Disclaimer:

I do not own any of the creative properties used in the creation of this work of fan fiction. On the other hand, any specific author created characters I created for this fic (despite how unoriginal they may be at times) are mine. So without further ado, let's get on with the show!

The Surgeon General's Warning:

Read at your own risk. Suspension of Disbelief is required.


Sojourn on Mount Purgatory

Endless 1-1:

Lion's Trembling

A When They Cry fanfic by James "Ray" Edwards


The young lion with hair of red sighed.

Gazing up at the ceiling in his ridiculous four-poster bed of the kingly persuasion, he could not help but bemoan the desolation of his utter isolation. How kind of his archenemy had been to prepare him a guest room right here in the infernal isle of Mount Purgatory! There was no escape for her home was very much a prison surrounded on all sides by an endless, writhing void colored bluish-black like a fresh bruise, a grim parody of the sea. He would wager good money it would swallow him whole in less time than it took for his host to revive him; after all, she was that sort of fickle woman.

Ushiromiya Battler scowled, his eyes zeroing out, far and distant.

What the hell had he been thinking? Why in the name of all that is good did he embrace THAT Beatrice of the Golden?! Had it not been clear as a Summer's day that to enter her arms would mean his resignation from the game? He had her. He had that damn woman by the throat. Had her, had her, had her, had her, had her by the throat! Kill. Kill. Kill. Kill. Kill. KILL. Kill her filthy!

...but it didn't end like that, did it? And so with this, have I broken my promise with Ange? ....H-Hell no! Battler flatly denied in his heart, biting down against the rising bile of self-loathing. Don't joke around like that, Battler. Pull yourself together, man!

There was no way he had gone back on that sacred vow! Definitely. Absolutely, Battler swore he would breakthrough the Legend of the Golden Witch and free his parents, his family, the servants---no---everyone from the endless purgatory of Rokkenjima in 1986. In the one minute afforded for the human side to counter with his Blue Truth, he could have exposed the falsehoods of Beatrice and shown her to be the mere human she was truly!

...but that didn't happen, did it? Battler rolled over onto his side in disgust.

At the final turn, something---or perhaps---someone had shaken his absolute certainty. What foolishness! A chance like that won't come around any time soon; miracles are improbably low for a reason, so why had he squandered the miracle given to him by dearest Ange?

What is it? What is it? What is it? What WAS it?! Her hair, her scent, her face, her lips, her eyes; what could have bewitched him so terribly? Blundered. Blundered. Blundered. Tumbling. Tumbling. Tumbling. FALL. FALL. FALL!

Falling.

...fallen.

The anguished young man tossed and turned in the tortured throes of self-loathing, clawing at his mane of red hair, as he turned the chessboard over and over again, hoping to gain that invisible pawn that would provide the answer he sought. Useless. Useless. Useless. It was all useless! After all, if Ushiromiya Battler could not master himself, how could he be possessed of the audacity to know the truth of his own heart? Thus, Battler collapsed unto the scornful embrace of the satin sheets in a haze of acrid sweat, spent and wasted. Waiting in the wings of the darkest recesses of his soul, like a golden circling flock of carrion, so did the cruel shears of loneliness begin their deadly work with renewed passion on his beating heart once more, the exquisite pain numbed by the sweet poison of his doubt.

Always someone or another had saved him from the brink of despair, such was his lot in life, but Battler was sick of being saved. No, he was heartsick, driven into a corner like an animal, with vicious, searing thoughts of revenge, sweet vengeance for his kith and kin, whom have been made toys and sacrifices to the cruel witches time and time again! It was unspeakable torture---endless torture---for an intense, yet kind boy like Battler to be forced to watch this divine tragedy play out to the same inevitable conclusion. There was no mercy, no quarter given in this "game"!

And yet, why!? Why had he done such a damnable thing as speak those words and embrace his enemy, his sworn enemy, Beatrice the Golden Witch, when the truth of Rokkenjima had been so close within his grasp?!

Ah, it's no good. No good at all. The more I beat myself up, the more I begin to hate myself! thought the young lion in anguish, as he threw himself off the bed, lest it become his coffin. If this goes on much longer, I'll really start to fade away---again.

Ange.

At least for his dear sister's sake, Ushiromiya Battler could---no---had to pull himself together. His knees felt so weak and his vision swayed in the drunk red room, like fresh blood in burgundy wine, but even so... He will not run. He will not hide. That's why-!

"UUUOOOHHHhhh! BEEEAAATTTRRRIIICCCEEE!"

In a flash of roaring lightning, the very same Ushiromiya Battler evaporated into an explosion of golden confetti---no---butterflies, bursting through the windows and into the rumbling maelstrom beyond. Wherever his destination be he knew not, but he was driven by a singular burning mad desire that would surely guide him there no matter what may come...

Beatrice the Golden Witch.

...for her golden sneer would rip, slash, and tear asunder the sick weakness in his trembling heart!


To be continued...