Nanoha FanFiction Discussion
View Single Post
Queen of Tragedy
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Place of rocks and trees, and trees and rocks...and water.
Amazing predictions, you guys!
Now let's see who was right
By now, use spoiler tags at your own discretion
Blood Calls To Blood
Blood Calls To Blood, Chapter 2
Blood Calls To Blood
Fate gasped, stiffening in shock. How could this be? She spun around, completely forgetting that the Enforcer had a weapon in her face in her need for confirmation with her eyes.
Red eyes met red eyes.
The Enforcer's mouth dropped open in a mirror of Fate's shock. The light cast from her Device—
Bardiche—illuminated their faces enough to see the identical features in the darkness. The TSAB officer looked like an older version of Fate, in her mid-twenties, although her hair was styled differently, in a single ponytail. Even so, they looked like exact twins, differentiated only in years.
She said her name was Fate. Fate Testarossa!
"What are you?" Fate cried out, raising Bardiche as if to physically fend off the horrifying discovery.
?" Her doppelganger exclaimed, her red eyes narrowing in a detective's scrutinizing stare.
"Fate-mama!" Takamachi's voice called from behind the Enforcer as the girl flew up to them.
"Vivio, stay back!" Enforcer Testarossa warned, her gaze unmoving from Fate's, but Fate acted on her moment of distraction.
"Photon Lancer!" She shouted, thrusting her hand forward and launching a dozen shots towards the two officers.
Her double flipped out of the way faster than Fate ever could have done while Vivio put up a rainbow shield. Fate zipped for the new opening to escape but the Enforcer dove down at her, her weapon shifting from a scythe into a broadsword shape mid-dive.
If Fate got out of this, she was going to get Linith to figure out how to get her Bardiche to do that too.
The other Fate shouted, "Plasma Lancer!"
Fate dodged the lightning arrows, but it had only been a distraction—the moment she looked up again the Enforcer was cleaving at her head with her huge sword.
Bardiche's shaft blocked the blade for a heartbeat before snapping into two, sending Fate crashing into a wall and blowing a hole in the drywall.
Stunned, Fate shook her head. Ignore the ringing, get rid of those sparkling lights in her vision...she groped for Bardiche with numb fingers. But Vivio snatched it up first as Enforcer Testarossa levelled her weapon at Fate in mute warning.
"Please surrender," the Enforcer repeated, the only difference from before being the slight waver in her voice as she looked at Fate.
In her head, Fate heard,
The barrier shattered above them, the dome splintering in a thundering explosion that shook the buildings. Fate lunged desperately at the cadet, bowling the surprised Vivio over as the blonde reacted to Linith's Barrier Burst spell. It was like smashing into a stone golem, but Fate managed to rip Bardiche from the other girl's grip and break free before the stronger mage could seize her.
"Stop!" Enforcer Testarossa blocked Fate's way, a spell circle blazing beneath her feet as she readied an attack.
Fate ignored her. "Sonic Form!"
"DIVINE BUSTER!" Vivio yelled, but she was too slow. Her attack blasted the wall behind Fate as Fate shot away, streaking in the sky towards the outskirts of the city.
Fate blazed away, pouring as much speed as she could into her new form. She didn't care if she left a trail, she just had to outrun them and get to Linith. With Linith giving her cover, Fate could teleport both of them home before the TSAB could catch up. Harlaown and Takamachi looked like traditional fighters, not lightning mages, so there was no way they could possibly catch up with her in time to stop her.
Linith called worriedly.
Are you alright?
Who was she?
Fate cried out desperately as she cut through the air at high speed.
Linith, she called herself
Something slammed into her, knocking Fate out of her path and causing her and her assailant to crash into the ground, smashing a crater in the concrete. Fate groaned, but surprisingly her limbs didn’t hurt as much as she feared—it seems that she had fallen on top of the other person, who had spun them around to take the brunt of the impact. She tried to fly again but an armoured gauntlet seized her cape, and her older doppelganger shook her fiercely.
“Wait! Who are you?” Enforcer Testarossa demanded, her own Bardiche tightly clenched in her hand as she kept her iron grip on Fate. Her Barrier Jacket was different from Fate’s but still frightfully similar, and the lack of cape or other accessories on her streamlined Jacket gave Fate a hint as to how the Enforcer managed to overtake Fate’s fastest speed.
?” Fate cried out, struggling to free herself. “I’m Fate Testarossa!”
