‘Wow, now that’s refreshing,’ Saphira sighed as she and the other girls stood in the cave where the clean waterfall was. She took the next bucket of water and poured it on her, shaking herself out as she handed the bucket to Sheela to fill up so she and Sarah could have a drink. Amber washed her face with the waterfall before peering up at where it was coming down from.
‘Where is it coming from?’ she asked as Sarah soaked herself with water after Sheela took some sips.
‘Who knows?’ Saphira peered up too, pressing her hand up against one of the green rock walls to keep herself from slipping ‘Maybe it’s from the crater?’
‘Wait, do you mean we’re drinking alien water?’ Sarah froze with the bucket over her head. The girls froze before Amber shook her head frantically.
‘No, I would know if it was abnormal water or not,’ she said ‘I passed the tasting course in assassin training with flying colours.’
‘Are you sure, Amber?’ Sheela asked as she did a scanning spell over the waterfall ‘You never know, water from another galaxy might taste the same as on this world.’
‘It can’t be the exact same taste,’ Amber scowled ‘I’ll know if something is not from this world, my father had me taste varieties of poisons in my training, from and out of this world.’
‘Poisons?’ Vienna’s eyes widened ‘Why aren’t you dead?’
‘I drank the antidotes as well,’ Amber sighed and rolled her eyes as if it was obvious.
‘Don’t worry,’ Sheela sighed in relief as her hand lost its light green glow ‘It’s normal water. There aren’t any unidentified chemicals in it or anything.’
‘Well then where is it coming from?’ Amber asked in frustration and stuck her head out more to look up at the water source.
‘Amber, watch out!’ Amber squeaked as she slipped and fell down the hole that the water was going into. Saphira made a grab for her but missed and Amber plummeted down into the pool below the waterfall. Before Amber could kick herself up to the surface, she felt a current grab her and pull her down deeper into the water. She kicked and thrashed about in the current until she saw light. She immediately kicked her legs to reach the surface and took a gulp of air when she reached it. She felt herself drift for a bit and opened her eyes when she felt sunshine. She gasped and made her way to the bank of the river that she was now in.
‘What is this place?’ she whispered to herself.
She looked around and saw the lush green grass where a herd of deer was grazing and saw butterflies flutter to and fro from flowers of all different colours. She saw trees blooming with life and squirrels gathering nuts from the bushes. She heard birds singing and various baby animals calling for their mothers to be weaned. Amber looked around in awe, some of these plants and creatures she had only seen in books. She also couldn’t recognize some of the plants. It was as if she’d entered a whole new world compared to the world she had been living in for the past year. Amber breathed in the fresh air and sighed. She had never been in such a place that had so much nature in. The only nature she ever saw were the fish in the oasis and the coconut trees. As Amber scanned her surroundings, her breath stilled as she saw a large shadow not far away from her. She slowly looked up and swallowed to herself when she saw one of the Queen’s towers.
‘Oh, I see,’ she murmured to herself ‘Very clever.’ She turned her head when she heard something splashing behind her and saw Sarah.
‘Help!’ she spluttered ‘I can’t swim!’
‘Of course you can’t,’ Amber sighed as she swam over and helped Sarah reach the bank. Sarah sighed in relief as she lay on the grass, drying in the sun. She breathed steadily and wrung her hair out.
‘I slipped and fell,’ she mumbled sheepishly.
‘I did too so don’t feel so bad about it,’ Amber mumbled and pulled herself out of the river ‘I think this is where the water’s coming from. Inside the crater.’
‘But how did this get all here?’ Sarah asked ‘I thought there was nothing but barren land inside craters.’
‘There normally is if a meteor struck,’ Amber replied as she pulled her hair out of her bunches and wrung it out. The girls looked up when they heard more spluttering and splashing to see that the rest of the girls had followed them down. They swam to the bank and climbed onto the land, sitting next to them.
‘Wow, I never expected there would actually be a paradise available on this planet anymore,’ Saphira whistled as she stood up and looked around ‘Hey, food!’ She turned into her tame wolf form and bounded towards the deer that began running away from her.
‘Saphira, wait!’ Vienna called but then gave into her instincts and ran alongside her to catch a deer to eat. Sheela smiled as she wrung her hair out and looked up at the trees.
‘Sarah, look,’ she smiled softly ‘Nectorlai Apples.’ She pointed above them and Amber craned her head to see light pink apples hanging in the tree above them.
