Chapter 5 : Evening
“You know, Olivia…” said Anton as he set his wineglass down “I have to say that I’m a bit surprised that you wanted to meet with me like this. Not that I didn’t think we’d eventually need to have a talk, of course. I just wouldn’t have expected such a casual setting for our first meeting.”
“Well… Anton…” said Olivia as she put a bit of cold emphasis on his name “I have to say that I’m a bit surprised that you agreed to meet with me at all…”
“Oh? Are you now?” said Anton as he gathered the last bits of his salad together and scooped them up onto his fork “And why is that?”
Sitting across the large, round table from him, Olivia tilted her wineglass from side to side as she stared icily at the human man in front of her.
“Well considering our current status is that of enemies. I think it’s reasonable for me to have expected a higher level of caution on your part…” explained Olivia.
Chewing his last bite of salad, Anton nodded absently as he slid his empty bowl to the side.
“That would be a reasonable assessment, yes. Though there is one element of that thought process that is a bit off, I’m afraid.” said Anton as he looked the dark elf in the eyes “You seem to think that I see you as an enemy, but I assure you, you’re mistaken about that. I don’t consider you an enemy at all.”
Taken aback, Olivia stilled her glass as she furrowed her brow.
“Excuse me? …Are you joking?” she asked.
“Not at all. Here, let me explain. You are a factor, and one that does require acknowledgment, certainly. But that doesn’t make you an enemy, Olivia.” explained Anton as he reached for his own wineglass “An “enemy” is dangerous. It is something to be feared, and taken seriously. An “enemy” is not something that can be brushed aside, and ignored. It must be faced immediately, and tended to accordingly. An assassin, sent to kill me, now that would be an enemy. But you? No, you are not that kind of threat. I have no reason to fear you in that way. So as such, you are not an enemy, Olivia. Or at least I don’t consider you one.”
Saying nothing, Olivia’s eye began to twitch ever so slightly as she watched Anton take a sip of his drink.
“Mm, that is a delightful flavor…” said Anton as he set his drink down and again met eyes with the dark elf “And you should be thankful that I don’t consider you an enemy, Olivia. Because if I did… I would have dealt with you already.”
“Is that so…” mumbled Olivia.
“Yes, just as I’ve dealt with each of the assailants that you’ve sent so far.” said Anton as a slight grin formed on his face “Well, I say that I dealt with them. Though to be fair, I have to admit that the girls have certainly played their parts as well. In dealing with our uninvited guests that is.”
Once again lightly tilting her wineglass from side to side, Olivia said nothing as she watched Anton’s face become thoughtful.
“Especially with this last one, everyone did a phenomenal job. And it was a complete victory for us…” he mused softly “They really all did wonderful…”
“…You’re talking about this, nightmare, that attacked you?” questioned Olivia “Fiona and Kianna helped you kill it?”
“They helped me contain it, or really, we all helped Fiona contain it.” answered Anton.
“…You helped Fiona contain it?” questioned Olivia “…You didn’t just destroy it then?”
“No. Its just been contained for the moment.” sighed Anton as he shook his head “Now that we have it trapped, I was planning to force it back into the Life Stream and fully end it… But unfortunately, that idea just made Fiona upset…”
Furrowing her brow in question, Olivia said nothing as she waited for Anton to continue.
“Even trying to compromise with just putting it in my vault wasn’t enough for her either. That girl was adamant about keeping it herself. It was her monster after all, she summoned it, she trapped it, so she would be the one to deal with it… Which, she’s not necessarily wrong with any of that…” said Anton with another sigh “She kept begging me and begging me to let her keep it, and finally… I relented and agreed to let her at least try to tame that thing herself. On several conditions of course, the first and foremost being that she wasn’t allowed to ever play with it without my supervision.”
“…Are you being serious right now?” questioned Olivia in affront.
