Chapter 4 : After Midnight
Fiona gasped audibly as her eyes shot open wide. Staring up at the ceiling above her bed, she breathed out a sigh of relief at finding herself back in the familiar space of her room. Relaxing enough to let her head sink further into her pillow, she began to mentally go over everything that had just happened to her.
She was still in the process of trying to decide if anything that she was remembering actually happened to her, or was all just a dream, when suddenly her thoughts were interrupted by a distinct shuffling sound coming from the floor at the foot of her bed.
Ears now poised and alert, Fiona slowly lifted her head and gazed into the darkness. For a moment everything was quiet and still, but as the dark elf watched, a blackness deeper than the darkness around it began to slowly rise up from the floor.
At first glance this blackness seemed to be a formless mass, but as it continued to rise it began to consolidate into a more solid form which began to take on a familiar shape.
“…Oh shit.” breathed Fiona as the black mass seemed to turn towards her “She followed me…”
Fiona’s breath got caught in her throat as a pair of eerily glowing, yellow circles suddenly winked into existence and pointed themselves right at her.
“…Uh, hey there.” whispered the dark elf as the pupil-less orbs silently stared at her “…Is that really you? …Rozzie?”
The moment Fiona said the name, the orbs both shifted to an angry looking red light and the black mass reared up high into the air.
“Shit!” exclaimed Fiona as she instinctively formed an aura field around herself.
Just as soon as the bubble took shape it was immediately slammed into by a force that rocked the dark elf within its protective barrier.
Looking upwards at her attacker, Fiona’s ears pointed themselves straight upwards as she watched a pair of cloven hoofed feet rear again and then slam themselves back into her bubble.
The hoofs on these feet were so sharp they were almost claw-like and they made an angry scratching noise as they were raked across the side of the bubble.
Gazing past them, Fiona froze in wide eyed panic as she watched her attackers head begin to form out of the blackness of its mass.
Far and away this head was the same size and shape as that of a large black horse, though this was easily the most horrifying looking horse that Fiona had ever seen. Its wide nostrils blew out a plum of smoke-like blackness as the two perfect glowing circles that were its eyes bore into her own.
A shimmering flame soon erupted out of the back of the head and ran down its long neck before billowing out into a blazing, silver colored mane that appeared to be made out of white fire.
Easing its head in between the legs it had pressed against the bubble, the horse’s eyes seemed to boil with rage as it stared down at Fiona. Without warning it opened its massive maw unnaturally wide and let loose a bone shattering scream.
Fiona barely even registered the monster’s scream as her attention was instantly locked to the creature’s mouth itself. Though horse-like in appearance on the outside, the monster’s mouth was filled with several rows of long, sharp, knife-like fangs that seemed to be made out of a black, shiny metal. And behind these fangs, far down within the bellowing mass, came radiating forth the fiery light from what could only be described as a living cauldron or furnace which somehow contained a literal, swirling white colored inferno deep within the monster’s body.
Staring down the creature’s throat and into this fiery pit, Fiona’s transfixed mind was brought back to the here and now by a thin, splintering crack, which suddenly spread itself across the expanse of her bubble.
Emboldened by this achievement, the monster screamed again before rearing back up high into the air.
Raising her hands on impulse, Fiona cried out as the monster readied itself to bring its hooves crashing back down upon her.
Before it could accomplish this however, it suddenly stopped mid motion and paused as if it had sensed something was wrong. The stillness that followed was broken as Fiona let out a relived breath. She too had sensed the ominous presence filling the air around them, but for her this feeling of dread was all too familiar and at this point, far from unwelcomed.
In the next instant the bedroom door swung opened with a crash and revealed a large dark, looming figure standing silhouetted against the lights from the hall.
The monster immediately turned to the intruder and screamed again before it was cut short as it was suddenly tackled around its middle by the charging figure.
Wrapping his arms and tendrils as tightly around the monster as he could, Earlivi swept the creature up into his charge and sent them both crashing through the window. Using their combined bulk against the nightmare, he shifted the creature’s mass forward to break his fall as he slammed them both onto the ground below.
“Fiona!” cried Kianna as she and Anton both bolted into the room “Are you okay!?”
“I! He! …They went that way!” stammered Fiona as she pointed at the shattered window.
Racing forward, Anton continued on to the window as Kianna went to her sister at the bed.
“Are you hurt!?” whimpered Kianna as Fiona dropped her aura field “Did she get you!?”
“No. She couldn’t reach me…” said Fiona as she shakily got to her feet and made her way to the window.
Coming up next to Anton, the sounds of a fierce battle could be heard raging below them and as Fiona looked down, her breath got caught in her throat.
The two monstrous entities were indeed engaged in a viscous clash. Their large forms moving about amid a whirling maelstrom of fists, hooves and ripping tendrils. For the moment, Earlivi appeared to have the upper hand as he seemed to be having a far easier time maneuvering about. Planting his feet out wide, he continuously rolled his head back and forth to dodge his adversaries tendril attacks while constantly taking every opportunely he was given to trip the unsteady monster’s legs out from under her and slam her into the ground over and over. Despite his better tactics, the homunculus was not without damage though, as the monster’s fanged mouth and six hoofed legs still tore into him whenever he furiously attempted to maintain a grappled hold around the creature’s middle.
