Disclaimer: I do not own the characters, just the story!
A/N: Long time no see, eh! No, I didn't forget about this story, or the other that is currently open. I'm just taking small little breaks in between so I don't get burned out. In any case, this chapter is short. But. It's a fairly intense, short, chapter. I will be back with more, but until then, bare with me!
It came out low, but the growl in my throat was unstoppable. The restraint I once held was nonexistent and I just couldn't seem to think straight. My only reason for being no longer stood there, and so, there was nothing standing in my way.
"And I am to blame, correct?" he gave a smug expression, not having moved at all.
"You stood there," I sneered, letting the hilt of my blade twist in my hands, "And made her believe she wasn't safe with me, when you're the one she couldn't trust."
"You speak as if I flat out lied to her," Seymour dismissed me with little concern, "Which I didn't."
"I'm not her!" I spat out, closing in on him as he stood still, "I'm not buying in to any of it!"
"So what are you waiting for?" Seymour shrugged, "Kill me. It won't change a thing."
The stench of the dungeon crept up on me and I realized that Yuna had been down here, trapped like some criminal by her own people. People whom she'd swore to protect – to fight and die for, if that's what it took. Then there was something else stirring inside me; a memory I wanted to forget, but it lingered there relentlessly, biting into my insides. Seymour had been promised to Yuna. Or more accurately, she'd been promised to him.
My eyes found him again I wanted to punch his face to the back of his skull.
"It's not as if she's dead, you know. You could go find her – save her – but like I said, it won't change anything."
"And leave you to take her from me again?" I scoffed, raising my blade at his chest, "Over my dead body."
For the first time since Yuna had left, Seymour's expression finally took a more serious turn – as if something I said dug into him. He lifted his hand, snapped his fingers, and guards poured out from every direction.
"That can be arranged."
Magic can be a powerful thing when you allow it to be, but it's more than just elements and fighting; when you need it to be, it can be used as smoke screens and last minute escape plans. The thing about magic, though, is that it varies with each caster. Some have to learn to control it – harness it – with every ounce of strength they have; others, like myself, can bend it to our will without even trying, and because of that, the magic seems to have this innate instinct to protect the one that harbors the ability to do so.
Which is why when I ended up here, of all places, I wasn't afraid.
I stood silent, yet vigilant, letting my eyes soak in the familiar surroundings of the battlefield I had stood among just days before. The carnage was gone, but I assumed it was because everyone else had given them a proper burial in our absence. And yet...the fields were still stained with blood and the stench of death. I could still see the young girl vividly in my mind, worn with anguish and tinged with fear, taking her last breathe in my arms. I think...I cried then. I'm acutely aware of how I was feeling, but for the life of me, I couldn't recall my actions.
"It's sad, isn't it?" a soft voice carried along the wind, "To see so much bloodshed between brethren."
The voice, female in nature, came just from behind me. And although I was surprised by it, I got the nagging feeling that I shouldn't shy away or become frightened of it; it was gentle...alluring, even.
"You know who I am, Yuna." she called out to me, "You can sense the familiarity between us."
Still silent and unmoving, I nodded. Just once.
"It was you," I finally whispered as my eyes caught the gray sky above us, "You were the one speaking to me in the dungeon – coaxing me to use the stop spell."
"Mm," she acknowledged my response, "I had to protect you in his absence."
She was my mother – all of Navitia's mother.
With the last of my strength, I raised the hilt of my sword, burying it forcefully under the jaw of one of the guards. He slammed into the wall across the hall, but my eyes found a fresh wave stalking toward me. They just kept coming – one after another – in endless supply, commanded by the blue haired man just beyond my reach. The entire time, Seymour never budged from the stairs. Instead, he watched amused, waiting for the second he'd wear me down into submission. Smirking, I wiped the blood from the corner of my mouth. If I had to die here, I was going to make it a point to get one good stab in him, or at least wipe that god forsaken smirk off his ugly face. If not for me, for Yuna.
