Original Stories Fan Fiction ❯ Capricious Infection ❯ Act 24: Tale of a Dove, Part 5 ( Chapter 24 )
[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]
Act 24: Tale of a Dove, Part 5
The group retreated back to a large, abandon inn. After the course of events, they didn't have much to say to each other on the way back. Everything was silent for a while, and Spades ended up drifting off to sleep, despite his fight for consciousness. His body was too battered and weak to continue on. Dove glanced down at the slumbering Arcane and smiled gently. He deserved a good rest after all he'd been through.
They all did.
Once they got inside, the children were scurrying about. Some of them managed to take some food with them. They headed to the kitchen and began making something that would hopefully feed everyone. What food was left in the kitchen helped them along.
The Cut Throat Crew moved one of the futons down to the lobby and Dove moved Spades onto it as they dressed his wounds and sowed them shut. Clubs was good at closing wounds, so he was given the honor of doing so. They then found ointment in one of the first aid kids and applied it, then wrapped the wounds and covered him up. He was no doubt cold from blood loss.
A violent storm moved in, the rain beat against the glass panes of the large windows and slammed into the water of the pool and hot tubs outside as a few of the children gathered by his bedside with worried expressions as Spades cracked his eyes open.
“Is there anything you need, Spades?” Hearts inquired, kneeling to the right of his head.
“Do you need anything? We can get you something if you do.” A small boy with blonde hair and ripped clothing offered his assistance.
“I'm just in a lot of pain, and I'm pretty cold. I think it's just from blood loss. If I drink plenty of fluids and consume something I should be fine,” Spades reassured those who were worried about him. He had sustained far worse wounds than these in the past. He was sure that he would be able to pull through them with no problem.
That was what he was going to convince himself of, anyway.
“I can cook some of the food that we saved.” One of the older girls with long, blue hair offered with a raise of her hand.
“That would be nice. I actually don't think I've eaten anything since I got here,” he had been so caught up in trying to get away from Pregmacia that he hadn't had time to concentrate on much. It seemed all that was on his mind as of late was the Blood Ruby.
“You're a carnivore, aren't you?” Dove noted. All canines were, unless they had no teeth or something. That was her logic behind that deduction, anyway.
“Meat it is!” The blue-haired girl smiled happily and walked off into the kitchen to alert the staff of their slight menu change. Dove arose and turned to follow her to help the kids but Spades had other plans.
Dove stopped and turned to him. “You want something?”
“I want to talk to you…alone.”
Clubs placed a hand to his muzzle and snickered. “If I didn't say so, I'd say you were taking a liking to that human,” he teased the two, but in truth Spades had never shown interest in anyone, much less another alien. It was nice that he made a friend, but at the same time Clubs couldn't help but feel odd towards it. However, he just wrote it off as him being paranoid of other races.
“Clubs…shut up. She's a member of our crew. Show some respect.” It was rude to imply things. For all he knew Dove would think such an idea was disgusting, and Spades didn't want any bad blood among his members. It was already a problem with Boxcars' explosive temperament.
Hearts cast a skeptical look to Spades before she arose and looked at the other members with a steely expression. “Come on, guys. Let's leave Spades alone for a while until he gets a better attitude.” Honestly, all of this fuss over a human somehow disgusted her to the point of anger.
“You wouldn't feel too good if you were nailed to a cross and tortured either,” Spades shot as his fellows stopped in their tracks.
“Tortured?” Hearts whispered the question.
“I don't want to talk about it right now.” Reliving it shortly after only made his sanity and nerves fray even more than they were now. Right now, Spades wanted to unwind.
Hearts looked down and felt a prang of guilt from her prior attitude. “I'm sorry.”
“You are forgiven, but you should be wise enough to know that you should not prejudge an individual before you receive information about them first,” he could understand why her tension was so high, but he had endured enough and didn't feel like putting up with her attitude about anything at this moment in time.
“I think we're all a little stressed out,” Hearts felt other things, but she blamed the majority of her bitchy attitude on anxiety.
“I'm going to go rest. This weather is perfect for it. There's nothing much we can do in the rain,” Boxcars noted. He'd done nothing but get into one fight after another, and after using Hazzard Drain, his body needed a good lounge in the rain.