“Yes. And I know what you’re thinking, and you’re right… The whole thing is just ridiculous. It’s like letting a 5 year old keep a giant crocodile as a pet. I’ll constantly have to worry about her being eaten now…” said Anton as he shook his head with a chuckle “Then again, if there was anyone in this world with enough clout to actually pull off taming a nightmare. It might very well be Fiona.”
“…You think she could tame it?” asked Olivia “And what makes you think that?”
“Are you kidding? Even with her legendary stubbornness aside, that girl is fearless. And once she gets an idea in her head, no matter how foolhardy it may be, she’ll do everything she can to make it work. Now she’ll need guidance with this new goal, of course. And while I’ll help her as best I can… We will still definitely need to see if we can’t find somebody out there with both a bit of knowledge on the subject of nightmares, and a willingness to help us tame one… A tall order for sure. And not one that I’m confident we can even accomplish, with or without help…” explained Anton “Not that these hurtles would deter Fiona at all. That girl doesn’t know the meaning of the word “impossible”. Or at least doesn’t consider the concept relevant to whatever her goals may be. Of course this is to her downfall, more often than not. But past failures aside, I can’t help but to have a bit of faith in her with this. As excited as she was, I really wouldn’t be surprised if she succeeds this time.”
Olivia remained silent as a happy looking, lopsided smile crossed Anton’s face.
“She really is insane sometimes, that girl… And fearless… They both are, honestly…” smiled Anton “Even Kianna, sweetheart that she is, is no stranger to facing down a threat on her own. You’ve seen this yourself with Joel… How is he, by the way?”
“Couldn’t say. He quit that day.” mumbled Olivia “And good riddance to him…”
“Hm, understandable.” nodded Anton “Kianna was a bit rough with him after all. And being forced to face your own mortality can certainly make one question their choice in a career. If it was any consolation to him, he wasn’t a special case. Kianna wasn’t any nicer to the next person that tried to threaten me… Oh, that crazy girl… She’s my sweet, sweet little dark elf. And yet she’s also completely homicidal, or at least a bit too over protective at times… Still though, she has such a beautiful little soul. And such a caring heart… She’s just so strong… They both are, really, those girls… Oh, but poor Kianna, she’s probably going crazy right now. You should have seen her face when I told her I’d be coming here alone. She was so upset, and I felt terrible. Her staying home was for the best though. And I’ll make it up to her. I’m planning on taking her out on a real dinner date next, just the 2 of us. And I know she’ll love that… I can already imagine how excited she’s gonna be…”
Seemingly getting lost in his thoughts, Anton went still for a moment before finally coming back to his senses as he realized that Olivia was staring at him.
“Right… So, why don’t we get back to the main reason that we’re here tonight…” he said as he took a sip from his drink.
Still staring icily, Olivia went to set her own glass down but stopped short as her ears lightly twitched.
Less than a moment later an identical pair of huli jing waitresses carrying platters stepped into the room and quickly delivered them their entrees.
With Asian features adorning their human-like faces, slim but toned bodies, fox-like ears atop their heads and large, luxurious looking black furred tails trailing about behind them, the two huli jing were quite the exquisite sight as they moved about with a quick paced, dancers grace.
Dressed in dark colored, formfitting cocktail dresses whose skirts draped to just below their knees, their sharp eyes and alluring appearances did little to negate the air of professionalism that hung about them.
Thanking the young fox woman as she set his steak, green beans and baked potato down in front of him, Anton couldn’t help but to grin as he looked over his spread.
Once all the plates had been set, the two women suddenly slipped into a twirling dance with each other and morphed back into a single being that now sported two large, bushy, fox-like tails.
Smiling broadly enough to show off her sharp teeth, the fox girl then asked how everything looked and when told it all looked great by Anton, she thanked them for their patronage and let them know that if they needed anything else, they could simply summon her at any time. With that, she slipped out of the room and disappeared.
