Spending some quality time together
Raphael, Amy and the servants had now entered a more normal region so Raphael ordered they made a halt. He told Amy:
-Wait here with them. I shall be back.
Raphael took his horse and went in search of someone. Meanwhile, Amy was sitting in the grass and contemplating the night sky. She didn't talk to the minions at all and they did not try to talk to her either.
After a while, Raphael still wasn't back and Amy began to worry: What if some monsters from Ostrheinsburg had caught up with him? Like this crazy girl who threatened to kill him?
Still unable to walk with her wounds, Amy stayed in the grass and continued to gaze at the sky, sometimes looking around, worrying about her father until Raphael returned with two bottles of blood. When Raphael approached to give her a bottle, Amy grabbed him by his neck and hugged him tightly which surprised Raphael.
-You're really happy to see me! But was it me or the bottles you were eager to see?
-Father, you know very well. Answered Amy on a somewhat annoyed tone at his joke.
-Yes, I know. I was just kidding you. Here is your bottle, beloved daughter.
He handed one to Amy and put the other in his bag.
-You don't drink, father?
Raphael answered, looking at the sky:
-I already did.
Amy understood and began to drink from her bottle while Raphael looked sadly at her.
-What is it, father?
-… Never go hunt for blood, Amy. You should always let me do it.
-Euh… Very well, as you wish, father… But isn't already what you're doing?
-Yes, but don't go yourself if suddenly you felt like it.
-Okay. But… why are you suddenly worrying about this?
-I do not know. Maybe I am crazy…
-You are not crazy. What is it?
-To hunt for blood is… disgusting.
-You're disgusted to do it? Then I can do it. If you feel bad doing it… Don't worry about me…
-Non! Don't do it! I do not want you to! There is enough of one soul stained by it…
-But… as you wish. But… if I can help you…
-You help me by staying safe.
-Hum. But you know, father, I can help you. I can handle this. I'm tougher than you think.
Feeling her father did not want to talk anymore, Amy began to drink again.
Raphael thought about the peasant he just killed, even if he tried not to. Has he taken his soul? If what Nightmare told him was true, then was he still giving power to Soul Edge with this and strengthening it? Was Soul Edge now destroyed or will Nightmare come back? Siegfried had Soul Calibur and he wanted to destroy the sword… maybe he succeeded… If Soul Edge was destroyed, then, was he still taking souls? He also wondered: If he gives souls only when he kills his victims, maybe when he does not kill them, their soul remains… too bad he failed again… And if drinking blood doesn't destroy his soul but only by using powers, then Amy should be alright, even if she had to hunt one day… as long as she doesn't use powers… But it was better not to take any chances, her new eye color worried him...
Raphael was also really worried about what Nightmare told him; that he was destroying his soul by using his powers. When he was still wounded from his first fight with Nightmare one year ago, he often dreamed about Nightmare and what Nightmare told him today seemed to confirm what the demon always told him in his dreams… A statement Raphael remembered clearly: 'You deserve nothing less than the destruction of your soul!' The frightful statement obsessed Raphael for months. In fact, Raphael had dreamed Nightmare told him that many times over the course of the year… It was a recurring dream… Was it his soul warning him? But is what Nightmare told him, really true? Or did he just try to scare him? The fact his mist powers appeared when Cervantes was trying to eat his soul may have something to do with the triggering of this power… Cervantes may have broken his soul shell or something and allowed his soul to scatter everywhere… but the first power he had, was to make minions…
The countess told him that he was better dead… Could she be right? It is better to die before he completely destroys his own soul or that of his daughter?
The scare suddenly incited Raphael to pray until he remembered that it was no use praying; like the poor mother in Ostrheinsburg, God abandoned him too… He prayed the night he transformed and what did it gave him? Nothing. God won't save him; He abandoned him… and mostly, He abandoned Amy… an innocent… Isn't He supposed to care for the innocents? Doesn't seem so… Only Soul Calibur would save them.