“If you should need anything, do give us a shout,” Diamonds offered his assistance and decided to leave the two alone. He was going to go and sit outside under one of the umbrellas at the dining tables and admire the rain.
“I will,” Spades reassured them and glanced back to the remaining children who waited for his orders. “I only want Dove around. That means the rest of you can run off and do whatever.”
“Right on! We'll go off in this direction.” One of the boys pointed with a suspicious grin as the group of children dispersed and went off to see what other chores they could do to help out.
Clubs opened the door to let himself out but paused upon hearing his leader's sentence. “Did he just call her Dove?”
Diamonds, who was in front of him glanced over his shoulder. “Peculiar, isn't it?”
“They've been spending a lot of time together. I wonder what he sees in her, anyway,” Clubs didn't see anything special about some girl who looked like a hipster and shot magical arrows. It wasn't as if she possessed any note-worthy skill unless it was being sarcastic.
Dove walked over to Spades' bedside and sat on her knees by his head. “What did you want to talk about?”
“I'm sorry for troubling you. I mean to protect you but I failed. They ended up taking me and leaving you on the battlefield,” Spades explained the first part of what happened. As much as it pained him to relive it, he owed her an explanation of what happened.
“It wasn't that big of a deal. When I woke up, I was with the rest of the Cut Throat Crew. I just got a huge gash on my shoulder, but no biggie. It was patched up by the kids.” Sure, it hurt like a bitch and it was hard to maneuver with a cut like that, but she wasn't one to complain.
“You don't remember…do you?” Maybe it as from what she got knocked out. Perhaps it diminished her short-term memory. It also could have been the trauma of the situation as well.
“I just remember blacking out…Did something happen?”
“You were nearly assassinated by a being called a Kefros,” Spades was surprised that Dove didn't remember anything at all.
“Kefros? We met one of those when we were coming to find you.” It was that Cyra girl with the massive horns and bows on them. One of her people tried to kill her? Why wasn't she aware of it? She must have been hit pretty hard.
“You did?” There were more of them? That wasn't good.
“She said that her people devised the crucifixion but never told me why. Boxcars killed her, so we can't find out either.” Not unless they came across another member of the Kefros race, anyway. All of their immediate information was gone.
“It is more than a simple crucifixion. They torture you and drain your energy. Their main goal is to extract information and life force through means of psychic powers.” That was what Spades had witnessed through the other victims that had their lives taken behind him. Through the pained screams and agonizing deaths, the Kefros gained knowledge of other races. That was possibly how they learned of the Earth's resources.
Dove frowned. “That's horrible. You must be worse off than you're saying,” he mentioned being tortured, and if that happened he had more wounds than just holes in his hands and places on his chest where the chains rubbed him.
“I didn't want everyone knowing. I'm not sure I'll be back on my feet for a while. In that I mean time, will you care for me?” She offered her assistance, and this was his way of getting her to give it. Not to mention, there were unspoken things he wished of her.
“Why me? I mean, we aren't the same species or anything so I don't know if the same things work on you that do on me.” It was odd that he would request her help. Didn't he want someone who at least had the same anatomy as him?
“I think you can do it. I can tell you how, using the resources that you have.”
“You're really persistent about this, aren't you?” Dove didn't know what exactly he was aiming at but she had the feeling that he wasn't going to leave her alone unless she did what he asked. It was strange though, the others were better suited for this job. Someone like Clubs, who was a great scientist on Arcane or Hearts, who was a spy or something. They had better knowledge of those types of things.
Spades nodded. He wanted her. Her in specific. Her alone.
“Why? Why me?”
“I want to know more about you.” Not only was the human race one that he had limited knowledge about, but he felt compelled to be drawn towards Dove. There were many things that made her atypical from the normal human. From the moment he met her, he was entranced with the mystery that entangled her.
Pondering for a moment, Dove shrugged. “Alright, we got to know each other right now. Since it's just you and me, I'll answer anything you want to ask.” As long as the words never passed from Spades' brain…or whatever he used to think with then things would be cool between them.
The first thing that came to his mind was asked. “That power you have, with the arrows. How did you learn such a thing?”