Once they were alone again, Olivia, while ignoring her own meal of salmon and rice pilaf, turned her attention back to Anton and watched as he began to cut his steak down into bite sized pieces.
Annoyed by his casual attitude, and apparent dismissal of her as a threat, she decided right then and there that she had had enough of him, and that it was time to end this night.
“Name your price, Anton.” she said in a calm, even tone.
“Excuse me?” asked Anton.
“Don’t play coy. You know I want you gone. And it’s clear that my attempts to be rid of you have thus far failed to bear fruit. So, rather than continue to waste more money on such efforts. I would prefer to just be done with this right now.” explained Olivia “So, again, name your price. Tell me how much it’s going to take to get my daughters back and be rid of you forever.”
“Ah, well… Honestly, you can just abandon that whole thought process right now.” said Anton as he kept his eyes on what he was doing “There’s nothing in this world I would ever trade those girls for. And certainly no amount of money would ever be enough to keep me away from them. No, I’ve made promises to them, ones that I intend to keep. So I’m afraid I’m not going anywhere. That being said, I don’t see any reason why the two of us can’t live in peace. For the sake of the girls if nothing else.”
“Alright. Enough with this charade! You’re not fooling anyone.” growled Olivia “Try and talk all you want about them, but know I’m not buying it. You’ve only been around them for a few weeks at best. So you can’t honestly expect me to believe that you legitimately care for them this much already.”
“Trust me, no one is more surprised about this than I am. In fact, if someone would have come up to me a month ago and told where my life would be right now, I’d have called them a lunatic… And yet, here we are.” said Anton “There is no ruse here though, Olivia. I do, truly, care for those girls. A lot. And there’s no changing that now. So I suggest you figure out a way to get used to the idea of having me around. Because again, I’m not going anywhere. And even if I do, I won’t be leaving those girls behind.”
Livid now, Olivia shifted her hand to the side and tapped on a small wooden disc with a set of seals etched across its surface. In the next instant a wave of purple energy rose up from the floor, traveled up the walls and sealed them in the circular shaped private dining room they were sitting in.
Their conversation now fully shielded from the outside world, Olivia took a deep breath through her nose before recomposing herself.
“I highly suggest that you both rethink your position and reconsider my offer, Anton…” she said softly “Because if you think for one second that you won’t regret spurring my ire… You’re dead wrong…”
“I understand your frustration, so I’m going to try and be as patient with you as I can be… That being said though, I really don’t appreciate being threatened…” said Anton as he placed a piece of steak in his mouth and began to hum in satisfaction.
“…You shouldn’t underestimate me, Anton.” said Olivia.
“Nor should you underestimate me, Olivia.” replied Anton after swallowing his bite of steak “Remember, I’m not some helpless, mutilated victim that you have tied to a chair. Killing me will not be an easy task. You’d think you’d have realized that by now.”
Taken aback, Olivia stared at him for a moment before her eyes began to glow with an angry red light.
“…So I see that my daughters have been talkative with you.” she said in a hushed tone.
“A bit.” said Anton as he began to sprinkle some crushed pepper across his potato “Which, while I’m sure that this revelation must be frustrating for you, I would advise against any attempt to reprimand them for their choice in sharing with me. As the only thing you’re going to accomplish with that, is to make me angry with you…”
“…What did they tell you?” asked Olivia.
“Well, they gave me a rather vivid account of how you took them, as children no less, to an undisclosed beach house in the middle of the night. And tried to have them stay and watch as you murdered 3 men in front of them.” said Anton in a low even tone “You left quite the impression on them with this act, by the way…”
“I see… Well isn’t this unfortunate…” mumbled Olivia as she finished off her wine and preceded to start refilling her glass from a bottle sitting just to the side of her arm “So then… I take it you plan to try and blackmail me with this information?”
“No, while I’ll admit that thought did cross my mind, I don’t currently have any plans to go down that route.” said Anton as he shook his head “In fact, as it sits. I don’t intend to say anything to anyone about what you’ve done.”