He also wondered what had happened to the Greek woman and her child? Did someone cared about her? Since she was on Nightmare's side, nobody must have cared for her… And where was her little child? Raphael still remembered the young victims of the resurrection ritual, all piled up in a corner at Ostrheinsburg… Maybe the little girl was with them now? Disgusting… He had wished to go see but he was still much wounded, if anything had happened in the castle, he wouldn't have stood a chance against an enemy. Especially if Nightmare was revived… But he did regret not having gone inside the castle when he went to search the area… It was no use doing something if he didn't do it completely! But then again, he was still wounded… and could not risk Amy's life… Maybe the lady got up by herself… She wasn't dead… And she may know where her child was more than him… He hoped the little girl did not die with Soul Edge… if Soul Edge was destroyed… He really wondered about that.
As he was thinking, Raphael suddenly noticed that Jacqueline was shyly asking Amy some blood from her bottle while Amy was staring at her with a slightly surprised gaze.
-Jacqueline! What are you doing? Harassing my daughter like this?
Jacqueline got scared at Raphael's angry tone and threw herself at Raphael's feet, imploring him.
-I'm sorry, master… I… It's just that… I'm thirsty… I'm sorry…
Raphael looked at Jacqueline, who was staring at him with fear in her eyes, as the two other minions stared at the scene with some apprehension, not daring to say anything to help their comrade. Amy was mostly looking at the scene with curiosity since she didn't really know the minions and their relation with her father. Raphael sighed and addressed his maid:
-You know that you are very annoying, Jacqueline?
-I'm sorry… whined the scared maid.
Raphael looked at the completely frightened woman for a moment, then said:
-Well then, go quench your thirst. You two can go as well if you wish. But come back before the sun rises or else my daughter and me shall be gone. And I shall be very unpleased.
The three servants bowed to him but before they left the place, Raphael added:
-Oh! And bring back any money your preys could have, we shall need it for new clothes…
-Yes, master, answered the three servants before they went away.
Raphael looked at them go and then smiled in satisfaction. He didn't have to hear them for a while. Now just the sounds of the night could be heard, the crickets, the cawing of the birds, the hooting of the owls and the near waterfall… It seemed so much quieter now…
-Ah, finally! We have some time without them!
-You don't like them, father?
-Not really. Especially Jacqueline and Auguste, they are complaining about everything! So whiny! But I do not trust Marienbard either. If someone would hit me in the back, I think it would be her.
-Why would she hit you in the back?
-They were part of the tribe that was guardian to Soul Calibur and she seemed to be the leader. So I learned from her about the sword but I do not trust her and I am not certain I completely control them… But while they are gone, I do not wish to speak of this subject… Unless there is something specific you want to know about them.
-Not really. They seem indeed annoying but mostly surprising. I didn't thought she would ask me for some of my bottle…
-Well, I think Jacqueline hasn't drink since a while… She is the weaker of them, she doesn't know how to impose herself, so when it's time to drink she is pushed aside and often only gets what remains. I suppose that is what prompted her to come and beg you for some. But I do not want her to harass you with this!
-She didn't harass me, I could have refused if I wanted… I was only surprised by her demand. Father, don't you fear having sent them all away? What if the crazy girl Tira came back and tried to kill us? She said she would do it… She seemed very serious about it…
-Ah, Amy… Do not fear… I can take care of this girl… If she dares come back, I shall kill her. Like I told her, I shall kill her slowly since she dared hurt you!
As he was speaking, Raphael became more and more angry.
-This… monster does not scare me! In fact, I hope she comes back! I shall kill her once and for all!
- So, you already knew her? She is not… from your family, like she said?
-Non, she is not. I do not really know her… When I went in Ostrheinsburg last time, she was there. She tried to kill me, I tried to kill her; I chased after her and she fled… It was not a too memorable encounter.
-Somehow, this girl scares me…
Raphael sat beside his daughter and put his arm around her to reassure her.
