Hey guys, I'm going to try updating faster for both your pleasure and because my New Years resolution was to stop procrastinating. Hope you all enjoyed the previous chapter, I had fun writing it, even if it was kinda short. The next few chapters shall be interesting, yes Angel is back and I'm excited to put his vengeance seeking energy back into this story.
Please review when you get a chance ~
Chapter 21: A Blood Bath
For a moment Lucy could do nothing but stare. All of the students stood stock still, and the staff surrounding the girl seemed at loss of what to do as well. The eerie, suspended silence crushed down on the room, all eyes transfixed on the red faced, delirious girl.
Then, like everyone hadn't heard her the first time, she screamed out again, this time her voice shredding faltering and her legs wobbling, "Mika, she's dead, someone please-" then she fell, once of the kitchen staff leaping forward to catch her.
Instinctively Lucy leaped into action, a raw determination to help shone in her brown eyes.
She strode over to where the at loss staff was fanning her with a lunch tray and mumbling worriedly, the girl's face was clammy and she was having a hard time standing.
"What's your name?" Lucy asked gently.
The girl blinked several times before responding, "Katherine. P-please Mika needs help. She's upstairs in the tub." She shuddered.
The petrified girl looked at Lucy desperately, grey eyes watery in distress she tried to calm the frantic tears, "M-Mika just went for a bath, b-but when I knocked on the d-door to tell her breakfast was starting s-she . . ." The girls voice broke down, hot messy tears once again streaming down her face.
Lucy looked up, eyebrows knitted together, a heavy molten mass of foreboding was growing in her stomach.
Her eyes caught Natsu's, who was standing beside Gray who had dropped his breakfast tray and was staring dumbfounded, his eyes were tight, worry swam in his eyes.
"Take me to Mika." Lucy said firmly, helping support the younger girls weight, she needed to see this for herself.
"Lucy! Don't you think we should call a teacher?!" Levy called, her brows furrowed.
Lucy nodded, "call a teacher, I'm going up now."
Before Levy could say anything else Lucy helped the weeping second year out of the Grand Hall, nobody noticing Natsu slowly slip away, following behind them.
Blood, so much blood. Lucy felt her stomach churn and tighten, head reeling. A pale, limp hand flopped out of the raised edge of the claw foot tub, wrists slit and the faint dribble of scarlet blood tainting the bath mat. Wide brown eyes stared at the ceiling, frozen and blind, spider-like eyelashes casting shadows on her sunken cheeks. The now cold bath water had changed from it's original pale translucency to a deep, angry red.
"I-I told you, I-I just found her like this," The second year wailed, hands wiping at her puffy red eyes furiously, shoulders sagged considerably.
Lucy swallowed, feeling sick.
"Do you think this was a suicide?" Lucy asked quietly, knowing there was no evidence of anyone else being here, it did just look like a young witch who couldn't deal with life anymore so she ended it.
Lucy shuddered, it was a bad way to go.
"No!" The second year shook her head, bottom lip quivering as she tried to hold back another onslaught of tears, "Mika was always so happy, no way would she ever do something," she swallowed, "like this."
Lucy felt the room sway, sudden exhaustion itching at her eyes, "we need to call for help." As she began to turn around and leave the bathroom which reeked of death, Master Makarov and Natsu stood face to face with her.
Master Makarov swerved around her, dark eyes not even glancing at her, he stepped inside the bathroom with the second year and closed the door behind them, leaving Natsu and Lucy outside.
Awkward silence filled the dorm room, Lucy unable to meet Natsu's eyes. She wrung her hands, unable to meet his questioning gaze, it seemed every time things seemed to be going right between them things would turn terribly wrong.
The silence stretched on until Natsu awkwardly cleared his throat. . "This insane, a girl is dead." His eyes narrowed on her, face suspicious, "does this have something to do with you Lucy?"
Lucy's jaw went slack as she struggled to keep her face impassive, what could she tell him? She chewed on the bottom of her lip, that sick, sour feeling that this wasn't just a awful coincidence poisoning her mind.
"Lucy!" He pressed, voice impatient, worry and fear making his eyes icy.
