Let the Madness Begin

Aria turned away from Fujitsu for a second, and stared up at Ackerak. "Put her down."

"But... miss Aria..."

"I said put her down... or do we need to do a repeat of our first meeting?" Aria asked, drawing the silver blade and slashing the trunk of a tree with it. To everyone's surprise (Aria's included) it cut the tree cleanly in half, and it fell down with a loud crash. Aria blinked, but tried to make it look like she planned that. Ackerak gulped and set the girl down.

"Right then, now as for you..." Aria said, turning to Fujitsu. "Are you absolutely certain I am as bad as that king in Ixion makes me out to be? Why do you hunt people? For money? For glory? I don't think that's it at all... I think you do it because you feel the need to bring justice to this world, and you feel that the role of a bounty hunter suits that perfectly. Tell me, am I wrong?"

Fujitsu blinked. He wasn't sure how to respond. Normally his prey were much dumber or much more bloodthirsty... but Aria was different. She behaved like a child but seemed smarter and wiser than that. How a girl like her became a bandit in the first place almost made him a little sad... almost.

"Don't try and confuse me with your genie words, genie!"

"SHE IS NOT A GENIE!" Raistled shouted angrily. "She's just some stupid brat who needs to be taught her place in the world, that's all."

"Oh, really?" Aria asked. "And do YOU know what that place is? Can you tell me where I belong in the grand scheme of things?"

Raistled opened his mouth to respond, but then he realized there was no answer he could give. So he remained silent.

"I have been passed around like a bad penny ever since I was five years old. All the while I've suffered abuse and negligence, some days honestly wishing I had never been brought into this world. I have no family, and my only friends are others like me: people society doesn't want. So unless you can honestly say you know how I feel, then keep your mouth shut."

Drace stared at her, quietly. He understood himself, but he still wasn't sure whether he should speak up.

Aria sheathed her sword and turned away from Fujitsu again. "I'm leaving." Aria only took a few steps however before she suddenly collapsed. Everyone gasped and ran over to her, seeing if she was alright.

---

Watching the entire spectacle unfold was a black raven. A familiar of the dark lord, whatever it saw, the Lord of Darkness saw.

Viewing through an orb of crystal, the Dark Lord's eyes narrowed when he saw the sword in Aria's hands. Kojiro smiled. "Well, it seems someone got the Guardian's blade after all."

The Dark Lord glared at him. "I told you to kill the dragon guarding it and destroy that accursed blade. One out of two isn't a very good record you know."

Raigemi Crimson, the woman with the white hair and scythe, turned to her master. "Do you want the girl destroyed as well?"

The Dark Lord thought it over, but shook his head. "No... perhaps that won't be necessary. Let us see just where this little girl goes carrying that blade... will she bring peace, or destruction? And who exactly is she, anyway? Princess or pauper? An idiot or a practiced fool? I can't wait to see how this little story unfolds..."

"But sir-"

"Are you presuming to tell ME what to do?" Xeranad asked. Raigemi remained silent. "That's a good girl."

"Ugh, I still don't see the point of having the dragon killed in the first place." Ultritch responded, bored out of his mind. "I mean, the sword was safe in there to begin with, and the dragon would have killed any would be adventurer who tried to take it."

"Just a little insurance that seems to have backfired a bit on me... still, I wonder how this all will turn out." The Lord of Darkness smiled beneath that white mask on his face.

"Let the madness begin."

The End

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