The Night is Dark
Notes: The characters are not mine and the story is! This is a short idea that came to me this morning, written for the prompt Rebirth at Tutu Contest on Livejournal. It probably isn't a very common view in the fandom, but I actually feel sorry for the Bookmen's leader. Seriously, anyone's mind could snap after this. It takes place during episode #25.
They should have carried out their original mission and cut off that boy's hands.
The lights in the bookstore flickered and the floor shook as the gate towers outside crumbled to the ground. A horrid, malicious cry filled the air as a shadow began to cover all of Kinkan Town. He ran to the window, staring in sickened alarm at the released form of the Monster Raven.
"No," he gasped.
This was one of the events the Bookmen had wanted to stop from happening. When Princess Tutu had appeared to protect the aspiring Story-Spinner, they had realized the Story had progressed too far for them to do anything more. Or at least, they had believed it. And they had believed that Drosselmeyer's descendent was their only hope. But entrusting their fate to that boy was now leading everyone to this end! With the Raven revived, it would only be a matter of time before all would fall to ruin.
Something red drummed against the windows, eerily staining them crimson. And there were strange noises outside, screams that turned abruptly to caws in mid-cry. Before he could call out a warning, the only other Bookman in the store flung open the door to investigate.
His own screams of pain echoed with the crowds'. Before the leader's eyes, his comrade's body was changing. His hood fell back as his nose and mouth became a long, curved beak and as dark feathers grew over the rest of his face. Even as he brought his hands up, horrified to inspect the damage, they were transforming into strong black wings. His eyes went dark red, the color of the Raven's blood.
The leader fell back, several books on his desk clattering to the floor. He called the other man's name, but received nothing but a caw in response.
Other robed figures appeared behind the new crow as they exited the street and made their way to the bookstore. The owner stumbled over near the door, his heart pounding. Were they all crows? Had they all fallen to the Raven's curse?
One by one they threw back their hoods. Gleaming red eyes looked at him, devoid of any and all humanity. The one just behind the former Bookman still standing in the doorway brought out his axe, gripping it in his dark wings. He was focused on the one who had been their leader when they had been human.
The recently changed crow, unlike the others, seemed to still have some spark of his true personality left. He grabbed for the axe-wielder with his wings, attempting to pull him back. But he was shoved to the side by that one and two others.
Pleading and beseeching them to remember themselves was no use. They entered the store, intent on not allowing one of their number to escape. The one with the axe let it swing without mercy, the sound cutting through the air. Their target—their former leader—fell to the floor as he dodged the blade. To his side, the axe struck the window instead. Particles of glass and red rain flew across the room, the former cutting into his outstretched left arm and hand. Blood oozed from the wounds, mixing with the Raven's blood entering through the broken window.
He cried out as the curse burned and seared into his flesh. Now his own arm was changing. He could feel the mutation boiling under his skin. His fingers were turning to black primary feathers. Down and other feathers were beginning to cover his arm.
Without warning he was knocked away, crashing haplessly across the floor before stopping near his desk. He looked up, shaking and stunned. The former Bookman, just turned into a crow in the doorway, had pushed him out of the way of the Raven's blood-rain to halt the transmutation. But now he had been bathed in the remainder of the substance. His already-red eyes darkened further. He lunged, snapping with his beak at the man he had just rescued. Any remaining spark of his humanity was gone.
The Bookman leader stared at him and then at the others in horror. This was what leaving Drosselmeyer's descendent in charge of rectifying the Story had caused. His allies were gone, their hearts frozen by the Monster Raven. He was the last one left, and he was not even fully human now; his one wing burned and pulsed as it finished its transformation. He was a hybrid monster.
The other crows lunged at him too, all snapping and cawing. He struggled to his feet, turning and stumbling into the back room. Slamming the door behind him, he took up his own axe in his one remaining human hand. His eyes were haunted and wild, their last remaining sanity slipping away.
That boy would pay for this. But he would not lose only his hands; he would lose his very life.
It was all he deserved.