a knock on the door to the office and said, "It's Testament. During the war, he lost his wife and unborn child during one of his raids. He's never forgotten it."
Testament did not seem to care for Iliya's assessment.
"if you truly believe your 'friend' can help her, then I suggest you tell him to put his preconceptions aside for her sake."
Losing his patience, Iliya turned to him and said with a visible frown, "perhaps if you truly wished to help her, you'd let yourself be unseen for the time being."
Ky could tell Testament was against the idea. He was about to add to Iliya's position that the sooner she'd get help, the better, when the Gear then sighed and said tiredly, "Very Well. I shall remain hidden, but nearby. If you believe she can be helped by this man, then I will comply."
True to his word, Testament's form slowly faded into the shadows between the alleyways of the town, leaving Ky and Iliya to move quickly to aid the woman in their care.
Bruce never admitted to being a showman, but he had to admit that he outdid himself here. All around him, computers were failing, people were scrambling here and there, try to make sense of the chaos going on. Most of all, they were trying to get a song that had been blaring on all the speakers and computers ever since he uploaded the prepared parasite into the mainframe.
Knowing this was going to be his last day working for the Post-War Administration Bureau, he ran to one of the open doors, peered into to seeing one of his female co-workers, another infiltrator, give him a slightly strained eye roll; not for what he had to do, but his choice of methods in throwing the Bureau into disarray.
He only smiled back, turned to the emergency exit down the hall, and started to walk in time to the song, snapping his fingers and clapping his hands in time to an old seven beat guitar pattern. Throwing caution to the wind, he sang along, terribly, "Why can't we give love, that one more chance?" He then repeated the following refrain, gaining his attention of the guards and soldiers that had been ordered by the managers to root out the cause.
~Why can't we give love, give love, give love, give love, give love, give love, give love, give love...~
With his cover blown, Bruce dashed through the door and up the stairs as fast as he could.
~'cause love's such an old fashioned word~
The door burst open, flooding the emergency stairwell with armed soldiers, in pursuit of Bruce.
~and love dares you, to care for the people on the ~
Regardless of the metal stairs and issues of line of sight, the soldiers shot with reckless abandon, trying and failing to hit Bruce, though they came close the close he got to the top floor of the building.
~edge of the Light and love dares you to chance our way of~
Bruce flung himself through the metallic door as more ammunition flew, coming closer and closer to hitting him. He slammed the door shut and made a break for the next step he had prepared for his great escape.
~caring about ourselves. This is our last dance. This is our last dance. This is ourselves~
He looked to the discolored circle at the edge of the roof, then to the violent river below, then back to the gray door that had been kicked open by the guards giving him chase.
~under pressure. Under pressure. Pressure.~
Feeling sassy, he snapped his fingers in time to the beat with a smirk. It was his favorite song, after all, and felt it would be a disservice to the composer if he didn't, regardless of the multitude of soldiers, guns raised and ready to fire aimed at him.
"Alright, Aymond, you better start explaining yourself!" the head of security growled, ready to kill him right then and there.
Bruce's smirk turned into a frown and he snapped back, "Ok, you want an explanation? I quit!" He then gave the head of security a clear view of his middle finger, "And tell the bosses I said 'hi'."
The solider was about to order his men to fire when Bruce leaned backward to plummet to what they would suppose would be his doom. He ran to the edge to see how Bruce would get away when he lost view of his object of pursuit for a moment.
To his surprise, Bruce not only emerged from the river below, but he appeared to have been unscathed from the plummet. It was then he came to a horrid realization as to how badly the Buraeu had been compromised.
He didn't get a chance to finish his thought before the bomb that Bruce had set where he was only a moment before went off, covering the roof of the building in fire, leaving no witnesses as to the manner of Bruce's escape.
Below, Bruce caught his breath and shook off the excess water off of his face. His transportation, hidden well in advance and in preparation of this day, was not in the immediate vicinity and time was short. Despite being soaked to the bone, he picked himself up and began to move at speeds through the forest that most would consider inhuman.
At first, Dizzy thought herself strong enough to withstand the wrath of Justice's malice, however, it appeared that her mother's hatred held such power that she began to doubt if she could take control of her self again. Justice's will, old and powerful as it was, seemed to overwhelm her and she began to fear that she would be subverted and would continue to commit the atrocities she had done earlier.
The oppressive weight of Justice's malignancy wore at her resistance and felt it wouldn't be long before the inevitable would happen again. However, a comforting presence slowly ebbed its way to her and she heard a still and small voice whisper, "You are not alone. We are here."
Her senses expanded and she suddenly found herself accompanied by a plethora of minds that had assembled to her assistance. All around her, there were lights of varying degrees, shapes, and colors. Each one an individual, yet one in purpose. All were familiar to her, yet, she had never experienced or met anything like this in her short life. The greatest of those minds 'stood' beside Dizzy and said, "Just as you are our strength, we are now yours."
There was an air of familiarity to these ones and she felt welcome amongst them. She searched herself to find where this came from and gasped in realization.
These were the minds of Gears like herself!
Immediately, the lights began to coalesce and gather to her and their power slowly became hers. Feeling Justice's strength redouble its efforts to overcome her, Dizzy steeled her resolve and with the power of the throng, turned the tables against the anger and hate that Justice had used to try and take what was hers.
Unburdened by her fear, Dizzy proclaimed in dignified defiance to the shadow of what was once her tormentor, "I am not you. I am Luveria Moroumetz. I will not live through your hate."
In response, Justice charged, screaming "YOU WILL DIE THEN!"
Unmoved, Dizzy raised her hand and caught Justice as though she weighed no more than a feather. Without contest, her will infused itself into the parasite, destroying it from within. The shade of Justice screamed one final time before oblivion took it and then became silent.
When the chaos settled, a chorus of joy erupted from the collective that had come to her aid. Slightly surprised, she tried to reach one of the individuals that had helped and felt its joy spread to her and soon, she became one in their elation.
For the first time in so long, she no longer felt the shame and fear that normally accompanied herself with regard to her heritage. The celebration, as wonderful as it felt, slowly started to waver as the collective began to fade. She was losing contact with these new minds and she struggled to maintain contact.
"Do not worry," the greatest of the other Gears said with a comforting voice to her as its presence slowly faded last, "if you wish to find us, you will."
In a darkened room, two individuals sat across from each other on the bare ground, with closed eyes in the attitude of meditation. The only source of light in the room came from the insignia upon both of their foreheads, which bore a striking resemblance to the one which burned upon Dizzy's forehead not too long ago. With a breath of relief, the superior of the two ended her meditation, opened her eyes, adding a gentle red hue to the barely lit room. Not long after, the other opened his eyes, which glowed the same as his superior.
"What now?" he asked quietly.
"Now," the woman said, "we wait. She will seek us out. Bruce will aid her in finding us. Then, we shall see if That Man's words ring true."
Almost apprehensive, the man asked, "Do you really believe what he said? That she's our only hope?"
The woman remained still. She had asked those same questions herself long before she came to know the man sitting across from herself. She wondered if That Man had truly anything to gain from giving them falsehoods, since she had little, if any, reason to trust him.
"I do not know. However, if it is the only thing we have to hold onto, then we may as well. I don't find the alternative very appealing."
Lyrics Property of Queen