Chapter 13: The Folly of Vengeance
A steady beeping was the sound Flora awoke to as she sat up in her bed in the Medical Ward of the Cocoon. She looked around and got a feel for her surroundings. A glossy alabaster room greeted her with crisp blandness. Sterile medical equipment was littered about the place and several doctors monitored Flora’s vitals carefully. Flora looked to right then and saw that most of the beds were empty. Well, most of them. She finally dragged her eyes upon the bed next to her and saw Krysta upon the sheets. Flora’s expression turned sour as she turned away from the dreadful sight and buried her face in her sweating palms.
“I see you have awoken.” said a familiar voice to the wounded maiden.
Flora looked up from her tear soaked, sweat slick palms to see the face of Lockhart smiling gently upon her.
“Lockhart…” Flora muttered.
“How are you feeling?”
“Just a little nauseous…”
Lockhart nodded and took a seat next to Flora’s hospital bed.
“Just a side effect from the tranquilizer. Your wounds from the fight with Nina have already healed. You’re going to be just fine and should be out of Medical in a few hours.”
Flora nodded with understanding and looked down at her hands. Realization of the things she had done, the choices she made were beginning to come back to her. She had made mistakes and she was unsure if she would even be able to correct them. These were mistakes she would have to live with for the rest of her life. That thought alone was enough to make Flora want to crack. Her fingers clutched the sheets tightly and pulled them closer to her chest. Lockhart gently placed his hand on Flora’s back and rubbed it in comforting circles.
“I’m sorry I didn’t come to you sooner…” Flora spoke through sorrowful quivers.
“It’s fine. You were confused. It’s been a rough few days, though I will tell you this. You are not the first Demon to go after Nina as of late.”
“What are you talking about?”
“Do you remember when Nina attacked the Center City Street Mall?”
Flora simply nodded as to not interrupt Lockhart’s exposition.
“There was only one survivor. The poor boy lost his father in the attack. Ever since he became a Demon he had been set on using his powers to end Nina’s rampage for good. He wanted to kill her for the same reason as you. But something happened out there, he saw something that made him have a change of heart. Now he seeks answers to his questions as opposed to simple revenge.”
“What are you saying?” asked Flora as she looked at him strangely.
“I’m saying that you should talk to him.”
Lockhart left Flora with that simple suggestion. One simple sentence prompting the potential connection of individuals. Flora wasn’t sure where her place was in life, and maybe this boy had the answers she sought so desperately. The boy went through the same things she had. He had lost a father to Nina. Maybe he could help her decide which life was the one to live and what path to walk.
After a few hours Flora was released from the Medical Ward. She wandered the halls of the Cocoon wrapped in a clean pair of clothes. Confusion wrapped itself around Flora’s perception as she took aimless steps through the light filled corridors. Flora had never been within the chambers of the Cocoon. For the longest time she had avoided that place ever since she left it. She never wanted to return. All she wanted was to be a benefit to humanity and a progression of Nature. But she wasn’t about to give up the simple pleasures of life to become the thing she idolized.
After wandering through the long winding corridors of the Cocoon, Flora finally found herself facing a window overlooking a white room. As she pressed her forehead against the cold glass she watched two figures in the room fighting each other. Figures that she undoubtedly recognized, yet her memory was fuzzy from being unconscious for so long. Then it hit her like her worst hangover. Those were the Demons that retrieved her from the Slums. Terra, and some boy she never knew. Perhaps this was the boy Lockhart had mentioned to her. There was only one way she would find out.
Ever since the battle in the Slums, I had been training with Terra. I still could barely use my powers. I had a long road ahead of me if I wanted to get strong enough to face Nina once again. Terra was one hell of an opponent to go up against. Her control over the earth made her attacks large and powerful. She was a full on brawler. If I wanted to survive I would have to keep her at a distance and rely on my agility.
I fired a barrage of light beams at Terra to keep her pinned down. Terra had an easy way to counter my assault. A swift stomp from Terra’s foot raised a slab of rock from the beneath the floor. Terra took cover behind the slab and crouched down with her hand touching the floor. As I continued to suppress Terra with a constant barrage of beams, a spire of rock poked out from the ground and glanced my face. I immediately leaped back and repositioned. It was too late. The distraction gave Terra all the time she needed to close the gap. I dodged her fist as it curved towards my head only to feel another stone clad fist collide with my stomach. I lurched forward on Terra’s colliding arm as I gasped for air. Terra stepped back and ran her other fist right into my skull sending me flying towards the wall. I managed to recover from the blow and slid across the ground on my feet. Despite having distance I still was at a disadvantage. Not only was Terra immensely strong, she had speed to back it up. She could summon stone pillars to emerge from beneath her feet and give her momentum to dash towards her opponent. I had to keep my eyes open. Lucky for me, Hell could do that for me.
“Hell. Watch her movements and tell me the moment she is about to jump.” I said softly under my breath.
“Got it.” Hell responded.
A still silence draped over Terra and I as we braced ourselves. I charged up light matter in my hands as I anticipated Terra’s dash. I couldn’t just suppress her. She was too quick. If I wanted to be an actual threat to her I had to know where she was going to be a second ahead of time and use well placed shots. I would have to make sure she knew I could hit her whenever I want.