Narrowing her eyes in suspicion, Olivia placed the wine bottle back onto the table with an rather ominous tap, before turning to face Anton directly.
“Well aren’t you the accommodating one…” she said in an unfriendly tone “And to what do I own this unexpected show of kindness to, hm? What game are you trying to play here?”
“There is no game.” said Anton with a shrug “As I’ve told you already, I don’t consider you an enemy. So as such, I have no reason to want to see you fall. And certainly no reason to go out of my way to make such a thing happen. No, you can rest assured that for the time being at least, your secret past is safe enough with me.”
“…Well forgive me if I find that difficult to believe.” muttered Olivia as her voice took on a low, threatening tone “As most people would hardly be so comfortable with even knowing that such things have taken place, let alone standing idly by as the guilty party sits right across from them…”
“You’re far from the first killer I’ve ever met, Olivia…” mumbled Anton as he shook his head in a dismissive manner “And while I don’t approve of what you’ve done. I’m going to assume that you did have a good reason for doing it. And even if you didn’t? Well, it’ll take a bit more than being a mere murderer for you to actually be able to intimidate me.”
“…I see. So you’re the type to be fine with being among a murderer then?” quipped Olivia “Well that certainly says a lot about you now, doesn’t it?”
“I suppose. Though I wouldn’t read too far into that if I were you.” said Anton “I don’t generally make a habit of keeping potential psychopaths as company. It is, again, more so for the sake of the girls that I’m willing to give you the benefit of the doubt. And overlook your… well, let’s call them, transgressions, shall we?”
“…The sake of the girls?” repeated Olivia “And what is that even supposed to mean?”
“It means exactly what it sounds like.” answered Anton “You’re still their mother, murderer or not. So it’s for their sake I’m willing to assume that you did have some kind of reason to do what you did. Not that I could say I understand what that reason could be, of course. Though if I had to venture a guess… I’d say it’s must likely to have been an act of revenge. And if not that? Then perhaps it may have been some kind of culturally relevant ritual type of thing? As in some kind of dark elven right of passage? Or something along those lines.”
“…A what?” questioned Olivia as genuine confusion spread across her face “…Now what would make you think that was the case?”
“Well that was the theory that the girls put forward. And it does seem like a reasonable enough explanation, all things considered.” explained Anton “Why else would you have gone out of your way to expose them to something like that? And as children no less. Simply involving them in a murder, and generating witnesses for the sake of it, certainly doesn’t make any sense. And as far as I know, them being there didn’t actually help you with completing your task in any way. No, you could have easily have done what you did without them being present for any of it. They would have never even known what you did. But you actively involved them. You took them there. You brought them to the scene of the crime yourself. You wanted them to be there. That much is obvious… And so there had to be some significant reason for that. And if it was not for any cultural reason… Then what else am I left to think it was about?”
“…What indeed.” mumbled Olivia as she looked off to the side and took another sip of her wine.
Anton watched the dark elf for a moment as he waited for her to continue. When it became clear that she had nothing else to say, he sighed silently and went back to enjoying his meal.
Taking his time as he ate, Anton alternated his attention between his food and the dark elf in front of him. Which, aside from taking small sips of her wine, Olivia remained for the most part silent and motionless.
As he watched her though, Anton did begin to notice her expression hardening as a subtle, haunted looking darkness slowly started to form in her eyes. And while he had no way of knowing for sure where her thoughts may currently lie, he couldn’t help but to get the impression that she was reliving past memories.
As the silence dragged on, and the dark elf continued to show no signs of engaging him in further conversation, the notion that Olivia might actually be stalling for time began to cross Anton’s mind. And having no interest in letting her get away with any schemes, he reached over to his own seal covered disc, and gave it a tap.
Brought back to the present by the ward around them suddenly being dispelled, Olivia turned to Anton and narrowed her eyes as she found him pulling out his phone.