“You can’t be!” the Enforcer rejected, her red eyes pained. “Are you…Alicia?”
Fate struck out with Bardiche, but Enforcer Testarossa blocked it easily, her strength nearly disarming Fate but she clung onto Bardiche tightly, feeling her shoulder twist painfully with the powerful parry. “Alicia is my
!” Fate yelled.
The Enforcer’s eyes widened in shock and confusion, but her grip didn’t loosen in the slightest. “How do you know…” Her eyes flicked upwards, and Fate automatically looked up too to follow her double’s line of sight.
A snarling mountain cat collided with the Enforcer, bowling the woman over and ripping her off of Fate. Linith roared, lunging at Enforcer Testarossa again but the Enforcer evaded by flying in a sharp turn.
Linith paused mid-strike, confused to hear her name coming from the stranger. Fate also gaped—how did this woman know her mother’s familiar?
The Enforcer’s Device said, and Linith yowled as yellow rings bound her legs, sending her sprawling back into the ruins of the street.
“Linith!” Fate cried out, raising her hand. “Photon Lancer!”
The bombardment didn’t phase the Enforcer at all as the tall blonde dodged nimbly around the shooting spheres, coming back at Fate with her Bardiche shifted into a glowing sword form.
Fate blocked the blade with the edge of her scythe, trying to flank the Enforcer but she wasn’t fast enough. Enforcer Testarossa looped her and caught onto Fate’s right wrist, twisting it behind her back and tangling Fate’s arms in her own cloak before Fate could break away.
“Surrender, and you will have the right to—”
Storm clouds boomed overhead.
Both of them looked up, seeing the abnormal clouds collecting in a darkish layer across the sky. Fate’s heart soared when she recognized the crackle of purple lightning that snapped in the clouds before streaking down at them in a silent jagged slash. The Enforcer let go of Fate, rocking back on her heels with the oddest expression on her face, agony mixed with desperation.
“Mother!” the Enforcer cried, stretching one hand out towards the thunderous storm.
Fate flew to the bound Linith and called up her teleportation sigils. “Run!” She couldn’t help shouting at Enforcer Testarossa as she felt her own teleport fire up, the only warning she had time to give.
The last thing Fate saw was the Enforcer screaming, tears running down her cheeks as Precia’s purple lightning struck her, flooding the entire scene with an explosion of magic and searing light.
“Fate, maybe you should wait a bit before—” Linith tried to say, but Fate marched straight ahead, not even stopping to banish her Barrier Jacket as she walked down the broken road.
“How could she not have told me!”
“Maybe Precia didn’t want to worry you,” Linith said quietly, giving up on convincing Fate to drop the issue.
Fate gave her a side-long glance. “Did
know about her, Linith? That other Fate?”
“No,” confessed Linith, shifting into her human form and keeping up next to Fate, reaching up to adjust her hat with one hand. But Fate suddenly felt a watchful suspicion rise inside her stomach. How did she know if Linith was really telling the truth? “But I’m sure that Precia had a good reason for not telling you, Fate.”
“A good reason for not telling me that I have another sister? An
sister, even older than Alicia-onee-chan…” Fate swiped downwards with Bardiche, frustrated. “She could have been helping us! Mother and Alicia don’t have much time left…I just don’t understand!”
They had reached the ruined palace doors, and Fate pushed it open impatiently. One of the door jewels gleamed menacingly, but since nothing obvious happened Fate ignored it and kept walking. Growing up amongst all sorts of weird magics and Lost Logias had made her immune to the normal reactions one had to mysteriously glowing items.
“Mother!” Fate called out firmly as she opened the door to the private bedroom by the throne hall.
Linith grunted as she walked into Fate’s back when the blonde halted in the doorway.
“Yes, Fate?” Precia asked slowly, turning from where she had been sitting and reading to Alicia, the tired lines around her eyes extra deep today.
Abashed, Fate crept into the bedroom more quietly, coming next to them and laying one gloved hand on her mother’s shoulder. “Are you feeling alright today, Mother?” She picked up the blanket on the edge of the couch and draped it over Precia’s lap.
“Alright,” Precia assured her falsely, a quaver in her voice stifling what Fate knew to be one of her exhausting coughing fits. “We did some reading today.”