“It’s hurting him!” cried Kianna “Master we have to kill it before it kills Earlivi!”
“We can’t, we can’t kill her…” mumbled Fiona “All that’s gonna do is send her back to the Void. Killing her won’t work!”
“What!?” exclaimed Kianna as she turned to her sister “You don’t know that!”
“No, she’s right.” said Anton as he shook his head “That thing is a nightmare, Kianna. A Voidling, and one of the worst. You can’t just kill them. Even if you do manage to destroy their bodies, they’ll just reform back in the Void.”
“Well… Who cares if its back in the Void!? That’s where it belongs anyway!” exclaimed Kianna as she looked from Anton to Fiona and back “Right!?”
“She won’t stay there now. She’ll reform, and when she does, she’ll just come right back.” said Fiona as her eyes went distant “She knows my name now, and she knows I know her name…”
“…Okay? And? I don’t know why that matters but whatever!” said Kianna “If she’s a nightmare then we can still send her back to the Void and just put up charms or dreamcatchers in the house to keep her away! Right!?”
“There’s already charms and dreamcatchers set up in the house, Kianna. They don’t work on her though, because she’s been to Reality before. She’s got a physical body and she knows how to slip past a charm…” explained Fiona “That’s how she was able to get to me. She tricked me into following her deeper into the Void. She’s knows I know what she did. She knows I know her secrets… She’s not gonna stop until she kills me!”
“I told you not to hold on to her, Fiona.” growled Anton “You should have just let her go when I told you to! But oh no, you just had to teach her a lesson, didn’t you!? Once again you take things too far…”
“I’m sorry! I didn’t know she could follow me like this!” exclaimed Fiona.
“She didn’t just follow you. She wouldn’t do that. You pulled her through. You brought her here.” said Anton “And now she’s gonna kill you to make sure you can’t ever do that again.”
“We have to stop her!” cried Kianna as Fiona groaned miserably “And if we can’t kill her then how do we stop her!?”
“We trap her.” said Anton as he turned away from the window and faced Fiona “You said you knew her name now, right?”
“I! …Yes.” nodded Fiona.
“Are you sure you know the whole thing?” asked Anton as he gave her a pointed look “Their names can be very long. And this will only work if you know the whole thing.”
“I know it. And I know I know it because she got pissed when I said it.” said Fiona “It’s-!”
“Stop! Don’t tell us, we don’t need to know it too. Not yet.” said Anton as he held up his hand to stop her “Don’t say it again until after she’s been contained.”
“You can contain her!?” asked Kianna.
“I can. A nightmare is powerful, but it’s still a Voidling, so it can be bound. And they should in theory be no harder to keep bound than something like a jinn, or a huli jing.” said Anton as he narrowed his eyes at Fiona “Though I’m not going to be the one to bind this monster… Fiona is.”
“Me!? Why me!?” cried Fiona “Why can’t you just do it!?”
“Because I’m not the one she’s after. So even if I did bind her, there’s no guarantee that you won’t still be her target. No. You have to be the one to put her in her place now… And more importantly than that, I’m not going to do it because she’s not my monster, Fiona. I didn’t bring her here. I didn’t take things too far again… You did.” said Anton as he loomed over the dark elf “You made this mess. And now you’re going to be the one to clean it up.”
Fiona went still for a moment as she stared back at him.
“…I, I! …Okay, fine! …You’re right! I did this. I brought the bitch here.” she said softly as she turned to the window and took a labored breath “But I don’t know how to fix this!?”
“I can show you. I can even work the spell through you.” said Anton as he followed her gaze “But you’re going to have to be the one to actually do it. I’m not kidding when I say she’s after you, so you have to be the one to contain her. It’s the only way to get her to stop targeting you.”
“…Okay. Sounds good.” nodded Fiona “So, what do I contain her in?”
“This.” said Anton as he held up a small, round pot-like green colored jar with a series of binding seals etched across its base.
“…This? …Are you serious!? We’re really going to try to put that freak in this tiny little thing!?” questioned Fiona as Anton handed her the jar that was just barely big enough to fill her open palm.
“Yes, we are… Hopefully.” mumbled Anton “Unfortunately, this one wasn’t designed for a nightmare specifically. But there’s no time to make a new one. So we all better hope this one will work.”
“…Is she even gonna fit in here!?” asked Fiona as she eyed the small jar.
“She should. …Hopefully. There’s only one way to find out for sure though.” said Anton as an angry, ear splitting scream came from outside the window “And I suggest we don’t wait any longer to try it.”
The scream outside was abruptly cut short as Earlivi slammed the nightmares head against the ground. The homunculus tossed his own head back and out of the way as a plume of smoke filled fire suddenly erupted out of the nightmares mouth and mane.