“What are you doing?” she questioned in a demanding tone.
“Now, now. Don’t get excited…” answered Anton as he scrolled down through his contacts “I’m just checking in on the girls… I want to be sure you aren’t trying anything funny while I’m out…”
Olivia immediately went to say something but stopped short as the sounds of ringing began to emanate out of Anton’s phone.
Holding the phone out so they could both hear what was being said through the speaker, Anton grinned smugly as he watched Olivia’s eyes become locked to the phone in his hand.
“Hello!?” came Kianna’s voice as the line clicked open “Hello, Master!? Are you there!?”
“Yes, I’m here. And so is your Mother. You’re on speaker by the way.” smiled Anton “I’m just calling to make sure everything is going okay?”
“Oh… Uh, yeah. Everything is fine. …For the most part.” said Kianna in hesitating manner “Are you coming home soon!?”
“Should be. In a bit.” answered Anton “At least I think we’re winding down here… I think… Anyway, what was that about ‘for the most part’?”
Before Kianna could answer another voice could be heard speaking up from the background.
“Hey! Is that the Boss!?” exclaimed Fiona in a clearly annoyed tone “Tell him to hurry his ass up! This crap is getting really old really quick over here!”
“Shut up! I’m trying to talk to him!” growled Kianna “He says he’ll be back soon, so chill!”
“Hold on, what’s going on over there?” chuckled Anton “What’s getting old quick?”
“Um, well, it’s… It’s Mister Earlivi… I don’t know if he just doesn’t realize how old we are? Or if he’s just taking the idea of babysitting a little too seriously? Or if he might be just messing with us… I really don’t know which it is… But Fiona’s right. It’s really getting old…” grumbled Kianna.
“…What? What are you talking about?” asked Anton as his smile broadened “What is he doing?”
“He’s, well… It’s not that he isn’t being nice… He is, kinda… Well honestly he mostly just stands in the corner doing nothing but staring at us… Which is creepy… But the real problem is that he’s treating us like little kids…” whined Kianna “He gave us a bunch of coloring books and crayons, and he’s making us all stay in the living room together and watch a bunch of movies for little girls, like with cartoon princesses and junk…”
“…He? Oh, okay. …I see. …That’s, interesting.” said Anton as he stifled a laugh “So is he there with you right now? Can I talk to him?”
“Um, one sec. Mica had to go to the bathroom so he’s guarding the door for her right now. He’ll be back in a minute.” said Kianna.
“He’s guarding the door? As in the bathroom door?” asked Anton as he grinned at a confused looking Olivia.
“Yeah, he won’t let anybody be alone for too long.” explained Kianna as she lowered her voice down to a hushed whisper “We have one of his tentacle things with us still… It’s just hanging in the air… Do you know if he can see or hear out of those things?”
“I have no idea.” said Anton around a smile “I’m guessing he probably can though, especially if he has it there with you still.”
“…Oh, that’s super creepy.” whined the dark elf.
“I know, but he means well… I think?” chuckled Anton “Just bear with it for a little longer, Kianna. I’ll be home soon.”
“Yeah, okay…” sighed Kianna.
“So how are Mica and Tessa handling Earlivi, by the way?” asked Anton.
“Tessa’s fine. Believe it or not, she’s actually been into these movies. She’s just been sitting there watching them this whole time.” said Kianna “And Mica has been fine too. Honestly, I feel like Mister Earlivi hasn’t been as intense with them as he is with me and Fiona…”
“Oh really? Well that’s good.” said Anton.
“Yeah, I guess…” said Kianna “…Hold on, I think they’re coming back now? …Yeah, here they come.”
A small commotion could be heard as Kianna began to speak to Earlivi. A moment later, a new voice spoke through the phone.
“Greetings, this is Earlivi speaking…” said Earlivi.
“Hello, Earlivi. Everything going good, I trust?” said Anton.
