Author's Note: Does anyone know how to make the music note symbol appear on a fanfic? That info would help immensely on this chapter and in future instalations. If someone can give me the code I'll edit it in and use it later, for now when you get to the BearCatEgg section just imagine a music note following each BearCatEgg cry. My suggestion makes more sense when you get there.
Morgona Mod Gone, part 2
"The trials and trails of despair and hope
Both are the same, in step and cadence
Both end when the coin of faith is spent."
Lips pressed into a thin line, expression ssomber, Azure Sea paced behind Azure Sky. Not wanting to bother Orca when he was so obviously distracted by something Balmung burned through a pair of Heal Charms and Soul Charms to buy some time. And, though his vision was undoubtedly rimmed with alternating bursts of green and blue as the spells took effect Orca did not complain, or thank, or do anything. He was so still and unblinking that the winged knight gingerly approached, daring a quick shake.
That got a response, a hop and a yelp.
"Falling asleep on me?" Balmung teased.
To that Orca cracked a sheepish grin, shook his head.
"What's up then?"
Still grinning Orca flicked two fingers and Balmung raised an eyebrow.
"Two things hmm? Seriously Orca, it's a little late for charades…"
Stepping right along Orca proudly presented finger number one, reason one, all in one go. Pressing both hands together in a lumpish plain, he presented the mashed hands to his friend. Then, as if his pinky had become a hinge he "opened" the offering as if one would open a book. Mutely reading the air above his fingers Orca then offered the reading to Balmung. Seeing nothing save the air above Orca's calloused palms, the Azure Sky raised an eyebrow.
"That's my hint?"
A nod on Orca's part and a grin said that indeed it was.
"Something about reading, what you gave me to read?"
Another nod and grin grew to smile. Orca took such bizarre delight in these games. All they ever did was give Balmung a headache at the best of times and a migraine at the worst. Considering his day thus far… He wished for Tylenol amongst other things. Shifting from one foot to another, the Azure Sky recalled emails, flash mails, and a few stupid jokes, and nothing else.
"You got me, I give."
Smile widening, Orca flashed his friend a smug smile. He loved to win, loved to show his love of winning, alas that did not mean he'd explain. He rarely did when he'd won, an irritating trait that made Balmung smile despite the mild spat of aggravation. Flashing the proper sum of digits to indicate he was going to number two, the Azure Sea first looked stern. It was a traditional pose, hands clasped behind his back, expression twisting into an all too familiar scowl. Then he stepped back, and shrank away from the sight of his previous pose of… Of stern authority. The two hints fell into place with a loud crash, one that must be audible for Orca did not present any more hints thereafter.
"You're on the computer despite being grounded again!"
To that Orca stuck his tongue out, and then crossed his eyes for good measure.
"Why am I always the accomplice to your little forays into rule breaking?"
Orca smiled and shrugged, not much of an answer there. Not even a hint. And despite how he groaned and groused Balmung smiled indulgently all the while.
For each floor there was a random limerick. The first had chilled them both and on their return they'd been suitably sober and somber. That mood had lasted through a phlantax of Gob Machines. The clockwork beasts had been led by a snake haired Flame Maiden, the serpents winding about her brow had flicked tongues of smoke, stared at them with malovant ash weeping eyes.
Calling the fire of his blade to life Orca had charged into the melee, hacking into armored hides and battering shields. A spray of oil marked a critical hit, and then the fire spread, tracing oil and catching the steel and gears under the steel hide alight. Stepping aside, giving one smoking beast plenty of room, Orca threw himself into the crush, smiling widely, carefully mute.
As for himself, Balmung's blade seeped mist and bore small threads of water. Checking his grip, he leapt, gliding over the melee to get at the beastly hordes leader. Tucking one leg to avoid getting his foot impaled by one opportunistic gob's blade, the Azure sky skirted above the fights' from, his pseudo flight was traced in shades of smoke and ash. With the barest of sounds he landed, blade still weeping and braced in steady hands.
"You hardly look like corrupt data, or a hacker." He noted, only that.
Lipless mouth twisting into a sneer, the snake woman bared fang the color of dirty concrete. Snarling an expletive so smoke choked its meaning could only be deciphered by tone, she set one clawed hand to slashing out his eyes. His blade flicked up, blocked the strike, held them both in a lock. With a yowl the Flame Maiden pulled back, black gown so long and thick he could not tell if she moved a tail or had in truth legs. Whatever her means she pulled back, nursing a suddenly clawless hand.
With a flick of his wrist he shook out his blade, water splattered against the dusty stones of the dungeon's castle-esk flooring. That and something thicker, sullen. A something that fell with a kinship to how waterlogged ash might. There were five, whatever's, her claws, her fingers, he could not tell, she nursed her hands too tight to her breast for that.
