Episode 017: Critical! The White Knight Falls
Episode 017: Critical! The White Knight Falls
Words could not describe the indignation that Topaz felt after hearing Luna's reasoning. "If what you're saying is true," his tone held only a thin veil of politeness as if he was ready to go into a fierce, and even personal, debate. "Then everything we do is useless because we'll never achieve a total victory, as such a victory will be a sentence towards a permanent defeat."
"Exactly, and it is because no victory is absolute that it is worth going on, to achieve the next victory and to survive the next defeat, learn from it and achieve yet another victory. To evolve, to remain in motion, to conquer, to do something beyond simply existing, that is to live." Luna didn't think Topaz understood. He was in the middle of the raise to power; he wanted to be a hero.
He wanted the glory he had never tasted and he thought he could bask in it forever. He had always been chasing something and didn't know what it was like to have what he wanted. He wanted fame, he wanted glory, he wanted to be admired rather than criticized for his somewhat greedy ways and power-hungry moves. Topaz wanted what he did not have; he had not experienced holding his goal in his hand and realizing that he wanted more. He held the illusion that once he obtained what he wanted in the present, what he had wanted for his whole life, he would not be in want of anything else ever again.
"Ridiculous," Topaz half growled. "Your mission is to defeat the monsters as is mine. Yet you say we must dance around victory never grasping it in an endless charade? Would the monsters do the same? They don't care about stagnation, all they want is destruction and when they kill all the living beings of this world, then there will be true stillness. That is what the monsters want; by defeating them we prevent the catastrophe!" By this point, he was shouting.
Luna's features were adorned with a mocking grin. She did not like ignorance and had little patience for it. "You are not a very convincing politician," she critiqued. "My choice is final, I will not be involved in your foolish pursuits and by the looks of it, the majority of the dragon race agrees with me." Topaz's frustration was evident on his face and as if reading his thoughts through his expression, Luna added. "How do I know? Because if they agreed, they would already be taking action without consulting me; you need me to convince them for you."
Topaz clenched his fists and teeth. "They do not agree with you," he growled. "They may not believe me, but they do not agree with you. Once I prove that I really can get rid of the monster lords, they'll regret waiting this long to trust in my words. I'll obtain their support sooner or later. I'm sure that the other dragons want the monsters gone too. They are loyal rather than holding on to such twisted notions of balance such as yours. The monster lords will be gone and it will all be thanks to me!"
"Leave," Luna's eyes flashed under her long bangs and the aura of power around her incremented. "Now," there was a pulsation of golden energy and the bracelet around her wrist shattered. It was fine platinum with genuine garnets of top quality, but the gems shattered as if they were made of fragile glass.
Topaz stood up. If the pulse of energy had been aimed at him, he would have been seriously injured and this was just a relatively small wave of power. He knew that the Knight of Ceifeed had to be strong, but he didn't realize she was this strong. "Farewell, Knight of Ceifeed." Without another word, Topaz Ebony swiftly left Zephilia.
xoxox xox xoxox
A week passed and Topaz later sent Luna a letter of apology excusing himself for his rude behavior. He wanted to make it up to her and invited her to a house warming party at his new mansion at the Coastal States. She had politely declined the invitation in correspondence, claiming she was too busy. Yet Topaz would not give up. He appeared in person at Zephilia again and politely pestered the Inverse family until Luna agreed to assist to the party. His behavior had been most apologetic and surprisingly humble. He could have tricked almost anyone, but not the Inverses.
That series of events brings us back to the present time. An entire town at the Coastal States had been apparently taken captive by Topaz. Another man appeared on the scene wearing simple tight black clothing. Yet his attire still looked foreign with the way the long sleeved shirt, pants and boots melded together as if it was all part of the same skin tight garment that didn't have any visible zippers anywhere, making it a mystery how in the world he got it on. There was a loose belt around his waist with the metal hilt of a blade-less sword. "Greetings, Knight of Ceifeed," the man had long golden hair and piercing blue eyes. His face had a sharp and somewhat cruel expression marring his handsome features.
Luna narrowed her eyes behind the curtain of her hair and assumed a battle stance with her knife at the ready. "Darkstar," she breathed.
Topaz smiled with mocking superiority, "you are correct. Do not think for a moment that I was tricked into believing my associate was Vorfeed though. I have known the truth all along. Even if Darkstar may be the evil lord of the over-world, he is willing to do this world a big favor by getting rid of the three remaining monster lords. He just needs a little extra energy to transport them to his world. Then destruction will reign supreme in the over-world and peace in this world. A world of evil and a world of good, is that not the epitome of your precious balance, Knight of Ceifeed?"
"I sense a great sorrow, no, worse than that, an empty numb sorrow. Destruction and chaos are not your desire, it is silence," Luna concluded. She paused as she stared into the deep cruel blue eyes of Darkstar, who stood before her in a human shaped body. "You are Darkstar, but there is more... Why are you here like this? Where did you obtain this power after your defeat?"
