Well, something weird happened to my membership. All of a sudden, all my stories got deleted and my account disappeared. Maybe this will be fixed by the server, but I'll keep making chapters so I can upload all at once after I find out what's going on.
Can you believe it? All that info lost. Thankfully, I have backups of most of my work, but still…argh.
I'll answer reviews next chapter, because I'm feeling inspired and I don't want to lose my streak because I was answering reviews! Let's get this started.
Disclaimer: Standards apply.
An eerie silence hung over the entire crowd. Hearts and minds raved at what they had just heard.
Schala shot to her feet almost immediately and peered forward, her mouth hanging slightly open at Lucca's ominous statement. Everyone nervously shifted in their seats, while a few brave souls sneered. Either way, no one made a sound.
Lucca stood in the center of the large crowd, Hexia's body laying next to her. Her chest heaved forcefully, as if she was trying very hard to restraint herself from attacking someone, while her eyes gleamed, scanning the crowd aimlessly, unsure of how the hundreds of people around her would react. Her mind raced, trying to find the most vicious way to repay their insolence, and the idea came quickly to her.
"Don't talk big words, little girl. Just be lucky that wasn't you up there, since what you said can be considered a death threat." A broad shouldered, blue-haired man roared over the crowd, standing up and making himself visible to Lucca. He was one of the few people who had been mocking her display of anger, and the contemptuous expression he wore reinforced this notion.
Lucca's head spun around to face the man. He was making his way to the center or the circle, perhaps to talk some sense into her or to perform a feat of public humiliation. It made no real difference. Lucca continued to glare, thinking of the best way to decapitate this man, to rip him limb from limb and use him as an outlet for her pent-up magic, her anger, he frustration, her sadness, everything. But one man wasn't enough, of course.
"He's right, you know. The executioner is privileged enough already, so don't push your luck." A blond, youthful woman said, coming to her feet a few yards away from Lucca, to the right. The purple-haired girl had began seething, her teeth clenched and her fists shaking as she struggled to restraint herself. If she heard one more word, the one who uttered it would bleed.
"Now, how about you take that back, missy, instead of making enemies?" The same blue-haired man said. Lucca actually managed to produce a grin, despite her violent emotional state. So, you really want to see me making enemies? She pondered. Lucca started walking towards him in slow, deliberate steps, her odd maniacal grin taking him aback.
"What are you so happy about?" He asked in confusion. Lucca failed to answer and started chuckling. She stood right in front of the man, and in an instant, punched him square across the face, propelling him a ways off. The crowd gasped.
"What the hell is wrong with you? You're so lucky I don't fight women, regardless of how bitchy they are!" He yelled in frustration after landing a few feet away, nursing his stricken cheek with his left hand. Lucca continued to chuckle, and kicked the man's stomach with as much strength as she could muster, which, thanks to her transformation, was unnaturally vast. The man flew a few feet in the air and doubled over, coughing up blood. Lucca's chuckling turned into full-blown laughter. When he hit the ground, she placed her foot on his neck, choking him; the act was such a perversion of the human conscience that few in the crowd doubted that Lucca was insane.
The crowd stared in amazement. This massive man had just been taken down in two hits, and the culprit was laughing for no good reason. A woman grabbed her child and walked away; Lucca, upon spotting her, took her foot off the fallen man, gathered fire into her palm until it grew to the size of a cantaloupe, and flung it towards the back of the woman's head, grazing it slightly and barely missed a blue-eyed teenaged boy with shoulder-long hair. It flew past the left side of his face, and left him with the conglomerated expression of bewilderment and terror present in those who have escaped a near-death experience. Women and children gasped, and a few started running, unwilling to fight.
There was silence across the crowd. The blond woman who had spoken after the recently felled blue-haired man took off gazed on with horror, and made eye contact with Lucca; the former's terrified eyes, quivering madly, met the determined gaze of the latter, who's intent to kill was so strong that she couldn't compose herself, and grinned delightfully. The woman tried to run, but her feet were planted on the ground; she tried to make her legs moved, but they refused, and Lucca began walking towards her. The executor formed a sword as she walked towards the woman, and gave a light chuckle before she drove the sword through the woman's stomach.
A number of brave souls ran towards Lucca, confident that the purple-haired girl was less threatening than she seemed and was only picking on the weak. A few certainly tried to be heroic, perhaps to impress their girlfriends, or to protect their families. The first assailant cast an ice spell, conjuring a spike that zoomed at Lucca's stomach. She grabbed it in both hands, securing the frozen water between her palms. Before the attacker knew it, an ice spike was lodged in his side. The blood erupted immediately from the wound, and bathed the grass.
"Mother, we have to stop her!" Schala shouted over the pandemonium assailing the crowd, her face mixed with frustration, compassion, and fear. Lucca had lost it at last, and it was only a matter of time before a catastrophe would arise. Queen Zeal stared at the mayhem absentmindedly, silently brooding over something. She failed to answer, but Schala knew her mother had understood.
