I should be sleeping, but work made me not get this done earlier, and it really has to get out of my mind and onto... pixels, I guess, not paper. Regardless.
Serafin stood, carefully avoiding the blade hanging in midair, and then glanced downwards. Below her, she saw herself, pushing to one side to avoid the descending weapon. It was clear to her that she was not going to make it. â€œYou know, that Charm is supposed to block anything.â€ Her comment came out sounding more moody than she had intended, and she crossed glumly to where her goddess sat. Luna was wearing Serafinâ€™s own face this time, tinted with silver light.
â€œOh, it does. According to the rules.â€ Luna shrugged. â€œThatâ€™s what Isidoros has always done, though. Restructured reality to suit himself. He dislikes perfection.â€ She snapped her fingers thoughtfully. â€œHow did it go? Ah, yes. â€˜Itâ€™s better to dream tomorrow than be thereâ€™. Suits him to a tee, really.â€
Serafin raised an eyebrow. â€œWhat does?â€
â€œThe Sutra of the Expectant Maiden.â€ Luna shrugged. â€œThe others never quite got it, and I didnâ€™t feel like sharing. Maybe I should have. Maybe we would have seen it coming.â€ She sighed and shook her head. â€œThe Sutras have to apply to a Conduit as well as their Primordial for the conjunction to succeed. That Conduit was right in that way â€“ itâ€™s not quite like being an akuma. Much more of a union than those puppets over there.â€ She gestured calmly towards the two Infernals, each frozen in the midst of preparing to attack their defenseless foes. â€œWe always knew their return was possible. Thatâ€™s why we distanced ourselves from the actual control of Creation. But they outsmarted us.â€
Serafin looked over the Conduit thoughtfully. â€œWell, not all of the Abyssals still work for their lords, right? If we could gather them â€“â€
â€œNope.â€ Luna dashed Serafinâ€™s hopes with another shrug. â€œThe Deliberative already handed their power over. They canâ€™t just take it back. The Lunars and Sidereals could reverse the edict, since they still hold the balance of power, but youâ€™d need fifty live Sidereals for that. And I donâ€™t think the Conduits will allow that to happen ever again.â€
Serafin frowned. â€œWhy in the name ofâ€¦ well, of youâ€¦ did you set it up that way? Why not a majority of the living Sidereals and Lunars?â€
â€œWe didnâ€™t want someone to murder their way to consensus.â€ At Serafinâ€™s disbelieving snort, Luna laughed. â€œI know. I recognize the irony.â€ She paused for a moment. â€œAnyway, whatâ€™s this about â€˜weâ€™? I canâ€™t do anything. The Competition binds me. And you canâ€™t do anything, because youâ€™re about to be gutted.â€
â€œMm.â€ Serafin nodded after a moment, her moment of amusement vanishing. â€œThereâ€™s no chance, huh? No smart idea to save me?â€
â€œI came to say goodbye, not to give you smart ideas. I couldnâ€™t give you smart ideas. If there was even the slightest chance that my actions could alter your odds, I couldnâ€™t be here.â€ Luna looked over at the blade. â€œA Solar could disrupt Isidorosâ€™s power in moments. A Sidereal could avoid it, if they were prepared beforehand â€“ which Nash wasnâ€™t. You could probably stop it if you were in the Wyld, but not here. Not now.â€ She sighed.
â€œAnd thatâ€™s it? The Conduits rise up, and Creation falls?â€ Serafin was incredulous. â€œYou arenâ€™t going to do anything?â€
â€œWhat could I do? Without Conduits on their side, thereâ€™s no way Creation can get out of this.â€
â€œWell, thatâ€™s no good! Itâ€™s not like we can just walk up to a Primordial andâ€¦â€ Serafin trailed off, and blinked. â€œA Primordial.â€
â€œExcuse me?â€ Luna raised an eyebrow?
â€œThe Competition isnâ€™t between the Yozi. Itâ€™s between Primordials.â€
â€œCorrect. The Neverborn are in on it, too.â€ Luna smiled sadly. â€œOf course, they have only four Conduits, instead of the nine they expected. A small victory for our side.â€
â€œWhat about Gaia?â€ Luna looked up sharply. Serafin stood, began to pace. â€œGaiaâ€™s a Primordial. Doesnâ€™t she have a stake? A Conduit?â€
â€œThey donâ€™t grow on trees.â€ Luna looked down. â€œLike I saidâ€¦â€
â€œI know, I know. They have to mesh up on some primeval level. Whatâ€™s Gaiaâ€™s scripture?â€
â€œI canâ€™t tell you that.â€ Serafin looked over to find Luna watching her.
â€œIt could affect the Competition.â€
â€œI thought I was about to die! How couldâ€¦â€ Serafinâ€™s eyes went wide, and her voice went quiet. â€œoh.â€
Luna stood. â€œHm. Looks like youâ€™re in the middle of an epiphany. I had better leave, before I inadvertently say something else.â€ She took a step away, then glanced back over her shoulder, mirroring her Chosen. â€œGoodbye, Serafin. It was an honour to have you sworn to me. And thank you for the Silver Court.â€ A sudden, impish smile crossed her features. â€œThey are very dedicated.â€
As she left, Serafin felt time starting to pull, and resisted. She did not speak, because there was no need.
Once there was a maidenâ€¦ who met a thing that lived outside the world, and there was a beauty to it.
She stepped towards her body, looking down the hallway at Alakazar and Gwydion, and she smiled.
It burned with an unholy wrath that could destroy Creation. It hated her as much as it loved her.
It could have been anything. It could have gone either way. The world as it might have been if he had never understood was dark.
Its kiss was blood and perfection, for its teeth were sharp.
She let her mind range free, and she heard the thoughts forming within her. â€œThe Storm has come.â€
It offered her power, and with it, hooks to tear at her soul.
Her thoughts blended. â€œI am the Firmament.â€
With care not to burn her fingers, she took it into her life.
It was about healing wounds. About finding the balance, when the world perched on a knifeâ€™s edge. The thoughts echoed with her own, her small voice blending with another, a greater, all of Creation singing the final line of the sutra through her mouth.
â€œLove is what you make of it.â€, said she.
Time started. The blade descended with the wrath of the Yozi.
And she caught it, because that is what heroes do.