“Indeed…” answered the homunculus “Your charges have all been cooperative thus far… And no other issues have arisen… All has been peaceful…”
“Good, very good. I’m glad to hear that.” said Anton as he kept his eyes on Olivia “Everything seems to be fine here as well. And I should be home fairly soon, I believe.”
“There is no cause for rush… Take your time, and enjoy yourself…” said Earlivi “Your charges are safe enough, and well cared for… I have provided them with food and entertainment… And I shall see to it that they are well rested as well… They will all be in bed by 9pm…”
“Are you fucking serious!?” cried Fiona’s voice from the background “Are you really going to try to make us go to bed at fucking 9!? How old do you think we are, you freak!”
There was a moment of pause before Earlivi spoke again.
“…Make that 8:30pm.” he said in a dry tone.
“Dammit! Shut up, Fiona!” came Kianna’s voice from just as far away.
Anton couldn’t help but to start laughing as the sounds of the dark elves arguing with each other could be heard clearly through the phone.
“That sounds good, Earlivi.” he said around a chuckle “Seems like you’ve got everything under control over there so I’ll let you get back to it. Feel free to call me if anything comes up though.”
“Very well, I shall…” said Earlivi.
“I should be back soon, but let me go ahead and talk to Kianna again for a moment, if you would.” said Anton.
“Of course, here she is…” said Earlivi.
“Thank you.” said Anton.
“Hello!?” came Kianna’s voice as she was handed back her phone.
“Hey there. Having fun with your sister?” said Anton.
“She’s an idiot!” growled Kianna before her voice softened and became pleading “You need to hurry up and come home…”
“I will, soon.” said Anton “Just let me finish up here with your Mother and I’ll be there. Okay?”
“…She isn’t trying anything funny with you, is she?” asked Kianna after a moment of pause “Cause if she tries to hurt you, even once! I’ll make her suffer forever!”
Anton chuckled as he watched Olivia narrow her eyes in annoyance.
“No, she hasn’t tried anything. We’ve just been talking a little, nothing more.” assured Anton.
“What have you been talking about?” asked Kianna.
“Oh, just a little bit of this and that. It’s mostly been about you and your sister, of course.” said Anton “Don’t worry, though. I’ll give you a full run down when I get home.”
“…Okay, good.” said Kianna firmly “Still, you need to hurry home as soon as you’re done.”
“I will, I’ll see you soon enough.” said Anton.
“…Okay.” said Kianna as her tone softened and she went quiet.
“…Okay. It’s time to say good bye now, Kianna. And hang up the phone.” smiled Anton as the silence began to drag.
“…No.” mumbled the dark elf in a quiet whine.
“Yes, Kianna! I will see you soon!” laughed Anton “Now say good bye!”
There was a heavy silence as the dark elf said nothing.
“…C’mon now, Kianna. The longer you drag this out, the longer it’ll take me to get home!” chuckled Anton.
“…Argh! Alright, fine! …Just come home soon!” whined Kianna.
“I will. Now say good bye, and hang up.” said Anton.
“…Okay, fine. …Good bye.” mumbled the dark elf as she reluctantly hung up the phone.
“Aw, see what I mean? My poor little dark elf…” said Anton as he shook his head “I told you she was going to be upset…”
Olivia said nothing as she watched Anton put his phone away and then continue with his meal.
The room remained devoid of conversation for some time as the only sounds made were those of Anton quietly eating and Olivia refilling her glass with wine.
As the bottle eventually ran dry, the dark elf summoned the huli jing who quickly brought them a replacement.
After watching the fox girl disappear out of the room again, Anton turned his attention back to Olivia who was once again refilling her glass.
“May I see that when you’re finished.” he asked as he picked up his nearly empty glass.
Glancing at him, Olivia said nothing as she held the open bottle out over the table in an obvious offer to pour him his drink.
Surprised by this, Anton quickly met her offer by reaching out with his glass and letting her fill it.