“Oh great. It looks like that monster has started to figured out how to use her physical body’s abilities.” mumbled Anton “We need to do this now before she realizes she can disintegrate things.”
“…S-s-she can what!?” stammered Kianna.
“Right, so!” started Fiona as she looked from the jar to the window and back “What do I do first!?”
“Come here, and stand in front of me.” said Anton as he kept his eyes on what was happening outside.
Placing his hands on her shoulders, Anton guided Fiona forwards and positioned her between himself and the window.
The dark elf gulped audibly as she found herself standing just above and looking down upon the battle taking place right below her.
“Now listen carefully.” said Anton as he gave her shoulders a reassuring squeeze “This will be just like what we did in your dreamscape. The only difference is this time it’s all going to happen in reality.”
“You’re going to go into my mind?” questioned Fiona as she pointed her ears straight upwards.
“Not my full consciousness, no. But as I cast the spell through you, it will travel out from my mind and through yours. Let this happen. Don’t try to resist it, or fight it or even try to understand it. Just let it flow on its own. You won’t know what its doing as it does it. But don’t be afraid of that, just let it finish.” explained Anton “The words I say will be in an ancient language, so they’ll sound strange and alien to you. But don’t worry about that right now either, just repeat them as I say them. Once we begin, don’t say anything else that isn’t part of the spell, or we’ll have to start all over. Understand so far?”
“Yeah, I’m following you.” nodded Fiona “Let magic flow through me, say the funny words and nothing else. Simple.”
“Essentially, yes. That’s the basic premise at least.” said Anton as he tightened his hold on her shoulders “When I give you a squeeze like this, it’ll be the signal that it’s time to say the nightmare’s name. You’ll need to do this twice, once when we lock the spell onto her, and again when the spell is complete. You’ll need to say the nightmare’s full name both times. If everything is done right, she should become bound to the jar.”
“Okay.” nodded Fiona “How do I know if it doesn’t work?”
“If it works, she’ll be sealed inside the jar.” explained Anton “And if it doesn’t work, she’ll break the jar…”
Fiona gulped audibly as she gripped what she felt like was far too small of a jar.
“Hold the jar out in front of you like this, and face its opening at the nightmare.” said Anton as he lifted Fiona’s arm and held her by the wrist “I’m going to create a binding circle in the air around our wrists with my aura. And I want you to overlay your own aura around mine. Follow the pattern I make, and once it’s finished, you need to keep it in place for the entirety of the spell.”
“Uh, okay?” said Fiona.
“…Just relax.” said Anton as his aura began to manifest around him “…Just follow the pattern.”
As the two dark elves watched, Anton’s glowing orange aura started flowing down his arm before concentrating at his wrist and swirling outwards into a wide, disc shape that was covered in seals and markings.
Taking a deep breath, Fiona let her own aura flow out to follow the path set by Anton’s. At first her aura remained invisible, but as she felt it melt around the shape that Anton had created, she ignited it with her mana and with a flash of light, the bright green glow of her presence winked into existence.
“Perfect.” whispered Anton “Alright. We’re about to begin, and when we do, do not move from this spot, stop with the incantation or let your circle falter, no matter what happens. And I’m serious about this. Once we begin, we can not stop, for any reason. Alright?”
“Alright… I get it…” breathed Fiona as she let him level their circle wielding arms at the nightmare “…I’m ready! Let’s do this!”
Behind her, Fiona felt faint rumblings begin to emanate out of Anton’s chest as he began a whispering chant. Though he hadn’t explained this, the dark elf instinctively knew that this wasn’t part of the spell, but was merely an exercise that would help him in quickly gathering power from his mana pool.
She stiffened as this rising power began to overflow into her being from where he was still holding her arm and shoulder. As this power grew in intensity, Anton’s whispering chant died down to nothing. And after a moment of heavy silence, he began to speak aloud.
The words that Anton began to say were melodic yet concise in their structure and while completely unfamiliar with their meanings, Fiona was still able to recognize when one word ended and another began well enough that she could repeat them clearly and easily.
Focused on her fight with the meddling abomination, the nightmare had no idea that anything was happening above her. It wasn’t until a wave of tiny pinprick like sensations, caused by the forming spell, washed across her being that she noticed the chanting echo coming from the shattered window she had just been thrown out of.
Looking up at the gaping hole, she spied the dark elf standing behind a glowing circle with a strange man. Realizing at once what they were trying to do, the nightmare’s eyes began to boil with a new rage.
Fiona couldn’t help but to pause her breath as the nightmare unleashed the loudest scream she made so far. Prodded on by Anton, she quickly caught up with him as they continued the spell.
A new target in her minds eye now, the nightmare quickly twisted her entire body into a desperate death roll and wretched herself free of her enemy’s grapple before immediately leaping into the air.
Held in place by Anton’s hold on her, Fiona could do nothing but raise her free hand over her face and cry out the next word as the nightmare’s hideous form began to sail straight towards them.
Roaring in rage, the nightmare landed hard against the broken window frame and drove her long neck back into the building as she went to sink her teeth into Fiona’s head.
