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 Chapter 24: Nightfall Concerto

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Red Blizzard

Posts : 164
Join date : 2011-05-30
Age : 25
Location : Elsewhere

PostSubject: Chapter 24: Nightfall Concerto   Mon Dec 05, 2011 4:36 am

Dawn had to head back to base. She could no longer guard the border alone in the state that she was in. On the way back, she plucked the assassin’s sword out of the ground, freeing her right arm. Then, Dawn walked back to the body of her assailant, tying up her entire right side with strips of cloth from her dead opponent. Her entire right arm, all the way up to her shoulder, had been stripped of flesh and yanked from its socket, left to hang limp now over her left shoulder, bones clattering at each step as she began the painful journey home, leaving a thin line of blood that continued to drip through the hasty bandaging of her right side. Then, in the darkness away from the torchlight, she tripped over something and fell. Getting up, she felt along the ground, outlining the face of a dead guard. Dawn squinted her eyes, using starlight alone to discern the features of one of the men charged with guarding the southern border of the clan base. Two other bodies nearby told her the rest of the story. There were no wounds. Instead, each guard had a blank expression on their face and a giant, black and white circle on their chest. And each one was stone cold. Recognizing the symptoms, Dawn got up, cast here eyes around.

Shaking with what might have been rage, she called out into the darkness with an uneven voice. “Come out, now.” Soft, melodious laughter. Out of the shadows stepped a tall woman swathed in robes of dark purple and green. She carried no weapon, but around her was a sickly greenish aura, with light dancing in and out of her long, black, rippling hair. A small, impish smile came from red lips. Her eyes were yellow. Approaching Dawn, her pale, bare feet making no noise on the dewy grass, the newcomer stopped about ten paces away, still laughing, regarding Dawn’s sorry appearance from head to toe. Dawn was bloody, her red ninja suit ripped and tattered, black bandages along her right side struggling to keep the bleeding at bay. Her remaining arm carried her limp right one over her left shoulder, the white bones gleaming in the sickly light cast by the newcomer’s aura. Crimson hair fell to her waist, straight and uneven. Red eyes stared out of a hard-set face. The two stared at each other for about ten seconds.

“It’s been a while, hasn’t it, Dawn?”

“You.” Dawn could barely manage more than a low growl. “What are you doing here?”

“Come now, don’t be so mean. I just wanted to give you a friendly hello, that’s all.”

“Yeah right. What are you doing, fighting as a mercenary for Kobi? What are you doing as a mercenary in a first place?” The newcomer answered this question by pretending to be uninterested, examining long, purple nails. After a while, she spoke.

“I’m a mercenary because it pays well if you’re good. Few mercenaries can actually fight, most of them are just scammers that take money and leave. But for those who are in the rankings, like me, fighting ability is everything. Remember how good I was back when we were little?” Dawn barely nodded, feeling the anger rising. Back when they had known each other all too well...“Don’t look at me like that. I need the money. I get paid ten million gold per mission for my skills. And I’ve already done about fifty missions, killed a few hundred people. You have to admit, that’s not bad for someone who just started as a mercenary. Already, I’m ranked thirteenth best mercenary in the world of Lore. You may know my old name, but I’m now known as Pixie.” Dawn let out a pent up breath with a loud hiss.

“If you don’t get out of my sight right now, I’m going to kill you.”

“Why? Angry just because I make my living by taking the lives of others? Life is meaningless, a few hundred less people in this world can’t make that much of a difference, can it? Besides, how can you kill your own sister?” Dawn stopped in the middle of her preparations for the impending fight. She hated her for being like that, able to make you think anything she wanted you to think just by twisting a few words around.

“You’re not my sister,” Dawn spat. “My sister doesn’t have a stupid name like ‘Pixie’.”

“Don’t kid yourself. And your name is even worse than Pixie. Dawn? What kind of name is that? And our beloved older brother, Blizzard.” Dawn hissed again. “What is he up to right now? Cowering inside the base while making you suffer? So typical of him.” Dawn glared at Pixie. She hadn’t changed one bit. She still had the same hair, the same eyes, the same pale skin, the same sardonic smile. Whereas she herself had changed everything to erase the painful memories of the past, dying her hair red, forcing herself to stare into fires to change her eye color.

“So what are you really doing here? Don’t tell me you’re just trying to say hello, I don’t buy that crap.”

