Pumpkin King

Chapter 64

"If you were a good person you would help me kill Jack 'The Ripper'."

It hit Lorelai like a wave. Jack 'The Ripper'. She hadn't quite believed it when her Master told them all that he had been involved in those kinds of activities. The idea that he had been involved in murders and assassinations was…unfathomable.

But here was a person who knew that name. Someone who knew what Master Jack had been like in his darker days. It was…undeniable proof that the truth was out there. Jack 'The Ripper' was once a real person just as much as 'Pumpkin' Jack was.

Her Master used to be a killer.

This girl's rage, her anger, was real. She could be victim of her Master's old operations. The fact that he could have…killed…her family or her friends. It made her feel a little sick.

Rose smiled wickedly when she saw the realization hit her. She laughed. "Looks like she finally got it. Yeah, that 'Master' of yours burned down my home. My garden destroyed. My family killed. Bet you didn't know how brutal he was. He didn't let anything go when he was after a mark. He would take the whole family just to be sure the message was clear."

She should have stopped while she was ahead. Lorelai's faith had wavered. She was seriously doubting about her place in the guild. But those words. Those last words. Did the exact opposite. "You're wrong." She said, quietly at first. "You're wrong!"

Lorelai stepped forward and glared at her enemy. "My Master did horrible things." She admitted. "He told us. All of us before we came here about his past." She may have started out weak, but with each word, she became more emboldened. "He killed people. He assassinated and murdered almost every day." She didn't realize she was shaking. She wanted to cry, admitting all this. But she had to believe in her guild. "But he would never, NEVER, kill a whole family."

Rose's smile and laugh died. Raising her arms towards her, vines launched towards the other plant wizard. But Lorelai was done getting pushed around by this dark guild nutcase. Taking a deep breath, she blew out forcefully. "Dandelion Twister!" Dandelion puffs swirled around Lorelai in a spiral. Gale force winds rose up in a vicious tornado. The oncoming vines didn't stand a chance. The largest crumpled like tin foil when they met the wall of wind. The smaller ones where swept aside and shredded in seconds

"He sees the entire guild as a family. Then entire thing." She didn't give Rose a chance to throw more spells at her. "Water Lily Typhoon!" She extended her hands and a white water lily blossomed on her palms. There was a second's delay while water collected in the center of the lilies before they fired like cannons. Water bullets with enough velocity to rip through steel launched towards Rose. The girl didn't waste a breath however. She yanked up with her arms and walls of stiff, thorn covered vines erupted from the one they were standing on. The water bullets ripped through the foliage with ease.

But no matter how destructive the spell was, there was one major flaw. Rose smirked as the water slowed to a halt. "You think this little amount of water will have an effect on my vines?" She smirked as the plants started repairing themselves right before Lorelai's eyes. "Plants need water to live. Did you honestly think that would work?" Once her plants were fully repaired, she giggled. "But thanks for watering them, though."

Lorelai bit her lip. She should have realized this would happen. The way she figured, as her water bullets passed through each plant, some of the liquid got absorbed. That wouldn't have been a problem with normal plants, but these were made by magic. They must be drinking every drop of liquid they could reach to help maintain themselves. Water attacks would be useless from now on.

Luckily she had more than just the one spell. But before she had time to cast it, thorns stabbed at her from every angle. She was able to dance between them, but not without taking a few wounds. Many merely grazed her, giving her scratches. But one managed to stab into her tailbone. It hurt, but it wouldn't stop her from fighting.

"Illuminating Moonflower!" Three moonflowers appeared above her head, their silky petals glowing softly. But in an instant, bright lasers shot out of them, scorching everything in their path. The vines and thorns shielding Rose were cut through like butter. She took the hit head on, not having time to react. She was knocked off the vine and plummeted. With a wave of her hand, she managed to summon a net of vines to catch her before she went too far, but the damage had been done. Lorelai now held the high ground.

"There's no way Master would kill innocents." Lorelai said fiercely. "He did a lot of horrible things, but he cares about family too much to do what you think he did." She pointed at Rose and her moonflowers lined up for another barrage.

But her words had pushed Rose over the edge. Her sanity had already been stretched before, but hearing someone defending the one she knew had taken everything from her was too much. She let out a rage filled screech.

Vines and thorns exploded with growth. They swelled in size and grew around Lorelai like a cocoon. They were going to crush her, stab her, and suffocate her all at the same time. "My home. My family. My garden. My Wave!" She screamed. "You don't know what it's like having all that taken away from you. I have nothing left. I will not let you make up excuses for that monster!" The prison of vines and thorns quickened to squeeze the life out of Lorelai. "I'll kill you. I'll kill all of you!"