The dark elf’s eyes went wide as the nightmare’s jaws suddenly snapped shut mere inches away from her face. A strained, angry sound came from the nightmare as she snapped her jaws again before easing back and away from Fiona. A elated breath came from the dark elf as she realized that a thick, black tentacle was wrapped tightly around the nightmare’s head.
“…You!” grunted Earlivi from where he had planted himself on the ground “…Will remain, in place!”
With his tendrils stretched out before him and wrapped all around his foe, the homunculus gave one mighty heave and pulled the nightmare back to himself.
Ripped away from the window, the nightmare took a section of its frame with her as she was violently pulled back into Earlivi’s waiting arms.
Withering in rage at being recaptured, the monster created her own metallic tendrils out of her body and sent them speeding straight back up at Fiona.
Seeing the sharpened points gleaming in the moonlight as they sped towards her, Fiona cried out again as she shut her eyes in panic. Just before the tendrils met their mark however, the ringing clangs of metal clashing with metal filled the air.
Her breath frozen in her chest, Fiona blinked open her eyes as the buzzing sounds of insectoid wings suddenly filled her ears.
“Mica! Tessa!” cried Kianna in excitement.
“What the Hell are those things!?” demanded Mica as she brandished her daggers at Earlivi and the nightmare.
Having buried her spade into the damaged wall, the sleepwear clad kiochi gripped at what was left of the window frame with her barbs as she used her tail to keep herself standing up in the air with her feet pressed against the siding of the outside wall. Hovering in the open space on the other side of the window from her, Tessa kept her eyes on the battle below as she held her spell enhanced scythes at the ready.
“The armored one is our side! Don’t hurt him!” exclaimed Kianna “The other one is a nightmare trying to kill Fiona! And we’re trying to stop her!”
“…Right. Okay.” said Mica as she looked from the two monsters to Fiona and Anton and back “Tessa! Don’t let the ugly bitch touch the stupid bitch!”
Buzzing in acknowledgment, Tessa tucked her limbs in and twisted herself into a barrel roll before diving down at the nightmare and slashing apart a new wave of tendrils with her scythes.
Hoisting herself up with her tail, Mica hung in midair and zipped back and forth as she viciously cut down any tendrils that Tessa missed.
Mesmerized by the sight of battle taking place around her, Fiona was brought back to reality by Anton’s prodding and quickly recommenced to repeating after him.
With their two guardians now protecting the window, Anton and Fiona were able to continue to build up the spell without pause, and as they did the very air around them became charged with the energy from the forming spell.
Though he had no time to explain this, the language that Anton was speaking was actually divine in its nature, as it was the original language spoken by the Gods before their exodus.
Rarely spoken in the modern age due to being nearly all but forgotten, words in this tongue still held power over the world itself and were used to operate intricate spells. Or at least they could be by those that knew how to use them correctly and who were either ancient enough to remember them out right, or lucky enough to be learned in them.
Far from fluent in this language and in no way an expert on its mechanics, Anton still knew enough to be cautious with any words said in this tongue as they were known to sometimes have unexpected effects on both the peoples, and the very environment that they were spoken in and around.
Had things not been as dire as they were right now, he wouldn’t have gone to such lengths as to use this language at all. But as it sat, he didn’t feel that he had much in the way of choice. The nightmare had to be stopped, and chancing failure with weaker spells just wasn’t worth the risk.
Concentrating as he was on what they were doing, Anton did his best to ignore the knot of worry that was steadily growing in his stomach. He knew he needed a plan in case this one didn’t work, but there was no time to think about that now, he had to remain focused on the spell he was working to build lest it fall apart around them.
As they finally reached the point in which they would lock the spell to the nightmare, Anton gave Fiona’s shoulder an urgent squeeze as the signal and she stiffened in acknowledgment.
Raising her voice so it could be heard above the din of the battle, the dark elf sang out clearly.
“ Harozza’mukulamei!” croaked Fiona as for a moment she met eyes with the monster below her.
In the next instant a second, larger circle that was identical in design to the one floating around Anton and Fiona’s wrists, winked into existence right beneath the nightmare’s feet.
Her eyes dropping to the ground beneath her, the nightmare let loose another ear shattering scream as the circle surrounding her became aglow with the neon green light of Fiona’s aura.
Elated by this, Anton set in to the second half of the spell and Fiona quickly followed along with him.
As they chanted away now as loudly as they could, lost in the throes of the magic they were creating, Kianna couldn’t help but to take a step back and away from them.
These words, the words that her master spoke, they sounded so very alien to her, and yet, at the same time, they were so strangely familiar.
Barely even breathing now, the dark elf became transfixed as for her it began to feel as though the words, and the magic they carried, were passing not only through the air around her, but right through her being itself.
It was as though the deepest core of herself had begun to vibrate in time with the words as they were spoken, as though her very being had suddenly become attuned to them.
Though still unfamiliar in their spoken form, Kianna was beginning to recognize the deeper meanings behind these divine words.