-Because she is a crazy maniac. But she can't do a thing against us. Do not worry, my sweet butterfly, I am here to protect you.
And Raphael kissed Amy on the forehead. But Amy still had some worries.
-Now, Amy, let us do some conversation before the servants come back… How was your trip?
-Well, I first had to escape the castle since no one wanted to let me out because of your orders… And we were still under attack from the Walachian army…
-Again? So soon?
-Yes. But I killed the commander, like you said it was the way to do. Remember? 'An army that has lost its commander is like a crab that has lost its legs'.
-Indeed, I said that. You are a good learner… And how did it go?
And Amy told her father what she did to get rid of the army. Even though he got scared to learn she went alone to confront the commander of the army, Raphael was proud of her.
-Amy, je suis fier de toi! You acted like a real knight! You were most honourable! And really courageous!
And she hugged him tightly. Raphael smiled. Amy asked him:
-Now before I continue with my own, I would like you to tell me some of your story. Tell me what you did during your trip. What was that land of the gods? It sounds strange.
-How do you know about it?
Raphael was surprised.
-The man in shining armour we saw on the tower in Ostrheinsburg, told me. You fought him in the land of the gods. He claimed he had met you there and knocked you out. Is he your enemy?
-Indeed, that was his name. So, is he an enemy?
-Euh… It depends… Was he mean to you? What did he told you?
-He was not mean toward me. He killed a monster attacking me and wanted me to get away from Ostrheinsburg, claiming it was too dangerous. He worried when I wanted to continue toward it. I had to lie to him and go there after him so he didn't know. He was always telling me how dangerous it was and that there were monsters… He promised me he would bring you back to me but I wanted to find you myself.
-So he cared for you… and he knew who you were… Non, he is not an enemy…
Raphael then thought: Siegfried have been kind to his daughter, he deserved to be treated kindly. But he may have Soul Calibur… Raphael decided he would not kill him while getting the sword. As if guessing his thoughts, Amy asked:
-Will you return for the sword, father?
-To be honest, I do not wish to. But I think I will. I do not have the choice; I have to know what we have… and do something about our condition… I have to do something, I cannot leave us like this… But not already… I'm tired; I want to stay with you. I missed you… Maybe I won't even go for the stupid sword… I do not know… I do not want to think about it right now…
-You won't think about it later either! Unless you can think without a head!
Raphael and Amy turned to see Tira throwing her ring blade at them. Raphael barely had time to evade it by bending over Amy to cover her protectively but the strike was aimed at his neck and would not have hit Amy since she was shorter. Tira screamed in outrage:
-I went back home and saw Nightmare destroyed! …With a few other things. Well, a lot of things… Everything was destroyed! And a little bird told me who destroyed my master: it was you! You! Disgusting monster! So as well as for my birds, I also have to kill you for Nightmare! I don't have time to rest for my wounds, I must kill you! But slowly… No! Better! I'll kill your daughter in front of you, then I'll kill you! You kill the ones I love, I kill the one you love! Is it fair? Or maybe a contest! I kill you both slowly and see which one dies before the other! What do you say? Sounds fun? I have to distract myself to forget the pain of losing my beloved master!
Raphael got up and unsheathed his rapier.
-Humpf! This was to be expected… even if not that soon… But I was hoping you would come, so that I could kill you once and for all… Now, fear my wrath!
Raphael launched at Tira. But suddenly a flock of ravens attacked him and while he was busy slashing at them, Tira quickly ran to go take back her Eiserne Drossel that was stuck into the tree where Raphael and Amy were sitting under. Amy, still unable to get up with her wounded legs, unsheathed her rapier and tried to slash at Tira as she came toward her but Tira evaded the strike, took her weapon back and stuck out her tongue at Amy. Fearing for his daughter, Raphael turned back to run toward Tira while slashing at the annoying birds, killing even more of them. Tira yelled to her birds:
-Go, my little birdies! Get away from this evil man!
