Pumpkin King

Chapter 63

"Now then, shall we play together?"

With a flick of her wrist, she sent the ball of darkness towards Azusa. It wasn't as fast as the spears she hurled, so the older girl managed to jumped out of the way. The ball crashed into the vine she had been standing on and the plant collapsed on itself like it was under an immense weight.

Azusa managed to grab onto a thorn that jutted out beneath her so she wouldn't fall, but she had to climb on top of it quickly so she could run away from the next sphere that came hurtling towards her. She let out a yelp as this one narrowly missed her. Again the plant withered under the pressure though this time she was close enough that her skirt almost got ripped down her legs, only being stopped as she held onto them as she scurried away.

"You quit that!" She yelled at the little girl with a blush.

Angel cocked her head to the side and gave her a quizzical glance. "But we're fighting. It's my job to kill you."

Azusa shook her head in embarrassment. "Then let's fight without ripping my clothes off please!" She would fight but she didn't want to do it naked.

Angel blinked as she thought about that. Then she nodded. "Very well." The black ball she had prepared to throw vanished from her palm. The girl's stance shifted slightly and the three bulbous orbs of red liquid appeared of her head again. The spun in place for a moment before deadly looking spikes erupted out of them.

Azusa blanched for only a second before she was fleeing for her life again, running along a large vine and weaving around thorns as blood red spears struck one after another right behind her. "Why did I have to say anything?" She screamed out loud while she ran.

While Azusa fled from Angel's onslaught, Lorelai found herself near the center of the mass of vines. Thorns sprang out haphazardly, completely blocking her from moving in certain directions. She had no idea where anyone was after she got swept away by the onrush of foliage. She tried heading in the direction where Rose had landed on her fire trap but the closer she got the denser everything became. Her clothes had gotten snagged on more than one thorn as she made her approach.

"Azusa?" She called out. There wasn't even a whisper of sound in response. Everything was packed so tightly together that she doubted her voice traveled far. She didn't want to use her fire to burn everything. It might cause a wildfire that would endanger her and Azusa. But at the same time she doubted it would be good for Rose to do whatever she wanted.

She was beginning to think that starting a fire would be the smart thing to do when she heard a low giggling followed by a choking sob. Like someone was crying. Lorelai ran in the direction it was coming from but she couldn't pinpoint it exactly. It sounded like it was coming from all around her. Then the vines directly above her started to shift.

Lorelai backed away, but as she retreated the vines behind her slithered and moved to block her path. The movement caught her jacket which really irritated her. It was her favorite jacket and she just knew that it was filled with so many tears and holes that she would have to throw it away when they got out of this.

The vines split so that a figure could descend near her. She didn't even need to look to know who it was. Rose was back. She had vines wrapped around her arms. The thorns didn't seem to bother her as much as they would a normal person. She set herself down in front of Lorelai and smiled wickedly at her. There was something different in her eyes. Something manic.

Looking back, Lorelai was wondering if using fire against a plant wizard was a smart thing. Sure, it worked out nicely at the time. But…the exposure seemed to have broken something inside the dark guild wizard.

"You…burned me." She said slowly. Lorelai gulped and tried to find a place to run. There wasn't any. "You lit me on fire." She giggled to herself, shadows covering her face. "Just like my family. You burned me. Just like my home. You burned me." She let out an ear piercing scream. "You burned me!"

Vines shot out at all angles towards her. She ducked and dodged the best she could but she couldn't escape all of them. She gained more cuts and her clothes were torn. In an attempt to get away from it all, she tried jumping onto a different vine. But it rose up before she could land and hit her with enough force that she crashed into a vine above them before falling in a heap.

She attempted to gather up some magic and fling around a few more Ember Roses, but Rose grabbed her by her hair and flung her aside. She narrowly missed being impaled by a large thorn.

The vines on Rose's arms pinned her, wrapping around her like ropes. She approached her leisurely with a content smile on her face. Apparently abusing her opponent had brought back into a coherent state of mind.

The thorns dug deeply into Lorelai's flesh. Something seemed odd about them. Normally when something makes you bleed it hurt. But wherever these thorns poked and stabbed into her, it just felt…numb. "Oh no." She said vacantly. "Poison." When she realized what was happening, it hit her like a train (no pun intended Erk). Her eyes were becoming heavy and she was losing feeling around her wounds. She tried keeping a clear head to analyze the situation. Fact One: She was trapped. Fact Two: She was being poisoned. Fact Three: The poison wasn't fast acting, but it was still having an effect. Fact Four: She needed to act fast if she wanted to get out of this. Fact Five: She wanted Dante. He would be able to fix things. Fact Six: Dante wasn't there. She couldn't expect anyone to come rescue her. She needed stand up for herself.

Fact Seven: There was no way she was going to let the demented bitch have her way.

Anger filled her like she hadn't felt since she took on Demon Horn. Rose grabbed her by her hair again and lifted her face so she could look at her. Lorelai stared with rage filled eyes. "Don't even think of using fire." She said fire like it was acid dripping from her mouth. "It would spread beyond your control. True, you might defeat me, but then not only you but your partner might die from it. And if you managed to survive the flames then the smoke would get you."

Lorelai got ready to spit a retort to her, but Rose slapped her across the face to silence her before she even began. "And while I know you murderers don't think twice about killing others, I'm sure you don't want to end yourself quite so readily."

"We aren't murderers." Lorelai said before she could be stopped. "We never killed anyone!"

Rose grabbed her cheeks and squeezed tightly. "That might be so." She said darkly. "But you work with a true killer. And you do it happily. That makes you just as guilty. If you truly were a good person, you would set aside your guild and help me bring a killer to justice." Some of the mania returned to her eyes. "If you were a good person you would help me kill Jack 'The Ripper'."

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