Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all of you wonderful people who put up with my writer's block and delayed updates. I thank you for your continued support and patience in regards to all of my stories. And now, for those who have much desired this to be continued, your patience has payed off! Here it is...
So I finally got around to a re-write of the fic that catapulted me into the limelight of Fanfiction! Don't worry! I'll reformat the chapters so that it looks nice and orderly. Looks like my OCD is good for something after all.
But at any rate, I cut off right where I need to cut off in order to set up for the next chapter, so don't be too unhappy with me, my lovelies!
DISCLAIMER: sayain673 does not own "inFAMOUS" or "Zero no Tsukaima". They belong to Sucker Punch Studios and the late Noboru Yamaguchi (God rest his soul). All characters, trademarks and etc. belong to their respective owners.
Conduit of Zero
Chapter One- The Calm: First Night
"The fragrance of flowers spreads only in the wind. But the goodness of a person spreads in all direction." - Chanakya
"Nix!" I shouted, sprinting through the smoke of the explosion as I scanned desperately for the napalm conduit. The only thing that I could see was the hunched, smoking form of The Beast as it struggled to recover from the attack among charred ruin and burning wreckage. "NIX!"
Silence was the only response that I received.
Nix was dead.
In her one moment of selflessness, the conduit of napalm and anarchy had bought humanity enough time for me to charge the RFI.
And there wasn't even anything left to mourn over.
"Alright Nix," I whispered, mentally swearing to avenge her death and give The Beast one extra good one for her. I sprinted towards the substation that housed Wolfe's device. With a hard enough tug, the RFI popped out, thrumming with the energy that it absorbed from the installation. It pulsed, glowing bright enough that the merest nudge would cause it to explode into a light show. I knew better; Zeke built shit to last. How else would I still have a working amp?
Shoving the RFI into the sling pack, I glared at the slumped genetic behemoth as I moved to the edge of the building. It took all of my self control not to weigh into the prone monster with everything I had, plus some. "You're next." I promised. It wasn't just a meaningless sentence brought on by the grief of a comrade. It was a threat that I was going to fulfill.
Sprinting into the jump, I jumped into the air, firing the Thrusters to slow my descent as I glided in the direction of the church. It was a struggle to speak into the microphone dangling from my ear. "Zeke...Zeke she's dead. Nix is dead."
There was a loud coughing noise, the sound that a man near his deathbed makes as he slips into his last moments, before Zeke made his reply. "You gotta keep moving, brother." Behind his professional front, I could tell that he was also stricken by her sacrifice. But he was right. I couldn't stop here, not after I lost so many people on the way to get to this point...Nix...La Roche...John...
"-head for the substation on the cathedral." The last sound I heard was the beginning of another coughing fit before the line dropped dead.
With grim determination, I sprinted towards St. Ignatius' cathedral. Bunkered down behind the stone walls, the Militia Men ceased their fire on the fiery giant to let me leap over the iron grates. I was dimly aware of them shouting encouragement to me and phrases of giving the bastard what was due to him. I nearly spat. Weeks ago, these guys were willing to march people off of roofs and commit other atrocities in the name of New Marais' "best interests". But at least they "repented". I guess learning that learning that their boss was a ten story sized cockroach did that to some people.
"It's the real demon of Empire City!" That was all I needed to confirm that The Beast was on the move again. No looking back now.
"You go, Electric Man!"
Blue lightning surged in my hands as I sent a Tether up to the bell. The electricity jerked me off the ground to deposit me into the steeple where the last substation silently chugged away, seemingly oblivious to the destruction that had happened when I chose to save humanity and reject The Beast's vision of a world of Conduits. Vaulting up onto the balcony, I hit the deck running as I unhooked the RFI. With a click, the device came loose from my bag to fit snugly into the power couplings that sprung out of the generator's inner workings.
Contact only lasted for the briefest moment, but in that time span I could feel every individual volt in the tidal wave of electricity that the substation sent into the RFI and through me via direct contact with the sphere. Zeke told me that he had fixed the power regulator, but I didn't want to risk overloading the device prematurely. It slid off of the couplings, still crackling with lightning that danced across its surface. It took me a few seconds to realize that it wasn't just the RFI that was glowing.
Electric blue bolts writhed and coiled along my body, power that I would never have been able to produce on my own. Even as I stepped away from the substation, the charges running along my body didn't fade away. I was at the peak of my power, the epitome of what my abilities bequeathed onto me. I laughed as I thumbed the bead in my year. "Zeke! It's fully charged..."
