I am hated. I have only ever known hatred. It is all I give, and all I take. It is my mother, my liberator, my purpose.
I am an orphan by design, the destruction of my home heralding my birth.
They call me crazy. Crazy? What’s wrong with that? Look at all I’ve accomplished. All the things she knew had to be done, but was too afraid to do. Mad? Too much sanity is the truest madness. The curse of seeing things as they are, not as they should be!
Dark Alice, having fulfilled her bargain with Valentina, had been waiting near Yggdrasil for some time now. She could feel powerful will flowing from the tree. Yes, this must certainly be where he’ll show up, she thought.
Suddenly, a searing bolt of flame, accompanied by an unusual sound, whizzed by the girl’s head. Dark Alice quickly levitated into the sky, scanning the area hurriedly.
“It’s you isn’t it? Come on, come on, where are you? I wanna see you, ohhhhh just let me give you a big painful hug!” Dark Alice’s eyes grew wide and her mouth twisted into a long thin smile.
Another bolt of flame came screaming towards Dark Alice, who darted out of the way nimbly. “Fire?” Dark Alice sighed. “He never uses fire.” the girl hung her head, then suddenly sprang happily back to attention. “Oh, I get it! You must be his latest pet, since I killed Dumbo the clown! Schrödinger, summoning mode, let’s go!” Schrödinger opened its mouth. A black miasma streamed out, and Schrödinger shrunk as it did. The amorphous black clouds quickly took shape as floating shadowy soldiers.
At last Dark Alice’s opponent revealed herself, a distant flying figure clocked in swirling flames. Dark Alice’s soldiers charged the figure to little effect. However, they did manage to break through the flame barrier disguising the assailant, revealing a woman with crimson hair. A large crest adorned the woman’s head. From a distance it appeared as though she had large leathery wings.
“Whoa lady you sure have got some weird fashion tastes.”
“And you sure like to run your mouth. Your fake soldiers provide no challenge.”
The woman engaged with Dark Alice was none other than Sylvia, the last leader of the Palarilias clan. To free what little remained of her enslaved clan and ensure them a successful future, Sylvia had struck a deal with a spectre that had appeared to her some time ago. The spectre promised to spare her and her clan the inevitable fate of the world, so long as they promise to serve him loyally.
“Hohoho. You’re pretty good.” Dark Alice gave a somewhat mocking expression. She conjured a large ornate scythe in her hands, and sped towards Sylvia at a near imperceivable speed. She moved to cut Sylvia in two, but her scythe was met by the young dragon clan leader’s blade. With the two weapons locked with each other, Sylvia and Dark Alice’s faces drew close.
“You’re not too bad yourself. You’re the one that finally killed Blazer, right? I knew I should have gotten rid of him after his exile, sparing his life seemed to cause more trouble than it did good...”
“Blazer? He was nothing. Just a hollow shell. Not even worth eating, right Schrödinger?”
“But that’s okay, you must be pretty strong since you beat him up too, right? I mean, even the other me couldn’t do that. So it seems like you’ll make a mighty fine meal for my kitty.” Dark Alice broke away from Sylvia, distancing herself.
“You honor me with such words, but I’m afraid I have no intention of playing with children and their cats.” Sylvia gripped her blade firmly in her hand, fire bursting forth from it as she did so.
“Awww you’re no fun. Y’know, Blazer was working for the same guy you’re buddy buddy with now. How exactly are you justifying that? Sure seems like you and Blazer didn’t get along all that much….and they call ME crazy hahaha!” As Dark Alice spoke, several more shadowy soldiers had appeared and moved to surround Sylvia.
“You can burn them all up again if you want, but you should know shadows can never be stopped. Shining light on them only makes more of them. They will come for you, for everyone, until they have swallowed everything.”
Sylvia gritted her teeth, and smirked. “What a coincidence. You see, my flames don’t stop until they too have swallowed everything.” With a roaring swirl for fire, the shadow soldiers were again defeated, bursting into shadowy globules and returning to Schrödinger.
“Cowardly tactics won’t work on me. How about you actually fight like you mean it?” Sylvia taunted the Twilight Wanderer.
“Tch. Well look at you, acting all superior. If you really wanna die that badly, I’m happy to oblige. Let’s go Schrödinger. Murder mode.”