"You have to stop her." Queen Zeal whispered, a solemn expression on her face. Schala stared at her mother in disbelief. Was she serious? Zeal knew perfectly well that Lucca was a dangerous weapon when she failed to keep her emotions in check, and this instance was the epitome of this criterion. Schala's pleading blue eyes begged her mother to reconsider, but the monarch seemed to have no intention of changing her mind.
"No, we have to call the guards! M-Maybe if they can restrain her, I can talk some sense into her!" Schala said in frustration, trying to ignore the sound of fleeing people and the groans of bodies being slaughtered by Lucca. She grabbed her mother's arm to add emphasis to her plight, shaking it slightly. Queen Zeal turned to face her daughter, and her face was surprisingly warm. Schala had expected her to be furious, or at least morose. Schala relinquished her grip on Zeal's arm, and felt her mother's hands rest on either side of her face. Their gazes were locked together.
"This is your time to shine, my daughter. Everything I've thought you, everything you've learned up to now; it was all in preparation for this moment. You are the only one who can do this, and you are fully capable of doing so." The Queen said reassuringly, looking into her daughter's eyes for her reaction. Schala averted her gaze, trying in vain to hide her insecurity from the maternal eyes that was boring into her soul.
"Mother…I-I'm afraid…I can't do it…We'll hurt each other, a-and I don't want that…" Schala said, droplets of tears gathering in the corner of her eyes. Queen Zeal released Schala from her hold.
"Fight her, Schala. You'll be glad you did."
Once the number of brave souls had been exhausted, and the scattering nuisances were a considerable distance away, Lucca began randomly hurling fireballs at the large minarets of Enhasa, which was unfortunately the largest, closest, and most immobile object in the vicinity. The anti-magic shield that protected all three cities in the islands flickered as it deflected the blast, before deactivating altogether when a flaming meteor conjured by Lucca struck it. The meteor flew into the eastern palisade of Enhasa, demolishing it. Screams could be heard as the people behind the wall were grilled or crushed, and it only made Lucca grin and laugh wholeheartedly. She would have never thought that killing pathetic Zealians would have been so delightful. It was so amusing how the brave ones tried to not beg for mercy, to hold on to whatever dignity they had left, even though death was around the corner; funnier still was that they saw themselves as godlike when compared to Earthbounds. Oh, but once they were at the bottom of the food chain, everything changed. They groveled like bumbling idiots as Lucca broke their limbs or kicked them into a hard place, and the crunch of their bones echoed their cries of anguish. And it was all so fun, so beautiful.
"Lucca! Stop it this instant!" A voice called from behind. Lucca spun on her heels at the familiar voice, and saw Schala's defiant expression. It was a mixture of anger, frustration, love, bloodlust, all jumbled together to create a countenance foreign to both girls. Lucca was ecstatic. Her best friend was present, and for whatever reason Schala had appeared, it would only add to the drama. The irony was that both girls were in their best clothes; Schala was dressed in an elegant white and blue evening gown, while Lucca wore a gold-embroidered robe of her trademark purple and blue with deep streaks of blood splattered about it.
"Why hello there, Schala. How are you this good day?" Lucca said jubilantly, laughing at her own cheesy accent before turning around and ordering lava to crash into Enhasa's walls, charring the marble. One man had been standing under the point of eruption, and Lucca couldn't help but squeal with glee when his charred and crumpled form blew out of a hole in the city's ceiling. Spectacular.
"This is no time for pleasantries, Lucca. Regardless of how dear you are to me, I won't allow you to harm any more people." Schala roared angrily, yet with considerable stoicism. Lucca had never seen her quite this mad, but she laughed anyway, her mind drowning in a sea of insanity.
"Why don't you talk me out of it? Nonviolence is always much better." Lucca said, halting her laughter but keeping a grin plastered on her face.
"Because the myth says one of us must die, and I would rather not go against it!" Schala shouted defiantly, gathering magic into her palm and shaping it into a sword of ice. Lucca stopped laughing, her eyes widening once Schala finished her powerful statement. She chuckled intermittently before openly laughing once again. There was not an ounce of sanity left in her.
"Sometimes, Schala, you really don't pay attention! And to think I figured this out when I'm obviously much stupider than you are!" Lucca said, giggling. Schala stepped back in confusion.
"What are you talking about?"
"Schala, you are sixteen years old, correct?" Lucca said, forming a sword of flame in her hand, mimicking the Princess' actions.
"Of course, what does that have to do-"
"And I am sixteen, correct?"
