A Meeting Of Light And Shadow

“Leave now, servant of Lapis. Do you really intend to continue fighting?”

Alice, without hesitation, flew over to Syliva. Despite the size of the great dragon, Alice maintained a calm expression.

“No. Two versus one seems a little exhausting. For now I’ll concede this match to you, I’m confident we’ll meet again soon.” Sylvia paused for a moment. “Hopefully you won’t be in two pieces by then.” Then, with a roar and burst of flame, Sylvia returned to her human form. Without any further word, she flew off to the east, back towards Certo.

With the dragoness shrinking away on the horizon, Alice turned to face her dark counterpart. The two floated above Yggdrasil in silence for several moments.

“...I don’t remember asking for your help. I could’ve handled her.”

“I don’t remember coming to save you, so that’s fine. I can’t have you interfering with how things will play out.”

“How things will play out? That’s a good one, kiddo. Remind me what you’ve accomplished so far?”

“I want to protect this world. I don’t want anyone else to experience...to see what we’ve seen. Darkness, murder...that kind of power can’t beat Lapis. We need hope, a light in the darkness.”

“Alright, let’s tone down the sweetness before I get a cavity. That’s the kind of thinking that nearly got us killed the first time. I guess I’ll just have to kill you and take back the other part of our power.”

“You’re seeking power, but all it’s done is destroy everyone and everything, don’t you understand that?”

“What other answer is there? The only way to stop him is to kill him, to take revenge. I’ll just have to cut you both into beautiful little ribbons, and then I’ll graft your head on his shoulders and kill you again! Schrödinger, let’s go! Summon mode!”

“Meow~!”

Schrödinger opened it’s mouth to once again release black miasma from its mouth. However, unlike during the fight with Sylvia, the shadowy substance did not assume the form of identical soldiers. Instead it took the shape of the five kings who had died at Dark Alice’s hand. Faria, Melgis, Rezzard, Arla, and Machina took form; floating in front of the cat that had birthed them. Alice stared in horror.

“I was saving this surprise just for you. Kinda disappointing that I actually have to use it...oh well. Behold; Walpurgis Night”

A terrible power emanated from Dark Alice. The sky turned a dark violet and even the light of the sun seemed to turn cold and black. The air seemed thick and choking as if filled with some kind of undetectable smoke.

“Take a good look! Even Faria is one of my shadows now. I told you I'd get them to help!”

Surprised and shaken at the sight of her dead friend, Alice found herself unable to move as Dark Alice and her servants moved in to attack.

“Don’t let her fool you, Alice”

The voice of Viviane called out to Alice.

“I know...I know, Viviane. Thank you. I was just startled for a moment.”

“Alice, let the power of Excalibur be your guide. Let yourself hear the true will of Faria.”

Alice cleared her mind, and from Excalibur she heard the voice of her slain friend. “Alice, my true spirit is here, with you, always. Don’t lose your way.” Alice smiled slightly.

“You’re right, I can’t afford to lose myself anymore. I think she knows it too. That power can’t save anyone. I’ll fight to save this world, and take back mine. Reminiscence of Utopia!”

As if a pure antithesis to Dark Alice’s power, radiant light shone forth from Alice, chasing away the shadows ensnaring the sky. Even Dark Alice’s shadow creatures seemed to grow weaker.

“That power...with that power you could kill in an instant, but instead you waste it to save them.”

“That’s right. I won’t let anyone else die a meaningless death. And to do that, I have to save you from the awful existence you’ve become.”

“Save me? Hahaha! You can’t save anyone! Face it, you need me.”

“No. I finally remembered. I had tried so hard to forget about the day when the world ended, when Lapis stole my home. I was so sad, so angry...I wanted to kill him. More than anything I wanted to kill him. That’s what you were born from. My weakness and hatred. We are the same person, and deep down I think we must want the same thing. But killing and taking power is exactly what Lapis does. If we want to stop him, if we want to see Earth again, we need to fight together, as an ally of this world.”

“You’re calling me weak? Look at all I have done! Look at the power I have taken! You are the one born from weakness! You are the remainder of my consciousness, the last of my ineptitude. That day when we saw the Earth die, I cast you off in the darkness of space. I let you scamper around on Grimm’s World out of generosity, but it is clear that you are no longer needed. Schrödinger, murder mode.”

“Meow~”

With a weakened cry, Schrödinger granted the last of its power to Dark Alice. Alice, readying Excalibur, felt her heart and mind in tune with Faria’s. At last she could bring the madness of her dark half to an end.

In an instant, light and darkness met. Their clash was over in a flash, and Dark Alice, having expended all of her power, fell to the earth, collapsing in front of Yggdrasil. Alice too, suffering a wound, fell to the ground beside her. The two lied on the ground, staring at each other in exasperated silence.

After a moment, shimmering droplets of water began to rain down from the branches of the world tree, encasing the two in a cocoon of light, and seemingly drawing them into the great tree.

“I wonder how this will turn out.”

“We already know how it will turn out.”

“Really?”

“Really.”

From far away a young boy and girl observed the fight between the Alice of light and shadow.

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Attoractia, the World of the Seven Kings



Part 6 The Twilight Wanderer