‘Yahoo!’ Sarah cheered as she jumped up and snapped one off to take a bite. The branch swayed from her actions and another apple fell and landed on top of her head. Amber and Sheela giggled as Sarah whined in pain and rubbed her head sorely. Sheela picked up the Nectorlai Apple that had fallen and used a quick spell to cut it in half. She blinked and looked up at the sky.
‘Hey, the Nightmare Blanket doesn’t cover this part,’ she whispered as Amber looked up with her curiously.
‘Well it explains why everything is so…living…’ Sarah said and sunk her teeth into her apple ‘Mmm!!! Tastes so good!’ Sheela smiled warmly at Sarah before offering one half of her apple to Amber.
‘Here, try it,’ she said as Amber eyed it warily ‘I presume you haven’t had apples before.’
‘I have just not…pink ones…’ Amber said as she took the half apple and sniffed it curiously. Sheela bit into her apple as Saphira trotted over happily with a faun in her jaws. Vienna snarled and lunged for the fawn and they began fighting over it. Amber slowly took a bite from the Nectorlai Apple and swallowed with a scowl on her face.
‘You don’t like it?’ Sarah gasped in disbelief as Amber stuck her tongue out and placed the fruit down.
‘Too sweet,’ she scowled and began spitting to get rid of the taste. Sheela simpered behind her hand as Vienna ripped a leg off Saphira’s faun and ran off, settling down in the shade and gnawing into it. Vienna pricked her ears up when she saw a rabbit’s rotting carcass and wrinkled her nose.
‘Ew, gross,’ she said and pawed it away. Her eyes widened when she saw familiar puncture holes in the rabbit’s neck and jumped to her feet. ‘Nan’s here!’ Amber turned her head towards Vienna with wide eyes.
‘Xeann’s here?’ she said and ran over to Vienna ‘For how long?’ Vienna sniffed the rabbit warily and wrinkled her nose.
‘Ew, its insides are already mushy and gross, yuck,’ she scowled and backed away ‘I would say a couple of days, perhaps a bit longer.’ The girls looked up when they heard a loud boom and saw smoke rising from one of the crater walls. Amber began rushing towards it, the girls trailing behind her. Amber stopped and hid behind one of the large trees when she saw a young tall girl with shoulder length white hair standing in front of the crater wall that now had a massive hole in it. In place of her right hand was a white laser gun, smoking after being fired. The girl looked up and down the crater wall, her movements were like a robot.
‘Targets have moved,’ she said in a metallic voice and turned around, Amber saw that she had a scanner covering her eyes ‘Must continue mission.’ Amber watched closely as the girl walked forward, following the crater perimeter. Sheela came beside her, catching her breath.
‘Oh no,’ she whispered as she saw the girl Amber was watching ‘Another one.’
‘Another what?’ Amber whispered as the rest of the girls arrived.
‘No. LXXXVII,’ Sheela pointed to the numeral that was embedded on the girl’s shooting arm ‘I believe her name is…Fate? No, no, it was…I think it’s Destiny.’
‘She has another Human Weapon?’ Vienna said in disbelief. There was a loud thud behind them and the girls turned to see that Sarah had fainted. Saphira poured some water over her face and Sarah blinked as she slowly woke up.
‘I don’t want to fight another Human Weapon,’ she whimpered and clung onto Sheela ‘Don’t make me fight her, please!’
‘Hey, hey, calm down,’ Sheela soothed and patted Sarah’s head ‘I’m not going to let you near this one. She’s much more powerful than the Diamond Bruiser.’
‘She doesn’t look so strong,’ Amber raised an eyebrow as she carefully followed Destiny along the perimeter.
‘Amber, she can change her body into actual weapons,’ Sheela whispered as they all followed Destiny, Sarah being a bit reluctant ‘She’ll scan you for a weakness and then produce the weapon necessary to kill you.’
‘Scary…’ Sarah whimpered softly.
‘Hey!’ a voice cried from a distance, making the girls freeze in their position ‘Sheela!’ Sheela turned and gasped as a figure crashed into her and hugged her tightly as they lay on the grass. Sheela blinked up at the girl in awe and recognized her bright smile.
‘Cecilia!’ she hissed and sat up, grabbing her shoulders ‘Are you alright? You’re not hurt are you? Oh, I’m so glad you’re safe.’