They were power…
Domination, fear, justice, surrender, strength, trust, subjugation, power…
These words… Not only had Kianna begun to recognize them, she now knew they were in truth, a part of her…
These words had all been spoken, and their power fully invoked, by the Gods during the initial creation of her race, so very, very long ago…
She knew now that her very essence had been born from these words, and she still carried their power within her.
She was the literal living embodiment of this power, she and every other dark elf that had ever existed…
Gazing at her sister, Kianna’s eyes widened in unease as she watched a twisted smile begin to form across Fiona’s face.
“…Back. …They need to get back.” breathed Kianna as Fiona’s features began to darken and go black “Back! Everyone get back!”
Pausing in surprise at her outburst, Anton turned to Kianna just as she began to race to the broken window.
“Everybody back!” cried Kianna as she held onto the side of the window frame and leaned outwards “Tessa! Earlivi! Get back! Get away from the nightmare!”
Looking up at her, Earlivi’s orb-like eyes narrowed in suspicion before with a start and a grunt he dropped his gaze to the ground beneath him.
The glow from the circle surrounding him and the nightmare had begun to intensify tenfold, and it now felt as though they were being pulled down towards it by a heavy, relentless weight.
It was at this moment that Anton blinked and suddenly became aware that while he had paused in their chanting, Fiona had not.
The power he had been slowly running through the dark elf was now being siphoned out in earnest by her as with a mere thought, she had seized control of the spell away from him and barreled forward with what they had begun.
The dark elf’s voice rang out true and strong as she boldly continued to form the spell, a spell they had once been building together, but one that now belonged to her alone.
Taken aback, Anton stared transfixed as Fiona, seemingly through some kind of instinct, began to reshape the spell by adding new words said amid a darker tone.
As the spell she was now forming on her own grew to a crescendo, the power flowing into it began to manifest as green static electricity-like sparks which began to appear out from the darkening dark elf’s body and jump all around the room.
Outside, the pull from the circle of power had grown so intense that with a struggle, Earlivi had just been able to wrestle his limbs away from the clawing nightmare before turning and trying to stomp his way out of the circle and escape. Reaching the edge of the circle, his fatigue suddenly set in and he fell to one knee. Bracing himself with his tendrils, he fought against the weight that held him in place and was just barely able to raise his damaged body back up to his feet. Teetering now but desperate to keep going, he stopped short as Mica suddenly appeared in front of him.
Without a word the kiochi whipped her tail forward into the circle and wrapped its length around Earlivi’s arm before looking up and nodding at an unseen someone behind him. In the next instant, Earlivi was struck from behind and shoved forward. Pulling with all her might, Mica heaved the large homunculi’s now sailing body through the air and out of the circle.
Landing in a heap with Tessa planted on his back, strength immediately returned to Earlivi as the weight he had bore a mere second ago was instantly relieved.
Still unsure of their supposed ally, both Tessa and Mica each put a sizable distance between themselves and the hulking being who was now quickly getting back to his feet.
Seeing her adversary escape, the nightmare screamed in rage before toppling over onto her side and dissolving herself back into a formless mass.
All eyes fell onto the withering being as her bloodcurdling screams reached a new gut wrenching intensity.
Behind the screams Fiona’s confident chant could still be heard rising into the night air. With a flurry of the green sparks erupting out of the darkness that was her being now, the dark elf paused for dramatic effect before finally finishing her spell.
“ Harozza’mukulamei!” she cried around a smug smile “Your bitch ass is now mine!”
With that declaration made the circle beneath the nightmare broke away from the ground and, lifting the nightmare up with it, began to rise into the air before sailing straight towards its twin floating around Fiona’s wrist.
Trapped in between the two enclosing and shrinking circles, the nightmare raged in a futile fury as her formless mass was crushed down into a smaller and smaller shape by the spell that now entrapped her.
Forced to consolidate down into almost nothing by the shrunken circles, the tiny ball of blackness that had was what had become of the nightmare was violently sucked into the jar, an act which cut off its one last final scream.
Their target now trapped, the two glowing circles combined into one and wrapped themselves around the glass enclosure before taking on a physical form and fusing themselves over the mouth of the jar, sealing it shut in the process.
A silent stillness filled the night as everyone stared intently at the jar.
For a moment, the glow of the circles pulsed in what looked like the rhythm of a struggle before finally slowing in pace and going dark.
The stillness that followed was broken when Kianna jumped in surprise as Mica teleported into the room and appeared right next to her.
“…Did we win?” questioned the shinoccubus as she looked from one face to another.
“Damn right we did!” cheered Fiona as she raised the jar up high in triumph and turned to Anton “We totally wrecked that bitch! …Right!?”
Signing in relief, Anton’s shoulders collapsed and hung limp as he stepped backwards until he could fall to sit on Fiona’s bed.
“Well that was an ordeal…” he muttered before smiling up at Fiona “To answer your question though… Yes, we won…”
“Yes!” shouted Fiona “Victory is ours!”
“Sweet!” smiled Mica as her tail waved back and forth excitedly.