Lucy turned her face away from him, trying to prevent her bottom lip from quivering in terror, what if this was her fault? How could she ever repay this girl's family, her friends, for an innocent life that she could have spared by killing Angel sooner. What Eve had told her haunted her, sacrifices. Was history repeating itself?
Natsu opened his mouth to speak again but the bathroom door swung open, a stony looking Headmaster nodded toward Natsu gravely, the gangly second year clutching to his left arm.
"Natsu, please go find Porlyusica and bring this poor girl to the infirmary." His low baritone voice rang, his steely eyes flickering over to Lucy. "Lucy, I'd like to speak to you in my office immediately." His eyes drifted between the two stiff teens, as if watching the raging aura that seemed to be battling each other with his eyes.
Lucy opened her mouth to argue, raising a finger in argument but the Headmaster's stern glare made the words melt on her tongue, she nodded obediently, "yes Headmaster, of course."
He swished forward, making an offhand gesture that she should follow him, Lucy fell in line behind him, not daring to look over her shoulder at Natsu who just stood there flabberghasted.
Lucy followed the Headmaster along the winding corridors and steep staircases of the Academy, getting slightly nostalgic over the fact that mere weeks ago she was also trekking along these halls accompanied by Natsu heading to his office for a much less sinister reason.
Makarov paused for a moment, twisting the giggling lock to his office, then stepping inside and heading straight to his desk, not even glancing at Lucy.
For a long moment Lucy stood in the gap of the doorway, once again taking in the cluttered wonders of his office, shifting uncomfortably, unsure if she should continue standing or sit.
The Headmaster fluttered near his desk, rummaging through his drawers in desperate search for something, mumbling furiously under his breath.
Lucy lurched forward, hands fluttering nervously over the back of the guest chair, fingers plucking at the tweed fabric.
"Sit." Makarov commanded distractedly, still searching through his desk, eyes flashing over the piles of junk stuffed in his drawers.
Gulping thickly, Lucy hunkered down in the chair, perched on it's edge nervously, sweat coating her upper lip. Finally, after what seemed like years, Makarov let out a triumphant cheer, holding up what appeared like a small badge of some sort.
"Aha!" He shouted excitedly, holding the badge up.
Lucy frowned anxiously, watching him with gauged amusement, unease spreading through her gut.
Taking a calming breath the Headmaster composed himself, straightening his robes and clearing his throat, he plunked down in his large, tall backed chair, flicking the badge across the desk at her.
It was upside down, the stitched pattern indistinguishable, she looked at it then back at the Headmaster confused.
"Flip it over." He said.
Lucy reached out, aware her fingers were trembling, sweaty fingers slowly turning the itchy fabric over.
The Eye. The same Eye that seemed to have burned into her mind in Professor Bob's office, the one that her mother wore proudly stitched above her right breast, smiling out at her sincerely from the glossy photograph.
"The Eye." Lucy whispered disbelieving, eyes stuck on the small badge.
Master Makarov stirred, he'd expected, he planted his firm chin in his folded hands, watching her cautiously.
"Yes. So you know what it is then?" He asked.
Lucy nodded, eyes still glued to the simply stitched badge, black and endless it seemed to be looking right into her soul.
Makarov moved again, leaning forward, voice lowering, "do you know what this means Lucy? Because I do and it's nothing good." He paused, regret twitching at the corners of his lips, "I suppose Bob told you. I suspected you'd be seeking his aid sooner or later, much like your mother did."
Lucy looked up at him, trying not to look utterly terrified, she swallowed the bile that began to fill her mouth. "Yes Headmaster, he did tell me. He told me . . . everything."
"Did he now?" He asked, grimly amused, "but how much of everything is everything."
Lucy looked at him, not liking the superior tone to his voice. "He told me more than I wanted to know. About my mother, about my past."
Master Makarov scratched his balding head, eyeing her. "So you also have the Sight and no doubt have you too followed in your mother's footsteps."
Lucy tensed, muscles locking, she glanced up at him sharply, alarm rising in her throat. "You know about that?"