‘Of course I’m safe,’ Cecilia giggled and stood up ‘Sarah!’ Sarah stumbled as Cecilia hugged her tightly and patted her head.
‘Careful, I’m clumsier than usual,’ she whispered and Cecilia giggled.
‘I’m so happy to see you!’ she pulled away from the hug and clapped her hands happily ‘Are you all going to join Queen Florence?’
‘Of course not,’ Amber snorted. Cecilia blinked in confusion then frowned.
‘So…why are you here?’ she asked.
‘Isn’t it obvious?’ a deeper voice came from the trees. The girls turned as a girl with black hair tied in a ponytail jumped down and placed a hand on her hip. ‘They’re here to oppose the Queen.’
‘Iris!’ Sheela sighed in relief and ran up to her ‘Oh, thank goodness you’re safe.’ Iris raised a hand and black static energy formed in between her fingertips. Sheela was unable to stop herself and was hit by the energy ball that was shot at her. It impacted her in the stomach and she was blown back, landing heavily against a nearby tree. Amber jumped at the loud smack that had come from the impact.
‘Sheela!’ Sarah and Cecilia cried as they rushed to her, Cecilia healing the damage up. Sheela was breathing shallow breaths as Iris mocked her with a smirk.
‘What’s the matter, princess?’ she sneered as Sheela looked up at her in shock and horror ‘I didn’t ruin your pretty dress for your wedding now, did I?’
‘That is the last time someone’s going to mock me in this dress!’ Sheela snarled and grimaced when she placed a hand on the bloodied patch on the dress. Cecilia’s eyes began watering with tears as she pressed her hands on the blood to draw it out of the dress.
‘Iris, you were too hard with your magic,’ she whined and Iris sighed, shaking her head and pinched the bridge of her nose.
‘Relax, she would have fallen unconscious and woken up two days later,’ she muttered and stormed over to them, grabbing Cecilia’s arm and dragging her back a few steps ‘Destiny!’ Saphira yelped as there was a small roar of engines above them and Destiny lowered herself in front of Iris.
‘Iris…’ Sheela said cautiously as she got to her feet with Sarah’s help.
‘Destiny, eliminate the intruders,’ Iris commanded and Destiny whirred to life, her left hand turning into a long white katana. Sarah ran away as fast as she could first. The other girls froze for a second in fear then split in different directions, running as fast as they humanly could. Amber’s head had turned into mush, she was solely focused in dodging obstacles in front of her and just running. It turned into a chant after a while. Run, run, run, run, run, run, Amber! Amber winced when she began feeling a stitch, due to the fact that she was out of shape cardio wise. Amber panted and gasped for breath as she dared to take a small rest by a boulder. She leaned on it and closed her eyes, panting for air and resting her aching legs. With a small yawn, Amber slumped into a seating position and thought about taking a short nap.
‘Amber?’ Amber gasped as she opened her eyes and turned her head to see Xeann from one of the crater caves.
‘Xeann!’ Amber breathed a sigh of relief and ran up the slope, sliding into the cave that Xeann was in. Xeann quickly scanned the area before sliding into the cave and hugging Amber.
‘Oh, thank goodness you’re alright!’ she sighed ‘Was I really gone for a week? Oh, I’m sorry but I just can’t keep track of days without a calendar…’
‘No, we sort of stumbled into this place by accident,’ Amber breathed as she leaned against Xeann’s chest, catching her breath.
‘Mummy, who’s this?’ Amber yelped as she saw a strange man and jumped to her feet, fists raised to fight him. Xeann pulled her down.
‘Don’t worry, Amber, he’s my eldest son,’ she reassured her then turned to the man ‘Cedric, this is Amber. The young girl I talked about?’
‘Ah yes,’ Cedric smiled and offered his hand to her ‘Nice to meet you. My name is Cedric.’
‘Amber,’ Amber nodded as she shook his hand.
‘Amber, you mentioned the others were here?’ Xeann frowned in concern.
‘Yeah…Sheela and Sarah’s sisters launched Destiny at us,’ Amber mumbled as she cautiously poked her head out of the cave ‘We all went our separate ways.’ Xeann sighed and turned to Cedric.
‘Cedric, dear, do you know where I can get high enough to look for the girls?’ she asked and Cedric smiled softly.
‘Why don’t I go and look for them for you?’ he offered ‘I’ll bring them all here. What do they look like?’