There was a beep that proceeded his response. "Go ahead man...push the button."
My finger was hovering over said button before a bestial roar filled the air. The Beast hadn't fully recovered from Nix's attack, evident by the crater still in its face, but it was standing up tall as it strode over the militia's picket lines and defense barricades. I didn't need a GPS to tell that it was heading straight towards me in what was clearly a last-ditch effort, a suicide run.
I could have activated the thing right there, but...I couldn't leave things the way they were. .
I wanted one, final punch to the monster that caused all of this to happen. Without it, Kessler would never have existed. Without it, Zeke would never have betrayed me. Without it...
Trish never would have died.
"No...no, not just yet."
My hands were already primed when I ran to the edge of the balcony, jumping off the railing with a battle-cry as I became airborne. With potentially infinite power coursing through my body, I didn't have to worry about being conservative with my attacks, not that I was planning to. One hand let loose a series of bolts towards the Beast as another kept me hovering in mid-air.
It roared in agony as I poured everything I had into bringing it down. In retaliation, it moved to counter, creating fireballs and singularities within its hands. But it was ultimately a pathetic waste of time. In Empire City, my attacks weren't powered by the electricity that the RFI generated as it hummed in my backpack. Back then, the bolts I shot at it were barely able to put a dent in its magma-like skin, but now, here in New Marais, I had the edge against it. Doctor Wolfe's device was augmenting my powers more potently than any generator or electrical system in the world could have done.
Something went critical with the Beast as it staggered back, internal explosions of both fire and lightning blossoming across its colossal body. Roaring in agony as its body was unable to withstand the damage it had taken, it collapsed to its knees, shaking the earth as the true Demon of Empire City was brought down to size.
I landed right next to it, just as it hunched over in a mimicry of catching breath. But within the next minute, it wouldn't need to worry about catching breath. Neither did I, the thought ran through my head as I gently cradled the sphere in my hands. And just as I was about to press the button, something interrupted me from the final act.
Kuo had survived Nix's explosion, but she looked like hell. She was as pale as her element and had nasty looking marks running along her body that I recognized as signs of the plague. I was already rushing over to her as she gave a hacking cough that sent her keeling over, gently supporting her with my arms. There was no hesitation in my movements to help her stand up on her feet.
"It's okay," I soothed her, but she only sobbed harder to my ministrations.
"I-It's not okay..." she whimpered, caught between a cough and a sniffle. "You made the right choice...hell, even Nix made the right choice...I was- I...am scared..."
My eyes met hers and I gave her the most reassuring look that I could muster at the current time. I couldn't hate her for that decision, not with her guilt consuming her just as readily as the plague within her body. She was right; she was scared about dying, scared about putting her faith in a device that would kill her and thousands of others in order to save the world. But that was alright. I gave her three words before I let go of her hand to face my destiny.
"...I am too."
As I held the RFI between my clenched fists, I took the time to envision the smile of a dying woman and the words that she had given me, words that were the foundation of my morals and beliefs as a hero. I thought to myself that I would see her soon, and that thought comforted me as I pressed the button.
Energy surged out of the sphere, blasting into the sky to spread across the skies as its power was released. Wolfe's device drew power out of the three of us, The Beast, Kuo and myself. The Beast was in the process of keeling over as smoke issued from cracks in its body to be absorbed into the beam of light protruding out of the device. Kuo had already hit the pavement, expiring as what little life she had was drained from her body. The pain of dying coursed through my body, but I remained upright, proud and defiant until it expired itself and saved everyone in the world.
Within a minute, the beacon ceased to exist. The burnt-out RFI dropped from my lifeless hands as I fell onto the ground, collapsing to the side as darkness surrounded my vision. The last thing that I saw was a man with "Lucky" emblazoned on his shirt running towards me when I felt the breath leave my body and my eyes close forever...
I hit the ground, hard, crashing against the floor on all fours. Cursing as I struggled to put breath back into my winded lungs, I pushed off of the-
Wait. I could breathe? Didn't I just-
The first thing that I noticed about my new environment was the absence of light. There was not a single source of illumination, only darkness as far as the eye could see. I attempted to generate my own light, snapping my fingers to produce a spark, but that didn't work either.