“That’s nice,” Fate replied softly. It took her a moment to realize that Precia was looking curiously and somewhat cautiously at Bardiche, still in Device Form. With a thought, Fate banished the form and pocketed the yellow triangle, letting her Barrier Jacket fade along with her anger. She touched the glass lightly, seeing her fingers linger over her sister’s cheek. “I’m sorry, onee-chan, but I couldn’t get the other Jewel today.”
She had expected her mother to exclaim in disappointment, but Precia was silent.
Fate remembered her mother’s lightning.
“…You saw her, didn’t you? When you were watching out for me.”
At least her mother didn’t lie to her, like she sometimes did when Fate was little.
“Did you hear her?” Fate asked, trying to keep herself calm and quiet. She didn’t want to sound like she was accusing her mother of anything, but her ache to know the truth wouldn’t permit her to let it go. Making sure to watch her mother’s face closely, Fate said, “That woman…that Enforcer. She…she called herself
…and she called you
Vivio straightened as Admiral Chrono Harlaown entered the debriefing room, his grim face lightening into a brief smile for Karel before he became serious again. “Please, everyone have a seat.”
Most of them had been sitting already, and Vivio chose a seat next to Fate. She wanted to touch her mama’s sleeve, but they were still on duty at the moment. Vivio couldn’t shake the numb terror that had seized her heart when she had found her mother lying burned and still in a huge crater blasted into the street. Like a fool she had stared and cried until Karel had shot past her and started checking on the unconscious Fate’s vitals, yelling in relief that she was still alive.
Fate looked up, and she patted Vivio’s hand wordlessly in reassurance.
“Are you alright, Fate?” Chrono asked the moment he sat down, looking at his sister without hiding his worry.
“I’m fine,” Fate answered, her voice edgy and distant.
“That was a really bad hit.”
“I’ve endured it before,” Fate said tersely, giving him a look that Vivio recognized as the
let’s not talk about this in front of the kids
look. Clearing his throat, Chrono turned to the rest of them.
“Officer Cadet Karel Harlaown and Officer Cadet Vivio Takamachi, please give us your reports.”
Red with pride and nerves, Karel started their report as Vivio kept staring at her mother’s face. For all the years that Vivio had been living with her Nanoha-mama and her Fate-mama, she had never seen her kind, gentle mother have that haunted, anguished ghost lurking in her eyes.
Right then, despite trying to be brave like her new rank would demand…Vivio really wanted her Nanoha-mama to come and make things right again.
The adults listened to Karel’s report, and Vivio obligingly added her input where she had been present instead of Karel. But really, the whole thing seemed kind of pointless—they hadn’t lost radio contact during the whole battle, and from the small facial tics Uncle Chrono made as Vivio described her mother’s double’s attacks, the adults clearly recognized all the attack spells themselves. Other than to give her and Karel experience making mission reports, Vivio couldn’t see why they wanted them to describe the weird young Fate at all.
Were they hoping to figure out something else about the double?
“Fate,” Chrono said, clearly getting tired of the formalities and dispensing with the titles for the sake of brevity, “Who do you think that girl is? She looks just like—”
“—me,” Fate finished. “Like who I used to be, when you and Nanoha…first met me.”
“Exactly. Did Precia Testarossa…clone Alicia again?”
“She had to have,” Fate said quietly. “But that girl is different…she knew about Alicia-onee-san.”
“Um,” Karel said hesitantly, confusion on his face.
“Fate-mama didn’t know about Aunt Alicia until the end of the Jewel Seed Incident,” Vivio told him, also dispensing with the ranks. “But that Clone Fate did…so she must have had a different upbringing than Fate-mama did.” She turned to the adults. “But I thought that Precia Testarossa…died. She died during that battle in the Garden, when she tried to use the Jewel Seeds to go to Al-Hazard.”
Even though Fate hadn’t liked telling her children any of the sad details about her life with Precia, she hadn’t hid anything from them either. The last time anyone had ever seen Precia and Alicia Testarossa was when they had fallen through the cracks between dimensions, trailing nine glittering Jewel Seeds in their wake.
Vivio asked aloud, “How can Precia be alive?”
“She got there.”
“Fate?” Chrono said.
The tall blonde ran her fingers over the holoscreen tablet in front of her, not even aware of her action. “She got there,” Fate repeated, her voice trembling. “To Al-Hazard.”