"Yes. I don't see where you're-"
"Is it possible for Yvtra and Utrulo to have BOTH lost, so that both had to inhabit a 16 year old being, seeking revenge?" Lucca asked, matter-of-factly. Schala's eyes widened. No, it wasn't possible, because the myth said otherwise. Which means that they shouldn't be fighting each other, since they were both, in the grand scheme of things, losers. I am so insightful sometimes, Lucca thought.
"B-but how come we're in this situation? The myth must be wrong, maybe they did both lose!" Schala muttered in disbelief. She had gone on for months believing, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that she would have to kill Lucca, and the theory was suddenly blasted out of the water. Lucca's logic was infallible, but at the same time, it confounded Schala's very soul. Why would all of this happen just so they could find out they would have nothing to do with each other's downfall?
"Remember, how the myth said that Yvtra and Utrulo are reincarnated every few thousand years? I'm not from this time, Schala. My enemy lives 13000 years after today, and whoever this enemy is, I will have to kill him." Lucca reiterated. Schala's eyes were downcast, her mind a jumbled mess of emotion. So, it was all wrong? There was another undisputable piece of evidence.
Despite Lucca's relative lack of rational thought, she had managed put together a fairly adequate theory of who their enemies were. It was simple, really; Schala's opponent could only be Lavos. After all, Schala had disappeared and been presumed dead after her battle, so that made perfect sense. Likewise, Lavos had always been fairly evil, so the matching personality criterion was met as well. So, Lucca's opponent would have to be a good-hearted person or thing that is not sixteen years old. There were a number of candidates, so she couldn't deduct a clear conclusion yet, but there were so many contenders that she could slaughter easily.
"Buuuut," Lucca said, interrupting her own thoughts to jeer Schala in a singsong voice, "you're going to have to fight me anyway, because if you don't, I'll wipe Enhasa off the map of this worthless place. And you don't want that, do you?" Schala's eyes narrowed, and she gripped her sword tighter. Lucca mimicked her, giggling. Her fingers rested on the magicked hilt, awaiting Schala's attack.
"Lucca…you've really gone off the deep end." The princess muttered, her heart suddenly filled with a fighting spirit.
"Really? Are you serious?" Lucca exclaimed in mock surprise, breaking into a fit of laughter. Schala's expression remained somber and her eyes narrowed. Lucca took this as evidence that the Princess was entirely serious.
"Well then…are you ready?" Lucca asked, grinning slightly and preemptively conjuring a ball of flame in her left hand. Schala nodded and slid into a fighting stance.
"I'm sorry if I hurt you. It wasn't meant to turn out this way." Schala muttered defiantly, clasping her sword so strongly that her knuckles glistened white. Lucca didn't answer, but her eyes turned downcast. A number of guards that been called to the scene were now watching in awe, unsure of what kind of person had the nerve to challenge the Crown Princess.
"Hurt me first." Lucca answered.
The sun disappeared entirely behind the islands, signaling both girls to begin their battle. Lucca dashed forward, swinging her sword in a wide arc, with no intention of actually hitting the target. It had served its purpose of calibration when Schala parried the blow with her own blade, stumbling backwards slightly in the process.
Looks like Schala isn't quite as strong as I thought, Lucca said to herself, blocking a stab that came in her direction. Shifting her weight to her left leg, Lucca lunged forward and brought her sword down vertically, barely missing Schala's forehead before the attack was parried by a horizontal slash. You're cutting it a bit close, my dear Princess. Swordplay isn't your thing.
Schala remained determined. In a series of three slashes, she swung her sword to the left, right, and straight down, adding as much force as she could to the finishing attack of the combination. Lucca blocked the first two, then listlessly stepped to the side as Schala brought her blade down, forcing the Princess to lose her balance. The Princess found a foot impacting her back and sending her to the ground.
A slightly larger crowd had gathered now, and a good half of them gasped when Schala was knocked down. Lucca chuckled, stepping back, and waited for Schala to get back to her feet, a difficult feat considering the force with which Lucca had kicked her. The Princess coughed a bit as she pushed herself to her knees, struggling to return to her feet. Still, her expression remained resolute, and she slid back into her fighting stance.
Lucca threw her sword aside and it burst into flames, reverting to its primal form upon being separated by its conjuror. The ball of flame in her left hand grew to the diameter of a plate, and flew towards the Princess, who erected a deflective shield seconds before the fireball struck her in the chest. Mimicking Lucca's actions, the Princess discarded her weapon before hurtling dozens of ice spikes at her opponent.
This is heating up very quickly. Lucca dove to the left, barely dodging the first spike, and melted the second easily. The third flew a millimeter over her head, while the fourth wasn't aimed correctly, and struck the ground a few inches from Lucca. This was so similar to Zeal's training that Lucca performed this with little to no effort. Schala scowled at the ease with which her opponent was dodging her attacks, and charged forward, intent to fight a close-ranged battle, considering Lucca was so infuriatingly fast. Leaping into the air, the Princess formed a sword once more in her right hand, but made entirely of wind this time. Lucca brought her own blade up intent on parrying the blow, but the sword dissipated into a deafening gust of wind that made the Princess' opponent lose her balance. A punch struck Lucca's cheek, and she was sent to the ground.