Master Makarov looked at her oddly, of course he knew. "Yes. About the curse about the particular Eater that trailed after your mother and now after you as well." He adjusted himself in his chair, again reaching into his desk, eyes looking for something once again.
Lucy grit her teeth, trying to withhold the anger she felt. If he knew why hadn't he warned her? Given her some heads up before this surprise hit her by storm?! How many people knew about this inevitable curse that sat upon her shoulders like a crushing boulder?
"Ah. Here it is." He muttered, pulling his hand back out of the swallowing black hole. His wrinkled hand reaching across his desk and placing a large misshaped, rusty key in her hand. He smiled at her cryptically, closing her clammy fingers over the key then retracting.
"What is this?" Lucy asked, opening her hand once again to gaze at the ugly key in wonder.
"A good luck charm mostly," he shrugged, "but I've heard it can also carry incredible properties, it may just help you unlock the mysteries to your past and future."
Lucy blinked at him dumbly, "my past?" She whispered.
He nodded, "you may think you know the secrets and outcome of this terrible curse Lucy but there are many unknown components left, many I cannot help you with." He shook his head sadly, "you will find and meet friends here who will help you along your way." He paused, watching her face fall, "but Lucy what you must remember is to trust the people closest to you. If you close yourself off from people in a time of dire need no one will be there to pick you back up."
Lucy looked at him in shock, face draining of colour. "But Headmaster how do I know if I can trust them? Who can I trust here?"
The Headmaster shook his head slowly, "you must figure that out for yourself Lucy, I cannot help you there."
Lucy couldn't help but allow the disappointment she felt morph her face.
The Headmaster clucked disapprovingly, "oh child," his voice softer and kinder now, "don't feel so discouraged, you have more friends than you know, Natsu, Levy and your rather," he pauses, "intriguing friends in the woods. You're not alone my child, always remember that."
Lucy looked at him startled, "You know about Eve and the others?!"
Makarov chuckled, "yes, of course. You think I have no resources of my own? I know more about you than would probably make you comfortable."
Lucy faltered, not wanting to think about that.
Makarov smiled gently, "I have to go now, I have a phone call to make." His smile dropping instantly at the reminder of Mika. "Be safe out there Lucy, I feel things are only getting worse not better." Then with that he stood, cloak swishing out behind him and he disappeared into one of the rooms off his office.
For a moment Lucy just sat there awestruck, unsure what to say or even do for that matter. Standing she stretched, suddenly feeling the weight of fatigue sitting upon her.
She needed to make a quick visit to the woods, she had a lot of tell Eve.
Eve almost spilled her tea in her lap when Lucy told her what had happened at the castle. Clutching madly at her delicate, slightly chipped tea cup Lucy couldn't help but notice Eve's ghostly fingers were trembling.
She looked at Lucy, lips tight, "are you positive that's what he told you Lucy?" She lifted the tea cup to her bow lips, gingerly taking a sip, trying to keep her hands from shaking. "It's just," she turns her head away, swallowing regretfully, shuddering inwardly, "it's almost too surreal to believe. It's all happening again, I don't want to even believe it's possible."
Lucy looked at her hands, gut knotted and tight. "I know it sounds crazy Eve. But I need you to believe me, I can't allow this to go on. One girl is more than enough, no more."
Eve looked at her stricken, putting her tea cup down on the saucer, shaky fingers tracing the bruised, blue marks around her neck, eyes nervous. "I do believe you Lucy. Why would you lie to me about this?" Eve shook her head, running a hand through her unmoving hair. "I suppose I'll have to send someone out to scope around for her ghost. No doubt she'll be wandering around helplessly any time now." Eve bit her lip tersely, looking relieved none of the other girls were here to hear this.
"What do you think the others will say?" Lucy cringed, imagining their reactions, "for some reason I think they'll be less understanding. They don't seem to like me very much."
Eve winced, silently nodding her agreement. "You're probably right, it seems as Angel's killing streak continues the more pent up rage is built up in his victims. Being the first I'm more afraid of him than actually seeking vengeance. It's a vicious cycle."
Lucy shuddered, "pleasant imagery."
Eve half smiled but it didn't reach her eyes. "I wonder what she's like this Mika. Hopefully she'll be nice." She said wistfully, blue eyes foggy.