With a rush, the prison tightened around her, effectively sealing the Pumpkin King wizard inside. She didn't stand a chance.

Rose was breathing heavily from the effort of all that magic. It left a rather unsettling scene as she giggled to herself over her victory. "I did it Wave. I got her. I'm one step closer to getting revenge for you."

But her victory was short lived. There was a rumble as light seeped out of the cracks between the vines. Rose stared in disbelief as the wind picked up around her and the light became almost painful to watch.

The vines suddenly exploded outwards, strips of them falling uselessly. Rose started shaking in anger and astonishment as she saw Lorelai floating where she should have been dead. Around her flowed water lilies, moonflowers, roses, petunias, and dandelions, her magic brightening them in a collage of color and light. They swirled and danced, making a protective barrier against the vines and thorns that would have done her harm.

Lorelai looked at Rose with her eyes glowing brightly, whether they were actually glowing or reflecting the light around her, she couldn't' tell. But Lorelai just smiled at her, part proud and part sad at what she was doing. "The Garden."

The shield that protected suddenly became an onslaught of light and fire and water and earth, all propelled by a powerful wind.

"No. No!" Rose screamed defiantly. She refused to let herself be beaten by this girl. She had to get her revenge. She had to make them pay. But before this torrent of magic, she couldn't do anything. She had put everything she had in trying to crush her. She had nothing left to defend herself.

She screamed as she was enveloped in the attack.

While this was happening, Azusa was still trying to avoid fighting Angel. The little girl launched spear after spear at her while she just barely stayed ahead of the blows. She didn't want to fight her, even though she knew she should. But she didn't have any real attack magic. All she could really do to end this fight would be to turn her to stone.

But could she do that to such a young girl? It would effectively be killing her. But at the same time, this child was trying to kill her in return. She had to defend herself.

It weighed heavily on her conscious. She was so distracted by it that she hadn't noticed that she was running from nothing. The attacks had stopped. She stopped her escape to peer into the vines around her. True, they hid her from her enemy but the same was true in reverse. She didn't have eyes on Angel anymore.

But she should have kept running. That hesitation would be her downfall.

"Sing them to wonderland, Kaito." A stream of noise hit Azusa like a physical blow. For an instant, she recognized the sound as the same one that had caused her and Lorelai to fall in the first place. But then the moment was up and the sheer volume of noise made her feel like her ears were bleeding. It was so loud that she screamed, fell to her knees, and clamped her hands over her ears in an attempt to block it out. It barely helped.

In that moment, when she was vulnerable, the noise abruptly stopped. Azusa was so disoriented that she handed noticed more red spears being launched at her. But Angel had thrown them in a hurry, not wanting to let the chance escape her. The spears landed all around her.

But one hit its mark.

The spear drove through her arm. Clean through. It not only caused her a severe amount of pain, but it also pinned her where she knelt. She let out another scream. This one was different from the last. It wasn't just a scream of pain. This one was almost animalistic. It was primal. The pain it caused her was something she had never felt before. It was something she knew, somewhere deep down where she could still think coherently, that she would always remember.

She may have been a wizard, but she had never been in combat before. Not like this. It was a horrible mistake for her to come here. She had nothing to contribute. Nothing helpful. She should have stayed at the guild. Or maybe runaway back to her hometown, even if they still hated her.

She was still just a girl.

Through her pain, she vaguely realized that Angel was now in front of her. That black cat was coiling around her legs again, begging for attention. If she realized that Angel was floating in front of her, she didn't show it.

Angel didn't even recognize her as a threat at this point, pinned as she was. She had scouted her out as the weakest link in Pumpkin King's group and she had been right. Azusa had barely put up a fight. She was new to the guild so they hadn't had much intel on her, but her body language and her voice were all filled with fear. To any predator, she would have been easily seen as the weakest.

She tilted her head. "Hey," she asked, "why do you wear a blindfold?" There wasn't any scorn or smugness one might have found in a victor's voice, but there wasn't any. Just plain, childish curiosity.

"Is it because you're blind?" She continued asking. "You were running away from me so maybe not. But then again, you could travel based on sound, like a bat." She smiled excitedly. "If I take your blindfold off, will your eyes be all milky?" She extended a hand. "I've never seen blind eyes before."

Even through her pain, Azusa panicked. "N-no! I'm not blind." She tried scooting away, but the moment she moved an inch, pain shot through her arm so intense that she almost lost consciousness. "Leave it alone!"

But Angel didn't listen to her. She grabbed the front of the cloth and yanked it off, her eyes glistening with curiosity. "NO!" But it was too late. Azusa couldn't close her eyes fast enough. She squeezed her eyes shut, but she saw Angel right before they closed.

The image of her childish expression turning to stone would haunt her forever.

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