“Thank you.” he said before taking a sip of the sweet wine.
Olivia responded with silence as she placed the bottle back onto the table.
“…So then. It’s getting late, and the girls are waiting.” said Anton as he set his glass down “Was there anything else you’d like to say? Or is it getting to be about time for us to call this evening over with?”
“…We’ve yet to resolve anything thus far.” said Olivia as she eyed him “I’d hardly call this evening over with…”
“…Well then, by all means.” said Anton as he leaned back in his chair and folded his arms over his chest “Let’s talk.”
Staring at him for a moment, Olivia mimicked him by setting her glass down and leaning away from the table as well. Folding her hands in her lap, the dark elf kept her eyes locked to Anton’s as she sat up straight and poised.
Even when at her worst, Fiona’s anger could never compare to the raw hatred that was boiling within her Mother’s calm eyes at this moment. Red eyes boring deep into his own, and intimidating in her own right. This imposing elven woman had a harder, darker edge to her that was clearly lacking from the more vibrant essence that her daughters displayed.
Despite having yet to illustrate her power in any way, there was no question that Olivia was far closer to what one would expect a traditional dark elf to be.
She was dangerous, but luckily this was a danger that Anton was all too familiar with.
“…If this is an effort on your part to influence me, it’s not going to work.” said Anton as he returned her cold stare with his own.
Staying still for a moment, Olivia kept her eyes on him as she silently reached over and tapped on her disc.
Glancing to the side, Anton watched as the ward reappeared around them.
“Hm, alright then. I’m guessing you have something to say now?” he mused as he turned back to Olivia “Looking to threaten me again, perhaps?”
The room remained silent as they both stared at each other.
“…Well?” growled Anton as his patience began to grow thin “Do you have something to say, or not?”
Again, Olivia remained silent and still.
“…Alright. Enough of this.” muttered Anton as he shook his head “We’re clearly done here. I’ll be leaving now.”
Seeing him going to rise from his seat, Olivia scowled in rage and pointed her ears straight back.
“Fine!” she snarled as she raised a gun up from her lap “I’ll just do it myself!”
Anton blinked in surprise at the sight of the weapon and before he could react any further a sudden numbness filled his mind as a bullet blasted its way through his forehead and exploded out of the back of his skull, taking most of his brain with it as it went.
Falling back into his seat, Anton blinked again out of reflex as he locked eyes with Olivia.
A smug expression on her face, the dark elf pulled the trigger several more times.
Firing straight into Anton’s face, she didn’t quit until what remained of his head was hanging limp over the obliterated remnants of his chairs headrest.
His neck snapped from the force of being thrown backwards, Anton lay slumped and still as his single remaining, lifeless eye stared at the back of the room. A faint dripping sound filled the air as thick rivets of blood dribbled out of his shattered skull and streamed down the back of his seat to the floor.
“Stop! Stop firing you lunatic!” cried out a voice from behind Anton.
A second later a single tailed version of the huli jing waitress winked into view. Now covered in Anton’s splattered blood and sporting a look of rage, the fox girl quickly stomped her way up to the table.
“What was that!” she screamed as she angrily stabbed a dagger into the table and glared at Olivia “You almost shot me!”
“Well I wouldn’t have had to if you had just done your job already.” said Olivia in a mildly irritated tone “Next time don’t wait so long to act.”
“You!? Are you blind!? Could you not see his aura was active the entire time! If I had gotten any closer to him he might have known I was there!” exclaimed the enraged fox “But I was ready for an opening! You shouldn’t have started shooting like that!”
“What does it matter? You’re merely a clone, aren’t you? Hitting you wouldn’t have actually killed you. So you have nothing to worry about.” said Olivia dismissively “And with this that fool is finally dead. The ward is up so no one heard the shots, the job is done. Everything is fine.”