“Hmmm, you’re right. I came here to tease you actually.” Dawn snapped. With a scream of rage, she charged. But she didn’t take more than two steps before being stopped short. Pixie was glowing brighter than ever, her aura slowly making everything visible. “I know you’re stupid, but try to use your brain for once,” Pixie smiled. “Don’t tell me you already forgot my magical powers.”

“What, you’re going to use magic at this time of the day? It’s past midnight, your magic won’t work.”

“Idiot. My magic always works. Wherever I am, it’s always Twilight.” The aura was now a thick, sickly green light that had spread to the edge of the line of sight. It was the worse kind of lighting for fighting. Shapes were muddled and colors were lost, but if one were to light a match, they wouldn’t be able to benefit from its brightness. It was a half-light; a cursed light. “And I hope you didn’t forget my other talents either, Dawn.” Pixie stretched out one arm, gathering the Twilight together to form…a violin. She set the violin to her chin and prepared to play.

“The Nightfall Violin?” Dawn began to sweat.

“Yep, it’s the Nightfall Violin, the same one that I’ve always had. Don’t you remember the music I used to always play on it? I made it up myself.”

With a hoarse voice, Dawn barely managed to whisper, “Nightfall Concerto.” The first chord was struck, a long, sad tone that wept and cried out into the night. Then Pixie launched into the heart of the music, creating a melodious sound that drowned out thought and controlled emotion. Dawn found herself swaying to the music involuntarily, was unable to move of her own accord. She could only glare as Pixie continued to play. Then, the lighting shifted, a small wrinkle in space and time. Pixie stepped free of her first body, grinning, leaving her original self to continue playing as the Twilight copy approached Dawn.

Finding her voice, Dawn spat at Pixie, “How dare you show your face here, after all this time? I can’t believe you, taking money just to end lives. You…you’re a criminal.”

“Yep,” Pixie answered, unperturbed. “Always have been. Do you remember our dear mother?”

Dawn began to scream. “You lied to her, you turned her against us! You had us thrown out of the house, driven away from home, for almost five years. What have you done to her?”

“What, this person?” Pixie stretched out her arm again, summoning the faint figure of a short, smiling lady with a kindly face, short, black hair, warm, brown eyes. When the lady saw Dawn though, her face contorted into one of rage, screaming and spitting at her. Dawn tried to hide her face, tried to turn away. In the background, the Twilight Concerto continued to play, kept her entranced, unable to move. “Oh dear,” Pixie muttered with a grin. “It appears that she still doesn’t love you.”

“Stop…please, stop.” Dawn whimpered. She couldn’t take it any more. Dawn had promised herself that she would never cry again, not since the day she and her brother had been driven out of the house because of a lie that Pixie had told their mother. But no matter how much she tried to forget, the memories were still there, raw and painful. “I can’t imagine how our mother could ever love a monster like you.”

“Monster?” Pixie continued to smile. “Dear me, I would hardly act like a monster to our dear mother. Not, at least, when I felt like it. Now, have you had enough?”

“Anything, just stop it, send her way, stop the music…”

“Anything? I think can arrange for something to be done.” Without sending away either the phantom of their screaming mother or her original body, still playing on the violin, Pixie created yet another copy of herself. Together, the second and third copies advanced on Dawn, each one with both arms outstretched. One began to summon a ball of white energy. The other, a ball of black magic. “Remember Dawn, as you leave this world, that life is unfair. And it’s unfair, because I say so.” Dawn felt her legs tense up, felt her left arm regain control. She charged at the copies of Pixie, screaming in rage. Her sister, red lips twisted in a smirk, didn’t twitch as both balls of energy combined into a giant orb of Twilight energy and sent Dawn flying.
Then, a giant purple explosion. The music stopped. Two copies of Pixie turned, the first one, staring at the splinters of a violin, didn’t even have time to move as another purple explosion consumed it. Then the two Pixies turned to stare at a small girl with purple hair, approaching them both, one arm wielding a raised wand while the other held an ice cream.

Dawn didn’t see any of this happen from where she had landed. The bone arm had clattered into the darkness somewhere. Her bandages had fallen off, releasing a fresh stream of blood. Dawn was quickly becoming pale, looked up, saw her mother’s face staring out of the Twilight. For a fleeting instant, her oxygen-starved brain confused her eyes; she saw the old, kindly face that she had known, the warm brown eyes searching her as they used to always do. Then she saw Pixie’s twisted smile, grinning triumphantly. Dawn cried.

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Chapter 24: Nightfall Concerto
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