“But she didn’t have enough Jewel Seeds,” Karel protested. Following in the footsteps of his extended family, he had chosen to specialize in Lost Logia, and under Yuuno’s tutelage he had unearthed a vast amount of knowledge about the old relics of ancient times. “She was short five Jewels…without a direction or proper power output, Precia should have been lost in dimensional limbo. How could she have reached Al-Hazard?”
to get there.” Fate smiled slightly, still staring at the tabletop. “If you need something hard enough, you’ll find a way. Mother found a way. She had to, to save Alicia.”
“But if she got there, why is Alicia still dead?” Vivio asked, belatedly realizing how crash that sounded. “I mean, why didn’t she manage to restore Alicia? Why go through the trouble to creating another clone, and giving her memories…it seems like a lot of trouble.”
bring the dead back to life,” Chrono said.
Both Vivio and Fate flinched.
“But I know that Mother won’t stop trying,” Fate said. She was playing with Bardiche in one hand, turning the golden triangle over and over in her fingers. “So she must be sending…that other Fate out to search for something that she thinks will resurrect Alicia-onee-san. Maybe a specific Jewel Seed, like how Lutecia had been searching for the right Relic to bring her mother back from her coma.” Reaching out, Fate clasped Vivio’s wrist warmly. “We know that implanting a Relic inside a human is possible.”
That’s right, Vivio realized suddenly. She, Fate-mama and this new Fate…all of them were made from the same Project F. So it made them…family, in a way?
Chrono grunted, rapping his fingers against the table. “How about the clone Fate’s familiar? Do you know it?”
like Linith, Mother’s familiar who helped raise me and taught me magic,” Fate admitted. “But I don’t know if it’s really her. She…disappeared one day, when I was growing up, after she finished Bardiche for me.” She bit her lip, looking troubled. “It’s not hard, for Mother to make another familiar…that’s her specialty. I don’t know why she’d name her new one Linith too, unless…”
“The clone could be me,” Fate suggested, theorizing aloud. “From another dimension or reality. Maybe that really was Linith, and that Fate was me but…aware of my Mother’s real plans?”
“I don’t think so,” Vivio said, blushing a bit at actually contradicting her mother over an official case detail. “When I was fighting with her, her Bardiche was slightly different than yours, Fate-mama. It would say “Affirmative” instead of “Yes, sir”—like the software was different, even if it looked the same. And she seemed really careful to hide her face until you caught her, as if she knew how dangerous it would be to be recognized.”
“We won’t know until we encounter her again,” Chrono said practically. He looked at Karel and Vivio. “Anyways, good work today, you two. You’re both off duty for the rest of the day.”
Both Vivio and Karel rose and saluted, as that was clearly a dismissal. After filing out into the hall and shutting the door behind them, Karel scowled and gave Vivio a punch on the arm. “If you hadn’t spoken up at the end, they would have forgotten that we were there when they started talking about the really grown-up stuff,” he informed her, annoyed.
“What else is there to say, that they haven’t already said?” Vivio countered with indignation.
“Wondering if we can parley with the clone or not, and what Precia Testarossa might be up to.” Karel crossed his arms. “Assuming that she really
reach Al-Hazard and isn’t dead, there could be an unforeseen amount of power and new magic at Precia’s disposal. They’re probably going to talk about how much risk we can take meeting her in battle and stuff like that.”
“Oh,” Vivio frowned. Around her cousin, she sometimes wished that he’d treat her less like a kid, and for a fleeting moment she wished that Kris wasn’t a bunny but something fiercesome, like Vita-sensei’s hammer or something. She stroked Kris’s soft stomach in silent apology for the disloyal thought. “But that clone—” She really didn’t like using that term. Vivio tilted her head, considering. “If Fate-mama can talk to the other Fate, then we’d be able to resolve everything, right? We don’t
to fight her.”
“Regulations have become tighter over Lost Logia,” Karel informed her. “Especially after all the recent crises. I don’t think that we’ll be allowed to just let Precia and the clone Fate get away with dangerous uses of Lost Logia, unlike before.”
Vivio shook her head, clenching her fists and feeling an iron core of resolve rising in her chest. “I can’t accept that,” she said, and only once the words were out of her mouth did Vivio realize how absolutely true they were.
“Are you sure about that?” Chrono asked again, clearly conflicted. Logically, Fate knew that he agreed, but as an older brother he couldn’t help but make an attempt to talk her out of her plan. “We could just as easily set it as a baited trap and capture her the moment she teleports in.”
“But then we wouldn’t know how to get to where Mother is,” Fate answered again evenly. “This way we can capture my double
track down Mother, if she really is in Al-Hazard.”