‘Two of them turned into their tame wolf forms I think,’ Amber sighed and shrugged ‘I don’t know, we know what the Human Weapons are and we just took off. I was more focused in running away from the monster. Just look for four panicked girls that are probably running around this place.’
‘Alright, I’ll see if I can spot them,’ Cedric nodded as he carefully crept out of the cave and looked around before crawling up the crater wall.
Sheela felt herself collapse from exhaustion as her weakened body finally told her to stop running and just lie down. She gasped for breath and attempted to crawl away to a more concealed place. She paused when she realised that she was in a field of pink flowers and smacked her hands to the ground on impulse. The flowers around her grew quickly and grew to about fifteen inches tall and Sheela wormed her way in between the stems, hoping that this temporary camouflage would hold up until she regained her energy again. She regulated her breathing and closed her eyes, feeling drained and sleepy. It took her a while to think about Destiny’s abilities. That scanner could detect her anywhere, but then again, it wasn’t up all the time. Sheela sighed tiredly as her head began to hurt from all the thinking and worrying about Destiny. She stilled when she heard a pair of feet land on the grass and felt herself holding her breath in terror. A shadow went over her and Sheela began shaking, her heart pounding.
‘Excuse me, but are you hiding from Destiny?’ a man’s voice met her ears. Sheela slowly turned her head and looked up, sighing in relief when she saw a young man towering over her.
‘Yes, I am,’ she sighed and slowly sat up ‘Oh no, you’re part of the Queen’s court aren’t you?’
‘Not really,’ the man shrugged ‘I’m not working for her or Father anymore.’ He offered his hand to her. ‘I’m with Mummy now. Her name is Xeann, do you know her?’
‘Xeann?’ Sheela perked up and nodded ‘Yes, yes I know her.’ She took the man’s hand and her eyes widened when she saw demonic ripped wings on his back spread out to take off. ‘You’re a demon?’
‘Half,’ the man shrugged ‘I don’t bite, don’t worry.’ Sheela swallowed and nodded anyway as he picked her up and flew her away.
‘Gotta run, gotta run, gotta run!!!’ Sarah chanted under her breath as she sprinted through the forest ‘Don’t wanna get caught, don’t wanna get caught, don’t wanna get caught!!!’ She left the forest and out into a meadow, running and startling the deer that were grazing. She ran alongside them, panting and panicking inside as she didn’t dare look back to see if that Destiny weapon was following her. She did dare to look down and gasped when she saw a shadow engulfing her. ‘Faster, faster, faster!!!’ she shrieked and began running faster. She screamed at the top of her voice when someone landed in front of her and promptly fainted. Cedric blinked down at the fallen girl and bit his lip nervously. He looked around and shrugged.
‘Oh dear,’ he said and fiddled with his fingers ‘I might have scared her. I suppose it isn’t that hard when you’re half demon.’ He bent down and picked her up gently, making sure to carry her in a secure hold. Sarah was still muttering things in a delirious state when she was unconscious, making Cedric frown in worry. He spread his wings and took off, taking poor frightened Sarah with him.
Saphira panted as she scampered across the frozen river in her tame wolf form. She hadn’t ever come face to face with a real life Human Weapon but the stories that she had heard terrified her enough to not even think about hanging around one if she ever found one. She had heard about the power Human Weapons possessed and she wasn’t sticking around to see how destructive this Destiny was. She panted as her claws scratched the ice with every step that she took. She reached a split within the river and resorted to running across the land instead. Her breath condensed in front of her as she scampered across the grassy plains and gasped for breath when she reached the shady forest. She lay in front of a large oak tree and yawned, resting and regaining her strength. As she lay her head on her front paws, her ears pricked up when she saw a pair of boots. She looked up slowly and saw a young man towering over her.
‘Excuse me,’ he said ‘But are you Xeann’s friend?’
‘I wouldn’t say we’re friends but I know her,’ Saphira said as she sat up and looked up at him ‘Why?’
‘Oh, it’s just that I’m gathering the girls together so we can sort out how to shut down Destiny,’ the man smiled kindly ‘I’m Cedric, Xeann’s son.’
‘Anyone can just claim to be one of Xeann’s children, she has too many of them,’ Saphira said warily. Cedric chuckled and shrugged.
‘Well, how about you follow me to the cave and you can see her yourself?’ he offered and took off. Saphira’s nose twitched warily and she followed him cautiously back to the cave where Xeann and the others were waiting.