“Heaven! Now!” Hell shouted from within my mind.
I reacted swiftly and fired a beam at Terra just as she was about to dash towards me. The beam grazed her shoulder causing her to cancel her movement. Terra immediately brought up a barrier only for me to lay down suppressing fire. While I kept her pinned I summoned my dark blade and cut my way into negative space. I disappeared from Terra’s senses. Terra didn’t need to see me in order to know where I was. She could focus in on the vibrations in the ground made by my footsteps to track my movements. But if her opponent was in the air, her Second Personality could keep tabs on their position. But if I escaped in between space, there was no conceivable way to track me. I would essentially erase my existence, but only temporarily. I appeared behind Terra’s cover and aimed my hand down at her head with a heavily concentrated bolt of light matter charging in my palm.
“Checkmate.” I muttered.
“You’re too confident.” Terra said with a grin.
Within a split second I was launched into the air by a surge of rock and magma. I found myself staring at the ceiling as my body flew into the air then descended head first towards the ground below. I regained control over my body and flipped over onto my feet as I landed on the ground. I stared down Terra as she looked through me with a confused look.
“What is it?” I asked.
I turned around to see Flora standing at the door of the White Room. She looked just as broken and defeated as she did when we first found her. She was in a sorry state to say the least. Her drooping eyes stared into mine as she slowly lifted her weary head.
“Are you Heaven?”
I nodded slightly at Flora’s inquiry and turned to face Terra. Terra merely sighed to herself and smiled at me before patting me on the shoulder.
“You did good today. Why don’t you take care of her for now.” said Terra calmly.
Terra left the White Room. The empty blank box of a white was now only occupied by myself and Flora. Flora was a beautiful woman to say the least, but her expression told a sad story. This sad story was about to end with her talking to me. She came to me for help even though I wasn’t sure what kind of help I’d be.
We sat on the glossy metal floor of the White Room and conversed. Flora wanted my help in deciding her next move. She had been so misguided by her own lust for vengeance that she nearly pushed away the only other Demon that she cared about. She hated our kind, she hated what she had become. She didn’t understand why she had to become a monster in order to benefit mankind. Flora truly believed the Demons were created to be slaughtered. The Director saw us as the worst possible form of human evolution, as a violent and combative group of people. Were we truly all created just to die?
“I’m sorry about what happened to the Gardens.” I said with a comforting voice.
Flora looked at me with a bit of a confused yet surprised expression. She wasn’t expecting to hear something like that. However, it did not detract from her modesty.
“It’s not your fault… It’s in the past right? It doesn’t matter anymore.”
“It matters if you are still planning on going after Nina.”
“I don’t know anymore… She is too strong for me to fight on my own. What about you, didn’t she kill your father?”
“Yeah… Yeah she did.”
I looked down to the floor as memories of my father’s body crumbling to ashes played in my mind only to fade into the memories from the battle with CAPRA. I began to speak once more with a somber voice.
“But… Since that battle against CAPRA, I’ve started to think. I saw Nina do things that I didn’t expect her to. She put the lives of her allies above herself. She showed genuine concern and almost kindness towards those who had sided with her. She endured unbearable pain so that her friends could escape. In all my life I have never heard I person let out more honest and guttural screams.”
“Nina did all that? Are you sure you weren’t hallucinating?” Flora asked.
“Yeah. I’m still having trouble believing it myself. But I realize now that I only saw the person I wanted to see. The monster who murdered my father, but now things are different. I don’t think I can bring myself to kill a woman who can still put others before herself.”
“Then what are you going to do now?”
“I am going to fight for the truth. There are so many things that have happened since I became a Demon that I do not understand. There are too many unanswered questions.”
“What if you don’t like the answers you get? What if you have to kill her in the end?”
“I don’t know… After awhile, I began to see the monster I had become after I was reborn. I saw that the choices I made had blinded me. I shoved aside everything just to pursue vengeance. I realized that I can’t change the past. I can’t change what choices I have already made. I have to embrace what I am now and work towards the future so I can change.”
“We’re Demons, bio-weapons created from human bodies. Do you truly think we can still be the people we once were and still accept our powers. Or are we just monsters in a shell.”
“I wish I had an answer. But I like to believe that deep within me, the memories of the child I once was are sleeping soundly. I came so close to throwing away everything that led me today. It’s only now that realized how precious those memories are.”
“You’re a lucky one though. You still have your life ahead of you.”
“Or you could say it was a shame my life was taken away so soon.”
“I guess our lives aren’t that much different.”
“Yeah… I guess you’re right.”
It never occurred to me just how many other people were affected by Nina’s rampage. I never once thought of the souls lost to her flames. I was only ever concerned with myself. Not once did I ever even look passed my own suffering. I was even blind to my own father’s soul. My own choices led me to meet the girl named Flora. Because of our connection to Nina our paths intersected. I had a feeling she wouldn’t be the first person to be connected to the hellspawn that was Nina. I felt it deep within me that the worst was yet to come.
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