“All right, all right,” Chrono grumbled. “But I want the kids there too, in case you need backup.”
“I don’t want to put them—”
, Fate. Vivio did really well against the clone in the last fight. And besides, if she’s anything like you, she wouldn’t be fighting to kill, so they’re safe.”
Fate sighed, standing up and moving over to the
s wall-length window, staring down on Ruwella, half-lit by the yellow sun hidden by the hull of the ship. The planet wasn’t as blue as Earth was, but the resemblance was close enough that memories of her time on the
after the Garden of Time had collapsed resurfaced again. It didn’t help that Fate had already been thinking of that part of her life.
“Good.” Chrono rubbed his eyes wearily. It seemed to be a practiced motion for him. “God, I hope that Zetec can trace the dimensional coordinates fast enough, or else we’re going to be stuck with either giving up on arresting Precia or letting the clone go so that we can have a second shot at tracing her teleport.”
Fate’s seriousness broke for an instant as she cracked a small smile. “I bet you’re wishing that you had brought Amy with you like she had asked, huh?”
He sighed long-sufferingly. “Please don’t rub it in as well. I’m already kicking myself twice over for talking her out of it—she would have hooked onto Precia Testarossa’s magic traces and gotten us the exact coordinates before the lightening vanished.” A soft light crept into his determined eyes at the thought, easing his tense shoulders.
Fate smiled again, although this time it wasn’t quite as happy. “Yes, that would have made things a lot easier.”
Chrono eyed her again, leaning forward and bracing his elbows on his chair armrests, his attention focused on her. “Fate…are you sure you’re alright? I mean…” he coughed, “if you don’t want to talk to me, I can always call and ask—”
“No!” Fate flinched at her own loud denial and lowered her voice. “You don’t have to call anyone. I’m fine.” She walked over to the door, tapping the door console. “I’m going to go take a shower. Call me if anything happens.”
Chrono watched his sister leave, then got to his feet with a sigh. He may as well follow her example. His captain’s quarters were far more military-like than his mother’s had been, but even Chrono couldn’t resist putting up the roughly hand-scrawn family portraits that Liera had made when she was five, nor the rock collection that Karel had found and that Amy had helped him mount in glass cases for a Father’s Day present one year. He had a few more knick-knacks hidden away in a drawer, so that no one could call him sentimental if they happened to come into his room.
Besides, Yuuno or Hayate wouldn’t let him hear the end of it if they saw his full collection of silly presents that he secretly kept to cheer him up on bad days. God knows that Amy already teased him enough about it, but at least she’d make up for the teasing right away.
And on that note, Chrono called up a holoscreen and called home.
!” Amy’s cheerful face filled his screen. Time differences were always a bit unexpected, so Chrono could tell from the sound of the running tap and the kitchen in the background that Amy was washing the dishes. “
I didn’t expect to hear from you until tomorrow!
” Her eyes brightened. “
Did Karel do well on his field mission?”
“He did great,” Chrono said, leaning back into his chair. “Things went a little rougher than expected, but both he and Vivio performed well under the pressure.”
Amy blinked, her gaze turning thoughtful even though she didn’t pause in her task, reminding Chrono all over again how much respect the bridge crew deserved since none of them were as stupid as most officers assumed they were.
“Is something wrong? Do you need help?”
Chrono very, very nearly asked her to come. But he couldn’t, because that would be hard on his young bridge crew, who would be humiliated at his lack of faith in them, and tough on his wife, who had made a choice to give up her job to stay at home so that
could go away on missions. However, he could do something else.
“Yes, dear…can you call someone for me?”
“…What is it, Mother?”
believe what I told you, right?”
“I believe you, Mother. I love you, and I know that you’ve always loved me too, even if I’m not Alicia. Even if you were slightly distant when I was little, it’s okay now for you to show it. And you do. I believe in you.”
“That’s good…Very good.”
“Lightning-3, in position,” Vivio whispered into her comlink.
“Lightning-2, ready,” Karel answered promptly, and Vivio could just barely see his blue hair peeking over the rooftop ledge where he was lying in a sniper’s position.
“Lightning-1,” Fate’s soft voice came over the communications system, but Vivio also heard her mother say it aloud from where she was standing in the middle of the street in Vivio’s view. “Jewel Seed activating…now.”