She became gloomy.
-I'll take care of him alone…
-How reckless of you. I'm in a very foul mood…You will suffer.
And Raphael ran toward Tira. Meanwhile, Amy tried to slash at Tira again but the crazy girl jumped over the strike and told her:
-You still missed! But don't worry. I'm not expecting much from you… Just don't bother me! Get out of my sight, you loser!
Amy looked at the crazy girl with an offended gaze. This girl was taking her for a weakling!
Tira was about to slash at Amy and before the younger girl had time to lift her rapier to parry, Raphael quickly came beside her and slashed at Tira.
-Don't touch my daughter! Don't speak to her! Don't even look at her!
-You can keep your stupid daughter! I don't even want to be her friend anymore! She's boring! And you, I hate you! You deserve the most painful death imaginable!
They furiously clashed together again. After a while, the fight moved toward the waterfall not far away but Amy could not see anything anymore.
Raphael and Tira fought for a while again. Tira had regained her jolly side.
-I'm so excited! I can't wait to see you in pieces! Should I cut your fingers one by one, then the hand, then the arm or already the arm, then the hand, then the fingers? What do you say?
-I hate you! You're just a low…
-No! About what I said! You don't listen, do you?
-Non. You are worthless! I would lose my time listening to your crazy ranting!
-Well then, it looks like I'll have to decide! I'll shred you to pieces with…First option! It's more painful…
-My first option will be to cut your head! Said Raphael as he tried to decapitate her. But Tira parried and kicked him in the stomach before she whirled around with her weapon and slashed violently at him.
-I wanna see you destroyed! Hahahaha!
Raphael fell down on the rocks near the waterfall. His wounds hurt from everywhere. As he tried to painfully get up, Tira grabbed a big rock and smashed it on Raphael's left hand. Raphael screamed as his hand was crushed while Tira laughed.
-This was for Nightmare, you dirty bastard!
She hit him again. And again.
-This one too! While this one is for my birds!
She then let the rock drop on his head. Raphael fell down on his face.
-Oops! And this one… I dropped it. Sorry.
She then exclaimed:
-Oh! But I feel much better!
She jumped on his back and danced while swinging her Eiserne Drossel and slashing Raphael with it before she jumped down.
Raphael was now almost unconscious. He heard Tira speak as she was going away:
-La-di-da-di-dum! Now, I'll go kill your daughter! And there's nothing you can do now, loser!
Raphael painfully got up. He could not let this crazy girl kill Amy!
-Do not delude yourself, wretched fool, I am not dead yet…
Tira, who was now going toward Amy, turned toward him.
-You're not dead? It can be arranged! But you know, I thought about something… maybe I could give back Nightmare some souls to revive him… And you look yummy!
She walked toward Raphael again.
-We danced together last time, so now let's go to second base! Hahahahaha! Here I go!
And before Raphael understood what she meant, Tira swiftly slashed at him making him fall down again before she jumped on him and held his right wrist with one hand while she pulled his hair back with the other, forcing him to present his face to her. She moved her face toward his own and Raphael got surprised at what she was about to do: She seemed to prepare to kiss him! He tried to get out of her hold but she was holding him very strongly and he was too wounded. Her mouth then came in contact with his. Raphael tried to struggle again but was unable to get the dangerous girl off him; as she kissed him passionately, he suddenly felt the strange sensation of burning cold throughout his body just like when Cervantes tried to take his soul. Raphael's eyes widened in horror: The crazy girl was taking his soul! But before it went farther, Tira suddenly let go of her hold and screamed in pain. She barely had time to get up before she got pushed down the waterfall by Amy, who just impaled her with her rapier before she sent her to her death in the bottom of the waterfall. Tira fell with a scream then everything went quiet.
-Nobody touches my father.
Amy then fell down beside her father after this painful effort to run toward them with her wounded legs. She had found the strength to run over there and protect her father but now her legs where totally giving up.