Schrödinger’s tail flicked about, the creature opened its mouth and drew the shadowy miasma back into its body.
“Just remember that you asked for it. No crying to mommy if it hurts, okay?” Dark Alice readied her scythe, and once again sped at Sylvia. The dragoness gripped her sword in both hands, stopping the child’s wild attack...or so she thought. As she blocked, Sylvia felt confronted by a powerful shadowy aura that cut into her. She quickly broke away.
“I see. The same attack is now completely different. Scattering and gathering your power. That’s what that cat’s been doing.” Behind her previous taunts, Sylvia had been carefully observing this strange girl she had been tasked with eliminating.
“Ding ding, that’s right!” Dark Alice only grinned, as Sylvia cocked her head in momentary bemusement.
Dark Alice’s powerful attacks drove Sylvia closer and closer to the ground. The mad girl of Wonderland hoped to corner Sylvia inside a nearby fissure. With her enhanced power from Schrödinger she was easily able to overpower and push back her opponent. Only able to parry the incoming attacks, Sylvia stood at the edge of the drop into the fissure. Dark Alice, twirling and swinging her scythe around herself, was slowly drawing closer and closer.
“Now be a good little girl and die.” However Sylvia’s attention was not at the nearing threat but on another, more distant object.
“Looks like someone else is coming. We’ll have to finish this quickly.”
“What’d you say? Running away is against the rules, okay?”
“It seems you’ve made the mistake of lumping me in with your other kills.” From Sylvia’s body, a faint glow began to emanate, and the air grew hot.
“You know, you keep saying words, but all I can hear right now is ‘Cut me up, Alice! Please kill me!’ ” An uncountable number of shadowy spears surrounded Sylvia, poised to pierce the woman. Dark Alice snapped her fingers, and all at once the spears plunged from the sky, hurdling towards their target. However, just as they would have connected, Sylvia’s body erupted in fire, repulsing the fatal attack.
With a roar the could have shook the roots of Yggdrasil, the swirling mass of fire leaped into the sky. As the flames slowly dissipated, a large shadow formed on the ground where Sylvia had stood moments before.
“At last I am able to assume my true form again. It seems Lapis has held up his end of the bargain.” Sylvia had taken the form of a giant dragon. The beat of her wings whipped up a powerful gale, seemingly aimed to buffed Dark Alice. However it quickly became clear that the winds where meant for Schrödinger. The cat was carried off into the distance.
With Schrödinger out of sight Dark Alice could feel her own power growing weaker.
“No fair, Lizard lady!” Dark Alice’s eyes narrowed in anger.
“You'll be joining your regalia soon enough.” Sylvia’s voice echoed through the skies. The dragon opened her mighty maw and a gout of flame blazed forth towards Dark Alice. The mad girl managed only barely to evade the fire, however after missing its target, the fire coiled like a snake and directed itself back to Dark Alice.
“This is over. You cannot escape my fire.”
“I don't have to escape it!” The girl’s comment was met with a moment of silence, only the crackling of Sylvia’s living flame and the sound of beating leathery wings were audible.
“Gotcha!” Dark Alice, distracting Sylvia for a moment had led the flame chasing her back towards Sylvia hoping to have it collide with her. However, as Dark Alice darted away from Sylvia at the last moment, the fire stopped in mid air just before reaching the dragon. The line of flame gathered into a single large fireball and then stretched out into a line again as it resumed its pursuit.
“Oh come on!” Dark Alice knew she couldn’t keep this up. Her clothes were singed, and her throat stung with the telltale dry taste of smoke.
“Ah! Schrödinger! You’re back? Okay, summon mode!” In an instant Schrödinger created several shadow soldiers, who took the full force of Sylvia’s fire, allowing Dark Alice to escape.
“Schrödinger, how exactly did you get back so quick anyway?” Dark Alice cocked her head at the creature. Schrödinger mimicked the shape of a sword cutting through the air. “You got smacked back by a fancy sword? Hmmm...Why does that sound familiar…” Dark Alice suddenly remembered what Sylvia had said before about someone else coming. “Someone with a fancy sword...Uh oh!”
Dark Alice looked up from where Schrödinger was hovering in the air. In the distance she could make out the shape of the young girl who had just recently inherited the power of the sacred blade.
“Looks like you’ve finally gotten serious, other me.”
Attoractia, the World of the Seven Kings