Jewel Seeds activate by the power of desire. It really didn’t take a genius to guess why Fate had volunteered to be the one to activate it this time. Vivio rubbed her knuckles nervously, wishing she had decided to use her Adult Mode. Nanoha had warned her against becoming dependent on the boosted power instead of learning to hone her skills, so Vivio was keeping that as a reserve strategy. Having Karel and Fate-mama for back-up would probably make using her adult form against the Fate clone overkill anyways, so she might as well get the practice in while she could.
Vivio winced. She didn’t like thinking about that other Fate that way… Hm, she couldn’t think of anyone other than her Fate-mama as “Fate”, so the other Fate could be…
“Fate-chan?” Vivio muttered to herself. She grinned. “Fate-chan.” She liked the sound of that.
The eruption of wild magic had Vivio twitching, staring warily at the blue column that was blazing torrents of blue light into the sky. It was a good thing that they were in an abandoned part of the city and that Uncle Chrono had negotiated with the mayor to allow them to stage their operation there. Fate stood a few paces away from the Jewel Seed, readying Bardiche in Zamber form.
One thing Vivio had to say about her Fate-mama, no matter what version of her—she was very efficient. Not two minutes after the Jewel Seed activation did they hear Zetec’s excited yell in their communications line.
“She’s coming! Analyzing components—now!”
Vivio expected a warm golden glow, like the teleport circles that Fate had shown her before. But instead, a portal tore through the fabric of space, sending a cold wind gusting down the street as a nauseating array of colours flared out from the hole.
“Warning—dimensional anomaly detected.”
Fate lifted one armoured forearm to her face, using Bardiche’s blade to block the wind and shield her eyes from the rampant magic.
“I’m picking up multiple traces!” Zetec exclaimed. “Magic patterns consistent with Enforcer Harlaown…Precia Testarossa…and a Jewel Seed?!”
Bardiche intoned as Fate struck the activated Jewel Seed, turning the Lost Logia inert just as a gray mountain lion leapt out of the dimensional portal, followed by the younger Fate in her Barrier Jacket. Both of them tensed when they saw Fate holding the Jewel Seed in one armoured hand, watching them with a calm patience.
“Bureau dog!” Linith snarled, her hackles up defensively. “Give us the Jewel, or we’ll make you regret it, whoever you are.”
?” Fate countered instead. She wasn’t quite using her Enforcer voice, but she definitely wasn’t being meek. “You’re not the Linith I grew up with.”
“She isn’t?” the clone asked, mildly surprised. “But I remember her growing up…and I have your memories.”
“You do?” Fate said hoarsely, her eyes widening.
“Don’t talk to her, Fate!” Linith growled, starting to circle around to flank the Enforcer. “She’s a traitor!”
The younger Fate looked conflicted, glancing back and forth between Linith and Fate. “Mother told me that she gave me your memories, so that I would know magic already. But I remember Linith—
Linith. So what do you mean?”
“Wait, Linith,” clone Fate commanded, her eyes hungrily taking in as much as she could of her older self. Linith subsided, growls still rumbling in her throat as she eyed Fate closely, her narrowed eyes on the Jewel Seed that Fate still held.
Vivio edged out a bit from behind the dumpster where she had been stationed, to give herself space to lunge if needed. The dimensional portal had closed, and Vivio hoped that Zetec had gotten enough readings to finish his analysis of the teleport so that they could follow behind them if the plan didn’t work.
“The Linith who raised me disappeared after she gave me Bardiche,” Fate told her clone, the clear strains of grief still in her voice. “I think that Mother had made another familiar after…you came.”
“I don’t remember Linith disappearing,” the younger Fate said thoughtfully, lowering her Bardiche slightly from her defensive position. “That might be when Mother awakened me, so all my memories after that are my own,” she said, a cheerful tone in her voice for figuring it out.
“She told you that she had made you as a replacement for Alicia, gave you
memories…and you still forgive her?”
The clone stiffened, her grip tightening on Bardiche. “She didn’t make me as a replacement!” Now, Vivio had to disagree with that—from an outsider’s point of view, it sounded a lot like Precia had made Fate-chan to replace Fate-mama. “Mother loves me just as much as she does Alicia-nee-san. Of course I forgive her. She’s my…she’s our mother!”
“Was…is Mother kind to you?” Fate asked, also unconsciously lowering her guard. Vivio winced and tensed—this was
part of the plan. They were supposed to find out how Fate-chan and Linith were teleporting to Al-Hazard, then go and stop Precia—or failing that, to convince them to take her Fate-mama with them. Unless, this was how Fate-mama meant to trick those two into believing her sincerity?