-Amy! You just saved my life! Even more than my life!
-What was she doing? Are you sure you didn't know that girl more than you pretend?
Raphael wiped his mouth.
-Of course not! Ugh! Her kiss was disgusting!
-Fine. Because I don't want that as a stepmother.
-Amy, I am far more selective than that.
Amy smiled at him and Raphael smiled back.
-So Amy, you were able to walk here?
-I had to, papa. I could not let that crazy girl kill you… But now my legs hurt too much… I'm unable to get up.
-Well, we are stuck in an embarrassing situation. My back hurts too much; I cannot get up either… We shall have to remain here until the servants come back… But the stars are beautiful… With the waterfall noises… It's a lovely evening with you by my side… You remember our first trip? From Rouen to Toulouse? We were looking at the stars like that…
-Indeed… We had fun…
-You know, Amy… If I had some doubts about going back for the sword… I do not have them now… ow… In my actual condition… it would be quite impossible.
-Your wounds are not too serious? Asked Amy with worries.
-I do not think so. Just painful when I move. Do not worry. Well, then, do you have any entertaining conversation subject?
-Well, like I asked you before, your trip, how did it go?
-Oh, I do not really remember how I started the trip… The one thing I know is that I missed you. I missed you so much! I felt so lonely all those months. I met some people, some were friendly and I appreciate them to some degree but I still felt lonely because it was you that I missed, Amy. But I never missed an occasion to talk about you!
Amy was embarrassed.
-You didn't have too…
Yet, she was flattered by this.
-I'm proud of you! I want everybody to know it! You're so talented, you deserve to be praised!
-Well, merci, father… I showed your portrait to many people too… Many ladies found you extremely handsome…
Raphael smiled, he was embarrassed yet not surprised. He added boastfully:
-That is nothing new… even the crazy girl jumped on me…
He hoped she was really dead down the fall and would not come back again; they were really not ready for her anymore… He then continued:
-But you made my portrait? Do you still have it? Can I see it?
Amy showed the drawing to her father. Raphael looked at it with an admiring gaze.
-So that is why I want everybody to know your talents! Your talent in drawing is great! It completely looks like me!
-… And like Claude.
-You saw my brother? Did you return to Rouen? Oh yes! I remember, I began my trip in Rouen! But go on with your story…
-I met your brother and your mother on the way to Hanover. They were going to see a doctor. Your mother is sick. She was coughing blood.
Raphael seemed a little worried; the alchemist was right. His mother is sick. So she coughs blood… Could it be tuberculosis?
Amy saw his worried expression.
-Are you worried for your mother?
Raphael was still indeed worried for her. He had ambivalent feelings toward her: he was still angry at her for letting him down but he also had difficulties to stop loving her. For reasons unknown to him, his mother had always been the person he loved most in his family and if she had responded to his devotion, he may have been as loyal and caring to her as he now was for Amy. But she didn't and her cold demeanour toward him only drove him away from her and turned him as cold as her. So Raphael always felt some kind of resentment toward her even if he also loved her, which is why he never spoke about her too much, he was confused about his feelings for her and would rather forget about her.
-What? Euh, Well… not that much, just a bit… But how do you know she is sick? You talked to them?
-Were they kind to you? Did they know who you were?
-I told them.
-They learned you were my daughter? What did they say?
-Well… euh… I think your brother seemed to be scared or remorseful, I don't know. He tried to give me money but I didn't accept it.
-He seemed scared? So he knows…
-He knows what?
-Our condition. Like I said, I began my trip in Rouen. I met him. And somehow I… hum… I could not hide my condition.
-So did he know I was a vampire too?
-Well, maybe not you but with your skin and eyes… Maybe he figured it out.
Amy outlined a smile.
-So that means we could go scare them?
Raphael was surprised at Amy's reply and laughed.