“Let me tell you a story. I, at the time didn't think anyone would believe me, but now that everything has happened I think you will.” After taking a deep breath, Dove told him a tale that, in any normal environment would sound like the ramblings of a mental patient.
When she was young, about seven years old a woman showed up who looked on her teens with short hair the color of bubblegum, curled up at the ends in the style of the sixties flip. Her eyes slanted with dark lashes and contained the same pink color that her hair was. The woman carried a huge gun with a clock on the side of it that looked more like a gauge than a time piece. She was clad in a one-piece, form fitting blue dress with a rainbow across her breasts with clouds on either end, three-quarter sleeves and a large, white belt that hung diagonally at her hips with white heels and thigh-high socks with lace bordering the edges. She had walked through what she was pretty sure was a warp hole in time.
At the time, she was unaware of what it was, but being the dumb child that she was she called it magic. The pink-haired woman told her that in order to survive in the future, that I would need a magical power. Dove asked if it was like being a magical girl from an anime. The thought of having a magical power of her very own excited her. The time traveler agreed and she told her that she would need it to save the world and with the power came a great responsibility. She didn't know how great until the world fell apart.
The woman also informed Dove to keep her powers a secret and develop them when she was the only one present. Dove took up archery class as soon as she could to improve her aim and skills. Everyone else would have thought it was stupid, or a childish bullshit dream that she should have given up, but Dove refused to. She honestly believed that she would truly save the world one day. That woman from the future taught her how to believe in magic.
The mysterious female told her that in order to activate her powers that she needed to concentrate her energy into arrows. The bow and arrows were normal on their own, but to let the magic show it needed to be gathered and concentrated into one point.
Dove practiced for years, focusing all of her energy into the arrows and within the first year of getting her mysterious power, she was able to do it quite well. She was happy that her magic finally worked the way that she wanted it to. She felt like the woman from the future really knew what she was talking about, like some sort of great prophet. The woman chose her for this task and over the years Dove practiced her secret power, harnessing it and growing stronger. She learned many different techniques and worked with special elements to make her own attacks.
It was pretty cool stuff.
“Did you ever learn the woman's name?” If she had, it would be possible that Dove could run into her on the warring grounds of Earth.
“No, but I know what she looked like. She had pink hair, pink eyes and she wore orchid lipstick. A real cool chick that had a big-ass sniper gun. She dressed kind of provocatively and she said we'd meet again in the future.” That was all that Dove really knew about her. It was a long time since she'd seen her. Back then, she looked about the same age Dove was now.
“Do you still believe that?”
“Yep. Sure do.”
Spades smiled a little, looking exhausted even though he had just waked up from an already long nap. “I think you'll make her proud if you ever see her again.” He was sure of it.
Dove frowned and arched an eyebrow. “Are you sure you're alright? You seem tired.”
“It's been a long day, that's for sure,” his answer was indirect. Spades didn't want to worry her, either.
“You've got to be in pain, and we don't even have any pain killers here.” Even if they did, would they work on Arcanes? She didn't even know. They could be poisonous to them for all she knew.
“We really never used pain killers on Arcane,” Spades noted. He's always just dealt with his pain in the natural way, no matter how bad it was.
“Really?” Dove almost did a double take.
“Sad but true. It hurts, yes but that's alright. What few medicines that you gave me are working well. The older boy that was in here with Clubs helped stitch up my wounds well.” This was one of the few reasons he was hesitant on telling her anything, but he decided that he had no choice, considering Dove worried about him no matter what he told her. The truth was the best answer.
“I never knew that you could control blood like that. That's pretty cool.” The girl changed the subject and gave him a kind smile. It seemed that there was a lot about Spades that she really didn't know. It must have been pretty awesome to be given a power like that.
“I'll have to wait a while before I can do that again. I lost quite a bit of blood.” It would be dangerous otherwise.
“Drink a lot, then you might be able to get it back,” he probably knew that, but Dove thought she'd throw it out there anyway.
“Yes, I'm trying to do that. It's just hard to do with injured hands,” he threw his bandaged hands out to either side. Spades didn't want to do anything that would pop his stitches so he tried not to flex his hands too much.
“Why didn't you say so?” Dove grabbed the glass of water beside her and sat Spades up slowly, putting an arm behind his back to support him. She placed the glass up to his lips. “Here, drink.”