"Keep em coming, Seymour," I gave a low chuckle, "Unless you'd rather stop being a coward and fight me yourself."
"It's tempting," he quirked a brow, "But I can't have my robes bloodied before my own wedding, can I?"
I knew what he was trying to do. I knew he was trying to get a rise out of me by using Yuna.
And it worked, much to my better judgment.
"You won't touch her."
"Yes, yes," he waved his hand lazily at me, "How dare I speak like that of the woman you love – I really grow tired of your impudence."
Though it wasn't the time to be thinking about trivial matters, I couldn't help but to grasp on to the word Seymour used to describe my relationship with Yuna; love. A feeling of uncertainty consumed me, but I didn't deny it...exactly. But while I had been distracted with my own thoughts, five more guards seized the opportunity, burying their weapons fiercely into my skin.
"Stop," his voice came loud and sudden, "I want him injured, not dead."
The guards retracted the sharp pieces of steel from my flesh and I winced, but never gave him the satisfaction of hearing me in pain. The blood trickled out of every wound, but I could feel my body quickly replacing what it had lost – something I noticed I could do, but nobody else could. The trouble with blood, was, I fell victim to an overwhelming sensation to slaughter every breathing thing my eyes could find. Almost like I had two personalities who were polar opposites – one that loved, apparently, and another that couldn't distinguish friend or foe; one that slaughtered mercilessly.
There was no question as to which form had taken over the minute the scent of blood hung in the air.
"Detain him!" Seymour shouted with a hint of panic in his voice as the atmosphere shifted in my favor.
All at once, his army of guards rushed at me. I made no attempt to dodge, letting them take me, but my eyes never left his cold ones. The transformation between man and cold blooded killer was almost complete. I wanted to make sure his face was the last thing burned into my mind before everything went familiarly black.
"Why are you here?" I asked, still keeping my back straightened and dignified, "I'm no longer in a dangerous position – I removed myself from it."
"For the time being," Nova supplied, "You have to go back. Your fate will find you no matter where you run, Yuna."
I spun around, locking eyes with the Goddess herself for the first time ever, "I'm not running from my fate. I'm merely trying to make it my own."
Nova stood, thinly materializing in an ethereal form, seeming to mull over my words. If you didn't know anything about Navitia's history, one could almost assume she looked like a normal human being – if you could get past her being ghostly like in appearance, that is.
Her long violet hair cascaded evenly down both of her shoulders and her eyes shown the color of cherry blossoms that I had only read about in story books. The flowing white gown that hugged her impossibly frail frame shimmered even in the gloomy weather surrounding us, silver and gold trim lining the edges. Beautiful. The descriptive word seemed to fit Nova nicely. Her eyes were gentle, yet held so much sadness within as she stared into mine. Sadness I was sure had to have been there for thousands of years by the way I studied the lines etched into her perfect face.
"If you had anything to ask," she dipped her head, "Now would be the time."
I expected nothing less from the Goddess who gave birth to us, knowing she was reading my mind as well as my soul. If anyone would know the truth, Nova would. Though I felt it was impossible to trust no one at this point, part of me wanted to believe she really had no personal gain in lying – not really. After all, she was just trying to save Navitia, right?
I wanted to believe it with all my heart.
"'Protect me in his absence'," I repeated her words, "By that you meant, Tidus, right?"
"Why would he be protecting me if we're from opposite sides of the conflict? We only hinder the other, thus bringing it to a stalemate."
"For the very same reason you're meant to protect him," Nova stated matter-of-factly, "The two of you provide strength in the others' weakness, bringing balance between both sides."
Quirking an eyebrow, I shifted uncomfortably, "But if only one side is to win, what good would that do us?"
"As in magic, light balances out with darkness; neither has an upper hand, but just as equally, each as the ability to overpower the other." Nova responded emotionless, swiping her hands through the air to reveal a cleared sky.
