A Pride and Prejudice and Zombies fanfiction
Disclaimer: Jane Austen's works are public domain and can thus be legally used by anyone. Like the "co-author" of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Seth Grahame-Smith. Nevertheless, I am not making profit off of this.
Takes place during Elizabeth's solo journey across England, slaying the undead.
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Darkness is the cover of evil, but also the ally of justice. Master Liu told me this, deigning to spare my tongue for asking why we trained at night in the mountain forest near the temple grounds. In hindsight, my master was merciful: Wet bamboo strikes on our backs for disobedience were our harshest punishments. Other masters would do much worse.
As for me...
There. Growling and stumbling. The unmentionables were moving through the trees, closing upon the carriage. Their minds were not entirely stolen by Satan's power-They knew carriages meant horses and people. Food.
I could feel the tremor of their approach. Many. Perhaps a dozen or more. In the daylight I could not hear so acutely, too many distractions.
The crack of a musket. The scream of a victim. My sisters.
I felt like the tigers Master Liu so highly admired, waiting for my prey to come within range, eyes keen in the darkness and perceiving all that moved in the world of night.
Tigers sure of purpose. Tigers sure of goals.
Free of distraction.
My thoughts kept straying, even as the moans of the dreadfuls grew louder, crossing out of the woods and onto the road. Ever back to recent events, ever present like a breeze throwing the aim of my bow off by seemingly small but intolerable amounts.
Mr. Darcy... Jane... Charlotte... The zombie mother with her equally damned infant...
I had not fired. I had not sent her and her hellspawn back to whence they came.
I had not given Charlotte death, even as the plague took her, piece by piece, into the army of the damned.
I had misjudged Mr. Darcy terribly, taking the word of an officer over him. I had not Seen. I had not shown understanding, or compassion, or... Mercy.
Mercy. What use was mercy? It was reserved for training, which was pragmatic-Killing your sparring partner was inefficient, it did not allow you both to grow.
Yet an enemy spared was an enemy allowed to continue his aggression.
An infected friend spared was a consignment to a miserable existence until full transformation, when family became food.
A man who was arrogant, cold, insufferable and irritating, who dared to break up her sister's chance of happiness, even if for supposedly good intentions...
What use was mercy? What use love? It vanquished no evil.
The undead shook the carriage, endeavoring to push it over. I took a silent breath, hand upon my sword.
At the apex of their push towards their cursed brethren on the other side, I shifted my weight, sending the carriage crashing down upon half my enemy. They cried out under the weight, arms waving and teeth gnashing below me. I silenced them with my dagger, before leaping out of the carriage to stand stop it. I drew my katana and with both blades at my command, leaped into the throng. The Fiddler Crab form was furious and swift, and I left decapitated undesirables in my wake. Still others reached for me, but a swift upward slice took off their hands, allowing me clear room to strike for their necks.
This was the absence of mercy. This was the absence of love. Hate, anger, justice sang in my heart with each new foe felled, another of Satan's legions brought down. No more innocents taken, no more friends lost to Hell's plots, no more...
Isaw an undead girl before me in the dim moonlight, a doll held in one bloody hand, the other outstretched for her would be prey. Another zombie obscured my vision, attempting to lunge for me from the side, but a quick slash of my blade dispatched him.
I was left to behold the girl, who continued to stare with dead eyes into my own, hard living ones. My grip shifted slightly on the hilt of my sword.
Charlotte became a monster, as I had not the strength to end her suffering. To end... Her happiness. Even with a pitiful man such as her husband, she had seemed happy. Not a one of her new neighbors, not even her husband had suspected her transformation. How bad she had been before I arrived, I could not guess. They ignored her form... Her faltering... Her bloodlust...
I took a step towards the child.
She had been happy. Happy despite everything.
Mr. Darcy... My own ire for that man was immense, but I could not deny the truth of his tale. Of Wickham's deception. Of his poor sister... His intentions.
I took another step. The zombie child continued to stare back at me.
We were so alike, he and I. Warriors, dedicated to family, however much they may vex us, lovers of the deadly arts and sworn to protect the Crown. Sworn to destroy the undead. Praised for his generosity and courage by all who knew him.
Another step. The child did not move. I was within range.
I was silent as I contemplated the child. Contemplated the blade in my hand, soaked in blood.
Mercy required openness... Trust. It was clear Mr. Darcy had difficulty giving trust. Just as I did. Trust in others. He trusted his servants as family, he trusted the poor to do well with his charity. He trusted me enough, knew me enough to propose marriage. He had seen himself in her, and she herself in him.
And she had attacked him. She had tried to do honour but instead, lost it. Squandered it.
The zombie girl pulled her doll up into her arms, still staring. I wondered how it had happened to her-Did her father come home, bitten, infected, and spread it to his family? Was her mother caught? Was their home invaded, the plague brought down upon them even as her parents defended her?
I bit my lower lip. The girl turned and walked away, shambling her way back into the dark forest. I flecked the gore off my sword, before slowly resheathing it.
I was showing mercy to an enemy... An enemy who would be trusted, and that trust rewarded with death and damnation.
Just as I tried to reward Mr. Darcy... Just as I would have rewarded Charlotte's trust...
I turned and walked back to the decoy carriage. I retrieved my satchel, and turned to continue on my way. Trust and mercy, I supposed, went hand in hand. It was not always in a warrior's interests to pursue it.
But there always were exceptions...