Spades opened his mouth and she slowly poured the liquid in. It felt cool against his parched throat as it slithered down his esophagus. He drank the whole glass before hearing a knock on the door.
Dove put the glass down and told whoever it was to come in. The door opened slowly as a girl walked in with a plate that had pieces of chicken, fish and beef on it. She walked into the room and presented the girl with the plate.
“Here's your food. It's nothing but meat. I hope you like it, since you lost a lot of blood; I thought you might want things with a lot of iron.” That was the reasoning behind the variety of types of meat. All were rich in iron, and even though she was unsure if things worked the same way for aliens she tried to be accommodating to his needs.
“Oh, thank you very much. I appreciate your kindness.”
The girl blushed slightly and smiled, proud of her efforts. “It's not a problem, really. I took a lot of cooking classes, so I'm pretty good at it.”
“You should teach some of the others to cook if they don't know how,” Dove thought it would give the kids something to do in the mean time. They all needed to know how to survive on their own if they ever got separated. This was the prime time to do so.
The girl nodded. “Right, they really do need to learn how to fend for themselves. Having different age groups is kind of helpful. We can get to teach the younger kids our skills.”
Dove took the food from her. “Yeah, I know I can't teach all of those guys to do it myself. I appreciate the few around who are in my age group.”
“We try as much as we can. Now, I'll leave you two alone. If you need anything, please contact me,” she bowed and walked out of the room.
“Sure thing,” Dove looked at her patient. “Guess you want me to feed you this, right?”
Spades nodded. “I would like that.”
The rain poured down onto the ground, forming large puddles and merging the blood of the fallen. It showered on two figures, making their clothes cling to their forms and weighing down their hair. Dante sat on a large stone that used to be part of the foundation of a building and Tarvos sat on top of one of the crucifix crosses, holding his War Scythe and smiling to himself. He was content with the death and destruction. Things were going according to plan.
“This is truly my setting. So much death here. I think it might have been a torture site.” He noted to himself.
Dante looked to the cross. He just wanted to get this over with. “So, this is what we have to destroy?”
“It's pretty well abandon. There might be a few people out dueling it out in the rain, but for the most pare everyone is hiding out in buildings or trying to rest up.” There was no better time for attacking an area than there was now. It was a great war tactic and no one would see it coming. Not to mention, Tarvos' element would grow stronger as lives were lost.
“So…why are we sitting out in the fucking rain?” Dante complained. If they were going to do something, they might as well start.
The grim reaper closed his eyes and deeply inhaled the scent of rain washed decay, soil and gunpowder. “I like the rain. It calms me down. I feel peaceful feeling it beating against my body.”
Dante's frown deepened. “You're fucking weird. Anyway, wouldn't now be a good time to attack since they are all in their little hiding holes?”
“They'll all die eventually. Why not just wait. We can just set this whole place on fire and burn it to the ground. Besides, I like to watch them run around in a scurry and if they happen to make it out alive, I'll just pick it back up and kill them on the way to freedom,” Tarvos looked out across the horizon of the execution site. Seeing it burn to the ground and watching as those around him struggled to escape the flames, explosions and each other only made his smile widen. The death toll of this place would be grand.
Dante just sighed. He wasn't enjoying getting soaked to the bone, nor was he enjoying the ramblings of the lunatic he was teamed up with. “It figures you'd want something like that.”
“I like the sounds of their screaming as their lives are slowly stolen from them.” No one could understand such a crescendo of tunes and they elation he felt when doing his job.
“I just want to get this over with. You like killing people, but I don't.” No matter what type of horrible being he used to be, Dante didn't enjoy anything about being Chaos, nor did he enjoy anything about bringing it to this planet.
“Once you start…” Tarvos' smile widened. “…you can't stop. There's just something about the force that drives you to do so. It's an exhilarating feeling, an ultimate might and standing still makes you feel far too unsatisfied.”
“Is it because you feel too guilty to go back to having a normal life?” That was how most killers operated. At least, those who have killed for a long time. Dante was no criminologist but he saw the occasional shows that featured the minds of killers and their internal workings. Tarvos was a tough case in question. He seemed to be more of a thrill killer than a common psychopath. If he wasn't a grim reaper, he would be one hell of a wanted man by Earth terms.