-Yes, we could. But I do not think it would be wise to do such a thing. I do not want us to end at the stake just for having a funny little revenge…
-Your brother is married by the way. His wife is ugly but she didn't say a thing during the time I met them, she did not seem evil I think… And your mother must not know our condition with what she told me…
-What did she tell you?
Amy wondered if she should tell everything to her father. She knew his ambivalent feelings toward his mother and was afraid to hurt him more. But in a way, he had to know what his mother really was and then maybe he would stop loving her and stop suffering about what she did to him or worrying about her illness. Anyway, Amy was really angry at the mother and it was better if Raphael knew the truth.
-I'm sorry to tell you that but you know I never liked your mother with what she did to you and she didn't really appreciate me either. She refused to believe I was your daughter. She thought I was some kind of scheming little thief and she called me a profiteer for trying to get something from you.
-You? A profiteer? She dared to call you that? They were the profiteers! You always helped me! She has some nerve! How dare she say you are not my daughter!
-…She also said I was not good enough for you, that I was dishonouring your name and that I was that kind of girl…
-…You know… with my short dress… showing my legs…
Amy added while muttering:
-…I think she meant a wh…
She said the last word on such a low tone that Raphael didn't hear it. But he understood anyway by the way Amy seemed embarrassed.
Raphael blushed and couldn't even say the word either. How could someone think such a thing about his daughter?
-What? How dare she insult my daughter like this! Ah! The… and to think I worried for her! I shall never forgive her! Mother can die of tuberculosis, I don't care! I don't even see why I still call her mother! This woman can die of tuberculosis for all I care! She may die now! I wish she dies! I just want to go see them now to tell her in her face that you are my daughter! And that I love you much more than her!
Raphael suddenly had violent ideas about his family. He wanted to hurt them. Before, even if he hated them, they were still his family, he had cut his ties with them but he would not have hurt them. But now, since they scorned his daughter, they were completely wiped off of his life and deserved to suffer. The mean things his mother told Amy hurt him deeply like when he had been cast out and he wanted to avenge her. Tears of rage came to his eyes and Amy regretted having told him that, she tried to calm him.
-Even though I still hate your mother and your brother, you don't have to take it like that, father… I don't care what they say or what they think of me… Your mother spoke without thinking… Do not grieve over this…
-But they scorned and hurt you…
-I scorn them a thousand times more than they scorn me. And it could not have changed my opinion of them because I already hated them since you told me about them, so it didn't hurt me. What hurts me is what they did to you. This I shall never forgive them. I told your mother she was not a good mother and that I despised them for having driven you away and abandon you.
Raphael looked at Amy with a sad gaze. He smiled weakly.
-Merci Amy. You are so kind to me. I love you. But I am so sad you met such disgusting people on your trip… This crazy girl… my family… Have you met any good people?
-Yes, I did. This Siegfried that you know, a lady who asked me to draw her children for twenty thalers, which I don't know if it was a good price but she was kind and asked people about you for me…
-I am not certain myself but I think it is a good price…
-…And I also met Setsuka…
-Who is that?
-A lady from Japan.
-And she was kind to you?
-Yes. We travelled together in the coach for a while. I appreciated her presence. She showed concern for me. She was kind.
-Then if I meet her one day, I shall be kind to her.
-…But she never learned what I really was. She went to fight Heishiro Mitsurugi. I had some difficulties remembering this name, but now I know.
-Mitsurugi… I think I have heard that name… It was a samurai…
-Well, it's a samurai she wants to kill.
-Hum. I wonder if they are the same? Is that name common?
If it was the same person, Raphael thought that Setsuka would have to be very talented to stand against this man. Even if he was tired at the time he met Mitsurugi, Raphael knew that the man was very good in combat and thought that even if he claimed the contrary to the samurai, he would have lost against this formidable opponent no matter his health condition. But he would not tell Amy to worry her about one of the few people who was kind to her and that she seemed to care about. Then Amy and him continued to talk about their respective trip while waiting for the minions' return.