This is a Final Fantasy X fanfic, and no characters but my original ones belong to me. All concepts belong to Squaresoft. Except the vampire one, that's mine. MINE.
Summary: Blood everywhere!
Following the sorcerous lead he had attached to Auron, Seymour tracked the guardians. The ancient magic imbued in the Via Infinito prevented him from sinking through the floors and confronting them directly; it was an anti-fiend measure that ensured the monsters below Bevelle could not escape. Actually it was rather cruel, for the souls of trainee monks that died here could never escape and would so become fiends.
"As would I, were I to be killed... And admittedly, the chances of that are high. I must change the odds in my favor."
But Seymour did not look forward to battling with Yuna over control of Auron's soul and aeon; he had a sneaking suspicion she would win if he tried to use Lou-Fuu against her, what with the transformation process being incomplete and all. Yuna jumping into the Great Working had permanently damaged the bonds of servitude that every fayth had built into it and had furthered her link with Auron. Actually, it was entirely possible that she could summon Lou-Fuu against him.
"Is it possible?" Seymour asked the spirit of Yu Yevon inside him—yes, even that venerable soul had been absorbed.
"Entirely possible," Yu Yevon said evenly. Unlike the rest of the powerful souls, Yu Yevon seemed merely content to sit and not fight his captivity. While that made Seymour's life a little bit easier, he couldn't help but wonder what the thousand-year-old summoner of Zanarkand had up his sleeve; one was not awesomely powerful without being awesomely devious as well—unless one were Yuna or Auron, but that was beside the point.
"I don't think she will summon him, though..." Seymour thought with a chuckle. "She likes him the way he is right now... Very much."
"Stuff it up your ass, Seymour!" Tidus bellowed.
"Boy!" Jecht shouted. "Don't let him get to you!"
Seymour chuckled, this time audibly. Sometimes it was downright amusing, having so many hated enemies confined within him. Their impotent rages made him smile.
The little fiends, as if sensing his presence, wisely stayed out of his way as he descended from cloister to cloister, or maybe that was because of his appearance. To save himself from death on impact, Seymour had exploded himself into pyreflies and reformed at the bottom of the pit. Taking a cue from his brief sojourn as a completely nonhumanoid creature, Seymour had taken time refashioning his shape into something well suited for the long, dark tunnels and tight spaces of the Via Infinito.
"Something serpentine, like Evrae, but better armored and stronger... A scaled, no, a spined hide that can flay flesh in moments. In these chambers, all I would need to do to get rid of them all would be to flick my tail and they would be pulverized against the walls..."
He took into consideration every ability that his enemies had used against him. Thick bony plates covered his entire body so no blitzball or grenade could stun him; there were no gaps where swords or spears could pierce through. He shored his magical defenses with his captured souls. When Seymour was done, he looked over himself and grinned approvingly. Completely draconian now, he was streamlined for slaughter. The only traces of his mortal existence were the silver-blue veins that ran over his night-black hide, and his face—he couldn't very well dispense with that. He did, however, give himself shark's teeth. So lovely, so white, so beautifully intimidating and efficient.
Seymour chuckled and slithered to the next glyph, murder shining in his reptilian eyes.
Some floors below, Auron suddenly woke up, disturbed. Looking swiftly around, he only saw his fellow guardians, sleeping as peacefully as one could in a dank dungeon. Nevertheless, the sense of disquiet remained and Auron looked upwards, where he felt—where he knew—Seymour was. Auron rubbed his chest, idly wondering when the best time to destroy him would be.
"Because I will follow the line that connects us, despite Yuna's orders... It's a chance for his permanent destruction."
He contemplated going just then, but a small noise made him turn and he saw Yuna yawn, rubbing her eyes. A rue smile touched his lips as he thought, "I can't get away with anything, can I?"
"Mm, good morning," she said with a little smile.
"Good morning," he murmured back. As always, the sight of her innocent, smiling face and creamy white skin made his stomach go tight with hunger, but as before he was becoming accustomed to the pain. That was not to say it was anything less than the gut-imploding, organ-wrenching agony it had been since Seymour had blood-cursed him, but at least he didn't have to walk with one fist shoved into his stomach all the time.
"How do you feel?" She asked.
"Same," he replied, settling deeper into his robe. Why was it so damn cold in the Via Infinito? What he would give for a hot drink right now... A regular hot drink, he told himself sternly, not blood fresh from the jugular.
Yuna looked at him for a time that was not quite a studied look and not quite a glance before turning skywards. Unspoken, he could see the question in her eyes.
"When do you think he'll catch up to us?"
"He's coming," Auron said softly, making her look at him. "Slowly but surely, he's coming."
"We'll be ready," Yuna said firmly.
Auron nodded. "Yes... Yuna, remember that solution we discussed?"
"Solution?" Yuna looked at him curiously, tilting her head. Auron opened his mouth to explain before she abruptly paled, remembering their talk. "Oh... I see."