“Heh, I feel no guilt.” Killing was second nature, much like breathing or eating. There was no guilt to feel, not from eons of taking lives. His blood pumping organ had long since hardened.
“That's the part that worries me.” The fact that Tarvos was noticeably crazy was one thing, but the fact that he was sociopathic was another case entirely.
Sociopaths were masters of influence and deception. They were extremely skillful at making things they said sound believable, even if they were just making them up out of thin air. Tarvos had all of the inner workings of sociopath. He tended to do bizarre, sometimes erratic things most regular people wouldn't do. His behavior was risky. He was incapable of feeling shame, guilt or remorse which allowed him to betray people and kill them without giving anything a second thought. He was highly intelligent and used his brainpower to deceive them in the beginning. His high IQ made him dangerous in more than one aspect. It was the trait of the some of the best serial killers who evaded the law the longest. Dante also noticed that Tarvos spoke poetically, with monologue that was both intriguing and hypnotic.
The more time he spent with the reaper, the more things popped out as signs. Then again, if he had the job of appointing someone to be an executioner Tarvos would be the type of person he would want. Tarvos had the gusto to kill, the mentality to do it and although it was a sad fact that his sociopathic nature was a result of Oz giving him all of his negative qualities, Dante couldn't deny his prowess.
So far, while Tarvos had done things that pissed him off or hurt him, he didn't back down on making the world a place for both races to live. Still, there was something unnerving about him that made him questionable. Dante could tell that certain things the Dius said were true, like the story about his past and his relationship with Diablo, but the other things were up for grabs.
“You shouldn't either. You were made for this job.” Honestly, the kid needed to harden up. When was he going to stop living in his little delusional world of being a normal human and grow a spine? Compared to the Diablo he used to know, Dante was a hollow hull. How disappointing.
“The old me was,” Dante furrowed his eyebrows in irritation. No matter what Tarvos said, he wasn't going back to being whatever man Diablo was. He didn't care who liked it.
Spades lay back down on the bed. With a full stomach, he felt more rested and thanked Dove for helping him eat the delicious meal. The girl covered him back up and tucked him into bed out of habit. She was used to tucking the kids in to make them feel more secure at night. Some habits never died.
“I hope you feel a little better, anyway. By the way, thanks.”
“For what?” Spades felt more like a burden than anything. What could she possibly be thanking him for?
“Listening to my story and not thinking it's stupid,” he was the first one to hear it, and the fact that he believed it made her feel a little better about herself. Dove smiled a little knowing that she didn't just sound crazy.
“I never would have. Things like that are plausible in my world: time traveling, fortune telling, psychic predictions…all of those things are ordinary occurrences,” he took it the humans didn't have things like that happen normally and if they did, they more than likely didn't believe it. They seemed like skeptical creatures by default.
“You've been growing up with these things. In our world, it's unheard of…was unheard of. Kind of like an urban legend. All of this stuff that's been happening to me recently, it just seems so surreal…even now. Like some kind of dream.” Other races, gods fighting over the earth, intergalactic war taking place on Earth's soil…it sounded like a war of the worlds situation more than something she lived, breathed and existed in on a day to day basis.
“It's initial shock. I think it will sink in,” Spades had never thought about things from her perspective. It must have been a huge shock, in culture and situation to be bombarded with beings whose existence was questionable and technology that was far beyond the scope of their own. No wonder she was in this shambled state. Even though she tried to keep up a tough girl façade, he could tell that it was wearing on her psyche.
“I'm just surviving. You know, I'm really thankful that you guys are doing this. I know that you think the kids weigh you down, but it helps them out a lot.” They never would have escaped Motrvak in the abandon village if Boxcars hadn't have saved the children, nor would they have even found a possible place above ground or knew about the Divine Ones. The Arcane's advanced knowledge of things they knew nothing about helped them to understand their situation and why the war happened to begin with.
“I'm not even sure why my team mates agreed to that…” Spades sighed to himself. “Wait…I am. I can't lie. They want you to find the Blood Ruby for them.”
“I had that feeling.”
“I admit that I wanted that as well, but now I'm rethinking my decision.” Dove hadn't expected Spades to tell her that. What made him change his mind so suddenly? That was his whole reason for even being on the Earth in the first place.