“Oh, thank the Gods…” breathed Kianna.
“Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes!” cried Fiona as she rigorously shook her fist, and the jar it held, up and down “We won, we won, we won!”
“Will you please not shake that jar like that, Fiona!” exclaimed Anton “Do you really want to find out what would happen if you break it?”
“I already know! The jar is a housing for the curse! And is just like our collars!” smiled Fiona “Even if it breaks, it’ll just fix itself! And the stupid bitch will just end up back in her circle until it reforms!”
“…Hm. So you do actually understand that spell then?” questioned Anton as he arced an eyebrow “That’s interesting…”
Fiona went to speak but stopped short as her expression shifted from excitement to confusion.
“…Did you know that would happen?” she asked as she looked Anton in the eye “That the spell would, speak, to me like that?”
“…Is that what happened?” questioned Anton “Because I assumed the spell itself might have taken over there at the end?”
“No. It helped. But I was in control.” said Fiona as she shook her head “It didn’t take over. It didn’t need to. It knew that I would take over, and it just let that happen… Honestly, I think it was actually kinda, happy? Whenever that happened…”
“…I see.” nodded Anton as he gazed at the jar in Fiona’s hand “Well luckily that worked out, and the spell was friendly to you. That’s not always the case when a spell takes on a mind of its own like that…”
“Yeah, super lucky that spell wanted to trap this bitch just as much as I did!” laughed Fiona as she brought the jar up to eye level and smiled tauntingly at the faint mass of blackness inside it “Look at this tiny dumbass! Trapped under glass! Just like a goldfish in a bowl! Ha! Hope you’re cozy in your new little home, Rozzie! Cause you’re gonna be in there for awhile! Better get comfortable, bitch!”
“…Wait, can she actually hear us out here?” asked Kianna as she watched her sister tap on the glass with her fingertip.
“She can hear me, and if I let her she could hear the rest of you too.” said Fiona as she rolled the jar back and forth while watching its contents shift around “Probably gonna keep her in the dark for a little while though. At least until she calms down.”
“…Hold on. You can actually hear her!?” asked Anton “Even right now!?”
“…Yeah?” said Fiona as she pointed her ears straight upwards “Why? Am I not supposed to?”
“…Uh, I? …I’m not sure?” said Anton “I don’t think I would be able to hear her with that specific spell? …But maybe the spell works differently for dark elves?”
“Probably. Could also be you weren’t doing it right.” said Fiona in a dismissive manner “The spell did seem like it thought you were doing things a little wonky there. That was one of the reasons it was happy when I took over.”
“…Oh? …Okay?” said Anton “I didn’t know I wasn’t doing it right?”
“No biggie.” said Fiona with a shrug “It still worked out just fine.”
“So, what the Hell just happened?” asked Mica as she turned to the window just as Tessa’s hovering form appeared “Where did that nightmare even come from?”
“Fiona’s dream.” said Anton as he watched Tessa zip into the room and lightly land on her feet as her wings folded themselves away “That’s actually where this battle started. That nightmare tricked Fiona into following her fully into the Void, where she then tried to absorb her mind, which would have killed her. Luckily, the slavery bond between us allowed Fiona to call out to me, and I was able to help her fight the nightmare off.”
“Oh, so that’s why you woke up all panicked.” said Kianna with a nod “Fiona was stupid again, and almost got herself killed.”
“Hey, it’s not funny.” mumbled Fiona “This bitch was really trying to eat my mind! She was seriously going to kill me…”
“Okay, so, if this was going on in your dream, then how did that thing get out here?” asked Mica “Nightmares don’t just jump out of dreams like that… Do they?”
“No, a nightmare couldn’t, and wouldn’t, normally just come to Reality on its own like that.” sighed Anton “When Fiona’s mind slipped out of her dreamscape, she inadvertently pulled the nightmare out with her by mistake. And if she hadn’t done that then this wouldn’t have happened.”
“Ah, so this was all your fault then.” said Mica smugly “Figures, dumb bitch just being dumb again.”
“…Why you! Come here you little shit!” said Fiona as she reached out with her free hand and made to move towards Mica.
Grinning, the kiochi teleported behind Kianna and pressed up against her in an effort to use the other dark elf as cover.
“Circumstances aside, this whole thing wasn’t really Fiona’s fault.” said Anton as he watched the incensed dark elf glare at the partially hidden kiochi “Fiona can’t really be blamed for a random nightmare showing up out of the blue like that…”
“Oh, no! That’s the thing!” said Fiona as she turned to him “This wasn’t random. Rozzie was actually sent here.”
“…What? …Are you serious!?” questioned Anton.
“Yeah, she told me she was here looking for somebody and that I wasn’t her target. But that I would still do.” explained Fiona “And then when I was sucking up her thoughts, I actually saw who she was supposed to be looking for, and it was you.”
“…Me? She came here to kill me?” stated Anton “Are you sure about this?”