In normal circumstances, Vienna would have stayed to fight Destiny head on. But the experience of fighting the Diamond Bruiser flashed in her mind when Sheela’s sister ordered Destiny to kill them and before she knew it, she was in her tame wolf form and running for her life. Vienna was still running now, running along the perimeter and she was more than sure that Destiny was behind her. Also, the bullets being shot at her were rather big clues to the fact that the Human Weapon was hot on her trail. Vienna let out a high pitched yelp when one bullet hit her hind leg and she fell face first. She heard Destiny’s heavy footsteps closed in on her and she whined when she felt that it was a silver bullet that had hit her. As her leg began steaming, Vienna looked up with a fallen face.
‘Target immobilized,’ she said in that eerie metallic voice and her scanner came down across her eyes ‘Proceeding quick elimination.’ Vienna whimpered and closed her eyes as she heard the guns whirring to life. She flinched when she heard a blast from the gun but didn’t feel anything. She slowly opened her eyes and saw a man standing over her with one sword directing Destiny’s gun to the sky whilst the other was pressed up against her neck.
‘Iris,’ he said and Destiny’s eyes widened as she went stiff. The man jumped off Vienna and pulled the bullet out of her wound. Vienna whined in pain as the man picked her up, letting her leg bleed out. ‘It’s alright, I’m not going to hurt you,’ he reassured her ‘But we’d better be quick, Destiny will only be paralyzed for about ten minutes. I believe you’re Xeann’s granddaughter?’ Vienna sniffed her tears back and nodded. Cedric gave her a sympathetic smile and took off to go back to the cave before Destiny broke out of her paralysis.
Vienna whimpered pitifully as Xeann bandaged her leg after letting the wound bleed out for a while. Saphira sat by the entrance, vigilant and alert for any signs of Destiny. Sarah was still unconscious with a concerned Sheela placing a hand over her forehead to check if she was waking up any time soon.
‘You said Iris’s name and Destiny just froze,’ Vienna whimpered softly to Cedric
‘You are able to disable a Human Weapon if you recite its controller’s name,’ Cedric said with a shrug.
‘You know complete strangers’ name yet you don’t know your own half-sister’s name?’ Xeann raised a disapproving eyebrow.
‘Cecilia and Iris aren’t complete strangers,’ Cedric hunched his shoulders ‘I was the one who personally escorted them here.’
‘Why?!’ Sheela shrieked at him suddenly ‘Why would you take them away from us?!’
‘Iris and Cecilia wanted to be together without their family knowing,’ Cedric shrugged helplessly.
‘You didn’t have the right to just take them away like that!’ Sheela shouted at him ‘They should have come out of the closet to us, we wouldn’t have minded!’
‘I was ordered to take them here and keep an eye on them. They seemed perfectly happy here so I didn’t think it was wrong.’
‘They were fifteen! They’re too young and immature to make decisions by themselves!’
‘Sheela, calm down,’ Xeann said and reached out to touch Sheela’s shoulder ‘Cedric spent nearly half a century in Hell under his Father’s wing. He doesn’t quite know what is right or wrong in this world.’ Sheela took a deep breath and leaned back.
‘So how do we shut down this Destiny, we don’t even know what her name could be,’ Vienna grunted as she pushed herself up against a cave wall.
‘Amber, Saphira, most of the Human Weapons came from villages, you wouldn’t happen to know anyone who could have left your village in the pursuit for science?’ Xeann asked as she looked at the girls in question. The girls sighed and leaned back.
‘It depends when these Weapons got constructed,’ Saphira shrugged as Amber shook her head uncertainly.
‘Right…’ Xeann lay back and took a deep breath ‘I believe Zenna got converted sixty three years ago, give or take a year, and she was No. LX. It takes around about two years, according to Zenna and her family, to design, plan and create a Human weapon…Destiny is No. LXXXVII, right?’ Cedric nodded and Xeann closed her eyes and sighed. ‘I would say Destiny must have been created ten years ago. Again, give or take a year because it was when the Aurallion Army began using viruses as weapons that the scientists began increasing production of the Human Weapons, shortly after No. LXXX was deployed.’
‘Wait, ten years ago?’ Saphira raised an eyebrow ‘I couldn’t even talk ten years ago.’
‘Really?’ Xeann frowned ‘Now that’s a speech delay a parent should be worried about.’
‘You have no idea how many speech therapists I went to see when I was an infant,’ Saphira huffed and folded her arms.