"Stand down!" Balmung barked.
To his challenge she bared fangs of concrete, flashing a venom soaked tongue in defiance. So showing she spat; and the mustard yellow carpet sputtered and smoked where her spittle landed. With a click of claws from her whole hand she summoned a staff that looked like a vein of molten matter drawn from the wrist of the world. So armed she hissed again, half choking on the smoke that surely coiled in her own lungs.
He'd held the blade of Honor's Breathe in his own hands, carried Heaven and Earth between tightly clenched fingers. As for this blade, its name eluded him; he'd had so many, carried them so often. The blade did not matter, the holder did. That and the target.
"You had your chance, prepare yourself."
She did, lifting her staff high the once empty and lightless torches imbedded into the walls burst into searing flame. Walls blackened, charred. And to all that, the flame and it's maiden, the staff drawn from the wrist of the World, Balmung smiled.
It was like coming home.
"I'm going to have trauma."
Ignoring Balmung's grumble, Orca cheerfully harvested Bear Cat Eggs. In the back room, past Flame Maidens and Gob Machines lay a room of horror. No Cerberus haunted the back room, the most hostile thing about was a neat row of crates and boxes. Still, Balmung felt trauma coming on, that and a headache.
"Bear cat eggggg! Bear caaaaaat egg! Beeeeear cat egg! BEEEAAARR CAAAT EGGGG!"
Ignoring the singing, quite a feat in and of itself, the Azure Sky grimaced.
"Isn't one Milky Grunty enough for you?"
Orca's bright sunny smile said "No, not really" more than loud enough.
"Why me?" Balmung mourned.
Wicked glimmer alight and present, Azure Sea looked to the Azure Sky. In that silence, between one's grin and the other's groan their eyes met. A "why not" just didn't need any saying, it was articulated, that and a world of disgust.
To that Balmung admitted to the inevitable.
"I'm going to get some Tylenol, hold things together will you?"
Tilting his head to the side, Orca blinked.
"I've got a headache." Balmung explained, enunciating the obvious with irritation. "A bad one."
Orca shrugged, totally unrepentant, than got to rooting amongst boxes and crates sought out the singing Bear Cat Eggs. It wasn't a hard task, simply a noisy one.
He felt like a child again.
Mired in some transgression he barely comprehended, creeping down the stairs for a necessity his grounding forbade him. So many times, too many times to count, and too varied for comfort he'd faced this scenario. Like a thief he sulked down the stairs, minding each step, from stairs to hallway he crept. It was there at the doorless hall's opening he stopped, trapped before the threshold yet drawn by the off yellow of the living room light. Once out the couch would beckon the first piece of furniture between him and back. It faced the TV, a vibrant overstuff monstrosity that would have its back on him. As for its occupants, they too wouldn't see him enter…
Not right at first.
The couch's accomplice would sound fully blare color across the room, staining an intruder in the station of the moment. In turn his shadow would blot out that light, and Mother and Father would know he'd come down. After would begin prematurely, and be all the more vicious when they realized that it was being put off again.
Heart heavy and thudding despite its acquired weight he crept from dark to light.
Shoulders set, stomach knotted. Why couldn't' they keep the family's stockpile of medicine in the bathroom, in the medicine cabinet like everyone else? The sheer irritation (that poorly masked his mounting panic) of that thought set his face into a grimace. And no matter how he tried the harsh lines wouldn't smooth. No matter how much he reminded himself what was at stake… he just couldn't. So he gritted his teeth and crossed over, forcing himself with every step.
And blinked at what greeted him.
The TV was silent, it's screen dark. Mother and Father weren't in their accustomed placed watching the late night news. His halfhearted yet fully formed greeting dribbled past his lips, like spittle. Unformed unsaid, and quickly wiped away. Reaching out, hand absently flowing over the couch's back, his game sore fingers flinching at the occasional stiff seam and hard spot amongst the fluff. He paced alongside the shockingly empty couch, mind a million miles away.
When the piece of furniture ended his hand lingered a moment or two, fingers clenching the releasing. The silence, the lack of light smothered. For one insane moment he ached to remedy that. To turn on the TV, beat back the monotony of that sole light with a barrage of meaningless hues. But then his head pounded. More light was all he needed right now, his burning photosensitive eyes and throbbing skill informed him that to act on those impulses was to cosign him to a real migraine one so bad he'd have to log out and break his promise to Lios.
Steeling himself, he trooped into the equally empty kitchen, fished out some medicine and with the aid of some tap water tossed it down. Thus fortified he slipped out as quietly as he'd come.
Turning out each light as he found, and ultimately left, it behind.