“Fine! It’s not fine!” growled the huli jing as she ripped her dagger out of the table “I’m not a clone! I’m a partition! Shooting me would still hurt like Hell! And ward or no ward, that was reckless! We still have other guests in the building you know! You’re paying double for that little stunt! You lunatic!”
“…Like Hell I am.” muttered Olivia as she indicated her gun “You’ll be lucky to get paid anything at all, considering you couldn’t even get the job done.”
Eyes narrowing into thin slits, the fox girl’s jaw tightened as she slowly looked from the gun to Olivia.
Staring each other down, the two women both paused as a faint coldness began to fill the room. They each then blinked in surprise as a second later a large, orange-colored dome suddenly winked into existence around them.
“What is this?” said Olivia as she pointed her gun at the huli jing “What are you doing?”
“I’m not doing anything.” said the fox as she gazed up at the dome “…This isn’t me.”
“…W-well.” muttered a guttural, broken sounding voice “…That, was certainly unpleasant.”
Turning in unison, both Olivia and the huli jing went still as they stared at Anton’s motionless corpse.
Brandishing their weapons at the body, both women involuntarily leaned back as a faint cracking sound rang out through the room, and the blood that had been pooling on the floor, suddenly began to slowly flow back up the sides of the chair before seeping into Anton’s still open wounds.
In the next instant, Anton’s hanging head suddenly shifted to the side all on its own and stopped as if he had just cracked his neck. As this happened, the ribbons of flowing blood leaped off of the chair they had been traveling up along and began to sail through the air as they continued to race back into his broken body.
“Wait… Impossible…” whispered the huli jing as she watched the dead man’s head begin to rise back up into place as his neck bones appeared to stitch themselves back together “…He was dead! I saw his aura fade into nothing!”
“If this is your idea of a joke. It isn’t funny.” said Olivia in a calm tone “This gun is equipped with a mana breaker, and enchantments to prevent undeath. He is dead. Now drop the illusion, you idiot.”
“I, I’m not doing this! I swear!” said the fox as she turned from Anton to Olivia and back “This isn’t an illusion. …He really isn’t dead!”
“No… I’m not…” muttered Anton as he reached up to one of the gaping holes in his forehead and began to feel about inside himself “Though… I am pretty annoyed…”
The huli jing took a step back and away as Anton casually loosened a lodged bullet out of his skull and dropped it onto the floor with a ping.
“I don’t know how familiar either of you are with dying…” mumbled Anton as the holes in his head began to close themselves up “But personally, I have to say… That despite how quickly it’s usually over with… Being shot to death is one of my least favorite ways to go…”
Still assuming this was all an act on the part of the huli jing, Olivia let an annoyed frown mar her features as she watched a quickly growing panicked expression form across the fox girls face.
Preoccupied as she was, she was completely taken aback when the barrel of her gun was suddenly wrapped in the grip of a glowing, orange-colored, clawed hand.
Pulling her own hand back to herself, the dark elf’s eyes widened when the clawed hand then proceeded to slowly crush her gun into a twisted, mangled shape.
Staring at her destroyed weapon for a moment, Olivia’s eyes tightened in irritation as she slowly looked up at Anton.
Having now fully reformed, and sitting comfortably again, Anton’s expression was stoic as he merely stared back at the dark elf.
Having placed two fingers on the tabletop, Anton had sent a line of his solidified aura across its surface to create the hand that held Olivia’s gun. With said weapon now destroyed, he lifted his fingers away and let the hand fade into nothingness as what was left of the gun fell to rattle across the table.
Folding his arms over his chest, Anton’s expression hardened as he stared into Olivia’s eyes.
“Hm, well done, Olivia.” he said with a nod “It looks like you’ve convinced me to change my mind…”
The dark elf and huli jing both stiffened as the air around them grew heavy with dread and malice.
“From here on out… I will be considering you an enemy now…” said Anton in a calm, cold, even tone “Congratulations on that…”139 Views