“Oh, yes,” her clone nodded, smiling a little sadly. “Mother told me how she hadn’t been as kind to you…” an edge entered that Fate’s voice, “…which is why you betrayed Mother and Alicia-nee-san for the TSAB.”
Linith’s growl turned into a roar.
Fate didn’t flinch. “I didn’t turn my back on Mother and Alicia.” Her deep eyes hardened with old pain. “Mother turned her back on
. And then it was too late for me to make amends…” She took a breath, closing her eyes briefly before opening them again. Holding out the Jewel Seed cupped in her palm, Fate said, “But now, after I saw you for the first time, Fate, I knew that I had a second chance.”
Linith didn’t look nearly as persuaded, but the younger Fate’s face lit up in delight and fevered relief.
Mother she was wrong about you!” She cried, practically vibrating on the spot with joy. It was odd for Vivio to see—most of the childhood photos of Fate-mama that she’d seen, Fate had a more reserved happiness, as if still uncertain that she deserved it. But this Fate didn’t seem to have the same reservations. Vivio could tell that it had thrown Fate-mama off balance as well. The clone jumped/flew over and landed near Fate, grabbing her arm in a child’s excitement. “You
care about Alicia-nee-san!”
"Let's move somewhere else," Linith suggested, her voice sounding pleasant but betrayed by the thick raised fur on her hackles. "The TSAB may be making their way here any minute. We can keep talking elsewhere."
"Good idea," the younger Fate agreed, her reply coming a bit too hastily to sound impromptu. She held out one gloved hand. "Give me the Jewel Seed, please?"
Vivio tensed, carefully placing her boot onto firmer ground without shifting the loose stones in the alleyway. While she and Karel were supposed to follow Fate-mama's lead, they had also been told to use their own judgement. If the clone Fate and Linith shifted to the side any more, Karel's line of fire would be blocked. If that happened, then Vivio would be the only one free to launch a surprise attack. Letting them get away with a Jewel Seed would be humiliating to Uncle Chrono and Fate-mama, and the trail would go cold.
Fate seemed to have the same thought, but her mama's expression didn't change in the slightest. "Can I please hold onto it?" She ignored Linith's low growling. "I...I want to be able to give Mother something that would make her happy. I could never really make her proud before."
It was an excellent lie, but to Vivio's disquiet the clone's hand remained outstretched. "I'll let you give it to Mother," the young Fate promised, a sympathetic smile on her lips. "But first..."
Without hesitation, Fate handed the dormant Jewel Seed over, her gauntlet resting for a moment on her double's black glove. It was hard to read the look on her face. "I hope it's the one Mother wants."
"No, the one Alicia-nee-san needs," the other Fate corrected, inspecting the Jewel with an apologetic glance, as if asking forgiveness for being cautiously suspicious. Probably Linith had instructed her to be wary of traps--
And right then, Vivio realized that she could no longer see Linith anywhere.
"Don't give up the Jewel!" Zetec shouted, his voice ringing through Durandal and Sacred Heart right as Karel let out a choked yell as he was flung across the rooftop, his Device clattering out of reach. He yelled again, fighting, but Linith had seized the front of his Barrier Jacket and sprang, bringing both of them arcing off the building and into the ground with an earth-trembling landing.
"FATE, RUN!" Linith roared, one long-clawed paw slamming the disarmed Karel into the pavement as she pinned her captive down on the street. “IT’S A TRAP!”
Before Vivio could register what had happened, she found herself helplessly watching a stand off.
Linith had Karel under her powerful paws, her fanged snout lowering to close over the back of his neck. In that half-physical, half-telepathic communication method of familiars, Linith snarled at Fate, "Let her go, or I'll kill him."
Fate had one boot on her doppelganger's Device while her own Bardiche was levelled at the bound and struggling clone. Vivio expected her mother to use her stern Enforcer voice to order Linith to surrender, but she was surprised.
"Wait, let's just talk this out, okay?" Fate said soothingly, keeping her voice as soft as her midnight tones whenever Vivio woke up from nightmares.
They both saw Karel tense up, but bravely he didn't scream, even though Linith must have sunk her fangs into his neck.