"It may be the right time to implement it," he said, rubbing his chest. The sorcerous lead tingled between his fingers.
She nodded, much to his surprise; Yuna hadn't much liked the idea of him going into Seymour to fight him alone the first time he'd suggested it, so what had changed? He watched her as she stood up and walked over to him, taking a seat at his side. She looked mildly, inexplicably frightened.
"Yuna?" Auron asked, frowning. "What's wr—"
And then he saw it. The little razor that Lulu had used to slice open her fingers was in Yuna's hand now, and as if in slow motion, Yuna tremblingly cut across her wrist, fear as much as pain making her draw a jagged line. Auron's mouth watered more with each millimeter of skin she scored.
"That's... That's not what I meant..." A part of his mind babbled. "I meant it's time for me to go fight Seymour. You stop that this instant, young lady, you put that thing away at once..."
"Just...don't bite," Yuna said with a soft, weak laugh. Her hair fell over her eyes, shading her expression as she wiped the razor clean and tucked it back into her sleeve; tricky, tricky. She must have learned that from Rikku. Yuna turned to look at him, her face pale but determined, as she held up her sluggishly bleeding wrist.
Auron could only stare. His body had become utterly paralyzed with horror. That Yuna could spill her blood so easily while he and the others had fought so hard to maintain it made him ill. Yet part of his paralysis was also that of a starving man suddenly faced with a feast—was it real? Was it for him? Where should one start, and how was one ever to finish?
Vaguely he was aware that neither of them had moved, and hadn't done so for quite some time. He measured their bizarre moment in the slow track of blood down Yuna's white arm, trickling from her wrist to her elbow and leaving a long crimson line dribbling down her arm. It shone bright red in his vision, almost giving off a light of its own in the darkness of the Via Infinito, and Auron found himself a moth to its imagined flame. He jerked his head away, covering his eyes.
"No," he whispered. "No, no, no..."
"No, no, no..."
A sudden roar from above made him jump and Auron looked up, hearing Wakka come awake with a loud snort of surprise. The ceiling shook with the impact of heavy bodies and dust flaked down as some sort of titanic struggle raged above. Auron jumped to his feet, part alarm and part 'Seymour-sense' as the sorcerous lead coming out of his chest yanked painfully tight.
"What's happening?!" Rikku demanded, scrambling to her feet.
"Move," Auron said tersely as the sounds of battle abruptly stopped. "Get to the next glyph, hurry."
"Is it Seymour?" Lulu asked sharply.
Auron nodded and at once there was a flurry of action; weapons and armor were re-checked, glances were nervously thrown at the 'up' glyph; a second later they were trotting down the long hall, ears keen for the distinctive 'shing' of the portal being activated. Auron clutched his chest as Seymour's nearness made the forced magic in him burn, exacerbating the hunger that had, only seconds ago, been so close to being sated. The edge of his vision began to turn red with frustration and anger, and he had to grit his teeth to stop from growling.
A low, mocking laugh suddenly filled the cloister and Auron looked over his shoulder. His one eye widened as he saw the bizarre creature slithering after them, gravity and logic defied as it rasped over the floor and curved around the walls, razor-studded scales screeching piercingly along the stone. In a silver-white blur the creature shot over their heads and landed in front of them, nearly crushing Rikku. The group sprang back, staring at the spiny serpent in front of them in horror as it undulated before them, a serrated horror that gave no avenue of escape.
"Any idea what that is?" Wakka shakily asked Auron.
"I'm hurt," the fiend said as it turned around, and more than once person screamed as they recognized the source behind its rippling, multitoned voice. Seymour—and yet not Seymour, not with such a savage mouth, not with such malice—covered the entire range of sound: baritone, bass, alto, soprano in a grating, whistling voice that went to the guardians' bones and made them ache. "After all we've been through..." He chuckled, rising above the floor.
Auron at once could see that the situation was bad, very bad. Seymour was directly in front of them, blocking their escape, and going up would only put them back with the Elder Drake—though looking at the blood smearing Seymour's blue-black hide, it seemed likely the transformed half-Guado had finished it. He had probably constricted it and flayed it to death, what with his new serpentine form and the flickering blades that studded his skin like shards of diamond. Seymour's face, only vaguely human, split in a grin to reveal rows upon rows of broken-glass teeth.
"Starting to understand?" He asked tauntingly, rising in a sinuous ripple of muscle above the guardians. "There's no way out of here... Death awaits you all, and after you, Spira..."
Auron saw Yuna stealthily reaching into her sleeve. What was she doing? All of a sudden Auron remembered that Shelinda had given her something...
"It's a prototype for a fiend-catcher that a team of Crusader mages designed. Right now all it can do is stun, but you never know when that might come in handy."
"You're pathetic," Auron said, hoping to buy some time.
"What?" Seymour turned to face him, eyes blazing.
"Look at you, you're not even human anymore!" Auron said, gesturing at him. "You've forgotten your purpose for being here... You're a fiend!"
