The final showdown between Raychel and and an exasperated Lucio is here! It’s short. They’ve said everything they need to say, and have come to blows. And what bitter blows these are. The war concludes next week, so keep posted!
Swiff. The spear darted towards Raychel, and she leaped to the side.
The spear followed her and she turned around to cut it into pieces. Her sword touched the spear but would not cut into it, and it raced past her blade to cut her left arm. Raychel panted. She wasn’t used to fighting with one hand, and the spear was too fast for her, darting past her blade like a snake. It cut her three more times on the legs, slowing her down drastically, and then Lucio withdrew. “This spear is my solution to the problems of yours and Elith’s blades. It is faster, like lightning, and made of the same material as those Soul Reapers. You cannot escape.” Lucio flicked his wrist, and Raychel felt something cut her shoulder in an instant. “So how about that offer?”
Raychel darted forwards, swaying and off balance, and swung her sword at Lucio’s neck. His hand flicked and darted towards her. She parried it, and sparks flew over Lucio’s surprised face as she lunged forward with her crippled hand and gripped him by the throat. She screamed and lifted him into the air, his legs kicking at nothing.
Lucio punched her in the face twice, and violet stars exploded behind her eyes. Her mouth was thick with blood and she let him go. He rained blows upon her stomach and her arms and her wrist and before she knew it he had thrown her sword away ad pointed his lighting spear at her throat.
“Once again, Raychel, will you join me?”, he asked with eyes blazing. “You must.”
Silently she gripped the blade and pulled back. Lucio let go, and she reeled and winced as the spear cut into her hand and slipped away into the darkness with a ringing clatter. Lucio leaped forward. Before she could react he was punching her and kicking her everywhere and she couldn’t see for all the pain and force and fury. He kicked at her legs until she knelt and stumbled and fell on her back, and then he kicked her some more. It was as if something had cracked in his face, and a mad beast had been let loose.
Raychel could barely breathe, and blood leaked out of her mouth and a hundred other places besides. She coughed sharply, and knew she was beaten. But she didn’t care. She raised a fist with her crippled hand, but Lucio would have none of it and beat it back remorselessly. Her rib cage felt wrong.
“Will you join me?”
“Who do you think you are, to resist a king’s order?!”, Lucio screamed. “Who do you think you are, to resist my orders, when I have triumphed over you and your kind in so many ways!?”
Raychel cut him off. “Where did you keep the rest my kind? I know some are not in the prison.”
Lucio snorted. “You found that out? If you hope to restore their elvishness, then you are too late. By now, my task is finished.” He shrugged. “Raychel– I need your help.”
Raychel raised her eyebrows. “Help?” She wasn’t sure if her ears were working properly.
“Yes. There is a prophecy about us— ‘In the twilight before darkness, two, mirrors of each other, will dance and bring rebirth within the darkness. One of the two is me, obviously. It was made to me. The other is my total opposite.” Lucio pointed a finger. “You. You are elf to my humanity, bloodthirsty to my pacifism, old to my youth, fool to my wisdom.”
Raychel shook her head. “You have no right-”
“Look at this time. A large, bloody battle below us. Darkness, but prelude to an ever darker world, one descending into chaos if we do not unify it. A darkness that fool Rent will bring. You must help me in my task.”
The look in Lucio’s eyes was so earnest that Raychel paused. Total opposites… and then for a flash she thought of Rent. And then of Rebecca.
“The elves were not unified but split into multiple warring clans.”, Lucio said. They made war on each other, and– but there is no need to tell you of that, Raychel, you have lived it.”
The sounds of battle cleared away the fog of silence between them, and the darkness filled the room.
Raychel sneered, and bile rose in her throat. “You have found the wrong one, Lucio. There is no way I will help you. Even if it brings darkness to your world. We do not need unity.” They stayed silent for several moments, eyes locked on each other. The rain knocked on the great window.
“I see. So you are Rent’s comrade through and through”, Lucio murmured and stepped back. “You are Raychel the Defiant, above all else.” His eyes lost their manic light and stared at a distance beyond Raychel’s comprehension. “I have lost Elith, countless men, time, blood, and justice. Have I spent it all for nothing?”
“I guess I have to do everything myself, then?”, another voice called out, and Lucio’s face turned moon-white. Raychel turned and saw a dark skinned man leap down. He fired a bolt of energy at Lucio. Lucio flew back into the window, his face and chest horribly burnt and disfigured, and collapsed. The window cracked, a fracture quickly arcing through the grand window, letting in the whistling of the wind. “You are a failure, Lucio”, the dark man said, in a voice that was neither a whisper nor a shout. “I allied with you so you could eliminate at least someone. Look out there. My followers are gone, and you are losing this battle. I will have to destroy all of them myself.” The man turned to Raychel and fired another bolt, but Raychel was already off and running, her mangled limbs screaming in protest. The man didn’t follow and turned back to Lucio.
“You were planning to do this from the start, Eclipsius?”, Lucio said. “I assume, everything- everything was a lie.”
“Everything, you arrogant fool.”, Eclipsius replied. “Even that little prophecy, which you fell heads over heels for. It distracted you. You were never meant to bring any sort of peace to the world. What world is there without conflict?”
“A better one”, Raychel said, perched on a railing high above. She leaped at Eclipsius, sword raised and barely dodged an energy bolt which blasted away half of the wall behind her.
Eclipsius’s eyes widened as they took in her white sword. “…Our execution tool. You are a thief, demon.”
“Who’s the demon here?”, Raychel shouted back.
“Why you are.”, Eclipsius replied coldly. “We created your species so that we could learn from your actions, but you refused to give us your secrets and chased us out of our home. You are the demon for usurping our rightful land.”
“Look.”, Raychel replied, slightly exasperated. “You have to take responsibility for us, even if you sacrificed yourself for us.”
“And indeed, I am taking responsibility for you humans.”, Eclipsius whispered in a cold silky voice. He raised his hand.
She ducked and weaved through the shower of bolts and slashed at Eclipsius’s chest, who screamed and vanished. She limped over to Lucio, whose breathing was all in tatters. “Leave it Raychel. I’m dead…. Once all this finishes”, Lucio whispered with regret, his eyes intently fixed on hers, “Once this is all over, go to my capital. You will find where my tower used to be– delve through the foundations. And don’t forget, you may not die, but you may still follow the path of the dead!”. Lucio gripped her shirt tightly. “Now leave!” He tossed her through the broken window until it broke, and she fell through the sky with broken shards of glass. Behind her, she saw a dark shadow coalesce in front of Lucio, but it was all she could do to lightly glide over the carnage, leaving behind a light scarlet rain.