"Alright, alright," Fate answered, immediately stepping back and releasing her younger clone. Her gaze fluttered between Karel's prone form and Linith's eyes. Vivio took the opportunity to creep forward a few meters. Now that she was closer she could see a wildness in Linith's eyes that made her shiver. No wonder Fate hadn't debated the point--she knew about familiars and the lines they would cross for the sake of their masters or charges.
"Fate, come here," Linith growled, her predator's stare still locked on her enemy, red-tinted drool dripping from her jaws.
The clone snatched up her weapon and scrambled over to Linith, turning around once to look at Fate with wounded eyes. Then she looked away and put a hand on Linith's shoulder as if needing the comfort.
"Banish your barrier jacket, and throw your Device over your shoulder now, or else I'll snap his neck."
Fate hesitated, but seeing Linith's eyes narrow had her quietly comply, her Barrier Jacket dispelling in a wave of golden pixels that peeled away then vanished in the air. Bardiche spun over her shoulder, the bladed form shrinking into a yellow triangle before clattering somewhere behind the Enforcer.
"I finished deciphering that transport spell—you need a Jewel Seed in order to cross to Al-Hazard!" Zetec's voice was frantic. "If you don't you'll be lost between dimensions!"
Golden circles spread outwards from the clone, already partway through the teleportation. Linith was backing up towards her charge, her teeth still clamped around Karel's neck, the boy motionless—whether he was scared that she'd snap his spine even by accident, or unconscious or dead, Vivio couldn't tell.
A cracking sound echoed down the street as the clone Fate finished her spell, an open portal tearing through the dimensions to open, glowing with runes and free energy at its edges. The blonde looked down at the Jewel Seed still in her hand, then looked up at Fate, her face darkly backlit by the portal. Something of anger, of hurt and of longing glinted in her red eyes as the wind from the portal whipped the ends of her black cape around her body, giving her a semblance of being the villain that Vivio knew she really wasn't.
Linith inched back again, her focus only on Fate and not on the doppelganger, assuming her to be safely behind her, nor on Karel, who clearly didn't amount to anything but leverage in the familiar's mind.
"Don't let them take him!" She heard Uncle Chrono yell, his voice wavering with a father's panic.
The young Fate threw up a shield as rainbow-coloured shots bombarded down on her and Linith, blasting chunks into the pavement and spraying black gravel upwards. Linith yowled as Vivio slammed her fist into her cheek, aiming for the muscles that controlled her jaws. The impact caused the mountain lion to release Karel, sending the boy tumbling limply onto the ground.
"DIVINE BUSTER!" Vivio didn't pay any attention to where Linith had gone, her close contact Buster spell blasting the familiar across the street and through a wall. She never stopped moving from the instant that she had launched her bombardment spell as a distraction, coming in close to ambush Linith and free Karel before continuing on to her true target.
She slammed bodily into the clone, seizing the other girl's wrist with both armoured gauntlets. There was no way the doppelganger could stop Vivio from wrenching the Jewel Seed out of her hands, caught off-guard and off-balance from the blitz attack.
But Vivio had misjudged the strength of her attack.
She had tackled the clone with enough force to drive both of them backwards, with the younger Fate providing no resistance from surprise. Their momentum carried them back further than Vivio had anticipated, and she only realized it when the ground suddenly vanished beneath them as they toppled head-first into the dimensional hole.
Vivio saw red—streaks of light that zig-zagged around the portal...the inside of her enemy's cape...and her mother's wide, terrified eyes as the portal sealed shut behind them.
Those of you who noticed the fact that “Officer Takamachi’s” attacks in Chapter 1 were melee and not ranged hinted that something fishy was going on, congratulations! Also, for those who may have noticed that the Clone!Fate’s Bardiche responded with “Affirmative” rather than the iconic “Yes, sir!”…for fun, go look for all the other little clues!
I’m uncertain of what rank Vivio actually holds, as I don’t believe she’s actually part of the TSAB military in ViVid, but I took some liberty with her rank (and that of Karel Harlaown’s too) for the sake of preserving the twist in Chapter 1.
Awesome job Laith, Justin Brett and Rising Dragon, for correctly guessing the twist in Chapter 1!
You guys get a box of cookies each!
Latest "Angel" chapter
Latest "Daily Activity Logs" chapter
Latest "Crime Never Sleeps"
The Hayate x Vivio Files
View Public Profile
Send a private message to deathcurse
Visit deathcurse's homepage!
Find More Posts by deathcurse