"I was not defeated when Vorfeed and I came to this world," Darkstar argued. "Weakened yes, I'll admit, but aside from that I was thrown back into my own world. There Vorfeed and I went our separate ways once again to rest, recover and fight another day. Then it came, the remnants of something great, something ultimate."
Luna understood what he spoke of, this was far worse than what she was prepare for. "Last year the ultimate enemy assaulted this world. A being known as the Stillness, the opposite of motion and evolution, the enemy of the Mother of All Things that wished to truly end the world in destruction without creation. The manifestation of the opposite of the Lord of Nightmares was defeated by Lina Inverse and her companions. But it seems that a small piece of the Stillness yet remained after all and it fell towards the over-world."
"Brilliant conclusion," Darkstar mocked. "I am you could say, in a sense the Knight of the Stillness. But alas, my true body cannot so easily travel from one world to another, this vessel that you see is only an extension of myself. Likewise, the monster lords cannot so easily be transported from one world to another. Yet if the dragon race is convinced that their only choice is to get rid of the monster lords or die, they will cooperate. They don't need to know what will become of the over-world; it's not their business anyway. You will be the one who will help me deliver the ultimatum, knight of Ceifeed."
"You can only project so much of your power in this world and you need to transport the monster lords to the over-world so you can overpower them," Luna realized. "That means that you're not in your full power now!" She went on the attack, surrounded by a golden glow. Predictably, Topaz made a hasty retreat to hide at a relatively safe distance.
Darkstar drew the metal sword hilt against Luna. A bright light emerged from it disintegrating the knife held by the Knight of Ceifeed when it collided against it. Luna jumped back, that light was full of negative energy and it was exceptionally powerful. It was a weapon of the over-world somewhat similar to the weapons of light and yet at the same time different. Without a second to waste, Luna chanted a spell, calling upon the full power of Ceifeed that she was able to wield.
In the second it took Luna to chant the spell, a woman in a white dress with long green hair, sad purple eyes and crimson lips appeared beside Darkstar. "Vorfeed is Vorfeed and Canal is Canal..." She whispered. "Forgive me Alicia, I am no longer the one who is to fight. Canal... Canal who was reborn after my first encounter with this world, she is the one who shall watch after Kain now that I cannot."
"Quiet Vorfeed, it's time to fight!" Darkstar commanded.
"Chaotic Disintegrate!" Luna released her spell full force.
"Fusion shield!" Darkstar and Vorfeed called out in unison, raising their hands to stop the spell which Luna threw at them.
There was a great blast of magic that blew apart the structure around them and left them standing in the middle of ruins. An injured black dragon landed near by, it was Topaz in his true form. "Watch it! Agh... I'll be back later!" He retreated flying away, but no one seemed to acknowledge him.
Luna breathed heavily. That strange shield of fusion magic absorbed her spell and threw it back in a different form with destructive results. She stared at the minty green haired woman in disbelief, "Vorfeed!"
"How careless of you, Knight of Ceifeed, you could have killed the hostages. In fact, I think you did," Darkstar taunted.
"Do not think me a fool," Luna spat. "I know the people of this town were already dead. I knew it from the moment I saw you. You used them as a sacrifice; you drained their life energy to be able to transport a portion of yourself here from the over-world."
Darkstar grinned cruelly, his smile crooked with malice. "I'll sacrifice more humans on the way back too. Dragon energy I expect has a more lasting output. I want the transportation of the monster lords to be swift."
"You mean you need it to be swift, before they have the chance to fight back in their own world," Luna glared. Darkstar was exceptionally powerful, now more than ever, but this was not his full power. His full power was in his own world and he was confident that it was more than what the monster lords could handle if they were forced to face him at his best. Luna looked at Vorfeed again. "Tell me, are you truly Vorfeed?"
Vorfeed lowered her head. "I am and I am not. I hid away leaving a copy of myself to take my place. She has become more alive than I. We united during the final battle in my world, but now we are apart again. We are more disconnected than ever. The one called Canal is now the true Vorfeed you could say, and I... I am but a prisoner."
"We fused together you see," Darkstar continued. "Then when we separated again, only the half of Vorfeed called Canal left me while this half remains as a part of me. Since I am whole and additionally have the remnant power of the Stillness, this shadow of Vorfeed is at my command."
Projections, they were only projections, Luna realized. The real Darkstar and Vorfeed had a single true form that was hidden in the over-world. 'Even if I win this battle, which I truthfully don't see happening, I wouldn't be accomplishing much. I have no choice, I have to retreat.' "Freeze Arrow! Flame Arrow! Freeze Arrow! Flame Arrow!" Luna rapidly alternated the attacks as fast as she could.
"Such weak spells are no use against me!" Darkstar taunted. He shot a ray of black light at Luna, but the attack hit nothing.
The atmosphere was covered in mist from the Freeze Arrows melting against the Flare Arrows. "Ray Wing!" A bubble of wind shot through the mist and Darkstar was quick to pursue it, moving through the air without the need to chant a spell or grow wings, supported by his raw power. Yet when he reached the bubble of air currents, he found that it was empty.