Lucy tried to return the smile but she was sure it looked rather unconvincing. "I'm sure she's very nice Eve. Make sure the others are kind to her."
Eve was about to open her mouth to speak when the front door flew open, a thundering Rouge standing in the doorway, his ghostly body hovering over the threshold.
"Eve." He growled, voice raspy and deep, not even acknowledging Lucy, "I just saw a girl walking around the yard," he pauses, out of breath, "she's in rough shape and very much dead. She kept wailing something about a bathtub."
Eve cast a glance at Lucy, Lucy just nibbled her lip, not knowing what to say.
"Bring her here Rouge, I'll start a new kettle of tea." Eve stood gracefully, drifting back over to the small corner that was the kitchen.
Rouge's jaw tightened, teeth grinding together, biting back his anger. "Eve!" He snapped, "who is she?"
Eve looked at him calmly, blue eyes even. "Don't you think it would be better if we discussed that once you collect the poor girl?"
Rouge groaned, throwing his hands up in exasperation and storming out, not even glancing at Lucy.
Eve tsked, "Rouge has never been particularly charming. Even when he was alive."
Once Rouge collected the now ecto plasmic Mika he wanted answers. A wide eyed Mika looked worse in life than she had in death thankfully, her wrists had angry red cuts wringing them. She sat in one of the lounge chairs stiffly, her petite body almost being swallowed by the folds of fabric.
Eve offered the newly deceased girl a steaming cup of orange pekoe but Mika turned her down, shaking her head slightly, eyes drifting around unable to concentrate.
Rouge paced angrily across the floor, white hair on end, every few moments he'd cast a nasty glare in Lucy's direction.
Eve sighed tiredly, rubbing her temples, "Rouge please calm yourself, you're distressing poor Mika."
Mika didn't look very distressed, just lost, but Lucy didn't say anything.
Rouge focused his glare at Eve this time, eyes slits. "Stop acting so calm! Don't you think I've put the pieces together already!? He's back! Don't deny it! And this accursed girl brought him back with her!" Rouge pointed an accusing finger down at Lucy.
Lucy clenched her teeth together, refusing to get mad at a glorified bit of ectoplasm.
"Stop it Rouge!" Eve pleaded, "I know you're not an idiot, It's quite obvious what's going on here isn't it? Soon everyone else will understand what's happening too. It's just a matter of time before they arrive."
Rouge hissed, shaking his head profoundly. "If we just kill her now it'll spare all the other six girls that will have to die to save her pitiful life!" He turned, eyes venomous daggers. "If she was as brave as you say she is I'm sure she'll give herself up willingly."
Lucy froze, tensing up, fists clenching.
Eve jumped up, blue eyes flaming, "Rouge! You better quiet your tongue or I'll quiet it for you! Lucy is not a bargaining chip! And until you learn that I'm not giving you any of the answers you so desire." Eve crossed her arms over her chest, jutting her chin out defiantly.
Rouge fumed, hands clenching into fists.
Eve shot him a warning glare, then as if she had popped a balloon his strangling aura deflated. Rouge let out a displeased grunt, flopping down in an unoccupied chair, closing his eyes.
For a moment he just lay deflated in the chair, limbs loose and breathing heavy yet even, then he cracked his eyes open, silvery irises fixated on Lucy.
"Wanna hear a story?" He asked, a sinister smirk on his full lips.
Lucy stiffened, not liking how all the air in the room seemed to suddenly constrict.
"I think you do, for the story is in direct relation to you."
"Rouge!" Eve warned, eyes wide and fearful.
Rouge looked at Eve lazily, unaffected, "she needs to know, Eve, if she's ever going to fix this she needs to know."
Eve chomped on her lip, eyes flickering apprehensively, letting out an exhausted sigh she nodded. "Fine. Just be . . . gentle."
Rouge smiled slyly, looking at Lucy again, "you might wanna grab a blankie fleshy, this might make your skin crawl."
Wow sorry that was so late. ~kills self~
Anyways please review, favourite and follow, means a lot.
SEE YAH NEXT TIME