“What? Why? Don't you want to bring your people back?” She was really confused now. If Spades didn't want to resurrect the Arcane race, what did he want?
“I guess you could say that I've had some enlightenment when I was hanging on that cross. All of this, the bloodshed and waste of life…I wonder what it's for. At what price is freedom? If we rewrite the past, will the future be just the same? It was prophesized long ago that we cannot escape our destiny and our true path. Within the spectrum of the infinite loop of paradoxes, if we are said to die in that timeline, we still will. All things end and each death has purpose and meaning. Even if dying is to inspire another, it still has a purpose,” Spades sat up slowly as the human listened intently to his monologue. When he saw the world warring around him as he slowly bled on that cross, Spades thought about many things and all of the regrets he harbored on his shoulders. He thought about their current goals and the resurrection of the Arcane race, the consequences behind doing such things and about the Dius and their goals and plans for the planet. In the vast scope of things, a few epiphanies graced him and he began to wonder about the true value of the Cut Throat Crew and their purpose. It wasn't too late to turn the other cheek. However, convincing them would be a whole different story.
“What's the purpose of everyone dying here? Tell me that. What are we fighting for?” Dove reflected on the hell that she went through, on how this whole turn of events drove her and her brother to different sides. It killed their parents, friends and other family members. It left children homeless, families mourning and scared for their very lives. So much devastation and emotional wreckage for what? What phoenix would fly from the aftermath of this war? What grand things could be offered in exchange for all of the pain and agony they were put through?
“Somehow, we're all supposed to come together like this. I believe that the Divine Ones spoke of creating a new paradox, and I believe that we're supposed to be around to witness the birth of this new world.” At first, he didn't want to believe it but now everything made sense. The Arcane were dead, and the dead could not be brought back to life without disrupting the balance of the way things were run. At this point, Spades questioned everything.
“Maybe we're supposed to, now that I think about it.” It made sense to her. Maybe her brother did pick the right side to be on after all.
“From what I've gathered, it would seem like we have a purpose, though I am not sure what it is. I don't think it's a mistake that we were chased here.” It was more like fate to land on a planet that would be turned into a new world that they had the possibility of living on as a free race.
“You guys are oracles, right?” Dove asked.
“Diamonds is. I'm just a knight.”
“You certainly were mine. You're a pretty cool guy, Spades Sapporo.”
Spades couldn't help but put his hand behind his head and blush at her compliment. “It was nothing. Besides, I didn't really save you,” he rambled on nervously.
Dove laughed a little. “You're funny. You saved me in ways you don't know about.”
“What?” What did she mean by that? Spades cocked his head in question.
“Tell ya later. By the by, if you want you can be my black knight. How'd that be? Unless you gave that up and all,” Dove could tell that even though Spades claimed to have given up his position he still took his honor code seriously. Reinstating him as a knight might be to his advantage.
“Since you rescued me, I will do that for you. I'll be your black knight and entrust you with a secret of my own.” It was the least he could do for someone who had revealed her own secret to him, and saved his life.
“Secret?” Dove arched an eyebrow.
“Earlier, you inquired about me real name.”
“You'll tell me that?” Spades constantly surprised her with his statements. She couldn't believe that he decided to reveal to her his true identity. He must really have trusted her.
“It will put all of me into your hands. My identity will be yours and yours alone.”
Those words were so sincere she couldn't help but blush from the flattery. It was the first sweet thing anyone had said to her, much less a guy in general. She smiled with a confident look that contrasted against the flush on her cheeks. “I'll hold your life in my hands and protect it with my own. It'll die with my corpse.” She spoke boldly.
“My real name is Sir Zathern Kalos Ronima.”
“Zathern…that name kicks ass,” Dove gave him a thumbs up.
Spades reached up and tenderly took her hand, kissing it. “My lady…”
Dove slid her hand from his grasp and leaned forward, wrapping her arms around him in a kind embrace. She turned and whispered in his ear. “I like this way better.”
Spades went rigid and paused before returning the action and allowing the warm feeling from her body to emit onto him, and the warmth from her soul fill his ragged body with the love of budding friendship.
…To Be Continued