“Yep. She wasn’t excited about it though. I guess when she got here she didn’t really like the look of you, so she decided to go after me instead.” continued Fiona with a shrug “I don’t think the people who sent her here actually have any control over her. Like, they didn’t order her to come here, it was more like they kinda convinced her to come here.”
“…Hm. …Honestly, I’m shocked that anyone could even manage to persuade her to do anything at all.” mused Anton “She’s a nightmare after all. How does one even bargain with a nightmare to begin with?”
“I don’t know, they offered her something though. And she won’t say what it is.” said Fiona as she held the jar back up to her eye “Might need to torture it out of her… At least we know why she was here though. She’s just another assassin after you.”
Anton stared at the jar for a moment before his face hardened.
“…Do you know who it was that sent this nightmare?” he asked as he shifted his eyes to Fiona’s.
“No, sorry.” said Fiona as she shook her head “I don’t think Rozzie does either. They were someone who just showed up in the Void and spoke to her. Or at least that’s about as much as I can tell from what I’ve seen. They might actually have been another Voidling, because from what I can tell, it didn’t seem like Rozzie wanted to hurt them, and she wants to hurt everybody!”
“…Another Voidling. …That makes a little more sense. …Still though.” mumbled Anton as he turned to Kianna “Do you have your phone on you?”
“…Uh, no? It’s still on the nightstand.” said Kianna as she pointed her ears straight upwards “Did you want me to go get it?”
“Please, if you would.” nodded Anton as he rose to his feet and made his way towards the broken window.
“What do you need her phone for?” asked Fiona as she watched her sister quickly leave the room.
“Because I need her to make a call for me…” mumbled Anton as he leaned out the hole in the wall “Earlivi! Are you alright?”
“Yes… My master…” answered the homunculus from where he was kneeling in the grass “I am merely taking a moment to recover, and assess the damages I took during the battle…”
“Damages… Give me a second, and I’ll be right there.” said Anton before stepping out through the broken window.
Forming a pillar with his aura, Anton lowered himself down to the ground and quickly made his way over to Earlivi.
“Back!” cried Kianna as she jogged back into the room “…Master? Where did he go?”
“He’s checking on Earlivi.” said Fiona as she pointed out the window “Looks like the big guy got hurt pretty bad during the fight.”
“He did? Oh no! That’s awful!” exclaimed Kianna “Is he gonna be okay!?”
“I guess? I mean, he looks okay to me?” said Fiona with a shrug.
The trio all watched as Anton had Earlivi lift his arm and flex his hand into a fist.
“Who is that guy?” asked Mica “He’s creepy as Hell…”
“That’s Earlivi. He’s the boss’s homunculus.” answered Fiona “And yeah, he’s super creepy, and he’s also not very friendly. So try not to stand too close to him, or get on his bad side.”
“…A homunculus. …Damn, he’s pretty big for a homunculus.” mused Mica.
“Oh, this is nothing. You should see him in his giant form.” said Kianna “He’s actually even bigger than the house when he transforms.”
“Giant form? Wait, he can transform? What the Hell kind of homunculus is he?” questioned Mica.
“An evil, experimental one that was created in a lab by what I suspect is probably an actual mad scientist.” said Fiona “A mad scientist who is of course, friends with our boss…”
“…Wait, what? Seriously?” said Mica.
“Yeah, it’s probably best if you just don’t ask too many questions about him…” mumbled Kianna “Just be thankful that he’s on our side, okay.”
“Kinda on our side…” muttered Fiona “For the moment…”
After having finished with his assessment of the homunculi’s condition, Anton made his way back to the house and rose back up to the hole in the wall via another aura pillar.
“Is Mr. Earlivi alright?” asked Kianna as Anton stepped back into the room.
“He’s a little banged up, but nothing too bad.” said Anton with reassuring grin “A bit of mana, and a day or two of rest and he should be good as new.”
“Who’s mana?” muttered Fiona.
“Isn’t he going to come back inside?” asked Kianna as she gazed at the still kneeling homunculus.
“I’m sure he will in a bit. He’s just taking a minute to recuperate.” said Anton “Anyways, were you able to find your phone?”
“Oh, yeah. It’s right here.” said Kianna “Did you need to call someone?”
“Yes, I’d like to give your Mother a call.” said Anton as he held his hand out for the phone “So I can give her a piece of my mind…”
“…My Mom!?” questioned Kianna as she tentatively handed over the phone “Why do you want to talk to my Mom!?”
“Because I want to let her know that her latest attempt to kill me just backfired and almost cost her a daughter.” growled Anton as he scrolled through Kianna’s rather short contact list “Of all the insane plots… I guess now I know were Fiona gets it from…”
“Wait, your Mom is trying to kill him?” questioned Mica as she looked up at Kianna “Why?”
“Uh, hello!” muttered Fiona as she pointed at her collar “Do you really think this went without notice?”
“Quiet, I’m on the phone.” said Anton as he placed the phone to his ear.
The faint buzzing sound of the phone ringing on the other end could be heard before what sounded like a recorded answering machine began to speak.