I smashed my fist into the floor, ignoring the pain that suddenly flared from my hand. What the hell was going on?! Where were the choirs? The pearly gates and the angels with the harps? This wasn't heaven and from what I could tell, this wasn't exactly the brimstone-scorched hell...
Where the hell was I?
With an frustrated sigh, I started to get a feel around for the place. I'd read enough stories about how getting to the afterlife was comparable to an interstate highway tunnel, so the first thing I did was locate the boundaries of said tunnel. Surprisingly, they were easy enough to find, only about a couple of feet apart from each other. My circumstances improved even further when my back hit an invisible wall when I attempted to back-pedal. There was only one way out of here:
This was the day Louise was waiting for. This was the hour that she had prayed diligently for. This was the moment where she would be either made, or shattered into uncountable pieces. It was the day where she would be summoning her familiar.
There could be no failure.
Stepping up to the empty field, she reached for her wand, closed her eyes, concentrated with all her mind and began chanting a spell she prayed that would at least go right.
"I beg of you!"
At once, a green light flared up on the ground, luminescence streaming out of the center of the circle. The brightness grew with every syllable that Louise Françoise le Blanc de la Vallière pronounced, the arcane runes running along its edges shining with the intensity of a sun as she poured her willpower into the magic.
"My servant who lives somewhere in the universe!"
At once, like guilty conspirators, the whole second year student body of the Tristan Academy for Magic inched away from the explosive, both figuratively and literally, student. They had all become, ironically, familiar with the explosions that Louise "the Zero" had caused, every single time she cast- or at least attempted to- a spell. And none had any particular desire to be remotely close to her while she cast her magic.
"Oh sacred, beautiful and strong familiar spirit!"
Professor Colbert looked up to the sky when the field had suddenly been plunged into darkness. Thick, black clouds had appeared from out of nowhere, manifesting in the skies above their heads. The black whisps swirled high above the Five Towers, darkening the area around the sixteen year old mage who paid no heed to the shadows in the empyrean.
He knew something was going to happen that had never happened before in the history of the Academy.
"Answer to my guidance!"
The sky roared in response and tendrils of pure energy surged downward into the magic circle. A massive explosion ripped through the ground, in conjunction with the spear of the gods striking the earth. Louise was sent flying backward, tumbling on the ground as dirt and debris rocketed into the air. Clouds of dust swept through the ranks of the second-year students, blinding them and their familiar partners.
After Professor Colbert swept away the airborne detritus with a wave of his staff, a massive stone structure became visible to the class. It was about the size of a dining table, though with the color gray and black marble. The structure was covered in soot and dirt as it stood there, in the center of the crater, its ominous presence silencing the students and the summoner.
"Th-this is my familiar?" Louise managed to sputter, standing up from the ground, too dazed to brush the dirt off her cloak and uniform.
Laughter broke out of the class, mocking the student who had apparently "failed" at the spell.
"Louise the 'Zero' fails again!"
"As is expected of the 'Zero'! She can't even summon something animate!"
Anger, fury and despair welled up in the girl's frame, causing her to start shaking and gripping her wand so hard, that it was in danger of snapping. "SHUT UP!", she shouted back at them, turning to face them while blinking tears from her eyes.
One particular red-headed girl with a bust that threatened to spill out of her shirt shouted the loudest of all, "Poor Louise. She can't even get a basic summoning spe-"
Her taunt was cut off and replaced with a strangled cry of astonishment. When all of the students turned to her as to inquire why she had stopped, she pointed a shaky finger to the construct that the "Zero" had summoned, her eyes wide with fear.
The stone structure's top was sliding open, mist pouring out of the darkness from within the container. As it continued to slide, the volume of mist that came out increased, billowing towards the class. It smelt of things these pampered children of nobles and aristocrats never would have imagined, evoking the darkest thoughts out of the darkest corners of their imagination.
Professor Colbert immediately recognized the smell of the mist. He had became too familiar for his comfort with it during his service in Her Majesty's mage troop in his brash and youthful years. Cold but eager to please, he had carried out his dark orders to the fullest of his extent. But even after years of regret and repentance, his recognition of the scent would never go away, forever destined to be with him until the day he died.
The scent of the dead...
If you have any comments, threats, flames, criticisms, etc. please don't hesitate to PM me or post a review. I will accept it with my head held low and my body and mind humble. Just try not to overly curse me if I did anything overtly stupid.
I hope you enjoyed the re-write!