"My purpose was always destruction," Seymour hissed maliciously. "And if I'm a fiend, so be it. The end justifies the means..." Rippling like an oily sea, Seymour rose until his head touched the ceiling and hissed, "I must needs repay you for what you said about my mother..."
With a sideways flick of her hand, Yuna tossed the fiend-catcher right under Seymour's coils. It hit the ground and skittered directly below him with a scraping noise, and Seymour glanced down, moving one coil ponderously to inspect the sphere.
"What useless trinket is this?" He demanded scornfully.
It was then that the sphere flicked on with a 'veen!' and a single beam of white light, like a thrown Soft, suddenly shot out of it. The light hit Seymour approximately in the chest and he froze like a statue in the middle of the hall. For a moment the group stared, unable to believe that immobilizing him had been that easy.
"Got any more of those, Yuna?" Wakka asked, looking at his summoner. He sighed when she shook her head, smiling sadly.
"Get around him, quickly," Auron said tersely.
"Shouldn't we—" Lulu started to say, but Yuna shook her head.
"We have no idea how long it'll last," she explained.
"And the battle conditions are hardly favorable," Auron added with a nod to the narrow walls and low ceiling. The group hastened to escape, but it was not easy. Before becoming frozen, Seymour had wound his coils around the tunnel so it was impossible to reach the exit glyph without climbing under or over him. As the guardians quickly discovered, even a brush against Seymour's razored hide led to bloody scrapes. Auron had to stuff his collar in his mouth so he could chew on something other than his teammates.
"I hate this," Wakka said as he gingerly pulled himself over one of Seymour's coils; the body the half-Guado had formed was extremely large, and one coil was at least five feet tall. Wakka's chest was crisscrossed with bleeding red and his yellow pants were frayed. "Can't we just stuff a grenade down his mouth or something?"
"I'm not getting that close to him!" Rikku said, hopping down from a coil. "Besides, he'd just come back again."
"Less talking, more climbing!" Auron snapped, his voice muffled by his collar.
"Hey Auron, I've got an idea," Rikku said, unfazed by his temper. "What if you, like, put me on your sword and then swat me to the other side?"
"But you swatted Yunie!"
"That was different."
"Oh, I get it. You only want to swat Yuna, you dirty old man."
Auron, who had just climbed on top of a coil, turned around to glare at her, but at that moment Seymour's body twitched; the movement ripped Auron's pants from the knee down and sent him tumbling face-first to the floor. Yuna, who had had her palms on Seymour's hide, cried out as the movement flayed the skin from her flesh.
"Oh, crap-monkeys!" Rikku yelled, angry and afraid. She suddenly screamed again, but this time for a different reason.
"I must be losing my mind," Lulu said from near the exit glyph. Auron did a double-take; when had she gotten there? The answer became apparent as Lulu quickly levitated Rikku over to her, dropped her on the ground, and then picked up Yuna in the same way.
Kimahri spear-vaulted over two of Seymour's coils, landing safely on the other side as Seymour's draconian body shifted, rippling like midnight waves. Taking advantage of the movement, Wakka dove under the nearest coil, dodged the razor edge of another, and sprinted over to join the group by the exit glyph; for a six-and-a-half foot man, he moved startlingly fast. Auron looked up and found himself surrounded by Seymour's abrasive hide, and with no exit offered by the shifting, rotating coils.
"Shit," he swore softly. Raising his voice, he shouted, "Get to the next floor!" even as Seymour tightened, and Auron barely had enough time to encase himself in a spherical barrier before the shredding scales would have caught him. At once he was plunged into darkness and the rasping shriek of Seymour ineffectually trying to constrict him scratched his ears. Auron sighed in relief and sat down on the floor of his barrier; it didn't take much for him to put one up, and a perfect sphere was well-nigh unbreakable, so he had some breathing space...
Or at least he thought he did until Seymour re-coiled, gripping the barrier ball in such a way that Auron could see his teammates staring at him helplessly as Seymour drew him into the air. Auron turned around and nearly jumped out of his skin when he saw Seymour's grinning face leering at him from the other side of the barrier.
"Hehehe," Seymour cackled, sending chills down Auron's spine, and with a negligent flick of his coils, began shaking him.
Auron was flung around like a rag doll in the unbreakable confines of his own barrier ball. The blunt impact of being slammed back and forth against the curved surface would have been bad enough, but in all this time Auron hadn't let go of the Masamune. In a matter of seconds, Auron's own sword shredded him alive.
Ew, guts. Gore. Blah.
As for Lulu grabbing Rikku and Yuna and levitating them to where she was, recall the 'unconscious Auron' chapter, where Lulu says that levitation is how people recognize black magic talent in a child... Yes, it's something I completely made up. A majestically flying Lulu makes me smile.
I actually had this chapter finished a long time ago, and once upon a time I dreamed of a chapter buffer. ::sigh:: Better late than never?
I also found some Deliver Me doodles I did years ago. I'll post them with the next chapter.