“Hello, Olivia. This is Anton. I’m just calling to let you know that not only am I still alive, but the last assassin you set here didn’t even try to attack me. Instead it went straight for Fiona, and nearly succeeded in killing her!” snared Anton as his face hardened with anger “You nearly lost a daughter tonight, Olivia! Sending a nightmare was the most reckless, irresponsible and down right insane! Idea you could have ever come up with! How could you ever even think to unleash such an uncontrollable monster around your daughters like this!? Absolute insanity! …Listen, very closely. Targeting me is one thing, it’s even understandable. It’s something I’m prepared for. And I assure you, I can handle whatever else you decide to send my way. …That being said though, I’m going to give you one and only one warning. If you endanger these girls again with anything you send, I will put a stop to this, as quickly and as brutally as possible. …You do not want me to take this fight to-!”
Anton suddenly stopped speaking as the line on the other end was picked up.
“…Hello?” said Anton before a voice began to speak softly to him “…Alright. …Yes, I’ll hold.”
Anton glanced at the dark elves for a moment as he waited for the line to be picked back up.
“…Hello? …Is that you, Olivia?” he asked as he turned and walked away from everyone before beginning to repeat everything he had just said.
As Anton spoke to their Mother, both Kianna and Fiona tried their best to listen in on her responses, but unfortunately they just couldn’t make out her soft, direct replies from where they were on the other side of the room.
“Yes, Fiona is fine. But it was a close call. Too close. …Be that as it may, I’m not going to tolerate a repeat of tonight. And I suggest you take my warnings seriously, Olivia.” said Anton with his own direct tone “If these girls are ever put in danger like that again, I will make sure that it doesn’t happen a third time.”
Anton stood motionless for a moment as he listened to Olivia’s response. The watching girls were surprised when he suddenly turned to the side and stared off at nothing with a thoughtful look on his face.
“…Are you being sincere with this offer?” he asked at last “…No, not necessarily. …No, I’m not against it at all. In fact, I’d be more than willing… …Yes, I can do that. …Alright, I’ll be waiting to hear from you then. …Yes, goodnight to you too, Olivia.”
Moving the phone away from his head, Anton stared at it for a moment before shutting it off and turning to the waiting girls.
“…Well, that took an unexpected-” started Anton before being cut short by a series of odd sounds coming from outside.
With everyone turning to the broken window in unison, they were all just in time to see Earlivi’s broad form rise into view.
Using his many tentacles to scale the outside wall, the large homunculus bowed his head as he stepped through the ravaged hole in the house and entered the room.
“Oh, Mr. Earlivi!” asked Kianna as she took a tentative step towards him “Master said you were injured! Are you alright!? Do you need anything!? We can get you a potion! …Potions work on you, right!?”
Seemingly taken aback, Earlivi paused for a moment as he gazed at the clearly upset dark elf.
“I appreciate the offer, miss Kianna… I assure you though, I will be fine… My body will mend itself in time, so there is no need for a potion…” explained Earlivi as he stood tall and folded his hands behind his back.
“Are you sure though? That fight was pretty bad. And if your hurt then we can just heal you now…” offered Kianna as she lowered her ears in sorrow “I don’t want you to be in pain…”
“…I am fine. Your concern is unnecessary…” said Earlivi as he turned away from her “Though, it is appreciated…”
Turmoil still on her face, Kianna said nothing more as she watched Earlivi shift to the side and face Mica and Tessa.
“I am thankful, for the assistance that each of you gave me…” he said as he nodded to both of them.
“…Uh, yeah. No problem. Anytime.” muttered Mica as Tessa twitched her antennae in agreement.
“Glad to see you back on your feet.” said Anton as he stepped up to the homunculus “I know you said that you didn’t, but we do have potions here. So it really is no problem if you need one.”
“As I said, I am fine…” said Earlivi.
“…Okay, if your sure.” nodded Anton “I won’t force one on you. Though, I hope you’re still able to move around a bit. As I’m going to need your help with something.”
“If you are referring to the window… Then there is nothing to worry about…” said Earlivi “It can be repaired easily enough…”
“Oh, uh, yes. Though, no. That isn’t what I’m talking about.” said Anton as he quickly glanced from Earlivi to the window and back before giving the taller being a lopsided grin “I’d appreciate you fixing the window, of course. But I’m also going to need you to do you me another favor, and pull a shift of babysitting duty for me.”
“…Excuse me?” said Earlivi.
“Babysitting?” questioned Kianna as she pointed her ears straight upwards “Who do you need him to babysit?”
Anton kept up the same grinning expression as he slowly looked from one staring face to another.
“…Oh, fuck no!” exclaimed Fiona “You better not be talking about us!”
“It seems that I’m going to be out for an evening this weekend.” said Anton as he turned back to Earlivi “So I’d like you to spend the night here while I’m gone, and make sure that everyone stays safe.”
“Out?” repeated Kianna “Wait! What do you mean, out? Where are you going!?”
“…I’ll be going out to dinner.” said Anton as he looked at both of the dark elves “…With your Mother.”128 Views