I soaked up the information like a sponge, but somewhere deep inside, a fear washed over me.
"So it's true," I whispered, finally letting the pieces fit themselves together in my head, "Everything."
When the Goddess made no attempt to clarify my revelation, I felt the faintest twinge of anger surge through my veins like never before. And so, without any regards to who the being was in front of me, I snapped with an uncontrollable rage I never knew existed.
"You intend to pit us against each other," I hissed, narrowing my eyes at the silent woman, "All the while, I believed...I clung to the idea that maybe...just maybe we could end this without bloodshed!"
The Goddess didn't even blink.
"You wanted us to protect each other until the end," I growled through clenched teeth, "Only to leave us standing against ourselves!"
"Protecting our investments," Nova finally spoke sorrowfully.
As she spoke, I felt energy gathering inside of me; energy that I had never once felt when I used magic in the past. It was almost as if every single element was binding together, weaving itself in my soul, seeking a way out. Wanting to destroy something – anything – that would give my body some sort of release. And yet...
"I know it sounds cruel and cold, Yuna," she caught my flared eyes, "But the truth of it all is that the two of you were unintentionally the result of our short comings. What else could I do? What other choice did I have?"
"Something else," I snapped at her, "Anything else would have been better than this!"
"All I can do is beg for your forgiveness," Nova offered her hand, "I don't deserve it, but, I ask for it all the same."
My mind ran rampant with this new information. I wanted to kill everything, and yet, embrace everything. I wanted to laugh hysterically at the irony, but, I wanted to weep uncontrollably. But most of all, I wanted Tidus here with me – to hold me, comfort me...protect me; and I would have done the same.
"Someday," I lowered my head as well as my voice, letting my hair swish in the wind, "But that day...isn't today."
I knew what I wanted to do – what I had to do, now.
"I will find a way to fix this," my eyes found her pale pink ones, "And I'll do it without either of us forfeiting our lives as the price."
"To alter a fate," Nova hesitated, but her voice remained calm, "Is to tempt it. Become too greedy, and you might find yourself much more worse off than you started."
I heeded her words, but that didn't mean I had to stick by them.
"To run from your fate is one thing," I replied confidently, "To change it for the better, is something entirely different. No one wins and everyone loses something. I simply refuse to throw away life for the sake of a victory...even if it is for the world."
"I can only hope you find a solution," Nova smiled as she started to dissipate, "Time is of the essence, Yuna, and fate will not be kept at bay forever."
When she finally faded, I looked to the barren field around me. It was empty, yet I could still see the countless corpses littered at my feet. It looked exactly how I felt; empty, yet not alone or vacant. In a moment of despair, I fell to my knees, finally releasing all the emotions bottled up inside.
My hands dug into the earth angrily, and I let out an anguished sob so loud, it was sure to reach Nova herself. Tears cascaded like a babbling brook, streaking my fevered cheeks, but for the life of me...I just couldn't stop crying. Crying for myself, for Tidus. Weeping for the world and the countless people who'd died at the hands of another.
Without warning, I felt a blinding pain, tensing every muscle my body had. Before I could blink, my body went from being doubled over, to sitting straight up, resting on the calves of my legs. I felt I was being burned from the inside out, and the only thing I could do, was scream. A scream so loud and jolting, that my throat was left raw and in pain as it tore from me and toward the sky.
But just as quickly as the pain started, it ended. And the only thing I could see, was Tidus.
"What just..." I whispered hoarsely, clutching my hands around my throat as another image flashed behind my blurry eyes.
Blue and red. A hint of shimmering gold, but the cold sting of steel. A pair of familiar eyes, and a pair of cold ones. Then...black.
"Seymour," I inhaled sharply.
A/N: Lol, and so, the plot is revealed...more or less. There's still a few surprises to be had, but this is probably as big as it's going to get. Feel free to ask questions as the arise, reviews are always welcome as is constructive criticism!