The Battle Begins

Episode 23

Dark clouds gathered in the skies over Attoractia, crimson lighting occasionally crackling through the ebony sky. However, two sources of light remained defiant, cutting through the thick miasma. The light of the moon of a lost planet, and the light of Yggdrasil. All across the continent, there was a painful silence.

Even those without a magical inclination could now sense the massive presence approaching their home. A horrible, heavy, sense of inevitability. Kaguya, who had been darting about the world tree,  was now standing before a curious long haired blonde girl who had, only moments before, emerged from the tree.

“You’re...Alice, right? Wahaha! We finally meet!” Kaguya spoke through a wide smile. “Are you Kaguya? Sorry, we’ll have to save the reunion for later. First we need to take care of what’s going on here.” “Hehehe. Roger that, boss!” Reunited across space and time, Kaguya and Alice turned their attention to Sylvia, combining their attacks against the dragoness.

Thanks to Yggdrasil, the two halves had been melded back together, and the awakened Alice’s power was so strong she found it difficult to keep under control. 

Combined with Kaguya’s counter-magic, Sylvia hardly stood a chance. Alice loosed a powerful bolt of magic that impacted harshly on Sylvia’s left wing. In response, the clan leader belched a winding gout of flame. The flame was quickly dispelled by Kaguya, and at the same time Alice struck the great wyrm with Excalibur X .

With a thunderous roar of pain, Sylvia collapsed on the ground, her body returning to its human form. “So this is as far as I go, huh?” Sylvia’s speech was interspersed with painful coughs, blood flowing freely from her mouth. “I never imagined that the survivors of Earth would be so powerful. It almost makes me wish I had sided with you instead of him.” 

Sylvia’s eyes grew dim, and her body seemed to be slowly losing it’s color, as if something was sucking the last bits of life from her. “Alas I hastily pledged my allegiance to another in the hopes of saving my clan, and now I must pay the price. If you wish to change the fate of this world, go east. Beyond the mountains of Certo, to Vell Savaria.”

With those last words, Sylvia’s expression fell blank, the last of the color fading from her body. 

Alice stood over the lifeless woman, a remorseful look on her face, but for a brief moment her mouth curled into a thin smile. Kaguya, watching the scene from the distance, felt strange. Though this Kaguya had been born mortal, her past immortal life had known much of both magic and suffering. 

Had this child still held those memories perhaps she would have been able to do more. Without them, Kaguya did not feel compelled to act, but the girl still felt their echoes gnawing at the back of her mind, filling her with worry. “Alice...Are you alright? You seem...different.” “I could say the same thing about you, Kaguya.”

“Huh? Really? Ehh I guess you’re right. Actually I don’t remember stuff from the old me. When I look at you I just sort of get this feeling that you’re Alice, but that’s about it.” Kaguya put a hand to her temple and cocked her head in an exaggerated attempt at conveying thought. “I feel somewhat similar. I know in my heart that you’re Kaguya, but the person in front of me looks and acts totally different.”

“Hey, I’m no bad guy, okay? Blame it on my foster parents!”

“Foster parents? I believe I can imagine the trouble those two get into...” “Let’s worry about that later though, are you alright Alice?” “I don’t think I’m hurt anywhere.” Alice patted herself down. “Hmmmm. Okay, I guess it’s nothing. Alright then, let’s go beat the final dungeon! Where was it? Bell Savana?”

“Vell Savaria. You’re right, we should get going. I can hear the spirit of the world tree, it pleads us to defeat him. To protect this world.” “Gotcha. Alright let’s get this over with.” Kaguya tried to shake the uncomfortable feeling she felt earlier, but something still lingered in her mind. 

Kaguya rubbed her eyes. For a moment, she was certain she saw something impossible. It appeared, for a moment, that half of Alice’s face was obscured by a pitch black shadow.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- While the two heroines flew to Vell Savaria, the final battle had already begun in Shangri-La. Shion, Pricia, and Marybell had quickly organized rebel forces over the last few days. However, the three were forced to flee the city once word of Valentina’s return had come, for fear of their trap being discovered. 

After all, a gigantic metallic woman wasn’t the most subtle of images, even considering Shangri-La’s well known standing as a land of eccentrics. The three congregated on the coastline, while the rebel army awaited their signal from within the city. “Shion, Mary. I’ve decided to face her alone.” For the first time in her life, Pricia spoke calm and serious.

“No, I let Lady Valentina rise to power. I lived in the palace, I could have done something. This is my responsibility too.”

“Pricia, I must face her for my master.” “Hold on you two.” Pricia put a hand up to silence them. “Shion, we need you to keep the army organized. You know the city better than anyone, and your music gives them hope. Mary, we need you to keep the people safe. Help all the innocent people out of the city and protect them. That way no one else will lose someone they care about.” 

Shion and Marybell were taken aback by Pricia’s seemingly sudden clarity of thought. “But we still don’t know how powerful she’s...” Shion’s attempt at further protest was interrupted. “It’ll be fine. The world tree granted me a vision, and I’ve got a kind of a...a secret weapon. Seems like the world tree is helping out a bunch of people to try and protect our world. I know I can win...I have to.”

“Huhuhu...Pricia.” “Mary...I’m sorry. I know we promised to go together, but we can’t let anyone else get hurt.” “Huhuhu...No. It’s not that. I am happy. I am happy that you have become so brave and noble.” “Hehe” Shion stifled a small laugh. “Ah! Shion? You too?”

“I was just thinking that you and Mary make a good combination, even if you don’t look like it. The world really is an interesting place. I’d like to see more of it, when this is over. At any rate, I understand. Mary and I will stay behind to keep things organized and to protect the people.” Shion stood up, dusting herself off. “I am in agreement. Pricia, please come back safe. Please avenge my master.”

“You got it! I’ll be back soon. Count on it!” Pricia, with newfound power from the world tree, took off running across the water towards Shangri-La at an incredible speed. She spread her arms as wings formed along them, and took off into the sky like a red streak of light.

“Huhuhu...I am still scared. I am scared I have sent my first friend to die. Please, Pricia...Please be okay...” the large mechanical girl raised her hands to cover her face. Shion looked up to the machine, who sat hunched over, cradling her head in her arms. “Mary...You really are a sweet girl.”

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- “Unacceptable. Unacceptable. Unacceptable. Unacceptable. Unacceptable!!” Valentina had returned to Shangri-La only one day prior. Her conquest of the other kingdoms had been halted by the sudden arrival of startling information. 

Stories that Shion, her longtime servant, had been conspiring against her. Her informant seemed to think it could erupt into a civil war. The enraged woman sat upon her marble throne in her palace as she awaited for her guards to return from their sweep of the city. However, the overlord grew more impatient with each passing moment.

“Shion! You ungrateful little speck! How dare you oppose me after all I have given you!!” Valentina’s furious cries rang through the empty halls. Standing up she conjured Gleipnir to her hand. It’s red threads, lashing like powerful tendrils, smashed the many mirrors carefully placed around the throne room.

“Hahahaha! Let them come! I have existed before, and I shall exist after! This world belongs to me.” Valentina, arms outstretched, paused for a moment. A smile creeping across her lips. “And so shall you...Alice.” Valentina glanced over at a large piece of glass from one of the destroyed mirrors. However, the reflection of an empress no longer greeted her back.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Attoractia, the World of the Seven Kings