‘What about you, Amber?’ Xeann turned to Amber who just shrugged.
‘I would have been about five years old, but then again I did know most of the village people,’ she hummed and leaned her head back against the wall ‘It would take a while to remember any names.’
‘Amber, I want you to focus solely on those who left your village,’ Xeann said slowly and Amber shrugged.
‘It was during the war against Aurallion,’ she said ‘A lot of people were leaving to join the army against the Aurallion Army.’
‘Names?’ Xeann shrugged and Amber sighed in exhaustion.
‘My memory’s all foggy…’ she whined and Cedric hushed the group suddenly. Sarah woke up slowly and yawned.
‘Hey guys, what’s up?’ she murmured and Sheela pressed a hand to her mouth with a hushing sound. Amber’s ears picked up a whirring sound and her eyes widened.
‘Oh dear,’ she whispered.
‘Everyone out!’ Cedric yelled and the girls shot out of the cave. Amber ducked when she heard a whir of a laser gun and a laser beam narrowly missed her head, crashing into one of the trees. Xeann turned around and put her fists up.
‘Nan, where are your blades?’ Vienna asked with wide eyes.
‘I lost them when we were running away from her,’ Xeann sighed ‘I had to leave my cape and utility belt behind too. I feel naked…’
‘OK,’ Sheela said as she supported Sarah who looked like she was going to faint from fright again ‘Amber, some names would be very useful right now!’
‘I’m thinking!’ Amber whined as Saphira turned into her feral wolf form to fight Destiny. As Saphira and Xeann charged at Destiny, Cedric took Amber to a safe spot not far away for her to think. Amber crossed her legs and began meditating whilst Cedric took his swords out and readied them in case Destiny decided to turn her sights on them. Amber thought back hard to her early childhood, trying to remember names of the people that left her village for the war.
‘Any time soon would be nice, Amber!’ Sarah shrieked as Sheela was nearly shot by a stray bullet. Amber growled and shook her head.
‘Umm…Susan!’ she shouted. Susan wanted to go into forensics, which was a sort of science, right? Cedric blocked the katana that came swooping down to her and pushed Destiny away, engaging a swordfight.
‘Wrong name!’ Vienna concluded as she turned into her feral wolf form and attacked Destiny, her jaws aiming for the neck. Amber ran to a more concealed place and continued meditating to try and remember names as the girls resorted to shouting different names. She had a loud smack and turned her head to see an unconscious Saphira next to her. Biting her lip and squeezed her eyes tight and laced her fingers into her hair, gripping it and nearly ripping it out.
‘Gloria!’ Gloria loved chemistry, she might have gone into the science career right? Oh, Amber’s memory was just too blurry to remember! She froze when the boulder behind her cracked in half and Destiny appeared behind her.
‘Wrong again,’ she said and Amber yelped, running away as she took a swipe at her with her left hand that had been transformed to a flamethrower. Amber ran to another place that seemed safe and far enough to think. She heard a pained yelp and Vienna landed in front of her with a bleeding stomach.
‘Hurry up, Amber!’ she panted and Amber frowned in concentration, racking her memory.
‘Umm…uh…Bethany!’ she shouted snapping her fingers. Bethany’s family had a history in science! Her whole family left to join the military labs! …Her whole family did leave to join the military labs, right?
‘Wrong.’ Amber yelped as Sarah’s unconscious body fell on top of Vienna’s. She ran for it as Xeann snuck up behind Destiny, muttering a name into her ear and ducking to avoid getting struck by a silver blade. Amber ran again, diving into the bushes nearby and watched Sheela being thrown aside after getting shot in the stomach by a laser gun. She resumed to meditating again and took a deep breath.
‘Come on, come on…’ she muttered under her breath ‘Why am I thinking up of the names anyway?!’
‘You’re the only lead we have!’ Xeann shouted as she kicked Destiny in the face, only to be grabbed and thrown into the trees. Amber growled in frustration and dug her fingers into her scalp.
‘Lucinda!’ she suddenly exclaimed. Lucinda was into science and she left to go to work in the military labs! …Or did she go to the frontline?
‘Wrong again.’ Amber gasped and looked up to see Destiny towering over her. She jumped up to her feet and held her fists up, her eyes wide in terror. She carefully backed away as Destiny readied a katana to kill her. Amber then gasped as she suddenly recognized Destiny’s face. But no, that person was a man, someone she had thought of as an elder brother until he left to fight against Aurallion and he never came back. Nevertheless, Amber took a deep breath.