The crowd cheered loudly as the Princess knocked down her challenger. Stepping away to give Lucca time to get up, Schala grinned slightly, glad that she was such a match for the deranged girl in front of her. Lucca's sword vanished as she got up cumbersomely, but her expression retained that maniacle gleefulness. Without warning, she shot a ball of fire at an innocent bystander; seeing this, Schala countered with her own attack, and successfully dissipated Lucca's. A punch hit her squarely in the stomach.
Lucca had used the fireball as a diversion, and used the opportunity to knock the wind out of the Princess. Once again, the blow was so clean and powerful that Schala was dazed for a few seconds, and still felt the painful sting long after the blow was delivered.
Lucca walked backwards once again, to allow her opponent to recover, and smiled while doing so.
"You're such a monster. Stop bringing these people into this." Schala muttered through several pained breaths. Lucca frowned sternly.
"Don't make me laugh, princess. You know they don't give a shit about you. They were all running when there was no heroine to save them, and now they're enjoying the spectacle." Lucca answered. The crowd was mortifyingly silent, even though they were as much a part of the conversation as Schala or Lucca. By this time, the Princess had gotten to her feet.
"I don't care what they think about me. What's important is that I care for them. If you have any shred of honor left in you, you'll leave them alone," Schala said clearly, forming a sword in her hand once more. She slid into her fighting stance, a miniscule stream of blood flowing from the corner of her mouth onto her white evening dress.
There was silence once again from the crowd. No one dared to move, yet many showed a hint of shame and humility in their somber eyes. "Alright then. Only because I love you more than I love myself, I'll leave them alone," Lucca shouted mockingly. There was a resounding hint of sincerity in her voice, however.
Schala stared at Lucca. The two walked in a wide circle, maintaining their gazes on each other, and for a while, no one attacked. In an instant, Schala flung her palm forward, and released magic that she had inconspicuously been gathering. A flurry of sharp ice needles rushed towards Lucca, and the executor prepared herself to counter the attack.
As Lucca shot a jet of flame towards the spikes, they suddenly flew upwards, avoiding the flames easily, and dispersed in the air, forming a dome over Lucca's head. Simultaneously, the needles speeded towards Lucca's cranium, and clearly, Lucca had no way of parrying the needles. Every single one struck the target, and Lucca looked like a porcupine.
The crowd was silent. Schala had delivered a potentially fatal blow on her enemy, and Lucca stood in the middle of the field, the needles still bored into her skin. Suddenly, without warning, she spontaneously combusted. The crowd gasped in livid surprise, and Schala stared in incredulity at the spot where Lucca had been standing. A red blade tickled Schala's neck.
"It's a nice trick, isn't it?" Lucca whispered, standing behind the Princess and leaning on her. Her sword lay listlessly on Schala's neck, and Lucca lazily let herself be supported by Schala's weight. There was absolute silence.
"W-what…how…?" Schala muttered incredulously. Lucca grinned and hugged the Princess from behind, all the while keeping the blade beside Schala's jugular vein. What resulted would have been a heartfelt moment were it not for the dead bodies lying around and the wanton destruction around Enhasa. Nevertheless, Lucca continued to embrace her friend, and there was little Schala could do with her back turned and the blade so dangerously close to her skin.
Perhaps Lucca was starting to feel remorse, or she had finally spent all of her rage, but she wore a mild, insipid expression. Her eyes glanced around sluggishly, and she looked well at ease with her arms around Schala's neck, despite their voracious battle moments before.
"It's a parlor trick, really. I sucked all the heat out of the air around me, and the supercooled molecules absorbed most of the incoming light as heat instead of reflecting it. Since no light was striking me, I was invisible. Then, I just made a clone standing there, looking stupid." Lucca murmured with little enthusiasm. Finally, she let go of the Princess, and letting her sword drag on the ground, walked away, turned around, and slid into a battle stance. Schala was still astonished by what had just happened, but Lucca's latest display of humanity revived some hope in her.
"Lucca, you don't have to do this! You have control over your own destiny! No god can force you to do anything if you don't allow yourself to succumb!" Schala screamed in obvious emotional anguish. The crowd's eyes turned downcast at the scene before them, and silence lingered. Lucca gripped her sword tighter and yelled,
"You're wrong! It's because of destiny that I have to do this! Because unless I do, I will be cheating the world! We all have a purpose, Schala, and this is mine! Even if I wanted to, I wouldn't be able to stop it!" Lucca yelled back. Schala gazed at her with sadness, and drew her own sword.
Finally, Chapter 15 is finished. 16 might take a while though, unfortunately.