Below on the ground, Luna hurried away, her speed enhanced by a Roller the Road spell. She pushed her power to the limit to get away as fast as possible, but suddenly something flashed in front of her and the next thing she knew she was being knocked to the ground. "Did you really think you could so easily get away," Darkstar approached.
Luna tried to get up, but her whole body was being electrocuted with her every movement. Darkstar did that with just one touch, she couldn't allow him to reach her again. "You will not get away with this!" Luna could hear an echoing voice in her head telling her to fear, to give up, threatening to push her past the brink of sanity. Darkstar was in her mind, but she stubbornly refused to surrender.
"It's over Knight of Ceifeed, you will only cause yourself more pain if you go on," Darkstar warned. "You can't stand, you can't cast any spells. If you move, your body will be electrocuted by the seed of my power that I placed in your mind. If you try to cast a spell it'll be worse, you are now a victim of my nightmare!"
Luna looked into his eyes, they were cruel and full of bitterness, but beyond all that there was an emptiness very much like that which she saw in Vorfeed's eyes. She hoped that the other part of her, the one she had called Canal was different, that she was full of life. "Electrocution, eh? It's not that I can't move and it's not that I can't cast spells. I just have to endure it!" Without knowing it, Luna echoed the words of her younger sister which she had spoken in a similar yet different situation. However, the vital difference was too big in this case. The power that Luna faced was something that not even Ceifeed could defeat alone. She pushed herself to the limit and once again called forth her power.
"Vorfeed," Darkstar commanded, knowing that Vorfeed could not refuse him. As she was a part of him now, he could bend her to his will. "Finish her," in the darkest corner of his mind, Darkstar hoped to get some satisfaction from forcing Vorfeed to do his dirty work, but there was none. She was empty, broken, this piece of Vorfeed was not his true rival, Canal was. Canal, his true enemy who was still hidden from him somewhere in the over-world.
"Forgive me, Alicia... Forgive me, Kain... Forgive me, Canal..." Vorfeed whispered as she approached Luna. The electricity ripping through her was too strong and Vorfeed, with Darkstar's power channeled through her, remained unaffected by Luna's final attempts to defend herself. "Forgive me... No, I will not ask for your forgiveness, Luna." Vorfeed raised her hand and against Luna's struggling placed it on her forehead, pushing back the deep purplish crimson bangs.
Vorfeed looked into Luna's eyes and through the empty violet stare of the one who once held the strength to oppose Darkstar, Luna saw a small hint of life, a thread of loyalty to those she loved that could not be broken. Then she knew; the Knight of Ceifeed somehow knew that she would not die, but she had no idea where she would end up and in what conditions. Luna felt her soul becoming detached from her body. She struggled on the outside, but on the inside she let it go. Darkstar should not notice this, Vorfeed, although a part of him, was also her own person and she was doing all that she could to hide this detail from him. Luna's soul was detached completely and it vanished, being transported elsewhere, to a place far away, a place where it would be very difficult to find her.
The empty vessel of the knight of Ceifeed crumbled like a lifeless doll. Vorfeed, held up the empty body, preventing it from falling face-first into the ground. "Her soul has been ruined," she spoke in a monotone with an undertone of sadness. "The knight of Ceifeed will not be reborn again, but her body remains here as your puppet," she lied.
Darkstar seemed indifferent at first. He had not gotten the reaction he wanted from Vorfeed, she was so empty, so different, she was only a small piece, she was dead on the inside. Yet Canal was so alive, he hated her for it, he hated her energy, her will to fight. He hated how she was brave, how she was determined; he hated how she was alive. Then he reasoned that an important step had been accomplished and that knowledge brought back a half-hearted cruel smile into his face. "You will be her puppet master, Vorfeed, and I will be yours," Darkstar reminded.
xoxox xox xoxox
Later, Seyruun the city of white magic stood proudly before the new arrivals. Lina, Gourry, Filia and Xellos walked past its gates and into the busy streets. "Finally!" Lina let out a breath. She was glad to have finally reached Seyruun at last. Granted she had been stuffing her face during the whole trip, but it was still terribly exhausting having to deal with Xellos and Filia. She was so caught up trying to make sure they didn't try to kill each other again, that she had not even began to device a plan to charm Gourry.
Now all of that could change. Now Lina could leave the troublesome monster and dragon pair in Amelia and Zelgadis' capable hands and focus on her own life. She had wanted a distraction, but this was too much. The streets were abuzz with people whispering about a disaster in the Coastal States, but Lina had no intentions of pausing her stride to eavesdrop on gossipy conversations and get the low down of gossip for herself. Instead, she went straight to the castle.
To be Continued
For those of you who are not familiar with Lost Universe (the series where Darkstar and Vorfeed appear) don't worry, I will explain everything so that you can easily keep up with the plot even if you've never seen Lost Universe. Although Kanzaka apparently mentioned in an interview that Lost Universe and Slayers are different stories with only a few names in common, their plots fit so well together that many fans interpret Lost Universe as being the over-world mentioned in Slayers Try. In this story I'm linking them like that, with the main focus being Slayers.