‘Vin…cent?’ she murmured and Destiny reacted sharply, standing back with wide alarmed eyes ‘Vincent! It’s Vincent isn’t it?!’ Destiny blinked in surprise as her hands changed back to normal and she fell to her knees, stunned. She slowly looked up at Amber, her jaw somewhat slack.
‘Amber?’ her metallic voice said and it faded away. Her neon eyes turned dull and she fell to the floor in front of Amber. Amber took a deep sigh of relief and fell to the floor too, catching her breath. She stiffened when she heard clapping from above her.
‘Impressive, Amber,’ a familiar voice said ‘My, what a coincidence that this Weapon was from your village.’ Amber looked up to see Florence in the tree above her, sinking her teeth into some oversized turquoise berries. She jumped down and Amber saw a large X shaped scar on Florence’s face. Amber squinted, wondering how she got it. Florence blinked and smirked. ‘Oh, do you like it?’ she asked as she fingered it thoughtfully ‘I’ve never had a prettier scar than this little thing. I should thank Xeann for inflicting it on me.’
‘It looks rather…ugly…’ Amber commented and Florence giggled.
‘Here, want one?’ she offered Amber one of the berries she was carrying in her arms.
‘They’re poisoned,’ Amber said immediately and Florence just simpered.
‘Now, why would I want to poison you?’ Florence pouted ‘You’re my guest here now. All of you are guests here. And I’m just dying with excitement to fight you!’ She pressed a berry into Amber’s hands. ‘They’re not too sweet, I would say they’re more savoury.’ Amber looked at the berry warily and took a timid bite. Florence watched with eager eyes as Amber’s eyes widened.
‘These are good,’ she said and began taking bigger bites. Florence tittered and watched as Amber satisfied her hunger and gave her more berries to fill her stomach on.
‘Amber, we’re soul fragments.’ Amber paused her eating, berry juice circling her lips and looked up at Florence’s suddenly solemn face.
‘Soul fragments?’ Amber echoed and Florence smiled.
‘There’s a theory that when we die, our souls either live another life or go to Heaven or Hell when their judgement is decided,’ she explained ‘But if a soul goes to life on another life when its judgement isn’t chosen, then sometimes it can split into more than one soul. Your soul and my soul were once one soul.’ Amber stepped back warily and raised an eyebrow.
‘What makes you come to that conclusion?’ she asked ‘We’re in opposite categories.’
‘Technically we’re sort of not because I’m a turned vampire sorceress so I’m a cross of categories,’ Florence shrugged, showing off her fangs for proof ‘But anyway, that doesn’t matter. You remember the first time we saw each other, Amber. Don’t you remember what you felt?’ Amber thought back but the memory was quickly relived once she looked into Florence’s glowing magenta eyes.
‘Like I knew you and that we had something in common,’ Amber described the feeling ‘Even though I never met you before.’ Florence grinned.
‘You get that sense of belonging don’t you?’ Florence said as her eyes lit up in excitement ‘Amber, if we can work together using my magic, then perhaps we could reconstruct this original soul! It’ll probably turn out to be some famous warrior!’
‘Won’t that mean killing the both of us?’ Amber raised an eyebrow.
‘Sacrifices can be beneficial to science and experiments,’ Florence shrugged and looked down at Destiny ‘Speaking of which, I might as well seal her up where we found her. You can’t really use her now that we all know how to deactivate her and it just wouldn’t be fair.’
‘It was fair that you had her to begin with?’ Amber raised an eyebrow as Florence picked Destiny up and swung her over her shoulder. Florence turned to Amber and smiled.
‘How about we give you a couple of weeks to restore your health and strength to its full potential?’ Florence suggested ‘Then we can fight.’ Amber clenched her fists and looked to the ground.
‘Alright but what kind of fight?’ Amber asked ‘How serious are we going to go?’
‘I would say our personal little battle can be to the death if you want,’ Florence shrugged ‘But I would prefer until the first one loses consciousness. If I lose, I’ll get rid of the Nightmare Blanket and release all the people who have disappeared.’
‘And if I lose?’ Amber hunched her shoulders. Florence smirked.
‘You join my court,’ Florence winked ‘Well, see ya.’ Amber watched Florence walk away and took a deep breath.
‘Let the games begin, huh?’